As sales of tablet PCs begin to chip away at sales of laptops and ever-dwindling desktop computers (remember those?), users are looking to do more than just check e-mail or watch videos on their new several-hundred-dollar toys. Acer acknowledges this trend by positioning its Iconia tablets as ideal for multitasking and pairing with accessories designed for gaming, working or viewing content.
Any of the Iconia tablets can be paired with a docking station that lets users adjust volume and play, pause or stop media via remote control. The tablets are also compatible with a full wireless keyboard, which is infinitely easier to use than a touch screen for composing documents and long e-mails. The Iconia tablet has a microSD card slot for reading memory cards and USB ports that make it easy to access flash drives, USB card readers and portable hard drives. Acer claims that the battery will last for eight hours of gaming or movie watching, or up to 10 hours of basic Web browsing over Wi-Fi [source: Perenson].
Gamers have given mostly positive reviews to the Acer Iconia for including an ultra-sensitive gyro meter, fast processor and high-resolution screen, all designed to run HD arcade games and complex online games with no compromised graphics or frustrating frozen screens.
One area where the Acer Iconia tablet (like other Android tablets) still falls short is the availability of apps. While Android smartphones are slowly but surely gaining on the dominant iPhone App Store, the Android Marketplace lists just 148 apps for tablets as of August 2011, as compared with more than 65,000 apps for the ubiquitous iPad. While the Android Marketplace app number is sure to grow, it's still viewed as a huge negative for many would-be buyers deciding between an iPad and just about anything else.
So what's the bottom line? While it's still early in the game, the Acer Iconia tablet, although not yet a household name, looks to be off to a decent start. The choice of sizes and operating systems means that there's an option for everyone, and reviewers have pegged every model in the Iconia line as good all-around tablets for media viewing, gaming and basic online pursuits, all at very reasonable prices.