HDMI Output And Camera Quality
HDMI output on the Iconia Tab A500 works the same as it does on the Xoom. TVs and monitors supporting native 1080p display the tablet's screen as a 1280x800 upscaled image that fills the entire output device. The A500 locks itself in landscape mode while you're connected, so there's no reason to worry about orientation.
Google can and should refine the experience a little bit more, though. When you're typing, the Android keyboard is automatically cloned onto the external display. Ideally, it should only appear on the Xoom, or you should at least have the option to hide it. A resolution of 1280x800 doesn't facilitate much work space, so every little bit counts.
While the UI issues are mirrored between the Iconia and the Xoom, cable management is another story. On the Xoom, all of the ports are located at the bottom of the unit. In comparison, Acer's layout is more cluttered. The HDMI Mini port is located on the left side, while the USB and charging port are on the right.
Apple's proprietary setup is much cleaner, though it forces you into a $40 cable purchase just to enable video output.
The quality of pictures shot with the Iconia A500's rear-facing camera is mixed. The sensor doesn't seem to be as good as what's on the Xoom, and the results are particularly apparent when you take pictures indoors. When you're using the flash, many pictures appear washed out in a bluish white, which suggests its color temperature isn't adjusted.
When there's good lighting, pictures taken by the Iconia turn out nearly as well as on the Xoom. Using the Acer tablet's zoom feature is another story entirely, though. Macro shots and fully-zoomed pictures are fine on the Xoom. But the lens quality on the Iconia A500 falls short of whatever Motorola is using. When we use the zoom, most pictures appear blurrier.
It's great fun, has a great battery life compared to my laptops and I just enjoy it.
I take it to college (I do I.T Cert IV, Diploma next year) and it's very handy for drafting documentation when working with the computers and taking notes.
If I'm to pay a significant fee for a niche product, it had better be really good at a specific purpose. Better at it, in fact, than other, cheaper products. I got my kindle despite the fact that you can read ebooks on computers, smart phones, ipods, etc, because it damn well did a great job of being a book. It did it better than these other devices. The form factor combined with the great battery life and easy on the eyes screen made it worth it. Plus, you can read it in sunlight.
What then, is the purpose of buying a tablet over, say, a netbook? The tablet is geared at media consumption, but it doesn't do a significantly better job of that than the netbook. In fact, it does a worse job of it, allowing me fewer media options, while simultaneously costing more and having less storage, with an OS that won't run proper, useful software.
Maybe they'll get better, but right now, they're overpriced toys.
I bought the A500 under the assumption Skype, Netflix, HBO2Go, and Xfinity were standard apps across the Android offering. Turns out Netflix and Skype will run on newer phones with earlier versions of Android, but not this one.
Xfinity and HBO2Go are yet to be created for Android.
I worked with the network admin at my job to get this running on the network there (we are currently evaluating handhelds in the workplace) and we found it doesn't work on all PEAP/Wep Wifi network combos. It won't even connect out of the box. I read up on 'Advanced Network tools' for Android and found that people on earlier versions of Android were able to connect to this type of network using these tools. By golly they didn't work on this version.
Additionally, those on screen keypads are frustrating. The lag is apparent if you have any typing ability beyond the 40wpm mark. If you type too quickly, it won't even pick up your laters as I think it recognizes them as "mistake touches".
I've owned my A500 for around 2 months now. I've picked it up to use it around 10 times since I've gotten it primarily only because someone else was on my favorite laptop and I wanted to browse the web. I keep waiting for the update to let me do all the things I still can't and it hasn't come.
The finger swipe games are fun for people who are into that. I'm not. There are plenty available.
Again, I can't stand Apple, but out of the box we got the iPad on our corporate network and it plays Netflix, HBO2go, Xfinity and does Skype. While the hardware seems extremely advanced with these Android tablets, it seems the newer OSs are taking steps back in time.
As a result, I've found this device to be an over-sized mediocre gaming device (like a DS) with OK web browsing capabilities since not everything works in the browsers on Android. It has plenty of potential since the hardware is great, but these things aren't ready for prime time. Look for mine on Ebay come late November if they don't pick up on real software support for these things or if I still can't connect to my corporate network.
I sum it up as such:
Unrealized potential means nothing!
"Oh he was always so smart, but he just didn't apply himself" - kind of like that.
Out of every tablet I have played with so far(sorry havent seen a Galaxy yet) the Asus is a homerun and there is absolutely no chance I would buy the Iconia or any other Android tablet besides the Asus.