Here in the geek family we love our tablets. We’ve seen first hand the educational benefits these devices can have, and we’re on a constant mission to find good quality, cost effective family tablets. iPads are lovely, but very expensive, and Android based tablets like the Nexus 7 are starting to prove really viable alterntatives. I was offered the chance to try out the brand new Acer Iconia B1, a sub-£100 7-inch Android tablet; here’s what I thought of it.
At first glance the Iconia B1 is very similar to other 7-inch tablets on the market, although it has a disctinctive blue edging. The picture shows it alongside my iPad mini for comparison purposes. It’s a similar weight to both my iPad mini and the geekdaddy’s Nexus 7, with very little to choose between the three. In terms of hardware quality the Acer does feel a little more plastic-y, but it’s still a very comfortable to hold and useable device. The viewing angle of the screen is more restrictive than I’m used to, but again for the price it’s reasonable.
In terms of operating system the B1 comes running Jelly Bean which is the latest version of Android, although ours was not running the latest update to Jelly Bean which adds some really useful features like the support for multiple user profiles. Hopefully it’s an update that will come to the tablet soon, but in the meantime if you want to use it as a family tablet and add some parental controls I recommend the Kid Mode app, available from the Google Play store.
In terms of performance the B1 was responsive, performed well even with some of the geekdaddy’s more graphics-intensive games, and it streamed video quite happily from a variety of sources including Netflix and our own local Plex media server.
The Iconia B1 is only avilable in one model. It comes with 8Gb of internal storage and has a microSD slot capable of taking up to a 32Gb card. It’s WiFi only, no 3G, so if you want to be be able to go online whilst out and about you’ll need to use public WiFi hospots, or use a personal hotspot or phone tethering.
If you’re interested in hearing what the geekdaddy thinks about this tablet, he and I talked about it on a recent episode of our Parental Geekery podcast – it starts about nine and a half minutes in to the episode.
In summary the Acer Iconia B1 is a solid tablet, and at less than £100 I think it’s a great buy.
Here are the official technical specifications:
-Android Jelly Bean operating system
– Mediatek dual-core 1.2GHz processor (MTK 8317T)
-7-inch diagonal WSVGA capacitive multitouch screen with 1,024 x 600 resolution display
-8GB(2) of internal storage
-Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
-Bluetooth® wireless technology 4.0
-3.5mm headset/headphone/microphone jack
-microSD™ expansion slot with up to 32GB support
-front-facing 0.3-megapixel webcam
-Rechargeable 2,710 mAh battery
-micro-USB (charging and PC connect) with USB 2.0
-Dimensions: 197.4 mm x 128.5 mm x 11.3 mm
-Weight: 320 g
The Acer Iconia B1-A71 is £99.99, and available from Argos, Asda, Tesco, Sainsburys or Amazon (affiliate link).
This blog post is also available in enhanced audio format – you can listen in the player below, or, if it’s not available, click on this link to listen on the Audioboo website.
Disclosure: We were lent the Acer Iconia B1 for review purposes. The Amazon link above contains my affiliate code, which means if you buy after clicking on it I will get a few pennies.