Acer Iconia Tab A3 Review: a pretty decent low end tablet

Written by B Johnson February 23, 2014
Acer Iconia Tab A3 Specs

Hi guys, glad to see you again here!

Yesterday, there was one Acer tablet that made me quite impressed.

That tablet was Acer Iconia Tab A1-810.

(Acer Iconia Tab A3 Specs)

What made me really impressed with this tablet was because this tablet, despite being a low-end budget tablet (given its specs), i was surprised to see how this tablet could handle many high-performing games pretty well, like Need for Speed Most Wanted, Dead Trigger 2, Real Racing 3, Asphalt 7, N.O.V.A 3, ShadowGun and even GTA Vice City, as i’ve already seen on many YouTube videos.

This is actually pretty weird because Acer Iconia Tab A1 is not packing some monster quality specs on it, especially compared to other 7-inch rivals like Tegra Note 7, HP Slate 7 Extreme, Google Nexus 7, Kindle Fire HDX 7 or iPad mini with Retina Display, which are just way more powerful than Acer Iconia Tab A1 given their monster processors inside, like Tegra 4, Snapdragon 800/S4 Pro or Apple’s 64-bit A7 chipset.

So this kind of makes me think that, if a tablet, any tablet, comes with only a quad-core MediaTek MT8125 processor (which many tech geeks always call as “cheap Mediatek processor”) and a low-resolution display, then that tablet will just be great for gaming.

Anyway, this time around, i also have another Acer tablet that you might want to check it out.

This one also falls in the same generation just like Acer Iconia Tab A1.

However, the Acer model i’m about to show you today is definitely the sequel of that Acer A1, given its newer release date and of course, its model number.

This tablet is Acer Iconia Tab A3, the same 7.9-inch Android tablet just like Acer Iconia Tab A1.

Well, if you’re eager to know more about this tablet, and especially its gaming performance, then here you go, my personal review of Acer Iconia Tab A3.


Compared to other Acer Iconia tablets that i’ve already showcased on this website in the past few weeks, i personally think that Acer Iconia Tab A3 is definitely not on par with those Acer tablets.

When it comes to performance, then other Acer tablets like Acer Iconia Tab A700, A511 or A201, are just better than Acer Iconia Tab A3, given their Tegra 3 processors, compared to the Mediatek processor inside this Acer Iconia Tab A3.

The predecessor, Acer Iconia Tab A1-801, however, shares the same exact processor just like this Acer Iconia Tab A3, a Mediatek quad-core MT8125 processor.

And amazingly, this tablet has a great gaming performance and can even play some of the latest graphically demanding games, like Need for Speed Most Wanted, Asphalt 7, GTA Vice City, ShadowGun, Modern Combat 4, N.O.V.A 3 and even Dead Trigger 2 (the very latest game in 2013), all in smooth performance and full graphics.

Acer Iconia Tab A3 - Full tablet specifications/SPECS

So if Acer Iconia Tab A1 could do that, then you can also expect the same thing on Acer Iconia Tab A3.

However, the great thing about Acer Iconia Tab A3, compared to Acer Iconia Tab A1, is that, it has much better specs than its predecessor.

It has a much higher-resolution display, a bigger battery and the most importantly, it complements the sector that Acer Iconia Tab A1 is lacking.

And that is the 3G cellular support.

On Acer Iconia Tab A3, besides other better specs, you’ll also get the 3G cellular connectivity, which Acer Iconia Tab A1 don’t have it.

But the real question here is, with all of these better specs, does Acer Iconia Tab A3 have what it takes to be a great budget tablet, especially compared to other 3G-enabled budget tablet, Samsung GALAXY Tab 3?

Well, we’re about to find out about that in this review.


In terms of design, Acer Iconia Tab A3 actually looks quite similar with its sibling, Acer Iconia Tab A1, which both share the same design language one to another.

In fact, both of these Acer tablets use the same aspect ratio of 4:3 on their screens, the same aspect ratio of iPad mini, (which i have to admit is pioneered by Apple).

So the experience of holding this Acer tablet is quite similar with holding the iPad mini, where your palm just can't reach the entire body of this tablet with only one hand.

By i personally like the design of this tablet.

Besides giving a much wider screen real estate, this type of design will give a much better experience when used to enjoy media contents, like movies, books or games, compared to the regular 7-inch Android tablets out there that use the orthodox 16:9 aspect ratio, which is pretty narrow horizontally.

Acer Iconia Tab A3 Review and Gaming Performance

Talking about the design of this tablet, Acer Iconia Tab A3 also has those thick bezels around the side of the screen, making it look bigger and wider horizontally (in normal view).

It also has those rounded corners that are not full rounded, which is nice and gives more elegant look to this tablet.

Overall, i personally like the design of this tablet, although not as much as the design of Acer Iconia Tab A500.

Even though it’s an Android tablet, i’m glad Acer decides to use that 4:3 aspect ratio on this tablet, making it more enjoyable to use as a media-consumption device.

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  • SIM
  • Released 2013, November
  • 10.1 inch LED-backlit IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 800 x 1280 pixels, (~149 ppi pixel density)
  • Quad-core 1.2 GHz Cortex-A7 Mediatek MT8125 Chipset
  • PowerVR SGX 544MP GPU
  • 1GB of RAM
  • Android OS 4.2 Jelly Bean
  • MicroSD card slot slot, for up to 32 GB
  • 16/32 GB Internal storage
  • 5 MP rear-facing camera
  • GPRS
  • EDGE
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
  • USB
  • GPS
  • Bluetooth
  • Java MIDP emulator
  • No Radio
  • Non-removable battery
  • Up to 11 hours for talk time and multimedia
As a cheap tablet, Acer Iconia Tab A3 comes with some pretty good specs on it.

Compared to Samsung GALAXY Tab 3 7.0, which is also a cheap budget tablet, this Acer Iconia Tab A3 actually has better specs than Samsung’s slate, from a better display, better camera and some other more.

Acer Iconia Tab A3 comes with a 10.1-inch display sporting the resolution of 1280x800 pixel display, a quad-core Mediatek MT8125 1.2GHz processor, PowerVR SGX 544 GPU, 1GB of RAM, Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, microSD card slot for up to 32GB, 16/32GB of internal storage, 5MP rear-facing camera and many more.


Unlike its predecessor, Acer Iconia Tab A3 is sporting a higher resolution 1280x800 pixel display, compared to the low-resolution 1024x600 pixel display on Acer Iconia Tab A1.

This tablet also adopts the 4:3 aspect ratio on its screen, similar like the one on iPad mini and iPad Air.

So when used to enjoy some media contents, like movies, books, magazines, web pages or games, this tablet still delivers a sharp looking display to the users.

However, you might still need to do the pinch-to-zoom gestures a lot, especially if your eyes couldn't read the text or see the images perfectly especially when browsing the web or reading books.

What i really like from the display on this tablet is that, Acer Iconia Tab A3 adopts that 4:3 aspect ratio on its 7.9-inch screen, which is similar like the 7.9-inch display on iPad mini with the same 4:3 aspect ratio.

So the experience of holding this tablet will be similar like holding the iPad mini.

With this aspect ratio, enjoying media contents will also be much better on this tablet because the screen looks wider horizontally or in landscape mode.

User Interface and Features

The UI of Acer Iconia Tab A3 is actually really similar with the other Acer Iconia tablets that use the same Acer’s homemade Android UI called “Acer UI”.

So there will be many awesome features provided on this tablet, like Photo Browser, categorized apps, app shortcut ring on lockscreen key, multi-window apps and many more.

And besides features, this tablet also comes pre-installed with many cool visual presentations/effects all over its pre-loaded apps, like 3D-alike carousel effect on music player, cool camera UI with awesome features, and many more.

However, there is nothing new on the main homescreen of this tablet.

It still looks the same as other regular Android tablets out there, with standard homescreen that you can fill with widgets, apps or shortcuts.


When it comes to performance, Acer Iconia Tab A3 is pretty similar with its sibling, Acer Iconia Tab A1, given that they both are packing the same exact Mediatek quad-core MT8125 processor, the same one on Asus MemoPad 7HD as well.

So for doing some basic tasks like checking emails, reading books, watching HD movies, browsing the web or playing games, this tablet will run seamlessly in smooth performance.

Even if you open multiple tasks at once, this thing still flies, thanks to its 1GB of RAM.

However, there are still some noticeable lags and framedrops found on this tablet, especially when browsing the web or playing games, given its HD 1280x800 pixel resolution display, compared to the lower 1024x600 pixel display on the predecessor.

But overall, having a Mediatek quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM, PowerVR SGX GPU and medium-resolution 1280x800 pixel display on this tablet, the whole performance of Acer Iconia Tab A3 is still considered as fast and smooth.

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When it comes to playing games, Acer Iconia Tab A3 is pretty similar with Acer Iconia Tab A1, given that they both share the same internals (i.e., Mediatek quad-core MT8125 processor clocked at 1.2GHz per core, 1GB of RAM and PowerVR SGX 544 GPU).

So with that being said, then Acer Iconia Tab A3 is also capable to run many latest graphics intense games like Modern Combat 4, Dead Trigger 2, Real Racing 3, ShadowGun, Need for Speed Most Wanted, GTA Vice City, Asphalt 7: Heat, N.O.V.A 3 and the other older games released in 2012 or before it.

However, as for its gaming performance, i think Acer Iconia Tab A3 will not be as fast and smooth as Acer Iconia Tab A1 given that it is packing a medium resolution 1280x800 pixel screen, compared to Acer Iconia Tab A1 that only comes with lower 1024x600 pixel display.

And i've already seen a lot on many tables that higher screen resolution on tablet has a huge impact to the overall performance of those tablets, especially on gaming their gaming performance.

So for many high-performing games like Modern Combat 4, Need for Speed Most Wanted, GTA Vice City and Real Racing, this tablet might not deliver the same fast performance just like the predecessor, given its HD display.

As comparison, this tablet will be a lot like Asus MemoPad 7 HD, which also comes with the same exact specs, from an HD 1280x800 pixel display, 1.2GHz dual-core Mediatek MT8125 processor, 1GB of RAM and PowerVR SGX 544 GPU.

And this Asus tablet doesn’t deliver a perfect smooth gaming performance when playing Real Racing 3, GTA Vice City, Need for Speed Most Wanted and Modern Combat 4.

These games might run smoothly and in full graphics on Acer Iconia Tab A3, but there will be framedrops and lags along the gameplay, especially when approaching some graphics intense environments in the game.

But overall, Acer Iconia Tab A3 is still a good gaming tablet, if not the best.

It may not be capable to run the latest graphics intense games like Asphalt 8, GTA San Andreas or GT Racing 2 in full graphics and smooth performance.

But this tablet still delivers a great gaming performance for most of older games released in 2013 or before that year.

So you’re still in good hands with this tablet if you're into tablet gaming.


It’s good to see a budget tablet like Acer Iconia Tab A3 is still equipped with a 5MP rear-facing camera and another VGA camera on the front.

In terms of quality, the camera on this tablet may not have something to write home about, especially compared to other cameras on iPad, Samsung GALAXY Note 8 or Sony Xperia Tablet.

But still, having a 5MP rear-facing camera on a budget tablet like Acer Iconia Tab A3, which also has 3G cellular support, should be appreciated, right?

Its camera may not deliver the best looking photos or videos, but it might come in handy in case you forgot to bring your digital camera or smartphone at your disposal.

Besides, for today’s standards, at least, the photos taken from this tablet are still worth showing off to your Instagram followers. And that’s the most important thing, right?

Battery Life

Unfortunately, i’ve no information concerning the battery capacity of this tablet (at least for now).

However, by looking at its predecessor, Acer Iconia Tab A1 that is packing 4960mAh battery, i believe the sequel also comes with the similar amount of battery capacity, probably around that number.

According to GSMarena, this tablet is capable to last around 11 hours in heavy usage for media-consumption tasks, like watching movies, listening to music, reading books, checking emails, browsing the web or playing games.

So having known that, then you’re probably gonna get around 5 to 7 hours if you’re gonna use this tablet to do some heavy intense tasks without resting the screen, like watching TV series in marathon or playing games in the row, which is still considered as average for today’s standards, not great but not that bad at all.

I believe its processor and HD display are the ones to blame if the battery life of this tablet may not last that long in one day.

Its processor, which is probably power hungry given its 4 set of cores, and its HD 1280x800 pixel display, will consume a lot of power from the 4960mAh battery in this tablet, although it is still considered as huge for a tablet.

My Personal Opinions

So the last conclusion of this review is that, from all the goodies and also the weaknesses found on this tablet, i personally think that Acer Iconia Tab A3 is still a good quality tablet, even for gaming.

Its Mediatek quad-core processor is pretty powerful, its HD display is good, i also like its design and 4:3 aspect ratio, giving a much wider screen real estate when enjoying media contents, and last but not least, i like the fact that this tablet comes with 5MP rear-facing camera and SIM card slot, which will be really useful in the long run.

Acer Iconia Tab A3 may not be as great and powerful as other competing rivals like Tegra Note 7, HP Slate 7 Extreme, Google Nexus 7 or Kindle Fire HDX 7, especially when it comes to gaming performance.

But with the goodies like 3G cellular connectivity, 5MP rear-facing camera, fast processor, good gaming performance, i think that this tablet is still a good value for the money. I mean, not many 7-inch tablets have 3G cellular connectivity, right? Especially in price range around $150 - $200.

Therefore, if you manage to snatch this tablet around that price range, then you just made a good deal with your budget.

The other thing that makes me like this Acer tablet is because it adopts the 4:3 aspect ratio just like on iPad mini, which we all know is perfect for 7 to 8-inch tablets, compared to 16:9 aspect ratio on regular Android tablets out there, which is really narrow horizontally and not that great for enjoying media contents.

Overall, Acer Iconia Tab A3 is still a good Android tablet.

And if you happen to love the screen size of iPad mini and its 4:3 aspect ratio, then you will feel at home when getting this tablet, plus at the fraction of the cost of iPad mini 2.
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