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Acer Iconia B1 review: Power-hungry and tacky, but good at multitasking

Ankit Tuteja | http://ibnlive.in.com/byline/Ankit-Tuteja.html

Updated: February 11, 2013, 1:56 PM IST
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Acer Iconia B1 review: Power-hungry and tacky, but good at multitasking
Though attractively priced, but the Acer Iconia B1 tablet does not make it to our recommendation list.

New Delhi: Attempting to break into the budget tablet market, Acer launched the Iconia B1 at an attractive price of Rs 7,999. When Acer announced its attractively priced new tablet it was believed that it would give the Google Nexus 7 and the recently announced Asus 7-inch MeMo Pad a tough fight. Can the Iconia B1 take on the competition and win? Read on.

Contradictory to what I had expected, the tablet failed to impress me in the first look. Though the tablet has a compact form factor and is light in weight, the catch here is that the screen makes an irritating squeaky sound when pressed. The back panel is a painted thin sheet of metal (probably aluminium) and its coating reminded me of the treadle sewing machine that my grandmother would work on. The coating used is not scratch resistant and accumulated a number of tiny scars in few days of usage.

Acer has tried to give the Iconia B1 a different look yb adding a blue stip circumnavigating the bezel. The bottom left has a blue triangular patch with Iconia written on it. FOr me, the efforts to adorn the device with blue is in vain as it does not beautify the device at all. The build quality is also not impressive, but is acceptable given its price. Altogether, the tablet looks and feels a bit tacky.

The tablet has a 7-inch WSVGA TFT LCD capacitive multi-touch screen with a resolution of 1024x600 pixels at 170 ppi. The touch is responsive and the navigation on this device is quite smooth. The tablet produces fairly good colours, but the viewing angles are very bad. The text that appears on the screen is pretty readable, but not crisp. The display is very reflective in a brightly lit area and the screen becomes barely readable under direct sunlight.

There is no rear camera, which takes away the chances from those in the habit of clicking snaps and sharing on social media sites directly from the tablet. It comes with a 0.3 megapixel front camera, which does not capture good images, but is suitable for video calling.

The phone has an internal storage of 8GB, of which only 6GB is user accessible. But it includes a microSD card slot that lets users expand the memory up to 32GB. It features a micro USB port at the bottom to charge and connect the device to a PC.

The tablet, which runs Android 4.1.2 OS (Jelly Bean), is packed with a MediaTek 1.2 GHz dual-core processor (MTK 8317/T) processor that allowed me to swimmingly run scores of applications at once. I could easily run 5 to 7 apps at a time and did not experience any lag when switching between different apps. But the tabtet failed to play 1080p videos.

It has 512MB RAM and multitasking on this device is a breeze. The 7-inch Asus MeMo Pad, which is likely to come to India this month for under Rs 10K, on the other hand, has 1GB RAM. I tried to test random apps on the Acer Iconia B1 tablet and one app that could not run properly was Heroes of Order and Chaos game. The game is graphics rich, and the device failed to play it smoothly. I downloaded the game on the device and when I tried to play the game again in the absence of WiFi connection a message box popped up saying, "No Internet connection available to get downloadable content and free heroes. Please make sure your device is connected to the Internet." There is no support for 3G data - neither via SIM card nor USB dongles. So, it means some apps like "Heroes of Order and Chaos" can't be accessed on the go as some apps always require an Internet connection - even if you have downloaded them on your device.

The tablet is power-hungry and it drains swiftly. During the first test, I could only squeeze around 4 hours out of a full charged device on full brightness. During that time, I just performed basic tasks including Internet surfing and apps downloading.

During the second test, the fully charged tablet allowed me to only watch a 2.5 hour long movie (again with brightness set to full). After the movie ended, only 10 per cent juice was left. There is a speaker located on the back of the device that produces quality sound, but not loud.

Though attractively priced, but the tablet does not make it to our recommendation list. May be for once we can brush aside its brassy looks as some people prefer performance over design, but none of us would like to own a juice guzzler. If you are looking for a sub-Rs10 K tabler, I suggest that you look at the other alternatives or wait for the Asus MeMo Pad which is expected to be launched in India this month for under Rs 10,000.

Attractive price
Expandable memory

No rear camera
Tacky design
No 1080p support

Ratings: 2.5/5

First Published: February 11, 2013, 1:56 PM IST
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