The history of Acer tablets is a strange one, filled with hit-or-miss devices that are mostly inoffensive but unimpressive. Nonetheless, Acer has managed to carve out a niche for itself in the ever-crowded tablet market.
The Taiwanese manufacturer has become known for building respectable, budget-friendly alternatives to higher priced premium devices. Rarely has that philosophy been on better display than the highly affordable Acer Iconia A1-830.
Comparing tablets with the earlier Acer Iconia A1-810, the most immediate difference is on the outside. While the A1-810 was very well-built, it simply looked and felt cheap to hold. The A1-810’s plastic casing has been replaced with a sleek, sturdy aluminum body measuring in at 7.99-by-5.45-by-0.32 inches and weighing 0.84 lb (380 g).
It may not be as thin as a premium device, but it’s pretty comfortable and portable nonetheless. The design is similarly impressive, with an iPad Mini-inspired brushed aluminum back and clean white face.
Taking a tour around the Iconia A1-830 , there’s a micro-USB port and 3.5-millimeter audio jack on top. A volume rocker and power button are situated along the right edge, as well as a microSD card slot.
Stereo speaker grilles are on the bottom of the back panel, while the camera resides on the top left corner embedded in a small strip of plastic. The connectivity options may be lacking compared to tablets at a higher price point, but for an entry-level tablet it’s hard to complain.
Resolving the Details
The Acer Iconia A1-830 looks and feels like a very solid, modern mid-range tablet on first glance, but that illusion disappears once you power up the pixel-starved display. The 7.9 inch, 1,024-by-768 pixel panel only musters up 162 pixels per inch, which falls well short of the similarly budget-minded ASUS MeMo Pad 8 and Dell Venue 8 in a tablet comparison.
It isn’t all bad, however. Brightness and contrast are solid, and the IPS screen produces decent viewing angles.
Under the Hood
In addition to the display, it’s apparent Acer also cut some corners under the hood. The Iconia A1-830 is powered by a 1.6-gigahertz Intel Atom Z2560 processor and one gigabyte of RAM.
The dual-core chip delivers better performance than you might expect thanks to the poor display resolution, and routine tasks are generally quick and responsive. Even more taxing apps like games will run, though you certainly shouldn’t expect smooth performance.
Comparing tablets with other budget and entry-level devices, the Acer Iconia A1-830 stacks up reasonably well. It looks the part of a more expensive device, and it’s at least as well-constructed as the Dell Venue 8.
The Venue and ASUS MeMo Pad 8 both feature 1,280-by-800 displays that, while not particularly notable themselves, are still better than the A1-830’s panel. Both offer better hardware, though the difference in performance isn’t huge thanks to the Acer’s low-resolution screen.
What Customers Say
Customer feedback depends largely on the user. Those who use the Acer to browse the web, read books and stream video have been mostly positive, praising the low price, high-quality design and solid performance.
The inclusion of expandable storage via microSD card is also a well-regarded feature. Meanwhile, more experienced users tend to pan the A1-830 for its poor display and underpowered hardware. Additionally, many users consider the high-gloss front panel difficult to use outside or under bright lighting.