The Nexus 7 is the tablet that finally pulled me away from the iron clawed grip of my iPad. No other Android tablet before it had my interest and I refused to believe that a smaller tablet was a better tablet. In fact, I bought my first Nexus 7 and returned it because it was too small. That little bugger burrowed into my brain though and I just couldn’t shake it. When the 32gb versions were released I bought one and soon found my iPad sitting for days and weeks without being touched. Google finally put together a version of Android that works great with a 7-inch tablet.
Unfortunately, the curse of any tech geek is that you are never truly satisfied. You begin building a wish list of things you want your shiny new toy to do. That’s where I am with my Nexus 7. Maybe a little bit bigger screen would be nice. A rear facing camera sure would have been handy when the baby decided to rollover for the first time and my tablet was in my hand, as it almost always is when I’m at home. Those things stick with you and that wish list starts to become more and more important.
That’s why the Acer Iconia A1 has peaked my geek. First of all, Acer has confirmed the pricing: 8gb for $169 and 16gb for $199. That not only makes it a challenger to the Nexus 7, but it sounds like the makings of a featured event cage match. The lack of a 32gb model might raise a few eyebrows until you realize there is a micro-SD slot.
What else does Acer have up its sleeve? This isn’t just a 7-inch tablet, but a 7.9-inch tablet. That extra bit of real estate might not sound like much, but it also means that Acer has the iPad Mini in its sights. One reason the Nexus 7 was the Android tablet that won me over was because I was able to use it without having to turn it sideways. So many Android tablets are designed to be used that way and I just can’t stand it. With a 7.9-inch screen, the Acer Iconia A1 will allow me to hold my tablet the way I want and still get a little extra room. The 1,024×768 pixels the screen offers is exactly the same as the iPad Mini, but less than the 1,200×800 of the Nexus 7.
Acer has included a 1.2GHz quad-core processor and 1gb of RAM so it won’t make you drool, but for the price point it sounds about right. The 5 megapixel rear facing camera will help capture those spur of the moment shots and video, but I wouldn’t expect it to be a contendor for anyones primary shooter. Throw in a HDMI and micro-USB port along with Android Jelly Bean 4.2 and you have a pretty solid entry that challenges the two most popular 7-inch tablets currently on the market.
Acer will be releasing the Iconia A1-810 in June and I think it will definitely be one to watch. If Acer can deliver the performance this tablet promises, then the iPad Mini, and possibly even my beloved Nexus 7, should be really scared.