- MicroSD expandable
- Available in a range of colours
- Loaded with bloatware
- Disappointing battery life
- No 3G/4G option
What do you look for in an affordable tablet? Acer’s hoping the Iconia One 7 still has the power to wow you with its £100 price tag, a host of unique apps and the fact it comes in a ton of colours.
Design: All the colours of the rainbow, six anyway
Despite having mentioned colours, our One 7 arrived in a distinctly uninteresting shade of white. That said you can also pick it up in black, purple, yellow, red and blue which paired to its price suggests that it’d make a good first tablet for younger users, especially when you consider it’s made from durable plastic too.
Aesthetically Acer’s added a patterned back plate, which provides some grip and rounded the corners, but there’s not a whole lot else going on. It’s minimalist sure, but not akin to the stripped back lines Jony Ive instilled into the iPad, rather it’s comfortable to hold, but not compelling to look at.
The power and volume rocker hardware controls are located on the right side of the tablet, but compared to practically every other small slate we’ve used, the power button is mounted in an unusually high position, making it uncomfortable to fondle. There’s also an offset camera on the back and on the left side an exposed microSD slot for expanding the tablet’s memory.
The budget factor also makes itself apparent when you look at the notable bezel surrounding the display; the tablet is nice and lightweight at 320 grams but it’s a tad bulky for a 7-inch slate.
Screen: Wakey, wakey
As its name suggests the One 7 boasts a 7-inch display. Acer saw fit to give it IPS technology, which helps at more extreme viewing angles and at such a size; its WXGA (1280x800) resolution is perfectly usable too. Brightness and reflectivity are better than other budget offerings, mainly down to the zero-gap design, and despite a drop in brightness, colour accuracy, even at more extreme angles, is solid.
This slate’s screen is suitable for emails, light web browsing and a couple of YouTube videos here and there, but won’t offer the most enjoyable cinematic experience when you settle down to watch a movie on your commute. The double tap to wake is a nice feature which you can toggle from the notifications panel, but we would have liked an automatic brightness mode too.
OS: A little bit bloated
Our eyes light up whenever an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) opts for a stock or near-stock take on Android. The Iconia comes sporting version 4.4 KitKat and the base user interface we first met in the days of Jelly Bean. We’d suggest adding the Google Now launcher into the mix for a more modern aesthetic, but in its out-of-box configuration, the One 7 feels familiar, unfussy and responsive.
Where Acer does choose to leave its mark is with software. Get ready to make yet another account should you wish to utilise services like the company’s own cloud storage setup and be prepared find a number of bundled apps that you’ll either enjoy or loathe having.
Offerings like Evernote and Skype are welcome inclusions from the get-go, but others like WildTangent Games and McAfee are less appealing, especially with the persistent notifications and the inability to uninstall them completely. Understand that these extras don’t readily impact on the user experience or performance (although perhaps they tax internal storage somewhat).
Performance & camera: How ‘Intel’ligent are you?
The B1-750 model we tested packs a 64-bit Intel Atom Z3735G quad-core chip clocked at 1.33GHz and paired with 1GB of RAM. It ensures general operability is smooth for the most part although initial start-up is slow and may lag, apps can take a notably long time to open and multi-tasking has an affect on performance. We sound like we’re grumbling, but this is a snappy tablet, despite its quirks.
Storage and battery life are a little underwhelming with 16GB thankfully expandable by microSD and a cell that saw us through a single day of general use, when other tablets can at least muster a second.
It also has two cameras, but the poor detail and weak low light performance mean they should both be assigned to video calls or barcode scanning and not much else.
Verdict: A plucky little tablet
It’s the classic case of a low price tag absolving this tablet of its many flaws and weaknesses, but whilst it’s certainly not the worst slate on the market, there are better offerings that don’t require that you fork out hundreds more in cash; namely the 2013 Nexus 7 or the MeMO Pad 7, both from Asus.
Acer’s done a good job keeping the Iconia One 7 relevant with this 2015 spec refresh and for many, its feature set and clean, simple user experience will fit the bill. Just don’t ask too much of it, or be prepared to pay a little more cash for something with beefier guts.
- WXGA (1280x800)
- 320 grams
- Android 4.4 KitKat
- 1.33GHz quad-core Intel Atom Z3735G
- 1GB RAM
- 16GB. Expandable via microSD
- Acer 'Build Your Own Cloud' tools, Float widget, Intel Smart Video, Acer Touch Wakeapp