Sure, IFA hasn't technically started yet, but it's never too early for a tablet hands-on. We took a trip to downtown Berlin to get an early peek at Acer's new line of devices, including this 10.1-inch Android tablet. At the center of the A3 is a fairly standard 1,280 x 800 IPS display -- the same resolution you'll find on Samsung's Galaxy Tab 3 10.1. In fact, the A3's got something of a Galaxy Tab-esque feel to it due, in no small part, to the slate's plastic backing. The rear has an off-white / gray coloring, with a shiny metallic Acer logo in the center. In the top right corner, you'll find that rear-facing 5-megapixel camera.
The tablet's a bit on the chunky side, but that does leave plenty of space for the numerous ports, buttons and speakers on the silver-trimmed sides of the device. Along the left, you'll find the power button, micro-USB and micro-HDMI ports, a microSD slot (which lets you expand the built-in 16 or 32GB of storage), headphone jack and a small speaker grille at the bottom. On the top is a small mic and around the left you'll find the second speaker and a volume rocker.
The speaker's side placement certainly makesmore sense than a rear-facing setup -- at least for those who actually like to look at the screen while listening to things. Still, you may well run into the classic problem of blocking them with your hands while holding the tablet. The speakers leverage Dolby Digital Plus, creating a virtualized 5.1 channel surround. Out of the box, the sound isn't great at full blast -- we had to fiddle a bit with the included Dolby app, which did help matters a bit. Still, with Beethoven at top volume, the back of the slate vibrated in our hands. Really, if you want loud, you'll likely find yourself directing the audio to a different source.
The A3 is running Jellybean 4.2 -- unskinned, as the company is careful to point out. As the Acer rep we spoke with put it, "we don't believe in modification," save for a few subtle adjustments to the settings panel, so there's no messing with anything along the lines of TouchWiz here. Inside, you'll find a quad-core 1.2GHz processor, and certainly we didn't run into any performance issues in our time with the tablet. Our friendly Acer rep was also excited to show off the slate's IntelliSpin, which rotates the orientation of the screen, even when it's laid flat. Certainly a handy feature, that.
The WiFi version of the tablet is set to hit Europe, the Middle East and Africa early next month for €249. The 3G model, meanwhile, is coming to those locales in November for €299.
Zach Honig contributed to this report.
Acer Iconia A3
Acer Iconia B1-A71