Next 7in media tablet review
The worst tablet PC we’ve yet seen, it's frustrating to use and symptomatic of the droves of Android hardware being produced on the cheap
Even if the iPad hasn’t quite changed the world, it’s certainly created a new industry: the Android imitators. Visit a site such as alibaba.com and you’ll literally find thousands to choose from – all with different processors, standards of wireless, memory configurations, webcams, screen sizes, and much more. It’s astounding.
This freedom of choice allows entrepreneurial British companies to sign wholesale deals, ship over their chosen tablets and then resell them. This can be to individuals, but Elonex has gone one better by signing a deal with Next to supply its 7in media tablets: so it’s Elonex that prints the Quick Start Guide and mans the tech support phone lines.
As it happens, the Quick Start Guide is probably the best thing about this tablet. It explains in clear detail how to use the home screen, switch on security settings, set the date and time, and connect to a wireless network. In fact, there’s only one statement we’d disagree with: “Your new tablet is a great new way to experience the web”.
No, really, it isn’t. And the reason boils down to a 300MHz processor that isn’t fast enough to do the job, further crippled by 128MB of RAM. Together they mean that pages crawl into view, even when you’re on a fast Wi-Fi connection. The BBC homepage, for instance, takes 55 seconds to appear. Just to reiterate: you’ll have to wait almost a minute before it loads. It’s certainly a new way to experience the web, as you spend most of the time looking away from the screen in frustration.
Nor is the screen itself much to look at. We don’t expect a capacitive, multitouch display in a sub-£100 tablet, and we can live with an 800 x 480 resolution, resistive technology and graininess. But the fact it’s so unresponsive just adds to the infuriation when all you want to do is follow a link. Next – or Elonex, or whichever company actually designed this tablet – would have done better to include a stylus.
We might normally express our disappointment at the lack of Flash support, due to the Next tablet using Android 1.6, but frankly it’s not fast enough to cope. Potential buyers should, however, note the lack of support for Android Market. Instead you’ll see a link for "App Market" on the homepage. This bears more than a passing resemblance to the Android Market, except for the quality of the apps on show. That’s if you’re lucky enough to download them: the App Market consistently crashed in use.
|Price ex VAT||£84|
|Price inc VAT||£99|
|Ease of Use rating||1|
|Features & Design||1|
|Value for Money||1|
|Talk time, quoted||N/A|
|Standby, quoted||0 days|
|Dimensions||203 x 14.5 x 137mm (WDH)|
|Camera megapixel rating||N/A|
|Resolution||800 x 480|
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