Acer Iconia Tab A501

Acer Iconia Tab A501 (AT&T)

There’s little to say about the Acer Iconia Tab A501 that we haven’t said already in our analysis of the Acer Iconia Tab A500 ($449, 3.5 stars), the A501’s Wi-Fi-only sibling. The A501 is the A500 with a AT&T HSPA+ 21 modem. Having a fast, always-on affiliation is a nice feature, but AT&T’s abstracts affairs can get big-ticket quickly, and the Acer Iconia Tab A501 is still woefully defective in tablet-optimized apps.

The Iconia Tab A501 is accessible for $479.99 after a contract, or $329.99 if you’re accommodating to accomplish to a two-year, $35/month 3GB AT&T plan. With no contract, you accept two options: $14.99/month for 250MB, or $25/month for 2GB. You'll accept to watch your abstracts usage, no amount what, because an hour of Netflix consumes a solid 300MB. But that's the case with best wireless accessories nowadays, unless they're on Sprint's absolute 4G network.

Design and Software

Acer was clearly blessed with the A500’s design, because annihilation about it changes with the A501. The book measures 10.25 by 7.0 by 0.56 inches (HWD), and weighs 1.67 pounds (that’s 0.02 pounds added than the A500, allegedly the weight of the AT&T modem). It’s got the aforementioned pewter-color brushed aluminum anatomy about a 10.1-inch, 1,280-by-800 LCD. It’s not as glassy as the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 ($499, 3.5 stars) or the Motorola Xoom, and is acutely added than either, but in barter you get a accepted USB anchorage in accession to the micro HDMI/micro USB combination.

The operating arrangement on the A501 is about banausic from the A500. It’s Android 3.0.1 “Honeycomb,” with alone a few, attenuate changes to the banal operating system. (AT&T reps accepted that an advancement to Android 3.2 is in the works, but wouldn't action a timeline for its release.) There are some pre-installed apps, including several advised to accomplish the A501 a added able media tablet, like MusicA (a Shazam-style app), and NemoPlayer, a music player.

The one app that’s pre-installed on the A501 but not the A500 is Messaging, which lets you accelerate argument letters from your A501; your book gets assigned a buzz number, which you can use to argument aloof as you would with any corpuscle phone.

The Acer Iconia Tab A501 is an HSPA+ 21 device. Although it technically has a 4G modem, AT&T's HSPA+ arrangement doesn't arise to aback that up with 4G speeds.
While our offices are cautiously in an breadth apparent as 4G on AT&T's advantage map, I got an boilerplate of 1.9 Mbps bottomward and 1.2 Mbps up on the A501. Those are accomplished speeds for a 3G connection, but don’t alike access the accurate 4G speeds the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 gets on Verizon’s LTE service. On the 10.1, I got speeds as aerial as 19 Mbps down, and 5 Mbps up. That’s 4G, and for AT&T to affirmation this competes on alike agreement seems disingenuous.

The basal band with the A501 is no altered than the A500: It’s a good, solid tablet, with better-than-average abutment for media consumption, but there’s annihilation amazing about it—including its “4G” speeds. If you charge a book with an always-on Internet connection, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is the way to go, but if you can wait, you should; carriers are acceptable to action added and added tablets in the advancing months, hopefully with faster speeds than the A501.
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