Acer Iconia Tab A101 Review: 7 inch tablet for light gaming

Written by B Johnson February 23, 2014
Acer Iconia Tab A101 Specs
Hi guys, welcome back!

In the past few weeks, to be exact, from last month, i’ve already showcased to you some of Acer Iconia tablets on this website.

Interestingly, many of Acer tablets that have been reviewed on this website are mostly packing the similar mobile processors made by NVIDIA, Tegra 2 and Tegra 3, which are dual-core and quad-core respectively.

(Acer Iconia Tab A101 Specs)

And this is great because it makes it easier for me to list many of Acer tablets that are worth recommending to you guys here, especially if you’re into tablet gaming.

Acer Iconia Tab A101 benchmarks and gaming performance

From what i’ve already seen many many times either through reviews or videos on YouTube, most of Tegra-powered tablets are just great for playing games.

And this is actually the main reason why NVIDIA jumps to the mobile market in the first place, which is to grow its presence in this industry by using its low-cost Tegra mobile chipsets in order to attract manufacturers to use its processors in their tablets, thus making their tablets great for gaming, which is why most of people today buy tablets, right?

Anyway, this time around, i have another awesome tablet from Acer that i believe will be great for gaming, if not the best (sorry to always repeat this sentence because the current best gaming tablets are the ones with Tegra 4, which are capable to run almost ALL games across Google Play Store and Tegra Zone).

After showing you the previous generation Acer Iconia Tab A100, today, i’m about to show you the sequel of that tablet.

And this one is called Acer Iconia Tab A101.

Specs-wise, between Acer Iconia Tab A100 and Acer Iconia Tab A101, actually there is no significant difference found on these 2 tablets.

However, there is one thing that makes them different, which i’m about to show you in a minute.

Well, if you’re interested to know more about this tablet, then here you go, check out my personal review of Acer Iconia Tab A101.


Similar like Acer Iconia Tab A500 with Acer Iconia Tab A501, which have the same exact specs all over them, it’s no different with Acer Iconia Tab A100 and Acer Iconia Tab A101.

These 2 tablets are also packing the same exact specs inside, from the same 7-inch 1024x600 pixel display, the same Tegra 2 dual-core processor, the same 1GB of RAM, the same 5MP camera, the same 3260mAh power battery, the same software and they even have the same exact design.

But one thing that makes them different is their cellular connectivity support, Acer Iconia Tab A100 doesn’t come with 3G connectivity support, while Acer Iconia Tab A101 has it (which is also the same reason that sets Acer Iconia Tab A500 and A501 apart).

Acer Iconia Tab A101 - Full tablet specifications/SPECS

However, even though these 2 tablets are just the same one to another, there are many great things that i can explore on this tablet and share them to you in this review.

Acer Iconia Tab A101 actually kind reminds me with Acer Iconia Tab A500, which i’ve already known to be a great quality tablet in its era in 2011 (of course according to video review i’ve seen on YouTube), although they both are totally different tablets under the different generations.

In fact, i even believe that Acer Iconia Tab A101 could also be a good choice besides Acer Iconia Tab A500.

The reason to back up that argument is because, A101 actually shares the same type of specs with A500, from the same Tegra 2 dual-core chipset, the same 3G cellular connectivity support, the same 1GB of RAM and the same 5MP camera on the back.

However, A501 is definitely the winner here given that it is packing a much bigger 10.1-inch 1280x800 pixel display, much bigger 3260mAh battery, a much newer software (ICS), as opposed to the 7-inch lower-resolution 1024x600 pixel display, a smaller 1530mAh battery and older Honeycomb software.

But the story would be different if Acer Iconia Tab A101 is compared to its even newer sequel, Acer Iconia Tab A110.

Even though A110 is packing a more powerful Tegra 3 quad-core processor and bigger 3420mAh battery, compared to the dual-core Tegra 2 and 1530mAh battery inside the Acer Iconia Tab A101, i still think that A101 is a much better choice than A110 because it has much better specs than its sequel, from the 5MP rear-facing camera and the 3G support, although they both are using the same 1024x600 pixel display.

And i also heard that the battery life of Acer Iconia Tab A110 is not that great, given its Tegra 3 processor that is so power hungry, compared to Tegra 2 inside Acer Iconia Tab A101 that doesn’t consume too many power thanks to a rather-low 1024x600 pixel display.


When it comes to design, this tablet actually looks just the same with its sibling, Acer Iconia Tab A100, with those specific curve on its corners, sharp edges on top and bottom positions and matte finish on the back.

This tablet actually kind of reminds me with the design of Nokia older N-series smartphone (N8 or N7 if i’m not mistaken).

To be honest, i personally like the design of this tablet even more than other Android tablets out there, which mostly have ugly generic design and no specific design characteristic.

Acer Iconia Tab A101 Review and Gaming Performance

Acer Iconia Tab A101, along with Acer Iconia Tab A100, definitely have their own footprint on the design sector.

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  • Mini-SIM 3G
  • Released 2011, May. Discontinued
  • Weight 470 g
  • 7.0 inch LCD capacitive touchscreen, 600 x 1024 pixels, (~170 ppi pixel density)
  • Dual-core 1 GHz Cortex-A9 Nvidia Tegra 2 T20 Chipset
  • ULP GeForce GPU
  • 1 GB RAM
  • Android OS, v3.2 (Honeycomb)
  • Acer UI
  • 5 MP rear-facing camera, LED flash, capable to take 720p at 30fps videos
  • 2 MP front-facing camera
  • Dolby mobile sound enhancement
  • MicroSD card slot for up to 32 GB
  • 8/16 GB Internal storage
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi hotspot
  • HDMI port
  • USB
  • Bluetooth
  • No Radio
  • GPS
  • Java MIDP emulator
  • Non-removable Li-Po 1530 mAh battery
Similar just like its sibling, Acer Iconia Tab A101 also shares the same exact hardware specs.

From: a 7-inch display with the resolution of 1024x600 pixels, a dual-core Tegra 2 processor clocked at 1GHz per core, 1GB of RAM, ULP GeForce GPU, 5MP camera on the back and 2MP camera on the front, LED flash, Android 3.2 Honeycomb pre-installed, 1530mAh power battery and some other standard features like Bluetooth, Java, microSD card slot and many more.

Not to mention, on this tablet, you’ll also get the 3G cellular support (which can’t be found on Acer Iconia Tab A100), which lets you use your SIM GSM card to connect to the internet.


When it comes to display, there is nothing special about the screen on Acer Iconia Tab A101.

Its low-resolution 1024x600 pixel display definitely doesn’t stack up against other 7-inch tablets that already migrate to 1280x800 pixel or 1080p display (1920x1200 pixels).

In real world performance, the screen of this tablet also doesn’t look that sharp especially when reading books or browsing the web, where the text and images always look small and pixelated in normal view, thus increasing the needs to do pinch-to-zoom gesture everytime your eyes can’t see them perfectly.

The good thing is, by using this low-resolution display, it actually improves the performance of this tablet to be much faster and smoother given that its Tegra 2 is only required to deliver its best performance to that low-resolution display.

So the pixels that need to be executed by its processor are not that many compared to a much higher-resolution 720p, 1080p or 2.5K display, which has way more pixels than the screen on Acer Iconia Tab A101.

Not to mention, with this display, the battery life of this tablet could also last much even longer.

User Interface

Acer Iconia Tab A101 comes pre-installed with Acer homemade UI. On this Acer UI, there are many cool features and awesome visual presentations that you’re gonna get through all of its pre-loaded apps.

However, just like any other regular Android tablets out there, the UI of this tablet actually still looks quite standard, with standard homescreen, notification window, setting window, navigation keys, app drawer and many more.

You can also spread your favorite widgets, apps, shortcuts all over the homescreen manually.

The good news is, there are some great things that you’re gonna get on this tablet that probably can’t be found on other Android tablets out there.

And that is, its features.


There are many features provided by Acer on this Acer Iconia Tab A101, like Photo Browser 3D, categorized apps, lockscreen key with app shortcuts, cool 3D-alike carousel effect on music player, cool camera UI and many other things, which have been explained a lot in my previous reviews of other Acer Iconia tablets.

You can check them out in my reviews of Acer Iconia Tab A500, A501, A100, A210, A200 and many more.


The overall performance of this tablet is actually really good in its class, probably the best when this tablet made its first debut a few years ago.

Thanks to its dual-core Tegra 2 processor that is clocked at 1GHZ per core and ULP GeForce GPU, this tablet is blazing fast even for doing some heavy tasks.

Not to mention, with 1GB of RAM, this tablet also still performs greatly even if you’re doing multiple tasks at once.

However, given that this tablet deploys some heavy Acer UI that consists some 3D visual presentation on its pre-loaded apps, then the overall performance of this tablet might not be as fast and smooth as other Tegra 2 tablets with stock Android UI.

Therefore, if you want to improve the performance and experience of this tablet, you probably want to install some custom ROM from Android XDA developer forum that has that stock UI Android software.

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When it comes to gaming performance, this tablet is actually really similar with Acer Iconia Tab A100, the WiFi-only model of this tablet.

Actually, they both share the same internals, even the same design, which is not surprising given their same generation.

So having known that, then the gaming performance of Acer Iconia Tab A101 will be as great as Acer Iconia Tab A100, although A101 is still better because it has 3G cellular support, which A100 doesn’t have it.

Therefore, if you’re into tablet gaming, then your hobby can still be accommodated very well on this tablet.

Thanks to the Tegra 2 dual-core processor inside this tablet, which is clocked at 1GHz per core, accompanied with 1GB of RAM and ULP GeForce GPU, this tablet is blazing fast when handling any games across Google Play Store or Tegra Zone.

There are many games that this tablet is capable to handle, from Need for Speed (Undercover, SHIFT), Asphalt (5, 6, 7), GTA Vice City, N.O.V.A (1, 2), Modern Combat (1, 2, 3), ShadowGun, PES 2012, Gangstar (Rio, Miami Vindication) and many other graphically demanding games released in around 2012 or before it.

However, there are also many other games that just can’t be played on this tablet, which mostly are the latest ones, like GTA San Andreas, Asphalt 8: Airborne or Dead Trigger 2, given their sophisticated graphics and visual effects.

As for N.O.V.A 3 from Gameloft, yes – this game can perfectly run on Acer Iconia Tab A101 because i've already seen it on YouTube video.

However, as for now, i’m not really sure just yet if this tablet is capable to run this game in full graphics or not. But for sure, i’ll let you know once i’ve found out about that.


Just like Acer Iconia Tab A100, this Acer A101 is also equipped with a good 5MP camera on the back with 2MP camera on the front side.

This actually makes this tablet a good offering, even a better alternative than 3G-supported Samsung GALAXY Tab 3 that only uses 3.15MP camera, although Samsung’s tablet has much bigger 4000mAh battery than the 1530mAh battery inside Acer Iconia Tab A101.

When it comes to photo and video quality, then Acer Iconia Tab A101 may not be able to deliver some great results just like other big tablets, say, iPad or Samsung GALAXY Note 8, which both can take great shots.

However, having a 5MP rear-facing camera with LED flash on this tablet must still be appreciated, right?

Who knows, you might need it in particular moments, especially if you forgot to bring your smartphone or digital camera at your disposal.

Battery Life

It’s a bit unfortunate that Acer Iconia Tab A101 is only powered by a small 1530mAh power battery.

And this is considered as too small even for tablets in general.

The good news is, given that Tegra 2 processor inside this tablet is not that power hungry (as it’s been proved through Acer Iconia Tab A500 that could last 2 days in heavy usage according to video reviews, and it uses a higher-resolution 1280x800 pixels and bigger 3620mAh battery), then you could still enjoy using this tablet in a solid day in one full charge.

If you intend to use this tablet in mixed usage, however, like for watching movies, checking emails, browsing the web, listening to music, reading books or magazines, checking Twitter, taking photos (then uploading to Instagram maybe?), then you can expect to see this tablet last around 10 to 14 hours, which is still pretty nice.

However, if you’re gonna use this tablet in heavy intense usage without resting the screen, like for watching tv series in marathon or playing some games in the row, then its battery life could probably only last around 5 to 6 hours, which is average for a 7-inch tablet, not great but not too bad.

I believe its Tegra 2 processor, which is not a power hungry processor, plus its low-resolution display, really help a lot in making this tablet last much longer in heavy usage.

My Personal Opinions

Overall, Acer Iconia Tab A101 is still a good gaming tablet.

Even though its Tegra 2 dual-core processor is now considered as “outdated”, especially compared to Tegra 3 or Tegra 4 that are just way too powerful, the fact that Tegra 2 used to be “the first dual-core processor” must not be forgotten, right?

This chipset is indeed still powerful even for today’s standard.

Therefore, if you’re looking for a cheap budget tablet for gaming, Acer Iconia Tab A101 can still be a pretty good choice for you, of course in low-end category, or around $150.

But given that this tablet is also supported with 3G cellular connectivity, which other 7-inch tablets mostly don’t have, then Acer Iconia Tab A101 deserves to compete in mid-end tablet market.

Besides, you must never forget that even the 3G-enabled Samsung GALAXY Tab 3 is still packing the same low-resolution 1024x600 pixel display, just like this Acer tablet.

And it's priced higher in mid-end price range.

Not to mention, Samsung Tab 3 7 only comes with mediocre 3.15MP camera, compared to the 5MP camera on Acer A101, although Samsung Tab 3 has much bigger 4000mAh power battery, as opposed to the 1530mAh battery inside the Acer tablet.

And in my opinion, the Tegra 2 inside this Acer tablet is still on par with the Marvel SoC dual-core chipset inside Samsung’s tablet.

Therefore, if you’re looking for a better alternative than Samsung GALAXY Tab 3, then Acer Iconia Tab A101 is still a good choice for you.

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