01
Jul
1

Acer is one of those companies that, in my mind, builds very good budget-friendly hardware. It may not offer the fastest or the best on the block, but when you're on a tight budget, Acer is always a solid choice.

The same goes for its Android devices – Acer has done a pretty good job of placing itself in the "budget, but not really awful" category when it comes to its mobile division. The company's budget-friendly A1-830 is a great example of a decent piece of hardware for not a lot of moneydollars, and it seems pretty clear to me that it thinks affordable devices are the direction to go in moving forward. Consider its latest offering, for example: the Iconia One 7.

The One 7 is a very affordable device at only $130, and it's packing some reasonable specs for the price.

wm_IMG_2526

Specs

  • Display: 7-inch 1280x800 display
  • Processor: 1.6GHz dual-core Intel Atom Z2560 (Clover Trail+)
  • RAM: 1GB
  • Storage: 16GB, microSD card slot
  • Cameras: 2MP rear shooter, 0.3MP front
  • Ports: microUSB, microSD, headphone jack
  • Wireless: 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0
  • Battery: 3,680mAh
  • OS: Android 4.2.2
  • Dimensions: 4.72" (W) x 7.78" (D) x 0.35" (H); 320g
  • Price: $130
  • Buy: Amazon

 

Pros

Cons

  • Good performance for the price
  • Nice design and texture on the back
  • Overall good value
  • Subpar display
  • Terrible cameras
  • Massive bezels
  • Jelly Bean

Hardware and Build Quality

wm_IMG_2528

For $130, you can't expect a lot in terms of build quality, but I will say that the One 7 feels surprisingly sturdy for the price. It's really well put-together and relatively solid, and I'm actually a big fan of the back of the device: it's basically just a textured black plastic, but I think it looks and feels great.

While the back is very nice to touch, the power button and volume rocker both look (and feel) much more in line with the price: cheap. It's not as if they're going to fall off or anything that drastic, but they definitely have a low-end feel to them.

Also on par with the price is the bezel of the device: it's pretty massive. Creating a thin, light, and elegant device costs money, so you won't find any of that here – think devices from two or so years ago and you'll get the right idea.

Generally, the display is the part of any budget device that takes the biggest hit, and the One 7 is no exception. It's not the worst display I've laid eyes on, but it's far from anything I'd call "good." Like most low-end displays, it looks fine straight-on, but viewing angles are pretty bad. The colors are also fairly washed out, blacks are more dark gray-ish, and whites are dingy. At 1280x800, it's sharper and crisper than other devices around this price, which generally sport 1024x600 panels (like Toshiba's Excite Go).

You'll find the One 7's single speaker across the bottom on the back of the unit, à la the 2012 Nexus 7. Since it's on the back of the unit, it not only sends the sound away from your head, but it's also very easy to cover with your hand when holding the device in landscape. When uncovered, though, it's fine – it's loud enough to watch videos and whatnot in most situations, but that's about the extent of it.

While we're talking about the speakers, I want to point out something that Acer does on its devices that should be a stock feature of Android in general: the functions of the volume buttons rotate with the orientation of the device. This way, the volume buttons always make perfect sense, regardless of which way they're facing. That's one of my biggest pet peeves with Android, and Acer does an excellent job of fixing it.

wm_IMG_2521 wm_IMG_2522 wm_IMG_2524

This tablet also has two cameras: a 2MP rear shooter on the back and VGA cam on the front. Let's be blunt here: they're terrible. Dark, dingy, low-quality...just bad. But c'mon, what did you expect? Just ignore the fact that they're even there and you'll be fine.

Software and Performance

Screenshot_2014-07-01-10-57-29 Screenshot_2014-07-01-10-57-45 Screenshot_2014-07-01-10-57-53

In my opinion, the absolute biggest downside of the One 7 is the OS: it's still running Jelly Bean. At this point, all new devices should be shipping with Android 4.4, and that in itself would go a long way in making this budget-friendly unit a better value than it is with Jelly Bean. It would also help keep things running snappy on the device's lower-end hardware. Alas, we can only hope for an OTA at this point.

Otherwise, it's basically stock Android, aside from that weird battery icon that Acer likes to use so much. Seriously, that thing's ugly as hell and looks so out-of-place to me. But whatever, it's just a battery.

On the performance side, don't expect a speed demon and you'll be fine. I found that Atom chip to purr along nicely for most tasks, like reading, web browsing, social network, watching videos, and all that other fun junk most people use tablets for.

Switching between tasks produced very little lag, even for a device with a single gigabyte of RAM. KitKat would only make this experience better, so let's hope Acer puts forth the effort to update this little guy.

On that same note, let's talk about bloatware. As always, Acer has thrown a bunch of its own apps on the system, as well as a handful of partner apps:

  1. Accuweather
  2. Acer Accessories
  3. AcerCloud
  4. Amazon
  5. Amazon Kindle
  6. Amazon Local
  7. Amazon Music
  8. Amazon Appstore
  9. Astro File Manager
  10. Audible
  11. Booking.com
  12. Docs
  13. eBay
  14. Evernote
  15. Wild Tangent Games
  16. Hulu Plus
  17. iStoryTime
  18. McAfee Security
  19. OfficeSuite Pro
  20. Remote Files
  21. Skype
  22. Top HD Games
  23. TuneIn Radio
  24. Zinio

...yeah. That's a lot of additional stuff on here – some useful, some not so much. The push for Amazon stuff is strong here, as it even has a full-page Amazon widget on the second page of the homescreen. Fortunately, most of this stuff can be disabled or removed at your discretion.

Screenshot_2014-07-01-11-51-48

Lastly, like the A1-830, it also has that weird typing quirk where every third or fourth keystroke is much louder than the others. Why.

Conclusion

wm_IMG_2525

So, this is a budget tablet. And as such, I think it's OK – it's not super fast, it isn't going to replace a higher-end year-old tablet, and it's not breaking any records. What it is, though, is a good starter device for a kid, an affordable shared device for the family on a tight budget but still wants to have a tablet, or a decent reading companion (assuming you can get past the 1280x800 display. At $130, it makes it possible for almost anyone to own a tablet, which is a good thing.

For the power users, however, the Acer Iconia One 7 is not.

Buy: Amazon, Best Buy

Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, and musician. 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- or 7-string, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • Alvin Brinson

    Save your money and buy a 2013 Nexus 7 when it shows up on Woot or eBay for a discount.

    • Walkop

      We got one for $120 after all discounts. Best tablet even remotely close to that price range.

      • someone755

        Not an option for everybody, especially not in every country.
        This is actually a really good deal considering the new N7 is 300+€ here (and the performance seems equal to that of my Grouper N7, which is still pretty good as far as light/medium usage goes).

        • Sigmund

          It has a good hardware and looks like a good device for the money, I don't have complaints.

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  • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

    Reminds me of a better Nexus 7 2012

    • http://www.twitter.com/italofigueired Italo F.

      Better? With that CPU and GPU? And Android 4.2?

      • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

        At least it's not the gimmicky and crappy Tegra

        • someone755

          Crappy, now, yes.
          For that time, it was pretty good.
          And you're also forgetting all the other issues with the N7; crappy storage, some display malfunctions, charging issues etc.

      • overtook

        Pretty sure those atoms are better than the tegra 3...

  • roph

    Shipping with 4.2 in the second half of 2014? Yeah, no.

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  • TechAce01

    If I didn't have a tablet, I'll greatly consider this. (I'm not fond of the Nexus 7)

  • tintin.92

    Why is everyone obsessed with the "One" name?

    • someone755

      You just gave me a brilliant idea! If I ever have a kid, I'll name him "One."

  • Curunir

    I got an Iconia A1-810 last Christmas. It does everything I expected it to, and fast. Very satisfied with the thing, especially considering the price. Those who choose to be slaves to Google / Apple products are free to buy whatever they perceive as superior. We regular folk are just fine with our budget products.

    • someone755

      A fellow Dishonored fan! o/
      Though not everyone likes budget products, unless all you do on a tablet is light/medium usage.

      • Curunir

        Fair enough, but then again, that thing ran the popular, hefty 3D android FPS games at smooth framerates and I operated a multi-track audio sequencer just fine so I don't know what could give it serious trouble.
        Also, yay for Dishopnored! :D

  • beomagi

    Anyone have an atom based android tablet knows if real racing 3 runs well on it?

  • Victor N.

    Did we forgot about Asus Memo Pad 7 (2014)? 64-bit processor,720p resolution,MicroSD,Android 4.4. Far better tablet than this one

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  • Sihan Chen

    woo!look at this external battery ,i think it is so good ,and you never have to worry about your iphone!