With the exception of the Amazon Kindle Fire HD and the Asus Nexus 7, cheap Android tablets have been utterly dire with abysmal performance and build quality. We were expecting more of the same with the Acer Iconia B1-710, a big-name 7in Android tablet.
We were therefore surprised to discover that the B1-710 wasn’t a complete disappointment, at least when it comes to performance. Its 1.2GHz MediaTek dualcore processor was unexceptional in our app- and webpage-loading benchmark tests, but it coped fine with basic tasks, such as web browsing, checking email and editing Word documents. However, it’s totally unsuitable for playing games with demanding graphics. It also struggled when panning and scrolling through complex webpages and Google Maps, and was also sluggish launching games and other complex apps.
Battery life when playing videos continuously was disappointing at five and a half hours – one of the shortest times we’ve seen for a tablet or smartphone. This means it’s likely to run out of battery when you need it most.
Build quality is another area where Acer has cut corners to keep the price low. The plastic construction feels creaky and the insecure flap covering the micro SD card slot feels flimsy. It’s almost twice as thick as the latest Asus Nexus 7, but it has a thick black bezel around the screen which makes it easy to hold.
The screen is low resolution (1024×600 pixels) which makes text look fuzzy. Worse still, it’s not particularly bright, it looks grainy, and images have a distinctly blue tint. We weren’t expecting a high resolution screen at this price, but the dismal image quality is a letdown.
The only camera is forward-facing but it’s in an odd position though. When the tablet is held vertically, the camera lens is in the top-right corner. This awkward placement means your image will appear off-centre to the other caller. You’ll also have to resist looking at the lens, otherwise you won’t make eye contact with your caller. The camera’s image quality is also bad, with fuzzy details, poor exposure and inaccurate colours. The Iconia B1-710 is a basic tablet that’s badly designed with shoddy build quality.
It’s alright for use as a kid’s tablet or for light web browsing and email tasks. Otherwise it’s too flawed to recommend – if you want a quality tablet on a budget, it’s worth saving up for the far better Asus Nexus 7 or Amazon Kindle Fire HD.
7in 1024×600-pixel screen • 1.2GHz MediaTek 8317T dual-core processor • 1GB memory • 8GB storage • Android 4.1 Jelly Bean • 340g • 12x129x197mm (HxWxD) • one-year warranty, Part Code NT.L1NEK.001