As expected, the CES 2014 announcements have started trickling in, though the tech trade show is not technically underway yet, and following LG and ZTE, Acer has put its cards on the table, focusing as usual on affordability.
Android Jelly Bean-powered affordability, to be exact, which makes perfect sense, since Acer has very recently rolled out a Windows 8-running 8-inch iPad mini contender. Now the ring is even more crowded and competitive, albeit technically the Iconia A1-830 and Iconia B1-720 should have lesser goals than Apple’s little guy or the Iconia W4.
One thing’s clear, they’re much cheaper, at $180 and $130 respectively, being slated for “this quarter” and “mid-January” commercial releases. The costlier fellow, the upgraded A1, rocks a premium aluminum exterior, but I wouldn’t necessarily call it a top-shelf slate.
Not in the screen resolution department, as the 7.9-incher sports a sub-par 1,024 x 768 pixels count for a 4:3 aspect ratio reeking of iPad mini deference. It’s not high-end from a processing speed standpoint either, as it packs Intel Atom Z2560 “Clover Trail+” heat.
1 GB RAM doubles the Intel-made SoC for an overall average hardware configuration, whereas the battery is rated at a pretty impressive 7.5 hours of life on a single charge. A number of features remain hush-hush, like the sensors on the dual cameras, but all in all, the Iconia A1-830 looks to be well worth its money. Especially as it offers 16 GB of built-in storage space, plus microSD support.
As for the $130 B1-720, the trimming and downsizing needed to hit the extremely low price tag are obvious right off the bat. The display is smaller, at 7 inches, there’s no trace of metal on the chassis, just one cam slapped on the front, and the 1.6 GHz Atom CPU is replaced with an unnamed 1.3 GHz processor (likely a MediaTek concoction).
Still, 1 gig of RAM, pre-loaded Android 4.2, 16 GB of on-board storage and microSD expansion possibilities make the fresh Iconia B1 quite the bargain, so it’s probably safe to say Acer is back in the game. Let’s hope they’re here to stay.