The Acer Iconia B1 is a low-cost, seven-inch tablet with a MediaTek MT8317T processor (two Cortex-A9 cores, 1,2 GHz, PowerVR SGX531 graphics engine at 200 MHz), 1024×600 touchscreen, 512 MiB of RAM and 16 GiB of storage space (also sold with 8 GiB). It has a VGA (640×480) front camera for video chat, and the operating system is the Android 4.1 (“Jelly Bean”). Let’s test it and see if it is a good buy.
Figure 1 shows the box of the Acer Iconia B1.
Inside the box, besides the tablet, we found a wall charger, USB cable, and user manuals.
Figure 3 reveals the Acer Iconia B1. There are no physical buttons, just the front camera at its top-right corner.
[nextpage title=”Overall Look”]
The Acer Iconia B1 we tested uses a dual-core, 1.2 GHz MediaTek MT8317T processor. It has two Cortex-A9 cores and a PowerVR SGX531 graphics processor (GPU), which runs at 200 MHz.
The seven-inch screen has a resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels.
Figure 4 shows the back side of the device. Its cover is made of plastic with a metallic part at the center. Unlike most tablets, it has no back camera.
Figure 5 unveils the bottom of the Iconia B1, where the mini-USB/charge connector is located. There is also a cover that gives access to the MicroSD slot.
At the right side of the tablet, there are three buttons: the on/off/sleep/wake button and the volume settings.
At the top side is the earphone output.
There is not any connector or button at the left of the device.
[nextpage title=”Inside the Iconia B1″]
Removing the back cover of the Iconia B1, you can see its interior. On the mainboard, most the components are hidden below a metallic shield (that also acts as a radiator).
The battery is a Lithium-Polymer model with nominal voltage of 3.8 V and 2,640 mAh of capacity, as shown in Figure 10.
[nextpage title=”Using the Iconia B1″]
Using the Iconia B1 as a tablet is a satisfying experience. At first, we thought the large borders were a disadvantage, because the device could be smaller and therefore easier to carry around without them. But, with use, we noticed that the borders gave us a place to firmly hold the tablet, which is great.
The dual core, 1.2 GHz CPU was fast enough for a satisfying usage experience. We felt no slowness or freezings.
The touchscreen responds quickly and precisely. The screen is clear and bright, and the resolution of 1024×600 is not high (the ASUS Fonepad, for example, has a screen of the same size and brings 1280 x 800 resolution), but is enough for most tasks.
One problem with the screen is the viewing angle. From the left, top, and bottom, the screen can be easily viewed even at high angles. But if you look at the screen from the right from just a small angle, the screen becomes dark and hard to see. It seems to be a reflex of the low-cost materials.
The Android 4.1 (“Jelly Bean”) operating system is easy to use and intuitive. Figure 11 shows the initial screen when you turn the Iconia B1 on for the first time.
Pressing the icon with the circle with six dots, you enter the list of applications, shown in Figures 12 and 13. The Iconia B1 comes with several applications installed, some Android default ones and some exclusive from Acer.
You can install new applications using the Google Play Store, which has thousands of applications and games available.
In the 16 GiB version, the Iconia B1 has a total of about 13 GiB free space for installing apps, storing music and videos.
Acer claims the battery lasts three hours of use, but it actually lasted about four or five hours of web browsing in our hands, depending on usage.
An important detail about the Iconia B1 is the absence of a main camera. It is one of the details that helps to keep the low cost with a reasonable overall quality, which makes sense if you think the user will also be carrying a mobile phone with a good camera. The front camera is only intended to be used in video chats, not for taking photos.
We were not able to run Android 3DMark, since it needs more than 512 MiB of RAM.
[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]
The main specifications for the Acer Iconia B1 include:
- Dimensions: 5.1 x 7.8 x 0.44 inches (128.5 x 197.4 x 11.3 mm)
- Weight: 11.3 ounces (320 grams)
- Display: Seven-inch, 1024 x 600, LED TFT touchscreen
- Operating System: Android 4.1 (“Jelly Bean”)
- Main Processor (CPU): MediaTek MT8317T, 1.2 GHz, two Cortex-A9 cores
- Graphics Processor (GPU): PowerVR SGX531, 200 MHz, embedded in the CPU
- RAM: 512 MiB
- Storage: 16 GiB
- Memory Card Slot: Yes, MicroSD, up to 32 GiB
- GPS: Yes
- FM Radio: No
- Sensors: Accelerometer
- SIM slots: No
- Networks: No
- Wi-Fi: IEEE 802.11b/g/n
- Bluetooth: Version 4.0
- Rear camera: No
- Front camera: VGA
- Flash: No
- Battery time: 3 h
- Battery: 3.8 V, 2640 mAh Li Ion
- More information: http://us.acer.com/
- Average prince in the U.S.*: USD 118.00
* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.
The Acer Iconia B1 is a good solution for the user who is looking for a small, inexpensive tablet to browse the web, access social networks, read emails, etc. Due to its low cost, it is also a good option for kids.
It is easy to carry, light, and comfortable to use.
In order to achieve a low price tag, the manufacturer chose to remove some features (such as the frontal camera), instead of using low-quality components. Well, the screen has a strange behavior when looked at from the right side, but we were not expecting a top-shelf screen in this gadget.
- Excellent cost/benefit ratio
- Light and comfortable to use
- Good grip
- No freezings or slowness
- Many apps available
- Frontal camera for video callings
- Memory card slot
- No main camera
- Small memory size can prevent some apps to run in the 512 MiB model
- Screen with small view angle from the right