The review below is on the basic 7″ tablet at the time of review for a review on some new 7″ tablets see my other review mainly on the Aldi Medion Tablet and the Tesco Hudl HERE.
About a month ago I brought one of these cheaper Android based tablets that are available so here is my option and quick review on these type of tablets, the one I brought was a 7” maipad model based around the VIA 8650 also known as the WM8650 which runs at 800mhz it has 256mb ram and 4gb flash ram installed (the full spec of the model I brought is listed at the bottom of this review). The unit came with extras including stylus, neoprene case, earphones, cleaning cloth & screen protector. This was in addition to the normal supplied accesorires the power unit (which is a standard 9v type) and the usb adaptor (this connects to the bottom of the tablet so you can connect 2 x usb devices ie memory cards also a wired rj45 network cable).
Pre-installed software on the tablet was my music, my photos, my video, my browser, my recorder (these are the wondermedia software) Ireader, fring, file browser, calendar, camera, email, calculator, facebook (though facebook app older version and cant be upgraded) officesuite pro (read and write microsoft office docs ie word, excel), youtube, wmtweather, official google market also a addition app market. Also the model I ordered came with angry birds, skype beta, and the home launcher was launcher pro. Though if you do a factory reset ie reset your device to defaults you do lose angry birds, skype and launcher pro, but these are easily installed from the market. If you do a factory reset I would recommend installing launcher pro as the default home screens as this seems to work faster than the stock home screens the wmlauncher. So basically you have got all the software you really need to use the basics of this tablet at the off. The other apps that I recommend in the article are all free apps of the google market unless I sate otherwise.
The tablet is based around the 800mhz 8650 chip, now I have a HTC desire Z (the one with the hardware slide qwerty keyboard) phone which also runs at 800mhz, but in the desire is the newer arm cpu which means the tablet is a lot slower in operation, so because of the phone im a bit spoilt on speed, but I have used a HTC wildfire and to be honest this tablet is a lot faster than that. Ie the speed of angry birds is ok but with a plain background set in the settings, there is no chance of running 3d games like racing games ie asphalt, need for speed etc or platform games like groby etc. but for basic gaming it is great, I have Jewels, pinball deluxe, paper toss games all work great, though I have had problems running some marble rolling maze games like labyrinth in the sense the gravity sensor in these games seem reversed, though the g-sensor dose work correctly on the home screens and in media viewers.
For viewing photos, movies and listening to music this is a great tablet, though for viewing photos I would recommend installing quickpic as this is the best viewer for looking through lots of directories of photos, I am mainly using this tablet to keep all my digital photos on from the past 4 years as a photo frame or to show friends, I have over 16,000 photos on the 8gb card I have installed in the tablet (though all my photos are resized down to 640×480 pixels as keeps the size down for viewing on either this tablet or my phone) viewing films, tv shows etc works great with the built in player, but I found mobiplayer to be better for watching videos as supports most of the formats I have thrown at it inc mp4, x264, divx, xvid etc though I have tried a 720p mkv file and it would play that, but for standard def film its is great. Music play back is perfect with the built in player.
Internet wise you have two browsers installed the standard stock browser and the wondermedia my browser, which is a good web browser that supports multiple tabs, the tablet does come pre-installed with flash 10.1, but is a evaluation version. It does work for website with flash content but when you load a flash animation does come up with a message saying evaluation version, but then content plays. Don’t expect to be able to use flash intensive sites, ie high end flash games or flash games within facebook and kids sites like moshimonsters, though I have also found dolphin web browser either the mini or hd version to work well for internet use on this tablet.
I also have installed autodesk sketchbook mobile (around £1.50), this is a great drawing program and does work great with a stylus, I got some stylus’s from the poundshops that are the size of a normal pen so is great to draw with, though cause the tablet is slowish you have to draw slowly but can get some great results, I have also found fresco drawing app works great on the tablet, though not as advanced as sketchbook. So as a mobile sketchpad these work great on this type of tablet.
I havnt tried the usb adaptor for memory cards, with the built in file manager you have access to the internal memory, sd card and the usb. I have installed a 8gb micro sd card to store all my photos, video etc, im now upgrading to a 16gb card so can fit more info on. Not sure why on the dongle you have a wired ethernet connector as that would defeat the object of having a portable tablet. The wifi is very easy to setup and works with all different wireless routers I have tried. I would recommend installing dropbox oon the device as this is the easiest way to transfer same files to the tablet, even apk installation files for apps that have been downloaded from other android devices. For larger files you do need to remove the sd card to insert into your pc as no direct usb connection for transferring files.
The battery in the tablet I have got said is was a 2400mah, though at moment cant confirm this. As a test I let a film run on repeat with the tablet set to lowest brightness (which is still good in normal lighting conditions) with wifi turned off and got just over 3 hours continuous use on a fully charged battery. You can either power the tablet off fully or if you just press the power button for a second goes into a sleep mode, this from fully charged in standby seems to last around a day or two before needing charged. So really it is a tablet that you need to keep charged when not in use, as the battery may not last long if not used for a few days.
Below is just a quick video showing the tablet working, unfortunately on the day I did the video my internet was running really slow, so web browsing is normally faster than in the video.
For what the tablet costs it is great value if you want a basic tablet pc, I would say these type of tablets which are also available with 8” and 10” screens would be a great introduction to tablet pc’s, though dont expect it to be like a apple ipad or samsung / motorola android tablets, but those android tablets start at around £250 and do come with android version 3 which is more suited to tablets than the 2.2 that is installed on this tablet, and the ipad 2 cost nearly £400 so as you can appreciate you do get what you pay for. These tablets are known as different names ie maipad, apad, epad, mid etc. Again there is nothing wrong with these type of tablets as long as you want a basic tablet for internet browsing, media player etc. To put into context the tablet speed is around the speed of a entry level android phone like the htc wildfire, so if you have a entry level android phone this is as good and even better in some ways than that as the display is higher resolution than entry level phones.
UPDATE FEB 2012
I got a bit fed up of the slowness of this tablet and was nearly about to sell it on, but found a great custom rom for these kind of cheap android tablets, the rom is called uberoid which you can find if you do a google search, This is a custom rom for the wm8650 tablets and supports most versions of these android tablets, the rom gives the look of honeycomb (3.0 android) but is based on 2.2. The first version i tried was version 9 as found a nice tutorial on installing and setting this up, this version worked ok but showed 100% battery all the time. But the speed increase was great I would say about 20 – 30% increase in speed. I then found the version 10 of the rom and installed that one (there is also at time of writing this amendment there is a beta version 11, though not tired this.
I have had now a few days with the uberoid custom rom and I can say this does speed up the laptop greatly, I use autodesk sketchup on this tablet and now is usable and the whole experience of using the tablet is greatly improved. The battery performance is still the same i get around 3 hrs from watching video at lowest brightness. The launcher that is with this rom is better than launcher pro or wm launcher. you have the full android market and even gmail is installed. The one thing with this rom that makes a difference is that fring is not installed by default as was with the original rom that couldn’t be installed, I found this app a massive memory hog.
Again the same as the original review of these cheap android tablets, this rom still dosn’t make it as good as higher tablets, but does make it usable, the flash player does seem a bit more usable and i could at a push get the bbc iplayer site to work, so im going to try and see how I go over the next few weeks and post back once fully tested. But again for the price of these what are cheap android tablets based on the via wm8650 chipset are great value and with this custom rom makes it a usable tablet pc now.
To install this rom, download the rom, extract out the files there is a changer.bat file run this on your pc, you get the options of the tablets it supports, before you chose your number type in RT3070 then enter, this seems to make the wifi (wireless) work, for the tablet I have which is a 7″ mid with green led / light when on and when charging goes red and supports external 3G dongles. I tried number 10 which seems the most common but got a problem with the touch screen so i went for number 8, once that is done will ask you if you wish to copy to your sd card ( i recommend formatting your sd card first) it takes a few minutes to copy across. Then insert the card into tablet and switch on, will then start the upgrade to the uberoid custom rom, this can take a good few minutes so be patient, and make sure battery fully charged or on the mains.
Once done take out card and tablet restarts and loads using the custom rom, please be aware this will wipe all data of tablet, so make sure you have backed up data and apps etc. Also note this can stop the tablet from working all together (brick it), though if you have chosen the wrong number and your tablet doesn’t boot or has any problems with battery/ touch screen, wifi etc redo the changer.bat and choose and different number and try again eventually you will find the right one for your tablet. I am giving this information freely and do not take any responsibility if this doesn’t work for your tablet.
Here is the specification of the tablet I brought, this is the description direct from the seller on ebay.
flash player 10.1 ,Two points touch screen
,4 GB Storage Device
, WM8650,High-performance 800MHZ CPU+400MHZ DSP
, OS ANDROID 2.2
, support multiple language,Arabic,Chinese,English,Japanese,Korea,Cestina,Dansk,Deutsch,Espanol,Francais,Italiano, Nederlands,Polski,Portugues,Norsk Bomal,Svenska,Turkce etc.
, Storage Device 4GB
, Support external TF card, maximum capacity of 32GB
4-Dimensional gravity sensing
, LCD Size 7″WVGA wide-screen
Network Cable Internet: 10/100M adaptive
, WIFI:IEEE802.11b/g/n wireless network
, 3G Support(External)
, WCDMA:Huawei E220/E230/E160X/E169G/E1750 Alcatel X060S/X200
, CDMA2000:Bora 9380/AWIT-U8
Touch Pannel TFT Resistive Screen support pages and images zoom in and out
I/O Port 24pinUSB switch interface*1,Headphone *1, MIC*1, DC JACK*1, TF card reader
Audio 3.5mm headphone jack
, High-quality stereo loud speaker
, Built-in microphone
Audio file formats supported: MP2, MP3, WAV, AAC, WMA
, Video file formats supported: [MPEG1/2/4,MJPG,H263](1280×720) resolution,H264 (720× 480) resolution. Photo file formats support: JPG, JPEG, BMP, and PNG, Built-in 30,0000 pixels camera
Power adapter 9V,1.5A
, Size 19.85cm×12.7cm×1.68cm
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