Mobility

Acer Iconia Tab A100 teardown: Lots of tech crammed into 7" case

The 7" Acer Iconia Tab A100 looks a lot like the 10" Iconia Tab A500, both inside and out. Unfortunately, the similarities aren't all good.

The Acer Iconia Tab A100 is one of several 7" Android tablets to hit the market in 2011. Like its 10" cousin, the Acer Iconia Tab A500, the A100 has a stylish exterior, dual-core processor, two cameras, HDMI out, expandable memory support, and comes with Android 3.2 installed. But, The smaller version has a 7" touchscreen display (1,0240x600).

As of this writing, the A100 is available in 8GB ($329.99) and 16GB ($349.99) versions. The current versions only support Wi-Fi connectivity. But like the A500, there is an empty spot inside the A100's case and on the motherboard for a cellular card. The A100 weighs 0.92 lbs. and measures 7.7" (W) x 4.6" (H) x 0.5" (D). It's lighter than the HTC Flyer and BlackBerry PlayBook.

Unfortunately, the A100's similarities to the A500 aren't all good. Like the larger tablet, the A100 has a rather jumbled internal hardware layout. And given the A100's smaller case, Acer crammed a lot of tech into a tight space.

Full teardown gallery: Cracking Open the Acer Iconia Tab (A100)

Cracking Open observations

  • Easy-to-open case: There are no external case screws on the Iconia Tab, but the back cover was surprisingly easy to remove. Using a thin metal or plastic blade, I was able to quickly pop off the cover.
  • Standard screws: Inside the Iconia Tab A100, Acer used standard Phillips screws to hold the internal hardware in place. I remove all the internal screws with a Phillips #0 bit.
  • Battery can be replaced: The A100's 1530 mAh Li-ion battery is easy to remove and replace.
  • Display is stuck to the front panel: The digitizer (front panel) and LCD screen are held together with strong adhesive.
  • 3G-ready motherboard and case: As they did on the A500, Acer left open spots on the motherboard and inside the case for a separate 3G card. The internal mounting plate even has a screw hole for the card.
  • Cramped, convoluted interior hardware layout: The A100's internal hardware layout is extremely similar to that of the larger A500. Acer placed the u-shaped motherboard at one end of the case and the battery at the other. A small circuit board is located below the battery and connected to the motherboard via a ribbon cable. Wires are placed haphazardly around the case and secured to the surrounding components with tape.

Internal hardware

Our Acer Iconia Tab A100 test unit had the following hardware components:

Update 12/19/2011: This post originally appeared in our TR Dojo blog.

About

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

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