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Acer Iconia Tablet Joins the Party

Acer's Honeycomb-based Iconia looks like a solid tablet option for less money than its tablet rivals.

The Acer Iconia Tab A500 is now available for pre-order at Best Buy for only $449. The tablet costs less than its rivals, and brings a lot to the table, so this may be the tablet that some have been waiting for.

First, let's take a look at what you get for your $450. The Iconia A500 is a 10.1-inch tablet running Android 3.0 "Honeycomb"--just like the Motorola Xoom. Other than the fact that it has only half of the 32GB storage that comes in the Xoom, the hardware specs on the two tablets are actually almost identical. It has the same dual-core 1GHz processor, the same 1GB of RAM, and the same half-inch thickness as the Xoom, but weighs slightly more at 1.7 pounds.

One thing that sets the Iconia A500 apart is its graphics capabilities. The Acer tablet has an Nvidia GeForce graphics core capable of delivering 720p HD on the tablet, or playing 1080p HD video on a monitor or TV with its HDMI port.

It is inevitable that the tablet will also be compared against the iPad 2, so let's stack them up. The Iconia has vastly superior cameras on both the front and the back of the tablet. It has the same 16GB of internal storage as an equivalent iPad 2, but the Acer tablet also has an SD memory card slot capable of adding 32GB of removable data, and it has a USB 2.0 port. Then, there's the fact that the Acer Iconia tablet is compatible with Adobe Flash.

On paper, the Iconia makes a compelling case against the iPad 2. The iPad 2 has a smaller display, and it is thinner and lighter than the Acer tablet. Aside from that, though, the differences come down to user experience and other intangibles that are subjective, and don't compare well on paper. Still, the iPad 2 has sold 2.6 million units since its launch, while the Motorola Xoom has managed only about 100,000 with a two-week head start, so those intangibles must count for something.

Money matters, though, and undercutting the price of the equivalent iPad 2 is bound to catch the eye of bargain-conscious tablet buyers. If you are looking to join the tablet revolution, you should at least take a look at the Acer tablet to see if it's the right one for you.

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