Acer Iconia A500 Android tablet (preview)

Acer Iconia A500 preview: a 10.1 in Android 'Honeycomb' tablet with HDMI-out and USB ports

Acer has unveiled its iPad 2 competitor, the Iconia A500 Android tablet, which is set to hit Australian retailers in mid-April.

Read our guide to the best upcoming tablets in 2011.

The Acer Iconia A500, which will start at $579 for the entry-level 16GB Wi-Fi model, has a 10.1in capacitive touchscreen and runs the latest Google Android 3.0 'Honeycomb' operating system specifically designed for larger screened tablet devices.

Described by Acer as offering a "superb mobile and home entertainment experience", the Iconia A500 supports HD video playback, and has an HDMI-out port meaning it can be plugged directly into a high-definition television. It also has a USB port for storing and transferring files, and is the only mainstream Android tablet aside from the Motorola Xoom to offer this feature.

The Acer Iconia A500 is a little on the chunky side, and is heavier than the iPad 2, but potential buyers may be happy sacrificing a little size and weight for some extra features — at least that's what Acer will hope.

Like the iPad 2, the Acer Iconia A500 will come in Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi + 3G variants, and has two cameras — a front-facing camera for video calls and a rear camera for recording HD video and capturing still photographs. It is powered by a 1GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor — the same used in the Galaxy Tab 10.1v — and 1GB RAM. Acer offers 16GB and 32GB storage options, and both sizes come with expandable memory via a microSD card slot.

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Ross Catanzariti

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