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Acer Iconia Tab teardown: Easy-to-service, 3G-ready

The Acer Iconia Tab has a stylish exterior, but the Android tablet also has a removable back cover, replaceable battery, and 3G-ready internal design.

The Acer Iconia Tab A500 is one of several 10-inch Android tablets priced below the Apple iPad. It has a dual-core NVidia Tegra 2 1GHz processor, 1GB of DDR2 SDRAM, a 10.1-inch touchscreen display (1280x800), a 2 MP front camera, and 5 MP rear camera. It comes with Android 3 Honeycomb installed.

As of this writing, the A500 is available in 16GB ($449.99) and 32GB ($499.99) versions. The current models only support Wi-Fi connectivity. There is speculation that Acer will release a 3G version on AT&T (the A501) in mid-2011. As with the Asus Eee Pad Transformer, there already a spot on the A500's motherboard for a 3G card.

The Iconia Tab weighs 1.69 lbs. and measures 10.24" (W) x 7.0" (H) x 0.52" (D). It's heavier than the Motorola XOOM, Acer Eee Pad Transformer, Apple iPad 2, and Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1.

Full teardown gallery: Cracking Open the Acer Iconia Tab (A500)

Cracking Open observations

  1. Easy-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.
  2. Standard screws: Inside the Iconia Tab, Acer used standard Phillips screws to hold the internal hardware in place. I was able to remove all the internal screws using a Phillips #0 bit.
  3. Battery can be replaced: The Iconia Tab's 3260 mAh Li-ion battery is easy to remove and replace.
  4. Display is stuck to the front panel: The front panel (digitizer) and LCD screen are held together with strong adhesive. Separating the two components could result in damage to either or both.
  5. 3G-ready motherboard and case: Acer left open spots on the motherboard and inside the case for a separate 3G card and antenna. The internal mounting plate even has screw holes for the card.
  6. Organized internal hardware layout: Compared to the Asus Eee Pad Transformer's cluttered interior, the Iconia Tab has a more organized internal design. Provided you could get replacement parts, this tablet shouldn't be too difficult to repair.

Internal hardware

Our Acer Iconia Tab A500 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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