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Acer Iconia One 8 hands-on review

The new Iconia One 8 tablet is a student’s best friend if the words of Acer’s resident ‘sun chaser’ and CEO, Jason Chen are anything to go by.

In the midst of the company’s annual international product launch event, Mr Chen spoke about the importance of education and Acer’s role in its future. Whilst connecting the world to Acer-made devices is a little ways off, they’re hoping to start with the humble Iconia One 8 – an Android tablet that keeps things simple.

To look at the One 8 resembles so many of the company’s more affordable slates; a lightly textured plastic body that’s pleasant to hold with one hand or two and aims to be as inoffensive as possible.

The bezel on the front is thin enough to be considered attractive and comes in white or black, whilst there will be ten different coloured backs to choose from at launch alongside a first-party folio-style case.

As with the Iconia One 7, which traversed Recombu’s review gauntlet recently, its successor packs the same hardware layout with physical controls on the right and an exposed microSD slot on the left, capable of accepting cards up to 32GBs (stacking on top of the tablet’s integrated 16GB of memory).

If it’s visuals you’re interested in, there’s a serviceable and attractive WXGA (1280×800) 8-inch IPS display, but the affordable nature of this slate certainly leaves the panel open to colour distortion and it doesn’t handle contrast all that well either. Above it you’ll also find a 0.3-megapixel front-facer and a rear-facing 5-megapixel shooter for videos and Skype.

The user experience is where Acer has placed its focus and whilst there is a range of pre-loaded apps, the company has promised that users will be able to remove the bloatware if they wish. The hook is with the display’s PrecisionPlus technology, which promises increased touch input accuracy over your standard display.

Playing on the education theme, Chen also outlined the tablet’s stylus support, which accommodates everything from dedicated tablet styli through to the conventional graphite pencil – making it ideal for jotting down notes or sketching on the fly.

Acer Icomia One 8 scrawl

In practice the Android 5.0 experience feels surprisingly fluid, even with the pre-loaded apps taking up precious space and it’s made all the more impressive by the modest quad-core Intel Atom chip and the single 1GB of RAM.

Beyond the stylus features the Iconia One 8 seems like a pretty unobtrusive, affordable tablet that will succeed or fall by the wayside based on Acer’s ability to market it to the right audience. A price point of £139.99 seems approachable for most when it arrives sometime in the next month or so.

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