The tablet market may be still in its relative infancy in Australia, but Google's latest 'Honeycomb' operating system has given manufacturers a nice building block to start from. Two of the latest Android tablets to hit the Australian market are the Acer Iconia A500 and the unimaginatively named Toshiba Tablet (otherwise known as the AT100 in Australia, and the Toshiba Thrive in other markets). With both devices possessing similar pricing, software and specifications, it can be tough to pick a winner.
Both available now through major Australian retailers, the Acer Iconia A500 and the Toshiba Tablet share a 10.1in sized touchscreen, run almost identical software and have similar ports and features. With this in mind, how does the Acer Iconia A500 compare to the Toshiba Tablet when it comes to specifications?
Acer Iconia A500 vs Toshiba Tablet: Specifications
|Feature||Acer Iconia A500||Toshiba Tablet (AT100)||Verdict|
|Display technology||Capacitive TFT||Capacitive IPS||Draw|
|Display resolution||1280x800 pixels||1280x800 pixels||Draw|
|Front camera||2 megapixels||2 megapixels||Draw|
|Rear camera||5 megapixels, LED flash, autofocus, geotagging||5 megapixels, no flash, autofocus, geotagging||Acer Iconia A500|
|Video recording||Yes, 720p HD||Yes, standard definition||Acer Iconia A500||GPS||Yes||Yes||Draw|
|Internal memory||16GB or 32GB||16GB||Acer Iconia A500|
|Expandable memory||microSD||Full sized SD||Toshiba Tablet|
|Dimensions||260 x 177 x 13.3mm||272 x 175 x 15mm||Acer Iconia A500|
|Weight||730g||771g||Acer Iconia A500|
|Processor||NVIDIA Tegra 2 dual-core (1GHz)||NVIDIA Tegra 2 dual-core (1GHz)||Draw|
|3G networks||Wi-Fi only||Wi-Fi only||Draw|
|Bluetooth||2.1 with A2DP||3.0 with A2DP||Toshiba Tablet|
|HDMI-out||Yes, micro-HDMI||Yes, full size HDMI||Toshiba Tablet|
|USB port||Yes, full size||Yes, full size||Draw|
|Quoted battery life||Up to 10 hours||Between 7-8 hours||Acer Iconia A500|
|Removable battery||No||Yes||Toshiba Tablet|
|Adobe Flash support||Yes||Yes||Draw|
Software and performance
The Acer Iconia A500 and the Toshiba Tablet (AT100) both run the same software, so the end user experience is almost identical. Key features of Android 'Honeycomb' include an 'action bar', a contextual option group displayed at the top of the screen, five customisable home screens with a big emphasis on widgets, a recent apps list for easier multitasking, a redesigned on-screen keyboard, a new browser and improved copy and paste. If all that isn't enough of a tongue twister, the platform also offers support for tabbed Web browsing, and 3D graphics. Overall, the Android software for tablets is a huge improvement; tablets running earlier versions of the Android platform felt more like overblown smartphones than tablets.
The software on both the Acer Iconia A500 and the Toshiba Tablet is a 'vanilla' version of the Honeycomb OS, so there is no UI overlay or enhancements slapped over the top of the standard Android interface. However, Acer includes a few small hubs to store and sort downloaded apps on the Iconia A500. These include social, eReading, Game Zone and Multimedia — they are merely a fancy bookshelf background where you can group application shortcuts, and don't add much to the overall user experience.
The Australian model of the Toshiba Tablet ships with Norton Mobile Security software, the ThinkFree office suite that enables the creation of Word, Excel and Powerpoint documents, and the Toshiba Media Player that handles a wide range of video, audio and image files, and can stream music and videos to a DLNA-enabled TV. Toshiba also includes a PrinterShare app that enables wireless printing, though oddly, the app appears to be designed for Android phones rather than tablets, and only fills about a quarter of the Tablet's screen. Perhaps the best inclusion is Toshiba's File Manager app, which easily allows you to access the Tablet's internal memory, the SD card and the USB slot.
Acer includes a few small hubs to store and sort downloaded apps on the Iconia A500. These include social, eReading, Game Zone and Multimedia.
Both tablets offer a slick Web browser that is fast and displays Flash content, most of the time with minimal delay. Each also supports tabbed Web browsing, and the entire browsing experience is as close as you'll find to a full desktop or notebook computer. The on-screen keyboard on both tablets is spacious and comfortable to type on once you get used to the layout.