At a shade over £150 the A1CS Fusion 5's specifications might seem too good to be true for a budget tablet: it has a capacitive touchscreen and runs Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich). See also Group test: what's the best cheap tablet PC?
It will come as no great surprise, therefore, that the A1CS Fusion 5 is no Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime for a fraction of the cost. The hardware buttons are cheap feeling, and have been given the strangest functions we've ever come across. The large silver button on the front doesn't take you to the Home screen, as you might expect, instead it's a Back button. The rocker switch on the edge isn't a volume control: it takes you to either Home or Settings depending which way you press it. See also: Group test: what's the best tablet PC?
To control the volume you have to hold down the A1CS Fusion 5's power button at the same time, a process which had us accidentally turning the tablet off all too often. These design decisions are unnecessary as the operating system has software buttons always available at the bottom of the screen, suggesting the unit was designed with another OS in mind then converted to run ICS.
The screen itself is good, with the wide form factor making it ideal for watching films, although the viewing angles are somewhat tight. Colours can appear a little cool at times and text isn't as crisp as we'd have liked due to the relatively low resolution. Games look good though and play surprisingly well on the A1CS Fusion 5. See also: Group test: what's the best Android tablet?
In our tests Temple Run flew along at a breakneck pace and racing games didn't seem to trouble the 1.2GHz processor at all. However, in general use the A1CS Fusion 5 is sluggish at times, being slow to wake from sleep or even respond to button presses.
We are also concerned about build quality. In our tests ripples appeared on one corner of the screen when pressed gently. This would suggest that the slim profile is too tight for some of the components inside and could be a potential failure point in the future.
The battery lasted a respectable 7 hours in our video playback test, and it was good to see a micro SD slot for expanding the 8GB of built-in storage. Unlike some budget tablets, the A1CS Fusion 5 has Google Play so you have access to the full range of Android apps.