Acer is rolling out a new version of its Iconia B1 tablet, and it's taking aim at budget-friendly competitors. On sale later this month for $149, the 7-inch B1-720 tablet features a slimmer design than its predecessor and uses Acer's new One Glass Solution technology, which the company says allows for a brighter and thinner display.
Inside, the Iconia B1 packs a 1.3-GHz dual-core MediaTek MT8111 processor, 1GB of RAM and 16GB of onboard storage, which can be augmented via a 32GB microSD card slot. Those specs match up nicely with ASUS' excellent $139 MeMO Pad HD 7, as well as Amazon's $139 Kindle Fire HD 7-inch.
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That said, the Iconia B1 sports a lower resolution 1024 x 600 display, while the MeMO Pad HD 7 and Kindle Fire HD 7-inch both come with 1280 x 800-pixel screens. Similarly, while the MeMO Pad HD 7 includes both front and rear cameras, the Iconia B1-720 only comes with a front camera.
For the Iconia B1-720, Acer says it has moved the speakers and microphone to the front of the tablet for an improved audio experience versus the rear-mounted speakers and microphone found on the previous generation Iconia B1-710.
The Android 4.2.1-powered Iconia B1 will be available with a grey or red front panel and a white, textured rear panel. Measuring 7.8 x 4.8 x 0.42 inches and weighing 11.0 ounces, the Acer is larger than both the MeMO Pad HD 7, which measures 7.7 x 4.7 x 0.4 inches and the 7.6 x 5.4 x 0.4-inch Kindle Fire HD. The Iconia, however, weighs the same as the MeMO Pad (11 ounces) and less than the Kindle, which weighs 13.9 ounces.
If you're looking for some added protection and more colors for your Iconia B1, you can grab one of Acer's protective cases, which are available in a variety of shades. And if you're going to watch a lot of movies or do a lot of reading, the case doubles as a stand. We'll have a full hands-on with the newest member of Acer's tablet family from CES 2014. Stay tuned.