Review Acer Iconia Tab A510 Tablet/MID

Felix Sold (translated by Tobias Niendorf), 07/06/2012

An attractive proposition. Just in time for the London Olympic Games, Acer releases a 10.1 inch tablet with modern hardware - the Iconia Tab A510. For EUR 399 (~$500) you get an Nvidia Tegra 3 SoC, 32 GB of internal memory and Google Android 4.0 ICS. We will review the tablet to evaluate its value for the price.

Acer is updating their consumer tablet with a glossy 10.1 inches display. The successor of the Acer Iconia Tab A500 still runs a 1280 x 800 resolution in a 16:10 format but offers the latest in hardware and software. The new features include the Nvidia Tegra 3 System-on-a-Chip (SoC) with 4 cores (5 cores actually, where the 5th core, called the battery saver core, would be in operation during standby mode when the tablet updates different software in the background) and Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich. Besides the micro HDMI output, you can connect USB 2.0 peripherals using an adapter. Not included are a high resolution display and a 3G module for mobile internet access.

With an entry price of EUR 399 (~$500), Acer seems to have a really attractive offering for your living room. But the Iconia Tab has to compete with well-established devices like the new Apple iPad, the Asus Transformer Pad TF300T and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 which has a chip from Texas Instruments. In this review we show you the strong and weak points of the tablet made by the Taiwanese OEM.

Case

The revised case

With the update to the A500 series, Acer is adapting the same style as the previously reviewed Iconia Tab A200. The rounded form and the silver bars to the right and left are well-known and also look great on this model. The chassis is made from plastic but leaves a good impression since the back is coated with a rubbery material. The build quality is flawless and the stability is good as well. Applying strong pressure may bend the plastic slightly but this should not occur in a normal situation.

The A510 is available only in black or silver. You will discover a lot of logos and labels on the back. These include the company logo, the Olympic Rings and a Dolby Digital Plus label.

The tablet is 11mm thick and the rubber coating gives you a good grip. Most of the competitors are thinner and lighter like the new Apple iPad, which measures just 9.4 mm. The Acer Iconia Tab A510 weights 681 grams and is heavier than the new Apple iPad and the Asus Transformer Pad TF300T. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 is also lighter at 585 grams. The predecessor, the Iconia Tab A500 weighed 750 grams.

Connectivity

The connectivity options are pretty standard for such a device. A power button, volume buttons, a rotation lock slider, a headphone jack for your earphones and a micro HDMI output are available on the tablet. Using the micro-HDMI port, you can connect your tablet to the HDMI input of your TV but you will find no adapter included for doing so. On the bottom side there is a micro USB port for charging and syncing with your computer. Something strange that we found was that you cannot charge you device using a regular micro USB cable. You have to use the one that has been shipped with your Iconia Tab. Syncing will work with any cable though. This is certainly counted as a negative.

The USB 2.0 adapter, that is included in the package, can be used in conjunction with the micro-USB port to connect your camera to the device for charging. Under a cover on the right side is a microSD card reader which can be used to extend the internal memory. There is also a notch visible for a SIM card. A 3G model of the A510 is yet to be announced though. All in all, the connectivity is acceptable and well-positioned. The problem with the charging is still an annoyance.

Communication

The communication elements are standard for this class of device. A module from AzureWave enables WLAN 802 b/g/n and Bluetooth standard 2.1 + EDR. Most of the latest tablets come with Bluetooth 3.0 support. Bluetooth 4.0 would have been even better because of the higher transmission rate and peripherals use less energy. As mentioned before, there is no 3G version of the tablet available yet.

Software

The tablet comes with Android’s Ice Cream Sandwich version 4.0.3. The quad core SoC from Nvidiaensures the smooth running of the system without long loading times. Acer did not develop an elaborate overlay for Android like the Sense UI from HTC or TouchWiz from Samsung. The pre-installed software package contains bloatware you probably do not need. You might never use a bar code scanner, the Acetrax Movies app or the McAfee Virus Scan. Corresponding to the Olympic Games branding, there is also a EuroSport app pre-installed. Apps like Zinio and TegraZone are rather useful. But nonetheless, this is something the customer should be left to decide.

Camera

Acer has updated the tablet with two camera modules. The main camera has a resolution of 5 megapixels with auto-focus. Depending on the mode, the camera takes pictures up to a resolution of 2592 x 1944 pixels and records videos in 1080p. Our field tests confirm good picture quality for snapshots without having the digital zoom activated. Activating digital zoom hurts the picture quality. The camera settings are basic and feel restricted compared to other Android devices. Skype and other VOIP applications enable you to use the 1 megapixel front-facing camera. The picture quality is good enough for calls.

Acer Iconia Tab A510: 5MP without zoom
Acer Iconia Tab A510: 5MP with 50 % zoom
Acer Iconia Tab A510: 5MP with 100 % zoom

Accessories

The included accessories are average for the price category and this class of device. You get an 18W power supply, the already mentioned USB adapter and some documentation. The power supply plug was redesigned and is now more compact. But you will only find the EU plug standard in the package. More plugs for the power supply can be bought in the Acer Store or from third party vendors.

Warranty

Acer offers a warranty period of 12 months but you are responsible for shipping it back to Acer (carry-in warranty). Asus and Samsung offer a 24 months warranty with pick-up & return service. For extended care, Acer offers different warranty plans with up to 36 months coverage starting at EUR 99 (~$125).

Input Devices

The input of commands and text is done through the capacitive touch screen on the virtual QWERTY keyboard that is displayed or hidden depending on the situation. In general the display reacts without any lag and the position of your fingers is recognized perfectly. The keyboard was not redone by Acer and uses the standard Android layout with four rows and a big space bar at the bottom. You will be able to find a number of keyboard enhancing apps in the Google Play store.

With a slider on the upper part of the device, you can lock the auto rotation function, but the horizontal layout is much bigger and nicer for viewing purposes. Another possibility for input is the use of an external keyboard that can be connected via Bluetooth.

Display

1280 x 800 resolution on a 10.1" screen
1280 x 800 Pixel bei 10,1 Zoll

For the screen, Acer uses a glossy 10.1 inches display with a resolution of 1280 x 800 in a 16:10 format. The screen is LED backlit and uses IPS technology (in-plane switching). The resolution is high enough to natively display standard HD content in 720p (1280 x 720). Using the micro HDMI output you can connect to an external display for a full HD viewing experience.

The measurements in our laboratory do leave a good impression. The average brightness is a convincing 316 cd/m² while the illumination is even over the display. The low black level guarantees you a high contrast of 1288:1 and blacks look black. Acer maintains the same quality as in the Iconia Tab A500.

Competitors like Asus, Apple and Samsung achieve the same level of quality for their screens. But the combination of brightness and black level gets the A510 the top position ahead of the new Apple iPad and the Asus Transformer Pad TF300T.

307
cd/m²
306
cd/m²
313
cd/m²
309
cd/m²
309
cd/m²
330
cd/m²
309
cd/m²
317
cd/m²
341
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
Gossen Mavo-Monitor
Maximum: 341 cd/m²
Average: 315.7 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 90 %
Center on Battery: 309 cd/m²
Black: 0.24 cd/m²
Contrast: 1288:1
Outdoors
Outdoors

While using it outdoors, the brightness and the contrast are made redundant due to the glossy display. The screen is too reflective to make out anything on the display in bright sunlight. We highly recommend sitting in the shade and keeping a good sitting position. The tablet market still lacks devices with a matte display. The Apple iPad and the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 are no exception. Using a matte film applied on the screen may help but it reduces the sharpness and contrast.

Viewing angle
Viewing angle: Acer Iconia Tab A510

The viewing angles are decent. There is little distortion when the screen is tilted both horizontally and vertically thanks to IPS technology.

Performance

Google Android 4.0.3 ICS
Google Android 4.0.3 ICS
CPU when idle @ 102 MHz
Idle-Use @ 102 MHz
CPU on load @ 1.3 GHz
System load @ 1.3 GHz

With the integrated Nvidia Tegra 3 system-on-a-chip (SoC) and 1 GB of LPDDR2 RAM, the Acer Iconia Tab is one of the fastest tablets on the market. Thanks to this combination, there is hardly any lag and operation is consistently smooth and fast. Interestingly, the SoC in this device is clocked at a maximum frequency of 1.3 GHz which is lower than the standard 1.4 GHz default for this chip. We observed this when we used the tool CPU Spy. In idle mode the chip is usually running at 102 MHz. When under load, 1.3 GHz is the maximum it reached and doesn’t touch the default 1.4 GHz frequency.

In the current Android and browser benchmarks, the good performance of the components is confirmed. Despite the lower clock, competitors like the Acer Asus Transformer Pad TF300T and the new iPad from Apple look slow. Only in the gaming benchmark SmartBench 2012 does the Asus Tablet wins with a lead of 14 percent. In other tests, the A510 is the clear winner. In the browser-based Google V8 benchmark, the difference is 18 percent in favor of the A510.

In the gaming benchmarks, our sample is strong against the TF300T and claims a slight edge in all tests. However, the leader here is the Apple iPad 3 with the PowerVR graphics core. The superiority is clearly seen in the 720p video benchmarks. Overall, the Iconia Tab A510 offers enough performance for all areas of tablet applications.

Google V8 Ver. 6
Acer Iconia Tab A510
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 32 GB SSD
1419 points ∼12%
Asus Transformer Pad TF300T
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 32 GB SSD
1169 points ∼10% -18%
Apple iPad 3. Gen 2012-03
SGX543MP4, A5x, 64 GB SSD
866 points ∼7% -39%
Archos Arnova 10b G2
GC800, RK2918
1363 points ∼12% -4%
Acer Iconia Tab A200
GeForce ULP (Tegra 2), 2 (250), 16 GB SSD
1104 points ∼9% -22%
Sunspider
Acer Iconia Tab A510
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 32 GB SSD
1761 ms * ∼17%
Asus Transformer Pad TF300T
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 32 GB SSD
1928.8 ms * ∼18% -10%
Apple iPad 3. Gen 2012-03
SGX543MP4, A5x, 64 GB SSD
1860 ms * ∼18% -6%
Archos Arnova 10b G2
GC800, RK2918
7004.2 ms * ∼66% -298%
Acer Iconia Tab A200
GeForce ULP (Tegra 2), 2 (250), 16 GB SSD
2175.5 ms * ∼21% -24%

* ... smaller is better

Browsermark 1.0
Acer Iconia Tab A510
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 32 GB SSD
116352 points ∼21%
Asus Transformer Pad TF300T
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 32 GB SSD
104663 points ∼19% -10%
Apple iPad 3. Gen 2012-03
SGX543MP4, A5x, 64 GB SSD
126324 points ∼23% +9%
Archos Arnova 10b G2
GC800, RK2918
26386 points ∼5% -77%
Acer Iconia Tab A200
GeForce ULP (Tegra 2), 2 (250), 16 GB SSD
93901 points ∼17% -19%
Linpack for Android - Multi Thread
Acer Iconia Tab A510
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 32 GB SSD
89.242 MFLOPS ∼8%
Asus Transformer Pad TF300T
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 32 GB SSD
87.48 MFLOPS ∼8% -2%
Apple iPad 3. Gen 2012-03
SGX543MP4, A5x, 64 GB SSD
141.98 MFLOPS ∼13% +59%
Archos Arnova 10b G2
GC800, RK2918
12.946 MFLOPS ∼1% -85%
Acer Iconia Tab A200
GeForce ULP (Tegra 2), 2 (250), 16 GB SSD
61.851 MFLOPS ∼6% -31%
Smartbench 2012
Productivity Index
Acer Iconia Tab A510
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 32 GB SSD
3759 points ∼36%
Asus Transformer Pad TF300T
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 32 GB SSD
3549 points ∼34% -6%
Archos Arnova 10b G2
GC800, RK2918
459 points ∼4% -88%
Acer Iconia Tab A200
GeForce ULP (Tegra 2), 2 (250), 16 GB SSD
2068 points ∼20% -45%
Gaming Index
Acer Iconia Tab A510
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 32 GB SSD
2599 points ∼57%
Asus Transformer Pad TF300T
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 32 GB SSD
2962 points ∼65% +14%
Archos Arnova 10b G2
GC800, RK2918
1254 points ∼28% -52%
Acer Iconia Tab A200
GeForce ULP (Tegra 2), 2 (250), 16 GB SSD
1225 points ∼27% -53%
NenaMark2
Acer Iconia Tab A510
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 32 GB SSD
60.7 fps ∼90%
Asus Transformer Pad TF300T
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 32 GB SSD
46.5 fps ∼69% -23%
Basemark ES 2.0 - Taiji Free
Acer Iconia Tab A510
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 32 GB SSD
15.23 fps ∼25%
Asus Transformer Pad TF300T
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 32 GB SSD
12.61 fps ∼21% -17%
Acer Iconia Tab A200
GeForce ULP (Tegra 2), 2 (250), 16 GB SSD
4.9 fps ∼8% -68%
GLBenchmark 2.1
Pro
Acer Iconia Tab A510
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 32 GB SSD
60 fps ∼100%
Asus Transformer Pad TF300T
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 32 GB SSD
57 fps ∼95% -5%
Apple iPad 3. Gen 2012-03
SGX543MP4, A5x, 64 GB SSD
60 fps ∼100% 0%
Pro Offscreen (720p)
Acer Iconia Tab A510
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 32 GB SSD
88 fps ∼22%
Asus Transformer Pad TF300T
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 32 GB SSD
80 fps ∼20% -9%
Apple iPad 3. Gen 2012-03
SGX543MP4, A5x, 64 GB SSD
251 fps ∼64% +185%
Egypt
Acer Iconia Tab A510
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 32 GB SSD
54 fps ∼1%
Asus Transformer Pad TF300T
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 32 GB SSD
50 fps ∼1% -7%
Apple iPad 3. Gen 2012-03
SGX543MP4, A5x, 64 GB SSD
59 fps ∼1% +9%
Archos Arnova 10b G2
GC800, RK2918
23 fps ∼0% -57%
Acer Iconia Tab A200
GeForce ULP (Tegra 2), 2 (250), 16 GB SSD
23 fps ∼0% -57%
Egypt Offscreen (720p)
Acer Iconia Tab A510
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 32 GB SSD
74 fps ∼1%
Asus Transformer Pad TF300T
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 32 GB SSD
63 fps ∼1% -15%
Apple iPad 3. Gen 2012-03
SGX543MP4, A5x, 64 GB SSD
140 fps ∼2% +89%
Archos Arnova 10b G2
GC800, RK2918
17 fps ∼0% -77%
Acer Iconia Tab A200
GeForce ULP (Tegra 2), 2 (250), 16 GB SSD
27 fps ∼0% -64%

Temperature

Heat generation is an issue with this tablet. Even in idle mode, the tablet got noticeably warm with a maximum of 41.6ºC at the back, and holding the tablet horizontally can become uncomfortable after some time. Under load, the tablet gets hotter and hits a maximum of 54.8ºC in our test. We need to state that the room temperature was 27.8ºC at the time of the test. Even if you consider a cooler ambient temperature, the measurements are still too high for our liking. As with other tablets, the heat is dissipated passively through the chassis. In comparison, the devices from Apple, Asus and Samsung reach a maximum of about 40ºC only. The Iconia Tab A510 has the worst results among the tablets tested.

Max. Load
 31.6 °C36.1 °C42.0 °C 
 32.7 °C37.0 °C44.7 °C 
 36.6 °C39.3 °C41.5 °C 
Maximum: 44.7 °C
Average: 37.9 °C
52.3 °C36.6 °C33.3 °C
54.8 °C37.5 °C34.3 °C
46.0 °C38.2 °C34.6 °C
Maximum: 54.8 °C
Average: 40.8 °C
Power Supply (max.)  47.0 °C | Room Temperature 27.8 °C | Voltcraft IR-360

Speakers

Two stereo speakers are embedded at the bottom on the back of the device. The overall sound quality is not very satisfying. The maximum volume could have been better and deep bass tones do not exist at all. This affects the overall sound quality, especially when it comes to music. But the speakers are sufficient for the playback of YouTube videos and audio books. The 3.5 mm stereo jack and the micro HDMI connector allow for the connection of peripherals that feature higher sound quality.

Energy Consumption

An important factor for any tablet is the energy consumption. The 36Wh lithium-polymer battery gives average run times that fall short of its competitors. While idle, the power consumption is about 6.3 – 8.9W. These values ​​are very high compared to the TF300T with the same SoC which has a consumption of only 2.5W. Given the same screen size and identical features, this difference of 3.8 watts is remarkable. With average system load, the Iconia Tab behaves normally again and consumes a maximum of 10.1W.

Power Consumption

Off / Standby 0.1 / 0.2 Watt
Idle 6.3 / 8.6 / 8.9 Watt
Load 9.2 / 10.1 Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         Voltcraft VC-940

Battery Life

When measuring the battery life, we use fixed routines in this test, so a comparison is possible.

The consumption during this test on the Stability Test program with maximum screen brightness and activated mobile modules (WLAN + BT) is very demanding on the battery. Thanks to a capacity of 36 watt-hours you get about four hours before you have to recharge the device. In comparison, at minimum brightness and all wireless modules disabled, you get up to 18 hours running time. The increases power consumption of the Acer Iconia is balanced by the larger battery than the one in the TF300T which has better power management and a smaller batter of only 22WH capacity.

Besides these two extremes, the test "surfing over Wi-Fi" represents an everyday average use case. At brightness of 150 cd/m² and with the wireless adapter switched on, the Acer Iconia Tab A510 has a maximum run time of up to 7 hours and 55 minutes. The Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 (11 hours and 16 minutes), and the Apple iPad 3 (9 hours 30 minutes) did a much better job in this test. The Asus Transformer Pad TF300T has a run time of 6 hours and 18 minutes and takes last place.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
18h 04min
WiFi Surfing
7h 55min
Load (maximum brightness)
4h 9min

Verdict

Acer Iconia Tab A510 Tablet/MID
Acer Iconia Tab A510 Tablet/MID

The Acer Iconia Tab A510 leaves a largely favorable impression. Thanks to the latest Nvidia Tegra 3 SoC and 1 GB of RAM, there is not much we can ask for when it comes to performance. The new design was adapted to the current line and the build quality and feel are good. With a thickness of about 11 mm, it is not one of the thinnest devices on the market. With features that include a micro-HDMI output, Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and a micro-USB port for data transfer and charging the battery, the port selection is very good. A clear annoyance is the fact that the tablet cannot be charged with a standard micro-USB cable but only with the one that has been included. The connector for charging is just a bit longer compared to a conventional cable. Data transfer is possible with a standard cable though.

The 10.1 inch screen leaves very little room for criticism but the glossy surface makes outdoor use almost impossible. Other disadvantages are the short warranty period of 12 months, the stereo speakers and the heat dissipation by the case. With acceptable battery life, this device can compete with other products, and offers the customer good value for their money. For EUR 399 you get a powerful tablet for your living room without a lot of 'bells and whistles' But we still maintain that the tablet has room for improvement.

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Review: Acer Iconia Tab A510 Tablet/MID
Review: Acer Iconia Tab A510 Tablet/MID

Specifications

Acer Iconia Tab A510

:: Processor
:: Memory
1024 MB, LPDDR2, onboard
:: Graphics adapter
:: Display
10.1 inch 16:10, 1280x800 pixel, WXGA, LCD, LED, diagonal: 25.7 cm, glossy: yes
:: Harddisk
32 GB SSD, 32 GB internal memory
:: Connections
Audio Connections: Headphone audio-out, Card Reader: microSD, USB 2.0 with adapter, micro HDMI
:: Networking
AzureWave Wireless Network Adapter 802.11 b/g/n (b g n ), 2.1 +EDR Bluetooth
:: Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 10.95 x 260 x 175
:: Weight
0.681 kg Power Supply: 0.107 kg
:: Battery
36 Wh Lithium-Polymer, 9800 mAh, 2 cells
:: Price
399 Euro
:: Operating System
Android 4.0
:: Additional features
Tablet, USB adapter, 18 watt power supply, documentation, Acetrax Movies, Astro Filemanager, Aupeo!, Barcode Scanner, clear.fi, EquiView, Eurosport, Evernote, Facebook, HW Solitaire, Google+, LumiRead, Polaris Office, SoundHound, TegraZone, McAfee VirusScan, Zinio & Software from Google and Acer, 12 Months Warranty, Colours: Black& Silver, GPS, Carry-In-Guarantee with International Travellers Warranty (ITW)

 

#img_gallery

We tested the Acer Iconia Tab A510 with Android 4.0 ICS and Tegra 3.
We tested the Acer Iconia Tab A510 with Android 4.0 ICS and Tegra 3.
The power supply with plugs is of good quality. The accompanying plug is the EU version.
The power supply with plugs impresses. Comes with the EU plug.
The included adapter can be used to connect peripherals.
Using the included adapter you can connect peripherals.
The tablet has a 10.1 inch IPS screen.
The tablet has a 10.1-inch IPS screen.
In addition to the USB port, there is also a reset button.
In addition to the USB port, there is also a reset button.
The card reader is located behind a small cover.
The card reader is located behind a small cover.
You can connect to a TV using the micro-HDMI port.
You can connect to a TV via Micro-HDMI.
Volume buttons and a rotation lock at the top of the tablet.
Volume buttons and a rotation lock at the head of the tablet.
Left: the power button and a 3.5 mm stereo jack.
Left: the power button and a 3.5mm stereo jack.
The front-facing camera is suitable for video chats.
The camera on the front is only suitable for easy video chats.
The main camera delivers good quality images.
The main camera delivers good quality for snapshots.
The micro-USB 2.0 port is used to recharge the tablet with the included AC adapter.
Micro-USB 2.0 port. Recharge with the included AC adapter.
The logo shows it to belong to the Acer Iconia Tab series.
The logo shows that it belongs to the Acer Iconia Tab series.
The build quality and stability are very good.
The build quality and stability make a good impression.
Acer has adapted this design across all its tablets.
Visually, it was adapted to the other tablets.
The new model is available only in black and silver.
The new model is only available in black and silver.

Similar Devices

Devices with the same GPU and/or Screen Size

Links

Price Comparison

Pro

+Design feels & looks good
+Good build quality
+Convincing display
+Performance of the components
+USB adapter included
+Acceptable battery life
 

Cons

-Charging only by power supply
-Only Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
-Useless software pre-installations
-12 months guarantee
-Stereo speakers with bad quality
-Case temperature
-Energy consumption while idle

Shortcut

What we like

The good performance of the components, the feel of the case and the good screen characteristics.

What we miss

Better temperature values​​, lower power consumption in idle mode and shipment without any pre-installed apps.

What surprises us

That the tablet can only be charged using the supplied AC adapter. A regular micro-USB cable is not able to charge the device.

The competition

Android tablets with the latest hardware and software. These include the Asus Transformer Pad TF300T, the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 and the Apple iPad 3.

Score

Acer Iconia Tab A510
07/02/2012 v3
Felix Sold

Chassis
85%
Keyboard
39%
Pointing Device
90%
Connectivity
45%
Weight
97%
Battery
96%
Display
80%
Games Performance
35%
Application Performance
50%
Temperature
66%
Noise
100%
Add Points
80%
Average
72%
84%
Tablet *
Weighted Average

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Review Acer Iconia Tab A510 Tablet/MID
Author: Felix Sold, 2012-07- 6 (Update: 2012-07- 8)