Before I start with the review, here are some comments from my near and dear ones
@pvinod (after playing for 10 minutes):
Crappiest Tablet EVER!
@ramespark (after helping me out with initial set up. He spent close to 30 minutes with the tablet):
Useless! It’s a shame that it has Made-in-India tag.
Brother-in-law (after using it for close to two hours):
Bakwas – with a capital B
Wifey (she used it for 3 hours):
Loss of talent and money over a futile product.
My one line review summary:
Don’t waste your time on this. You can’t put this tablet to any use. It’s a piece of junk.
Box: It contains the tablet, adapter, 2GB micro SD card and a tiny leaflet called quick start guide.
The user manual provides minimal information. A CD detailing the set up and few videos would have been saved a lot of pain. Also, I would have love to have a basic case for protection and headphones.
Interesting thing to note is the adapter has Made-in-China tag.
Looks: Not bad and thank God not ugly for Rs. 2500.
Body: The main part of the body i.e. resistive touch screen is made of inferior plastic. The plastic is of the exact same quality as the one which I used to cover my school notebooks to protect it from wear and tear. Also, the touch screen is not flat, it bends in the middle. Reminds me of the cotton mattress on which I sleep.
The back of the tablet is made of good fiber, matt finish. No complaints.
It scores high on ergonomics because of its weight (350 grams) and matt finish.
Screen: The resistive touch screen is too resistive and pathetic. I’ve used resistive touch screens of Nokia, $30 PDAs and other phones, they work quite well once you apply appropriate pressure. But this one, no matter how much pressure you apply it’s either too much or too little. Here’s the video showing how long it takes.
Example: It took me 12 minutes to type in my user name and password for Facebook. Yes, because what happens is, if you press it lightly it doesn’t respond and if you press it hard, it takes the alternate character (a becomes à and s becomes ß) most of the times. Rames suggested me to use nails but it didn’t make much of a difference.
The screen is the worst part of the tablet. It reminds me of Rani Mukherjee (who played Helen Keller) of the movie Black. She was beautiful, had brains but both of her input senses (sight and sound) were defunct.
Now what will you do with the tablet, if you cannot interact with it’s touch screen?
Wondering why Mr. Kapil Sibal is screaming at the top of his lungs about this tablet? Has he ever tried to type his name on it?
Surprise: When I attached an external keyboard it detected it within few seconds. The response to the keyboard was almost instant and way too good. I could feel as if I am working on a laptop. Here’s the video
Reading : With no access to android market, @ramespark suggested to use alternative market places – slideme.org, f-droid.org and getjar.com. I downloaded the essential applications like Kindle reader, Opera mini browser, IO file manager, etc.,
The kindle reader app experience was pretty good. The formatting of the text was comparable to any of the e-readers. In other reviews, I’ve seen that it reads the office documents (with ‘documents to go’ app) as well. So reading point of view – no problems, in fact it’s a good option with couple of hours of offline reading. Here’s the video
Internet access: Initially it froze five times whenever I started the Wi-Fi. Now, it works reasonably well. With Opera mini browser the experience is a little smoother. However, Opera mini browser doesn’t play YouTube videos. So, I had to use the default browser to play YouTube videos. Point to note is the video worked without flickering that means, it has a separate graphics processor. Full marks for video play.
The sad part is even though the specs states that it has an internal speaker, it’s a lie. I used the external speakers connected to the audio jack. The audio jack is designed for failure, as you can’t insert most of the external speakers. The speaker pin has to be flat to get inserted in to the audio jack.
However, the most frustration part is, once the video is played, you cannot control it. No pause, No stop. Here’s the demo of the same:
Another disappointment was, it has no volume controls to increase or decrease the volume. So if you are using headphones, you have to live with the loud noise.
Music: It played the the music from an external device. Here’s the video
External buttons: The buttons are really a disaster. The power button really requires a huge amount of power to turn it on. So much so that it leaves you a round mark on your finger. Your fingers will experience the same amount of pain as you get on the first day of learning a guitar.
The home button also does the job of waking up the screen, but hey there is no way you can put the screen back to sleep (like the power button in normal Samsung or other android phones). You have to wait for default screen timeout to put the screen to sleep. So, if you’re screen timeout is 30 minutes, the screen will be on for the 30 minutes and no control will put it off to sleep. Guess the amount of battery consumed.
USB slots: It has two USB slots, you can attach a USB drive and also you can attach the keyboard. It identifies the USB drive within few seconds, albeit it shows you as an SD card for some reason. Also, if you try to insert USB drive with SD card still on, it will fail to recognize.
Battery: After charging 100% for full four hours, I could use it for an hour (with Wi-Fi turned on). With Wi-Fi turned off, it’s slightly better and it goes up to 2 hours (no gaming, just reading and entering some text).
SD Card and heating: The tablet is so sensitive that if you press home button, it disconnects the micro SD card. Another factor is the heat, if you’re using it for more than 15 minutes the tablet gets heated up nicely. Almost the same burning sensation when you accidentally put your finger on a ceramic cup that has a piping hot tea. With this kind of heat, the micro SD card gives up after 10 minutes and tablet fails to read it. Lastly, the SD card doesn’t go all inside the slot, half of it always remains outside. Big risk of wear and tear.
No Bluetooth or USB connectivity: There is no way to Sync / backup your data in the absence of USB connectivity. However, I found a way. First create a document on your tablet. Then with the help of IO app, copy it on your USB drive and then you can copy it on your computer. Better, if you have Wi-Fi access, upload it on Google docs or Dropbox.
Image rendering: You can’t load images in the gallery. Tried several times to load the pictures, it hangs every single time.
Once the system hangs (which it does at least once in 30 minutes), you can’t do anything – you have to go for hard reset by inserting a pin on the back. Here’s the video.
It was supposed to be an Indian tablet, but no signs of any other language except English.
Anyways, my 2 cents:
- You have to be reasonably well-educated and IT savvy to operate the device. If you’re using it as your first computing device, leave the hassle.
- No way that you can use the device without an external keyboard.
- Good for reading and watching videos for at least one to two hours. With health and safety risk of getting a heat pinch.
- Always, have a push-pin ready for a hard reset.
In short, don’t waste your time, energy and money.
Earlier I wrote a post on my dream of owning an Aakash tablet
Please share it with all your friends who are planning to buy one.
Thanks for your time and patience.
PS: This is my first humble attempt to write a technical product review. Please pardon my reviewing and my video shooting skills.
PPS: My tablet is up for sale for the same price – Rs. 2500 (with all the configuration done)