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Acer introduces new Nexus 7 competitor, Iconia A1 tablet (hands-on)

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Acer Iconia A1
Acer Iconia A1

Acer has announced three new products here in New York today — we've just seen the first two, and now it's revealed a new 7.9-inch tablet, called the Iconia A1. The Android tablet is powered by a 1.2GHz quad-core processor, and Acer is focusing on its suitability for one-handed use. Its $199.99 price-point puts in squarely in position to compete with the Nexus 7, which is getting long in the tooth.

It may be a direct competitor to the Nexus 7, but the A1 feels for all the world like the iPad mini. Same 4:3 aspect ratio, same 7.9-inch 1024 x 768 screen, similar feel – it comes off like a cheaper version of Apple's tablet, and indeed that's what it is. It's relatively light and thin, and impressively responsive for such an inexpensive tablet, but there doesn't seem to be much thought here from Acer beyond simply building the iPad mini for Android.

There are two cool gestures for the A1, though, which fit nicely with Acer's "Touch" theme. With the tablet off, pressing five fingers onto the screen wakes it up and automatically opens any app you choose; tapping both your thumbs on the screen will open it and launch another. Both work, albeit after a few seconds of pause, and we could actually see ourselves using the thumbs gesture — the five-finger tap is more than a little awkward.

If you've held out on an iPad mini for price reasons alone, the A1's not a bad option — it'll be available in June.

Dante D'Orazio contributed to this report.