05
May
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Last week, we took an in-depth look at the newest tablet offerings from both ASUS and Acer: the Transformer Pad 300 and Iconia Tab A510, respectively. Both tablets pack NVIDIA's powerhouse Tegra 3 quad-core processor, a 10.1-inch display, 1GB RAM, 32GB of storage, microSD card slot, and microHDMI port.

On paper, these two devices appear to be relatively similar, aside from the $50 difference in price ($450 for the A510, $400 for the TF300), which leaves a lot of would-be tablet owners trying to decide which one to buy. Since this can be a tough decision to make (they're both excellent tablets), it's time for a deathmatch.

Fight!

While both devices are very similar in hardware spec, there are a few defining differences between the two, check as processor clock speed, battery capacity, overall size and weight, and custom software (by the manufacturer).

Acer Iconia Tab A510

  • The Tegra 3 chip is clocked at 1.4GHz while in single-core mode, and that drops to 1.3GHz for multicore processing
  • Roughly 10.5 hours of battery life
  • 6.9" x 10.2" x 0.43" (HxWxD), 1.54 lbs.
  • Acer Ring: a nifty little utility that offers quick access to four user-selectable apps, as well as volume and bookmarks. It also allows users to customize which apps can be launched directly from the lockscreen, which is downright awesome.

Screenshot_2012-04-26-22-43-39

ASUS Transformer Pad 300

  • The Tegra 3 here is clocked 100MHz slower than the one in the A510, so it's 1.3GHz in single-core mode and 1.2GHz in quad core mode. Is it noticeable during use? Not at all. But if you're a benchmark junkie, you'll definitely see it in the numbers.
  • Roughly 8 hours of battery life
  • 7.1" x 10.4" x 0.39" (HxWxD), 1.39 lbs.
  • ASUS didn't really apply any custom software here; just a simple, yet useful, addition to the notification panel that brings quick access to some commonly-used toggles (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, etc.).

Screenshot_2012-05-05-09-40-20

Benchmarks

In the video I state that the Acer A510 out-performs the TF300 in every benchmark test. Shortly after recording, I downloaded and installed the latest OTA on the A510, which drastically decreased benchmark results, specifically in CF-Bench. Ergo, the TF300 now has the upper hand when it comes to certain benchmarks, as reflected below.

Note: This update didn't decrease performance in the slightest.

Some people love benchmarks. Some people hate them. While I realize the results can easily be spoofed, they still provide a simple way to get an idea of the performance of a device if left untouched.

And with that, the benchmark battle begins.

AnTuTu

AnTuTu is a nice all-around benchmark that tests several aspects that affect a device's performance, including memory, CPU integer, CPU floating point, 2D/3D graphics, SD card read/write speed, and Database I/O.

2012-05-04 09.57.47 Screenshot_2012-05-05-09-36-49

Left: Acer A510; Right: ASUS TF300

CF-Bench

CF-Bench was among the first benchmarks to support multiple-core processors, and tests CPU and memory performance.

2012-05-04 09.44.29 Screenshot_2012-05-05-09-39-32

Left: Acer A510; Right: ASUS TF300

Quadrant

For much of its existence, Quadrant was the de-facto standard of all Android benchmark tests. While it may not be as relevant as it once was (and has been largely replaced), it's a familiar face that most everyone still readily welcomes.

2012-05-04 10.04.21 Screenshot_2012-05-05-09-46-36

Left: Acer A510; Right: ASUS TF300

Conclusion

While I have openly admitted that I think the Acer A510 is the best Android tablet on the market right now, the TF300 is definitely no slouch. The A510 may have a slight advantage in terms of sheer processing power, but the difference in performance between the two is negligible. However, the A510 does get better battery life and seems to have slightly higher build quality over the TF300 (but, as a result of the larger batter, it's also a bit heavier/thicker).

With that said, it's hard to beat the TF300 when it comes to productivity, thanks to its nifty keyboard dock accessory. Of course, to add that functionality to the package, you'll have to spend another $150, which is $100 more than the A510 by itself.

The bottom line is this: If you're looking to replace your primary computer with a tablet for work/school, the TF300 is probably the best bet (as long as you pick up the keyboard dock, too). But, if you want to use your tablet as a tablet, then I readily recommend the A510.

Note: As you may have noticed, this post varies slightly from the AP norm: instead of writing a few thousand words with a short video, I put more focus on the video and wrote a shorter post. I'm interested to see what you think of this format - is a shorter video and more text better for you? Or do you prefer the short, bullet-style list with a more in-depth video? Let me know in the comments!

Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, musician, and cyclist. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6-string, spinning on the streets, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • Andy Y

    Thank you for this review!

    To answer your final question, I must vote for more context in text, not video. I read Android Police via RSS. I personally prefer article reading, which I can consume in a fraction of the time, vs watching a video for 10-15 minutes.

    In either case, thank you for your time and effort!

  • stoney1973

    I prefer to read more, I often avoid articles that concentrate on the video side of things, purely because it can be very frustrating waiting for the umming and ahhing presenter to get to the point. I watch the embedded videos to see visual information, for example the design of a device, comparisons of various devices when put next to each other for perspective.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Going to have to agree with this personally.

    • http://komorkomania.pl/author/michal-brzezinski Michal Brzezinski

      I wouldn't say it better!
      Additionally, I really love the way AndroidPolice makes longer articles. As I go through many websites concerning mobile world (it is may job, also) usually I cannot spend too much time on every single one. Among all sites you do the best job in bullet points. There are many of them, there are really descriptive (not only one or two words).
      Apart from bullet points, your reviews are also really good, you point out many interesting (often small or not so important, but still interesting) issues.
      Although I didn't receive the prize from last year contest, still I'm your big fan ;)

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000884024074 Pharaoh Lamothe

      I am with this guy.

  • himmatsingh

    I'd prefer text as well. As it is, the video is 14 mins. To explain all the stuff you're not writing, 14 mins is OK. But if I read, I'd take less than 5 mins. Also, I'm not a fan of video blogs. I take things better in perspective via text.

    • shonangreg

      I agree. Reading for me is faster and I'm more likely to do it. It was a good video review, though.

  • Ursy

    Easy way to fix that processor clock problem ...
    ROOT
    It's always the answer lol

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Cameron Summerson

      I wouldn't call the difference in clock speed a "problem."

      • Leroybrute30

        My son has the a510 and I switched out the a500 for the tf300 mainly because of the keyboard option. Don't take this wrong but Asus was better with the ics updates and support is much better than acres. My son and I agree that the ips display on the tf300 is better than the tft display especially viewing angles. He hates how hot the back of his a510 gets so hot so quickly. Curious to hot it will be in the summer months. I also feel that development for the Asus is stronger.

  • Carlos

    I think the TF-201 was totally left out while mentioning the Acer is the best Android tablet on the market. Benchmarks for both tablets are pretty much similar (you can run 3 benchmarks one after another and one time the Acer will win, while the next the Asus will win, while the next anything can happen). And if you add the productivity part of it, well, the Asus TF-201 definitively wins. And don't mention Wi-FI or Bluetooth connectivity problems in the TF-201, I have one and both work just fine.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Cameron Summerson

      Why would I mention the TF201 in a head-to-head battle between the A510 and the TF300?

      That aside, I also have a TF201 (a TF201 vs TF300 post is in the works), and I stand by what I said. From a productivity standpoint, both the TF300 and TF201 are fantastic devices, but for a pure tablet experience, the A510 is still the victor in my mind.

  • http://twitter.com/SLotH13 SLotH

    Good review. Always a better option to have a video review than a lot of written content!

  • Wayne Randall

    your listed dimensions are mismatched; SAE for the Acer and Metric for the Asus. and the dimension listings between the two are flip-flopped; Acer is (HxWxD) and the Asus is listed as (WxHxD). sorry, i'm a stickler for uniformity, it's my CADD background. nice writeup though, many thanks.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Cameron Summerson

      My apologies. I actually copied/pasted the dimensions from the respective reviews without even looking at them (shame on me, I know). Fixed it now, though!

  • http://twitter.com/daveloft Dave Loft

    I'm not sure of availability where you are but in Canada the ASUS Transformer Pad 300 is available in a bundle with the keyboard for $520. So you don't have to pay $150 for the keyboard if you buy it up front with the bundle.

  • Jammer

    More text. I don't always have the opportunity to way h s video at work or on the for.

  • aiden9

    Wow that makes picking between the two a lot harder lol. I had been set on an Asus Transformer, but with how good that battery life on the a510 is idk any more. Guess it'll depend on how often I think I'd actually use the keyboard like the review says.

    As for video vs text, I prefer text with video examples/demonstrations.

    • William Surname

      If it helps any, the quoted battery life assumes continuous use for fairly taxing activities like watching videos at default brightness and volume.

      In practical terms, the TF300's battery life has been enough for me to unplug it in the morning, check the news, a couple message boards, and a couple blogs (not to mention a few Draw Something rounds). Then I take it with me to work (plugged into my car's stereo and playing music at full volume for my hour-long commute), where I use it as a notepad, task-tracker, and reference tool. On my lunch break, I check up on the blogosphere again, play a few more Draw Something rounds, and read some ebooks I have in pdf form. At the end of my work day I drive home listening to music again (this time about an hour and a half because the end-of-day rush hour is worse for me for some reason). When I get home, I keep the thing with me while I watch TV, idly surfing the web, reading, and gaming (Osmose, Shadowgun, etc.). Total time between my morning unplug to the first low-battery notification (which hits at 14%): about 16-17 hours. And no, I have neither the keyboard dock nor a car charger for my TF300.

      As for build quality, the TF300 doesn't have Gorilla Glass. I'm kinda babying it until my case and screen protector arrive. That said, lacking Gorilla Glass isn't a big deal if you don't have kids - if you drop the thing, the LCD panel and the various innards of the tablet can still break with or without Gorilla Glass, with the only difference that it would have made being whether or not the actual glass front breaks with the rest of the machine. And while Gorilla Glass is harder and therefore slightly more scratch resistant, you'll want a screen protector either way so that's not really a factor. The other thing is that the TF300 does have a plastic case, so it doesn't exactly feel luxurious... but it feels far from cheap. Moreover, having a plastic case actually makes the tablet a bit more resilient - anyone that's ever dropped a Macbook can tell you that the thing dents and warps and never really goes back to normal, so they have to get it replaced. A plastic case can flex and warp temporarily, but anything that will make the case crack will almost certainly break the tablet outright.

      All that said, I'm not a multi-tablet user. All I have is my TF300, so I can't speak with certainty how it really lines up to the A510.

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Cameron Summerson

        That last bit isn't entirely true. You only get 1.3GHz during single-core use. Once the processor bumps up to multiple cores, the clock speed drops to a maximum of 1.2GHz per core, even in performance mode. 

        • William Surname

           Huh. I must've misread something at some point, then. After double-checking some other sources, you are entirely right.

    • Jamesy

      I think you'd have to look @ prime specs to get a closer idea of what ASUS has to offer. The display is vastly superior to anything else i've seen (i haven't held the new ACER tablet in my hands...but it's hard for me to believe that the panel in the ACER puts out 600 nits.)

  • Aaron Gascoigne

    more text i often dont watch videos due to the sound and its just quicker to read

  • http://royblumenthal.com/portfolio royblumenthal

    For me, the video is irrelevant. I find them annoying in posts. I read for information.

  • Daniel McDermott

    I have a 3G connection in China which I have to use a VPN to connect to Youtube.  Most of the time even with a strong VPN connection Youtube videos load extremely slowly if at all, so I mostly avoid videos now.  If I had a reliable DSL or cable connection like I had back in the States I might watch the video if the product is something I am seriously considering, but for products I'm not interested in, I prefer the bullet point text.

  • http://wave-france.blogspot.com Supercopter

    IMHO the main difference between the two tablets is that the Acer one has USB host capability via a micro-USB slot (+ with a full USB host adapter included!). With the Asus, you DON'T get USB if you don't buy the keyboard dock... Huge difference!

    • Nono

      Yes. USB + HDMI + SD or it's just a brick.

  • Jamesy

    Don't you think that a Prime or Infinity comparison would be more appropriate considering the "best android tablet on the market" title you gave it? Still only a fifty dollar price difference...and the display on the Prime is a wholy different ball game.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Cameron Summerson

      First off, the Infinity isn't even available yet, so I'm not going to call it the "best Android tablet on the market" (since, you know, it isn't actually on the market yet). Not only that, but I can't judge a tablet as being "the best" just by reading its spec sheet - I have to get the device in my hands and see how it performs in reality.

      As far as the Prime is concerned, it's a great tablet and definitely a contender for "best on the market," but there are just small details about the A510 that, in my opinion, gives it an edge over the Prime. 

      • Jamesy

        Ah. I thought i remember asus saying @
         CES that they'd both be coming out in April 2012. I thought the infinity pad was out.

        And i was referring to the Acer tablet that you called the best tablet on the market. I thought that a flagship product like the Acer tablet should be compared to another flagship product.

        While the TF300 isn't a slouch by any means, it is a mid-range device. I wouldn't compare something like a One S to a One X (i understand that they're both made by HTC...it's just that one is a bit better than the other), or a Galaxy SIII to a One S. If i was judging, i'd compare a SIII to a One X.

  • http://www.facebook.com/davidtb Dt Bell

    But what about the "quality of build"? 
    The edge is given based on the fact that the quality of the materials are of same/similar quality. This may be a time will tell, but I own products from both companies (in some cases many more than 1, but not several) and while it may be a persistent fluke, I've had better luck with Asus products holding up over Acer.
    In defense of Acer, " How long you gonna hang on to that thing?"
    ps: Thanks for the article.

  • jehosaphat

    I have heard reports of the right rear (battery location) getting VERY hot during intensive or prolonged use on the A510. I have also heard of reports of a grid effect on the screen of the A510. Have you noticed either of these?
    Great report. Love the video to be able to see  the differences.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Cameron Summerson

      While it does get warm during intense tasks (like gaming), it's definitely not an intolerable heat. 

      As far as the on-screen grid, I haven't seen anything of the sort.

    • One off-er

      I've noticed the grid on mine, but only in certain apps (mostly Zynga's crap). Video streaming, photo gallery and HD video files all display brilliantly.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mezmemore Todd Johnson

    I am not an Acer fan. The updates to 4.0 have been coming out for the past week or so and my A100 only got the 3.2.1 update last week. How long has 3.2.1 been out? Yeah...exactly.

    Acer support is just flat AWFUL. I will never purchase another Acer product again.

  • Dan

    Video blogs are a waste of time and bandwidth.  Use video to show us things that are impossible to describe and can't be seen in photos.  For anything else, stick to text.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PXBB5JIVHT4PZBYLO3VYB2X4AY John

    I've never seen so much whining about a video blog.  Are you guys pretending to be techies, or would you prefer he go into a cave and have the author leave hieroglyphics messages there!? 

    Anyway, great VIDEO blog, it was a pleasure seeing the exact 2 tabs I was considering VISUALLY side by side!  On the display side it actually made up my mind to get the Acer.

    Oh maybe next time you can leave a review on an etch a sketch- no take that back, wouldn't want to steal anybody's "scratching my ass time".

  • Jahf

    "
    I put more focus on the video and wrote a shorter post. I'm interested to see what you think of this format" 

    I don't often watch a video for base-level content like benchmarks/comparisons/etc. If there is a compelling reason for a video, great, but I'm an old fogey and like being able to read things. Video requires too much focus (as in, when I'm reading I can easily put it down for a call, email, IM, dog bark, etc) for day-to-day blog consumption. 

  • Ryan Steyn

    Fantastic review, well done Cameron. If i could add one thing though, it would be to list the wireless capabilities of both, 3g or no, clear-fi vs ?/?.