Acer Iconia Tab 8: Brilliant Screen Meets Speedy Processor

Using the right components makes all the difference. When we reviewed Acer's 7-inch Iconia One 7 last month, we were pleased with the tablet's low price and attractive-design, but disappointed by its dull display and sluggish performance. At Computex 2014, the company unveiled the Iconia Tab 8, a powerful 8-inch slate with a brilliant full HD screen and blazing fast performance in everything from the UI to gaming.

The differences between the two devices only start with an inch of screen real estate. While the Iconia One 7 is powered by an outdated, dual-core Intel 1.6-GHz Atom Z2560 "Clovertrail" processor, the Tab 8 runs off a modern 1.86-GHz, quad-core Intel Atom Z3745 "Baytrail" processor.

The 7-inch tablet's screen outputs at a modest 1280 x 800-pixel resolution, a below-average 280 nits of brightness and a mediocre 66 percent of the sRGB color gamut. The Iconia Tab 8 features a 1920 x 1200 screen with zero air gap and vibrant colors.

The new tablet also comes with Android 4.4 out of the box where the Iconia One 7 launched last month with the older Android 4.2. Other key improvements on the Iconia Tab 8 include 802.11a/b/g/n wireless with MIMO technology for speedy connections and a 5-MP rear camea to go with a 2-MP front-facer.

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We had a chance to spend a few minutes with the Iconia Tab 8 and were really impressed with its display quality and smooth gaming performance. When we started using the tablet, the images on the home screen were so bright and colorful that our coworker thought we had found a non-working unit with a sticker illustration covering its display. The full HD panel impressed us with rich colors like the blue in a photo of the sky or the purple in a birthday cake. Colors did not seem to fade from any view angle.

The Iconia Tab 8's 0.79-pound, 0.33-inch body made it easy to o lift with one hand while its silver-colored aluminum backside provides a rich, premium look. A simple white bezel on the front enhances the aesthetic.

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As we navigated around the Android 4.4 UI, switched tasks and launched apps, the Iconia Tab 8 felt smooth and responsive. We fired up the "Raging Thunder" racing game and took note of how quickly the app opened and began a session. Zooming around the track, our car was responsive and details like shadows and sparks were clear and bright.

Acer claims that the Iconia Tab 8 will get up to 7.5 hours of battery life when playing video. Given that Atom Baytrail-powered tablets have performed very well on our battery test, which involves continuous surfing over Wi-Fi, we believe it could do even better in our labs.

The company hasn't released pricing for the Iconia Tab 8, but has said the product will be available in Q3 of this year. We hope to get a close look at this promising device and its screen when it is closer to launch.

Avram Piltch
Online Editorial Director
The official Geeks Geek, as his weekly column is titled, Avram Piltch has guided the editorial and production of since 2007. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram programmed several of LAPTOP's real-world benchmarks, including the LAPTOP Battery Test. He holds a master's degree in English from NYU.