Do the pocket-friendly tablets deliver on all their promises,where do they exceed expectations and where do they fail?
Milagrow TabTop PC
Milagrows 7-inch TabTop claims to stand out,not only as the sole tablet-cum-laptop in the market,but also as a device customised for women. The TabTop sports five different ports,apart from the usual external buttons. Switching it on can be testing,as it takes up to a minute or two to boot.
On unlocking the device from the custom Android home page (the TabTop runs Gingerbread,a plus),we are brought to the advertised women-friendly user interface. You tap on the pink laptop for music,pink photo frame for gallery,etc. It may work with children,but as an Android user,I was unhappy to have my handy home screen converted into a pink room,which needs tapping! The TabTop also serves as an e-reader,and the library function is satisfactory,though the pinch-and-zoom function is not available. Several ready-to-use applications are handy (Sentinel anti-theft app,Skype,anti-virus,etc). The touch is less than satisfactory,while the taps work fine,the drags and swipes are a bother. The touch keys along the top of the screen need to be stabbed with a nail to elicit a response. The front-facing camera is poor even in regular light. While a stylus is provided,it may not be convenient to carry around. The hard case is welcome and sturdy,but I could not make mine work as a stand.
At Rs 13,990 the price may be less than most popular tablets,but one comes away dissatisfied.
Digital Waves TabPlus Rio
Puny in size and cost,the seven-inch TabPlus Rio packs a feature-rich punch. The Rio has a powerful 1GHz processor,four gigabytes of memory and runs on Androids Gingerbread.
TabPlus Rio supports common audio and video formats (including HD video). The audio and video quality do not disappoint. It doesnt have a docking port but the 3.5 mm jack allows users to connect external speakers or headphones.
It also has an HDMI port for large-screen viewing.
The tablets touchscreen is fairly responsive but the G-sensor is extremely sensitive. You can also turn the Rio into a Wi-Fi hotspot and browse the internet through other Wi-Fi enabled devices. The tablet doesnt support applications like Facebook. An Android market search did not even list the application,so users will have to rely on web browsers to log in to Facebook.
The screen remains fairly bright indoors but the visibility falters in sunlight. Usage for five hours drains the TabPlus Rio of all its juice.
Good old plug points are the only source of power for the Rio as it lacks a USB charging ability.
Its build is good and it can be carried with ease. This device has user-friendly buttons,whose placement shouldnt pose any problems. The front-facing camera is a useful component for video callers.
At Rs 9,990,TabPlus Rio is a good deal for its price.
Mercury mTab Neo
Mercurys revamped mTab Neo comes with Androids older OS Froyo unlike its predecessor,which had Gingerbread. At Rs 16,000,one would expect better body quality also at 250 grams,the mTab Neo is a tad heavy.
The mTabs claim to fame is its ability to make calls. However,phone calls are going to be awkward unless a headset is used. The tablet needs to be flipped for calls as the speaker,which becomes an earpiece,is at the bottom. The exposed 3G SIM slot makes it convenient to swap SIM cards,but the tablet needs to be switched off for that. It comes with four gigabytes of internal memory,which is enough for most users.
Mercury has not tweaked the user interface much. It is free of useless applications which many other manufacturers pre-load. The capacitive screen is very responsive,as are the capacitive buttons. Browsing the Web is a pleasant experience,apart from a minor aspect ratio problem characters appear slightly skewed.
The speaker has good volume and is of average quality. The front camera is good for Skype,while the back camera is poor for photography. The HDMI port is a good add-on for watching videos on a bigger screen. The battery lasts around five hours on moderate usage.