Acer Iconia Tab A501 Review: Games gonna run great on this Tegra 2 device

Written by B Johnson February 23, 2014
Acer Iconia Tab A501 Specs
Hi guys, welcome back!

Around 2 weeks ago, there was one Acer tablet that i’ve already showed to you on this website.

That tablet was Acer Iconia Tab A500, a 10.1-inch Android tablet sporting the 720p resolution display (1280x800 pixels).

(Acer Iconia Tab A501 Specs)

What makes me amazed a lot with this tablet is that, besides great for playing some high performing games, this tablet surprisingly has many great things to offer to users, like its super stronger battery life, powerful Tegra 2 dual-core processor, rich-content features, a good 5MP rear-facing camera and a good display, which are some of the most important ingredients that make tablet a great media-consumption and gaming device.

Acer Iconia Tab A501 benchmarks and gaming performance

The other thing that makes me impressed a lot with this tablet is that, despite being an out-of-radar player around tablet market, it’s just amazing to see how tablet like Acer Iconia Tab A500 can be a great alternative or even better choice than those tablets that have more popularity than this Acer tablet, like say, Google Nexus 7 or Kindle Fire HD.

I mean, as we all know already, Google Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD 7 were 2 of the top 7-inch players in tablet market in 2012, with million units getting shipped every quarter of the year.

And that is something that Acer tablet like Acer Iconia Tab A500 just couldn’t achieve given that Acer is not a big name in this market (or at least not yet), compared to big giants like Apple, Asus, Samsung or Sony.

This is the reason why i’m thrilled to show you some of Acer tablets on this website.

I just want many people, or tablet shoppers specifically, know that, besides iPad, Asus Transformer, Nexus, Samsung GALAXY or Sony Xperia, there are many other great tablets that are still worth buying. Acer Iconia Tab A501 is one of those tablets.

Acer Iconia Tab A501 is actually the sequel of Acer Iconia Tab A500, of course given its model name.

However, despite having some similar kind of specs, there is one thing that makes these tablets different, the same thing that makes Acer Iconia Tab A100 and A101 different.

But you’re about to find out about that in this review.

Well, if you’re interested to know more about this interesting tablet, then here you go, my personal review of Acer Iconia Tab A501.

But as usual, before checking out my review, please allow me first to give you the brief introduction of this tablet.


Compared to Acer Iconia Tab A500, this Acer Iconia Tab A501 actually has no significant differences with its predecessor.

In fact, both of these 2 tablets actually share the same exact type of specs.

They both are using: 10.1-inch display with 1280x800 pixel resolution, the same Tegra 2 dual-core, the same software and UI, the same battery capacity, and they both even look just the same one to another.

So this leads me to conclusion that these 2 tablets are actually sold by Acer as the same family and even generation.

However, despite having the same exact spec sheet, there is one thing that makes these 2 tablets totally different.

And that is their cellular connectivity support.

Acer Iconia Tab A501 - Full tablet specifications/SPECS

If Acer Iconia Tab A500 doesn’t have 3G cellular support, then it’s the other way around with its sequel. Acer Iconia Tab A501 is the model that comes with 3G support.

So if you’re currently looking for a good gaming tablet with 10.1-inch 720p display that probably doesn’t cost you arm and leg, plus it has cellular connectivity, then Acer Iconia Tab A501 is the one you should be getting.

However, if you don’t really need 3G connectivity on this tablet, Acer Iconia Tab A500 is definitely your choice.


In terms of design, Acer Iconia Tab A501 definitely looks just the same with its sibling, Acer Iconia Tab A500.

And that is not surprising given that they both are released together at the same release date and under the same generation.

So there will be those 2 distinctive material design on the front side, with metallic trim on the top and bottom positions (when in landscape mode), and those specific curve shape around the tablet, not rounded corners just like any regular Android tablets out there.
Acer Iconia Tab A501 Review and Gaming Performance
Similar just like Acer Iconia Tab A100, Acer Iconia Tab A101, Acer Iconia Tab A500, the design of this tablet also kind of reminds me with the design of Nokia’s older smartphones (not Lumia) that are released before Lumia and after the Symbian N-series.

If i’m not mistaken, that smartphone is Nokia N8 or N9. But overall, i really like the design of this tablet.

If only this tablet had the latest hardware specs on today’s tablet market (Tegra 4, 720p display, etc), this tablet would be a perfect device.

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  • 3G Mini-SIM
  • Weight 777 g
  • Released 2011, April. Discontinued
  • 10.1 inch LCD capacitive touchscreen, 800 x 1280 pixels, 256K colors, (~149 ppi pixel density)
  • Dual-core 1 GHz Cortex-A9 Nvidia Tegra 2 T20 Chipset
  • ULP GeForce GPU
  • 1 GB DDR2 RAM
  • Android OS 3.0 Honeycomb, upgradable to v3.2
  • Acer UI
  • 5 MP rear-facing camera, LED flash
  • 2 MP front-facing camera
  • microSD Card slot for up to 32 GB
  • 16/32/64 GB Internal storage
  • GPRS
  • EDGE
  • HDMI port
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi hotspot
  • USB
  • Bluetooth
  • No Radio
  • GPS
  • Java MIDP emulator
  • Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic
  • Non-removable Li-Po 3260 mAh battery (24.1 Wh)
Acer Iconia Tab A501 comes with some great specs, which actually are the same exact specs just like its sibling, Acer Iconia Tab A500.

It has a 10.1-inch display sporting the resolution of 1280x800 pixels, a dual-core 1GHz Tegra 2 processor, 1GB of RAM, ULP GeForce GPU, 5MP camera on the back and 2MP camera on the front, Android 3.0 Honeycomb out of the box, 3260mAh power battery and many other standard features like microSD card slot, LED flash, Java and many more.

Not to mention, on this tablet, you’ll also be provided with 3G cellular connectivity that lets you connect internet with SIM GSM card.


The display of Acer Iconia Tab A501 is actually similar with Acer Iconia Tab A500.

They both have the same exact 720p display or 1280x800 pixel display.

Thankfully, this type of display is still considered as medium and everything on the screen still looks great and sharp.

Besides, on today’s tablet market, 720p resolution display is still familiar to see on many mid-end tablets, like Tegra Note 7, HP Slate 7 Extreme, Kindle Fire HD or Google Nexus 7 (2012).

The great thing about the screen of this tablet is that, its medium-resolution display makes the whole performance of this tablet run much faster and smoother, given that its Tegra 2 dual-core processor is only required to deliver its power to that medium-resolution display, thus making the battery life last much longer even for heavy usage.

For your information, according to reviews, its sibling, Acer Iconia Tab A500 has a great battery life and could even last in 2 days in heavy usage, of course in 100% full charge.

So with that being said, then you can also expect the same great battery life on Acer Iconia Tab A501, given that they both share the same exact specs.

User Interface

Acer Iconia Tab A501 comes pre-installed with Android 3.0 Honeycomb out of the box, but can be upgraded to the latest Honeycomb 3.2.

However, unlike other Android tablets out there, this Acer tablet has its own unique User Interface called Acer UI.

This Acer UI is actually not very far different with other Android UI on other regular Android tablets.

It still has the standard homescreen where you can float your favorite widgets, apps or shortcuts all over the place.

Not to mention, the same standard navigation keys plus the standard app drawer.

The cool thing about the UI of Acer Iconia Tab A501 is that, it has so many new features that probably can’t be found on other Android tablets out there, especially the ones with stock Android UI.

There are also some awesome visual presentations on many of its pre-loaded apps, like music player, camera app, video player, photo gallery and many more.


There are some special features on this tablet that you probably won’t find on other Android tablets out there, like Photo Browser 3D, 3D-alike carousel effect on music player, categorized apps, app shortcuts on lockscreen key, awesome camera UI and many more. But my favorites are 2, the Photo Browser 3D and lockscreen key with app shortcuts.

Actually, i’ve already explained a lot about some of these features in my previous reviews of Acer Iconia tablets.

But if you still want to know about these features, let me share to you what i know about one of these 2 features, Photo Browser 3D.

Photo Browser 3D is actually similar with photo gallery that you can find on most of Android tablets. However, what makes it different is its visual presentation.

On this Photo Browser 3D, all of your photos will be presented on 2-page photo album.

So if you want to check out your next or previous photos, you can just swap the screen as if you’re swapping the page of paper or photo album.

The cool thing about this app is that, you can also control or swap the page by using the gyroscope inside this tablet, by just lifting up on the left or right positions if you want to see the previous or next photo respectively.


It’s good to hear that Acer Iconia Tab A501 also shares the same exact internals just like its sibling, Acer Iconia Tab A500, which already made me impressed a lot, in terms of performance, display, features, gaming performance and battery life.

So if Acer Iconia Tab A500 is already considered as a great tablet, then you can also expect the same thing on Acer Iconia Tab A501.

With the specs from: dual-core Tegra 2 processor that is clocked at 1GHz per core, accompanied with 1GB of RAM and GeForce ULP GPU, then the whole performance of this tablet is blazing fast.

However, given that Acer Iconia Tab A501 comes pre-installed with Acer heavy UI, filled with many features, heavy visual presentation and bloatwares as well, then its performance might not be as fast as other Tegra 2 tablets with stock vanilla Android UI.

But overall, for doing some heavy tasks like watching HD movies, reading books or magazines, using live wallpaper, browsing the web or playing games, this tablet is still doing just great and smooth, even if you’re doing these tasks at once, thanks to its 1GB of RAM.

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When it comes to playing games, Acer Iconia Tab A501 can actually be a good gaming tablet, if not the best.

The gaming performance of this tablet is definitely on par with Acer Iconia Tab A500, given that they both share the same exact internals inside, like the same 10.1-inch 720p display, Tegra 2 dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, GeForce ULP GPU and 3260mAh power battery.

With this type of specs, there are many games that you would like to play on this device, like Modern Combat (1, 2, 3), N.O.V.A (1, 2), Asphalt (5, 6, 7), ShadowGun, 9mm, Need for Speed (SHIFT, Undercover), GTA Vice City, GTA III, Dead Trigger 1, PES 2012 and many other graphically demanding games across Google Play Store.

However, as for the latest games like Modern Combat 4, Horn, Asphalt 8, GTA San Andreas or Dead Trigger 2, i don’t think these games can run perfectly on Acer Iconia Tab A501.

Not because this tablet is weak to run these games, but they have way heavier graphics and have more sophisticated visual effects in the game, that are just way too advanced for Tegra 2 inside this tablet.

You might be able to run these games in smooth performance, but you need to sacrifice their graphics by setting the games in low, even lowest graphics level, in order to run well on this tablet.

But i still can’t guarantee if this Acer A501 is capable to handle these games or not (but i’ll let you know once i’ve found out about that for sure).

So overall, Acer Iconia Tab A501 is definitely a good gaming tablet in its class.

It’s still perfectly capable to run almost all of the graphics intense games across the Google Play Store, all in buttery smooth performance and in full graphics.

The other great thing of having this tablet is that, thanks to its huge 10.1-inch display, the experience of playing games on this tablet will be much even better because games will look great on a huge screen real estate, and the on-screen buttons will also be much easier to press.

Not to mention, given its Tegra 2 processor inside this tablet, you’ll also get the exclusive access to Tegra Zone where you’ll find a plenty of great games that are well-optimized for Tegra tablets, including this Acer Iconia Tab A501.

So games on Tegra Zone will have much better graphics, more particles and more sophisticated visual effects than games on non-Tegra tablets.

And this is one huge plus point.


Similar like Acer Iconia Tab A500 that has already made me impressed a lot, especially with its gaming performance and battery life, this Acer Iconia Tab A501 also comes with the same 5MP camera on the back and 2MP camera on the front.

When it comes to photo and video quality, then it’s not fair to compare this tablet with some other big names like iPad, Samsung GALAXY Note 10.1 or Sony Xperia Tablet that are already well known to have great camera.

However, having a 5MP rear-facing camera that also has LED flash on this tablet should be appreciated, right?

Not many tablets have rear-facing camera, especially LED flash.

So despite not having great quality photos or videos, the camera on this tablet might still be useful for you especially if you forgot to bring your digital camera or smartphone at your disposal.

The quality may not be that impressive, but the photos are still worth bragging to your Instagram or Twitter followers.

And that’s what really matters for today’s photography.

Battery Life

Just like Acer Iconia Tab A500, the battery life of Acer Iconia Tab A501 is definitely as impressive as its sibling. Acer Iconia Tab A501 comes with a medium 3620mAh power battery inside. Impressively, according to video reviews i’ve already seen across the YouTube, with that only medium battery capacity, Acer Iconia Tab A500 is able to survive in 2 days even in heavy usage, of course in 100% full charge.

So with that being said, then you can expect the same thing on Acer Iconia Tab A501, given that this tablet shares the same exact hardware specs like Acer Iconia Tab A500 (except the 3G cellular support which is enabled only on Acer Iconia Tab A501).

So for doing some heavy tasks like watching HD movies, browsing the web, listening to music, checking emails, checking Twitter updates, reading books or even playing games, this tablet could probably last around 2 days.

However, if you’re gonna use this tablet for doing some heavy intense tasks without resting the screen, like for watching TV series in marathon or playing some games in the row, then the battery life could survive only in 1 solid day, probably more than 1 day the longest.

But this is still considered as pretty damn good because not many tablets can last that long in heavy usage.

I believe the Tegra 2 dual-core processor inside this tablet, which is not power hungry, along with the medium-resolution display really help a lot in making this tablet long lasting.

My Personal Opinions

So to sum this up, just like my impression with Acer Iconia Tab A500, i also feel the same way with Acer Iconia Tab A501. This tablet indeed is a great media-consumption tablet, especially for playing games.

Thanks to its dual-core Tegra 2 processor, a big 10.1-inch display sporting the medium-resolution 1280x800 pixel display and a great battery life, this tablet is just a great choice for you especially if you love enjoying contents and stuff, like movies, tv series, books, magazines or games on a tablet.

The other thing that makes this tablet great is definitely its 5MP camera accompanied with LED flash on the back.

The photo and video quality from this tablet might leave a lot to be desired, especially if your hobby is photography, but if you only need its camera just to take photos that are worth showing off to your Instagram followers, then you might not be disappointed with the 5MP camera on this tablet.

One other thing that makes this tablet worth buying is of course its 3G cellular support.

Given that this tablet is not that popular compared to other big names like iPad, Samsung GALAXY note 10.1 or Sony Xperia Tablet, then you’re definitely in luck if you manage to snatch this tablet at mid-end price point, or probably around the price of Google Nexus 7 or Kindle Fire HDX 7 (which is $229).

Its processor may not be as powerful as those 2 Google and Amazon’s tablets, but considering that you’re gonna get the 3G-cellular support, microSD card slot, big 10.1-inch display, strong battery life, rich-content features, 5MP rear-facing camera with LED flash and a great gaming performance, then you’ll make no mistake if you decide to get this tablet.
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