My Android Tablet Review
Here is my review of the tablet. And let me start out by saying that this is a tablet made in China. It's basically something someone built buy hand and installed the Android OS on to it. For this reason, my tablet thinks it's a phone sometimes. But it was also about $100. Compare that to the iPad which is $499 in its cheapest version.
I bought a Virgin Mobile Mi-fi card and loaded $20 worth of internet time on it. I use it every day, solidly, for two hours. I haven't even used 500MB yet. It's blazing fast usually. Virgin Mobile runs on the 3G Sprint network. I find this really great considering my Verizon card on my laptop only works in very spotty areas from Fredericksburg to DC. This Virgin Mobile Mi-fi card works the entire way.
The browser on the tablet is VERY good. It works very fluidly and is laid out well. I love the bookmarks area where you can see a small screenshot of the webpage you've bookmarked.
It runs on Android 2.1, which is totally fine with me since I am so new to Android. It really has been fun learning a new OS. It's nothing like Windows, which is great. However, this also means that the tablet cannot support Adobe Flash until I upgraded it to Android 2.2. I'm not sure when that update will be available.
As far as applications, it has some great ones. I'm able to open and edit Word docs and other Office documents. Even PowerPoints. I've installed Kayak's app on the tablet and found that it runs very well. I've also installed Amazon's shopping app and MP3 download app. Both work well and are very solid. I did some of my last minute Christmas shopping using those apps as well. Other applications I've tried include a PDF viewer, YouTube (which works very well), Gmail, Google Maps, Google Calendar, CNN (which is excellent and I use every day normally), a Metro times table and status app, and of course Facebook. The Facebook app works well but I've found that just going to the mobile site within my browser works a bit better and is laid out in a better fashion.
I am able to run Angry Birds (which is, of course, the most important thing), but it does have trouble processing some of the fonts within the game. Overall it runs well. As one of my cousins said, "Angry Birds is the crack-cocaine of games on the phone." He is right on the money with that because it's very addictive. My morning commute goes by quickly with that game.
Some other games that I found runs well are Bonsai Blast (a sort of marble shooting game with some great graphics and music), a brick breaking game, Monopoly (which I played once and remembered why I hate Monopoly, then uninstalled it), a Sniper target shooting game, and a really great racing game called Thunder Road. With the racing game, you actually hold the tablet like a steering wheel and drive a car down a racetrack while attempting to stay away from the guard rails. I found this game was a lot of fun and the graphics are great, but the tablet is VERY sensitive to the movement, which makes staying on the racetrack difficult.
Something that I quickly discovered, and that I was VERY excited about, was the ability to run a Nintendo emulator on the tablet. That's right. So I quickly loaded a memory card with every Nintendo game I could find (approx 700). When the emulator starts the game, the controls appear on the tablet screen itself. Unfortunately, the app doesn't support multi touch on the screen so this makes running on Super Mario Brothers impossible, though, I haven't tested this with a controller yet. I found that some games like Double Dragon and The Legend of Zelda work well. I love NES and love their games. So this was a great find!
Addressing the specs, it has a MicroSD slot, a Micro USB slot (which you plug an adapter into for a full USB slot. This works well for Flash Drives and external hard drives), it has a front facing camera which I was able to get working with the Skype-like app called ooVoo, internally it has 2GB or storage and 256 MB of RAM. It operates on the Telechip processor at about 800MHz. Not fast, but you usually don't ever notice a lag unless you have a lot of stuff running. Since tablets are still running on cell phone processors, finding a speedy tablet that can handle a plethora of apps running at the same time is tough. Even the iPad (which I still view as a rip off) has issues with that.
The last hardware feature is awesome to me: Micro HDMI. It even came with a cable. If you have priced those cables, you'll see they are about $25+. For a tablet that cost a little around $100, that's a great bonus. I hadn't tried it until a few weeks ago, and was amazed when I plugged it up to my HDTV. I had Angry Birds running and was able to play that game in FULL HD and sound. It looks crisp and very clean on my TV. The next test was to play some video. Currently I have the entire 2 seasons of Flight of the Conchords, Season 6-7 for The Office, and Divx movies on my MicroSD card. The tablet plays all of the videos flawlessly. My first video test through the HDMI output was "Back to the Future". :-) Great movie. A Timeless Classic. I just have to navigate to Settings and select the HDMI output and it shows up on my TV instantly. Sound and video worked great. Great Scott!
As far as battery life, I use this tablet heavily and it last for about 3 days usually. I use it to browse the internet and read the news on my commute, watch videos, and play games. So I figure that I am using it for a total of about 3+ hours a day. That's almost 9 hours of battery time. I'd safely say that 7 hours is probably more realistic. But that is still fantastic. Even with the Wi-Fi on and playing videos.
It's about the size of an Amazon Kindle. This is great because Kindles are everywhere and I can pretty much buy any Kindle product and use it for my tablet. My girlfriend got me a Kindle storage pouch that has a zip pocket on the front. It is perfect for this tablet because I can keep my Mi-fi card, USB attachment, headphones, and memory card all in that pouch.
One of the best things about this tablet is the size of it. As I said, it's the size of a Kindle. Frequently I will sit on the train across or near someone using both hands to hold an iPad (which I have previously said is a rip off). I laugh and then get my tablet out and sip my coffee while reading the news and watching my videos. The screen size is more than enough and isn't so big that everyone sitting beside you can clearly see what you are doing. Not that I have anything to hide. ;-)
If you're wanting screen size, get the iPad. If you want features such as playing videos on HDTV, taking pictures/video with the camera, being able to use a Micro SD card to load info and apps onto the tablet, then get an Android Tablet. If you'll look at all of the Consumer Electronics Show results (CES), you'll see that Android is the prime tablet OS now. It just passed the Apple iPhone OS as the #1 most popular OS for mobile devices. Android's app market is growing rapidly and gaining on the Apple's store. Dozens of tablets are about to be released in the coming months. My boss at work liked my tablet so much, bought one and then advised several others to buy one. He tells everyone how easy it is to use and how cheap it was. FYI: Android is a free operating system. This drives the cost of Android products lower than Apple, usually.
Anyway, to sum up, the tablet is great and has opened the door for me to develop apps and mobile web friendly pages. Android is a fantastic OS and I can't wait to see all of the new things that are ahead for Google and the Android community.