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Tablets are dropping in price across the board, and while we’ve yet to see Apple cross that sub-$300 price point, Android manufacturers aren’t waiting, with Acer joining in the fray with a similarly sized model for $100 less than Apple’s 7.9 inch iPad Mini.

Launching this week to stores across Australia is Acer’s A1, a tablet packing in an 7.9 inch screen (close to the 8 inch displays), 410 gram weight, and a battery which the company tells us will deliver a minimum of seven hours.

The screen isn’t as high res as what Google has thrown in on last year’s Nexus 7, with a 1024×768 display used here, the same resolution as what is currently used for Apple’s iPad Mini, and even with the same aspect ratio, 4:3.

Storage inside is set to 16GB, with a microSD slot on the side for easy expansion, while WiFi 802.11 b/g/n will keep people connected at home and to wireless hotspots. Charging also has our attention, as Acer has made the A1 take advantage of the common microUSB standard, with no chance of a proprietary port here.

“Tablets are becoming cherished companions to many people as they stay connected and entertained throughout their day,” said Acer’s Andy Chang, General Manager for Product Marketing.

“We want everyone to experience that so we created a tablet experience in a smaller, more portable design.”

We have one in our hands already, and while we anticipate a review will be ready by the end of next week, we have to say that while the A1 doesn’t have the visual style or slick build of the Apple pint-sized tablets, it does manage to get a small tablet down to below $300, and the port placement for the 3.5mm jack at the bottom is actually a nice choice.

Also included is the very latest version of Android, 4.2, something few manufacturers have jumped on board with.

In the hands, it’s a very plastic device, and we wish Acer would have done more to make the tablet appear thinner, even though it’s not far off a lot of devices out there.

The 7 inch Asus Fonepad next to the 7.9 inch Acer Iconia A1.

Keen customers can find it in stores now for $249.