Changing My Tablet Loadout, Iconia A100 is My New 7 Incher — Video Impressions and Photos

Posted on 12 September 2011 by

Early last week, I received my notification that my HP TouchPad order was going to be one of the final production run we have all heard about, and that it was expected to ship in 6 to 8 weeks. This stuck in my craw for a few reasons. I had seen the charge from HP flutter back and forth between pending and then disappear for several days. I thought HP was actually trying to fulfill my order out of current stock. While the TouchPad is a case outside of the norm, my usual schtick is not to let people hold onto funding for an order for product that I am not going to receive for several weeks. When I put my order into the HP Small & Medium Business site during the TouchPad firesale, I originally received a notice of intended shipment two days later, so I thought I was ordering from stock. None of this is to say that I cancelled my TouchPad order because I felt HP had dropped the ball. I cancelled my order because I had lost interest in the TouchPad in the face of not getting it immediately, and I had other issues to deal with as well.

While I was ecstatic at getting HoneyStreak to run on my Dell Streak 7, the experience was not without its issues. HoneyStreak is a custom ROM that implements Android 3.2 Honeycomb on the Dell Streak 7. The major thing that was corrected was my Streak’s constantly dropping Wi-Fi connection, but I also received a boost in battery life. However, I lost a few things like the external SD card reader. Keeping the Streak 7 as part of my kit became called into greater question as the number of apps that I wanted to run as part of my routine were found to be broken or partially functional under the Honeycomb ROM. I experienced problems with Gallery, IMDb, and then Google Books. At the end of the day, the partial functionality of my collection of apps on the Streak 7 went beyond what I was willing to bear. My plan had been to run HoneyStreak on the device until my TouchPad showed up, then replace the Streak 7 with the TouchPad. When the HP date moved 6 to 8 weeks to the right and my problems with the Streak 7 increased, I decided it was time to make a different call.

Before I go any further, let me say that the issues with HoneyStreak were likely not insurmountable. I did not hit the XDA forums to see what issues others were having or what work-arounds had been figured out. For all I know, there was an updated version of HoneyStreak available. DJ_Steve, the code’s primary author, has been curating the build since he got his hands on 3.x earlier this year. However, the demands of school have been increasing, and, for the devices that I am going to employ, there is just not as much time to tinker. Loading the custom ROM was a cool thing to do during one soft-spot in my summer semester schedule, but I could not afford continuing maintenance and tinkering. I needed something stock, which is really where I live anyway. So my conundrum was: a Dell Streak 7 which was borderline unusable with its stock install, a custom ROM load that was not sufficiently functional when interacting with some of my more important (or at least frequent) apps, and the planned replacement suffering a 6 to 8 week delay in delivery.

The decision I made was to first cancel my HP TouchPad order. I decided I would be better off taking that $150 and  putting it towards a device I could get my hands on now. I then ordered an Acer Iconia Tab A100. I was very satisfied with my Acer Iconia Tab A500 so far, so the concept of the same device in a 7-inch form factor was appealing. While I awaited the arrival of the A100 from TigerDirect, I flashed the Streak 7 back to its stock install. Well…almost. I actually replaced some of the image files with some from the Wi-Fi stock install. I am not sure exactly how much difference there is, or if that difference even matters, but I will say that for the short time I had with the Streak 7 after the roll-back, I was no longer seeing the Wi-Fi disconnects that I had been before. I also saw a trend indicating even better battery life than I had seen when the device was running Honeycomb. I can only say that I saw these improvements as trends that hopefully prove to be truly improved functionality on the Streak 7. After the rollback to the stock OS image, I only had about 12 to 14 hours with the device before I handed it off to a potential buyer to demo over the weekend.

You can see and hear some of my early impressions of the Acer Iconia Tab A100 after the first 24 hours of use in the embedded videos below. I do some comparisons between my other two Android tablets, the Motorola Xoom 3G and the Acer Iconia Tab A500. My apologies for the low resolution  and framing. The only thing I had available to shoot video with this weekend was my Sony point-and-shoot camera. I have also dropped some pictures in for viewing. So far, I like what the A100 is bringing to the table in its 7-inch form factor. It is a huge improvement over the Streak 7, and a good compliment to my current set of mobile gear options. I will be posting later short-term and long-term reports as the device gets put to more use.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F5qA3KBJ3w0

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7r_v3DGsS4o

 

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12 Comments For This Post

  1. oryoki says:

    Sorry to post a criticism, but I didn’t see how to contact you directly.

    This article was way too long for its content. You could have provided the substance in a couple of sentences. I look to Carrypad for insights, not stream-of-consciousness prose.

  2. somdee says:

    oryoki, contrary to youe view. i like the way the article is articulated. raw tested results can be find easily. but real life, user experience acommpanying test of device capabilities is rare.

  3. somdee says:

    further, i am of the opinion that the “personal” perspective of the article is most useful. it facilitates each reader to be a ble to compare and apply his/her own evironments in deciding whether or not such a device is suitable for him/her.

  4. Jerry says:

    Thanks very much for both of your inputs. Just for some insight, I will just comment on the “why” behind the article, as well as some other clarifications. I think we tried to communicate that this was not “news” by not applying that category tag. It is labelled as “Devices” and “Hands-On”. I can understand, though, that that may not have fully communicated what the article was going to be. I will try to do better by applying some other clarifying subtitle next time.

    The reason it is not short is because my purchasing decisions never are. Granted, I probably do a lot more twisting myself into knots than others do, but the choice to shed one device at a loss of value and drop another $330 on a replacement in the hopes that it will meet the desired need is never a quick one for me.

    I post stuff like this, as I have for my last ten years of writing tech articles, as anecdotal cases that others might find useful in figuring out their own tech choices, like when is maybe the okay time to take a loss on a device and hope to not lose more time trying to make the wrong tool work for a given job. It is not to say that my decision path is right, but just to paint a picture of what decision gates I went through. Maybe some others would have chosen to keep the Streak. Some may have kept their TouchPad order and just waited the 6 to 8 weeks. The point was to outline a scenario and provide material for reflection on by others. Many of the devices that I have gone through since 1999, I have wound up owning through a series of unfortunate events. Rarely is the case that it was see product A, want product A, buy product A.

    That all being said, I think the videos keep to reflections on the A100 itself in the first 24 hours of use, so hopefully that provides at least some small amount of insight so that anyone who found the personal story of little use will not feel completely dissatisfied. Again, my apologies if neither of those deliveries met the needs of any readers and I will try to do something different next time to make it better. Thanks.
    – Vr/J..>>

  5. lobiesk says:

    240p? the video is so muddy & the sound so teenie that I couldn’t even sit through it.

  6. Jerry says:

    Yep, sorry, there is an apology on the actual YouTube page. I was jammed for time to get this put together and all I had to shoot the video with was my Sony DSC-750.

  7. Matthew Therrien says:

    Jerry – completely agree with you – we are an Apple Shop but the A100 with Honeycomb 3.2 is absolutely our goto device over iPad.

    Sure the battery is a little weak but ok if you know how to optimize settings and HC 3.2 is a little – shall we say – going through some early ‘growing pains’. But the OS is waay cooler than iOS – in our opinion and the performance of the Acer is really snappy. Tegra 2 Sunspider and Quadrant benchmarks are about 80% faster than our Galaxy Tab WiFi tabs.

    And considering we got ours for $278.00 – the Acer is a stunning bargain

  8. billybobjoe says:

    how about ripping the Rom off your new a100 for the community. If you can’t get the whole thin g grab the system folder.

    you should be able to via the adb to get it.

    many thanks in advance,

    Billy..

  9. Jerry says:

    Will see what I can do. Hopefully this weekend there will be some time to sort it out.

  10. Jerry says:

    Regrettably have to report that the display, which I suspected had an issue when I was doing the video, has failed to a point where the device is almost unusable. Almost could not unlock it today from the PIN entry screen, and there is an area on the right-hand side that is not accepting input. Not sure if other owners are experiencing this yet, have not had time to hit the support forums.

    Will be returning this to TigerDirect and exchanging it for something different. Thinking about getting the Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet.

  11. chippy says:

    Why arent you getting another a100 if its possibly just a screen issue? Is there sonething else wrong with the device?

  12. Jerry says:

    So little time to play with gadgets; since this is a launch window device, I am worried about losing time getting another one that may have the same issue. Still, just getting another A100 is one of the options I am considering, although I have a serious jones for the Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet, which TigerDirect reports as having in stock.
    – Vr/J

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