Acer was haggled and hassled over the delayed availability of the ICS build for the Acer A500. However when you look at the market for devices that originally came with Honeycomb 3.0 (and subsequently updated to 3.2), only a handful of manufacturers have rolled out their updates for tablet devices. Samsung for instance has yet to roll out their update.
One of the first to provide this was ASUS for the TF101 Transformer, and oh boy did they screw it up. The tablet to this date after many patches is still having a big problem where the device goes into a continuous restart loop when left idle so much so that the power drains overnight. In addition the cool feature of the TF101 transformer was the keyboard dock, but it seems the critical bug where once the dock battery had depleted, and the dock starts using the tablet battery has not had a proper fix and also requires you to return the dock for some part replacement. I nearly went to get a TF101 tab as a stop gap purchase until the new quad core devices became “affordable” but sadly this issue put me of big time.
With this in mind, I was a bit skeptical updating the tab since it was owned by a friend of mine. While i saw many providing sufficiently positive responses on the update, i went ahead and i was pleased to say Acer definitely has done a fair job with the ICS update that i have not had any issues.
Will post some screen shots and benchmarks, but here are some initial impressions.
1. The interface is now a lot more nippy compared to Honeycomb, with swiping now being super smooth. Another friend who also brought the A500 and update from 3.2 to ICS was extremely pleased how much more smoother and nippy the device was with the ICS update.
2. No issues of battery drain when left idle with WIFI switched off.
3. No issues with WIFI signal loss which was an issue for some, turns out this was for the folks who manually updated their tabs with the US firmware for devices used in Europe and Asia. Channel 12 and 13 are disabled for US devices by regulations and this was causing the problem based on the forum feedback.
4. Some of the cool features such as the Acer Ring which available with the ICS for the newer Acer tablets is not included with the ICS build for the A500.
5. The new stock browser is a lot faster, though i prefer to use Opera Mini or Mobile for my light browsing and opting for stock or Dolphin for any more complex browsing purposes.
6. Benchmarks have improved, and so has the real life usage performance. The good news is that the Acer A500 is not impacted by the more demanding ICS on hardware. The larger memory and dual core configuration definitely being more than adequate for ICS.
7. No restarts since installing ICS, which is great since it has been over 2 weeks since i ran the update. This is truly great since none of my other devices had this level of stability after installing ICS.
Vellamo a test run to see how the scrolling and web performance, indicates with ICS the upgrade has improved and so has the driver maturity for Tegra 2. Even with a higher screen size it is able to out perform the Galaxy Nexus and the Note which are running newer hardware. What is also interesting is how close it it performance to the quad-core Transformer Prime!
Here are some screens with the Acer A500 running ICS. Unlike the updates for the Huawei MediaPad and the Sony Arc, Acer has modified the release to restrict some of the developer options in the settings menu.