Acer Iconia One 8 review: #AcerLiveBlog Dublin 2015, part 1

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This weekend we took to the streets of Dublin to try out the latest gadgets from Acer in the #AcerLiveBlog challenge. First up, we have their Iconia One 8 tablet, a budget 8-inch Android device. Let’s take a look at how it performs!

 

Unboxing & Specs

First things first – let’s get this out of the box. Acer have gone with rather more subtle branding than we’ve seen in the paste, with a big numeral 8 and a side-on view of the tablet above a curiously stylised name: Iconia One 8.

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On the back of the box, we have these tablet’s specifications – Android 5 Lollipop running on a quad-core Intel Atom processor backed with 16GB of space and 1GB of RAM. The screen is a modest 8 inches at 1280 x 800 resolution, while the camera setup is a fairly low-end 5/0.3MP. Other features include a reasonable-ish battery, a micro SD card slot (yay) and the usual WiFi N / Bluetooth 4.0 combo. For £120, it’s quite standard.

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Opening the box, and we have an ad for Acer’s BYOC (build your own butt) service, and the tablet itself (with an overlay festooned with arrows denoting various points of interest).

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Aside from the tablet, we’ve got a multi-language user manual, a micro USB cable and an AC adapter (with choices for UK or EU plugs).

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Design

Now, onto the tablet itself. While there are some colorful models available, this unit comes with a standard white facade with a fine dimpled texture. There’s a host of stickers on the back (which I would not hesitate to remove), plus a reflective Acer logo. A fairly wide speaker grille belies a rather weak speaker.

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On the upper and right sides we have a micro USB and headphone jack, a camera (no flash) and the lock / volume buttons. On the opposing side, there’s a micro SD card slot.

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Turning our attention to the front of the beast, we have the same look as last year’s Iconia Tab 8 – a small camera on the top, an Acer logo at the bottom, and a fairly standard 8-inch 800p screen in the centre.

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The screen is reasonably dense and works well for HD (720p) content, although it’s noticeably less sharp than a 1080p screen at this size. Ah well, for £120 it’s not bad.

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One aspect of the screen has been upgraded over last year’s model: its touch sensitivity. Acer are calling this Precision Plus, and basically it means that you can use a pencil to draw with considerable detail.

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Overall, the One 8 has a boring but practical design with few disappointments. The screen could certainly be improved, but at this low of a price point it’s hard to feel hard done.

 

Software & Features

The Iconia One 8 is fairly standard for an Acer tablet, coming with customisable gestures, a few (mostly) useless Acer-branded apps and fairly stock Android 5.0 Lollipop. Still, the OS is fast and fluid, and it’s easy enough to use stock Google apps if you prefer them over Acer’s alternatives.

The stand-out feature is the Precision Tech we mentioned earlier. In concert with the Acer notes app, you can easily jot down meeting minutes or doodle detailed scenes. As you can see from the drawing of the River Liffy below (created by the talented Katharine Byrne), it really works. Even on the relatively small 8-inch screen, with a pencil in-hand you can achieve a fine level of detail.

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Conclusion

The Acer Iconia One 8 seems a reasonable budget tablet. In our limited time with it, the tablet proved solid if not exhilarating, and there are a couple of cool features here that set it apart from the crowd. If you’re looking for a low-cost budget Android tablet, then it’s definitely worth a look.

 

n.b. This is a capsule review, based on two days spent with the Iconia One 8 on an Acer-sponsored press trip to Dublin, Ireland. Photos were taken with an iPhone 6 Plus in less than ideal lighting conditions, so please excuse any lapses in quality.

About William Judd

Editor-in-Chief for XSReviews. Find me @Expert_Will or on G+.

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