I was recently looking for a smart gadget for one of my kids. A key criteria was that it had to be very budget friendly, so that I won’t be overtly concerned over loss or breakage. It should be pretty sturdy, so it won’t break easily. Then, of course, being a techie myself, this gadget should have reasonable performance.
At some point, I narrowed my choices down to just tablets. No need for a smartphone. The kids can’t use smartphones in school anyway. We’ll have dumb phones just for school. A tablet, with its bigger screen, is more practical outside school. It will be Android, of course. iOS toys will definitely blow the budget.
There was one other contender, but I eventually settled on the Acer Iconia One 8 B1-850. It costs S$169, which somewhat meets the budget I had.
This is a basic tablet with an 8-inch display and Wi-Fi, no cellular connectivity. In the box, the Iconia One 8 B1-850 comes with a USB charger and Micro-USB cable.
The 8-inch display on the front of the tablet has Active Matrix TFT panel with WXGA 1280 x 800 resolution. The display is bright, and good, given the price point that this tablet competes at.
The Iconia One 8 B1-850 uses Android soft keys only, so there are no buttons, capacitive or otherwise, on the front of the tablet. There is the Acer logo emblazoned beneath the screen. Bezels aren’t the skinniest, but well, again, one must be reminded about the price point of this tablet.
You’ll find the power button and volume rocker on the right side of the tablet. The left side is featureless.
On the top, you’ll find the 3.5 mm headphone jack, and microphone hole. There’s also an exposed microSD slot and Micro-USB port.
I must say it’s quite unusual to find the Micro-USB port at the top. To me, I do find it quite awkward to be tethered from the top of the tablet if I had to charge while using it at the same time. I suppose, though, this just need some getting used to.
There’s nothing on the bottom edge of the tablet.
The back, though, has a rather interest textured material. It makes the tablet easy to hold, and not slip off easily. It’s important when it comes to clumsy and careless handling by kids.
The main camera on the back has 5 MP resolution. It takes basic, but workable photos. When you’re talking about a gadget with this budget, and for use by kids, I’d say the camera quality suffices. Don’t expect anymore more.
There is also a front-facing camera, but at just 0.3 MP, it’s truly basic.
This Iconia One 8 B1-850 is powered by a quad-core MediaTek Cortex A53 MT8163 processor running at 1.30 GHz. There’s 1 GB of RAM, and 16 GB of flash memory. The microSD expansion slot, of course, makes up for the small onboard flash memory.
You do get decent 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0. There’s also GPS. The 4600 mAh Li-Po battery is rated for 9 hours of usage.
The tablet weighs 340 g, and measures 9.5 x 126.3 x 210.7 mm. It is plastic all-around, but it feels pretty sturdy and should survive minor mishaps. Mine has dropped, with the plastic casing opening up a little, but it could be snapped back and left no clues that any accident had happened.
The Iconia One 8 B1-850 comes with Android 5.1 Lollipop, with just a small number of prepackaged apps. Interestingly, there’s a Kids Center, an app featuring a simplified child-friendly user interface. I thought this was just right for kids.
Overall, the tablet’s performance was decent. I didn’t put it through demanding games. But web browsing, YouTube videos, and kiddish games that came with it all worked very well.
The Acer Iconia One 8 B1-850 is a pretty good tablet given its price point, and well suited for kids.
- Good non-slip textured back
- Lightweight and sturdy
- Camera quality is rather basic