Top critical review
24 people found this helpful
Contains pre-installed malware !!! AVOID
on 15 February 2016
I bought the Polatab primarily as a “kitchen” tablet – I wanted a cheap and cheerful tablet to be used with a Bluetooth speaker mainly for playing music and iPlayer radio ( 4 and 4 ex), but also for TV, You Tube while cooking or Googling for info/recipes etc.
I mounted it on the kitchen wall, permanently plugged in and Bluetooth connected. I got it all configured up just as I wanted it...Excellent, it worked fine... good sound, good display, good connectivity, easy to use. I thought I’d bagged a real bargain !!
THEN... next day... the pre-installed malware kicked in. The tablet insisted on downloading an app called “Settings!” (different from “Settings”) and an “Enhanced Sound Recorder” together with 3 naff (but otherwise fairly harmless?) children’s games. Despite uninstalling these apps, disabling automatic app updates in the Google apps store settings, and disabling installs from Unknown Sources, each time I removed them they would be automatically re-downloaded a few minutes later. These apps then ran in the background and threw up unwanted full screen adverts in the middle of whatever else I was playing. They were Trojans. OK...so I reset the tablet to factory settings, connected up to wifi, but installed nothing else.... and waited... The same thing happened again. It appears the downloads were triggered by some sort of pre-installed functionality already in the tablet. Installing an anti-virus app (I used AVG) successfully intercepted the “Settings!” and “Sound Recorder” downloads each time identifying them as malware, but resulted in pop-up prompts asking whether to allow/deny installation (deny obviously!) every few minutes....safer, but almost as irritating.
Googling for “android tablet pre-installed Trojans” yields some interesting reading. One link, from “Cheetah Mobile Security Lab”, shows “softwinners” as one of the leading affected brands. When I connected my Polatab to Airdroid, the default name given to the device by the Airdroid app was “Softwinner V11”
The Polatab (a Great British Brand according to the Amazon headline...believe that?) website provides no means of contact other than a web-form email... to which, of course, they don’t reply. Clearly the pre-installed functionality and Trojans are cynical and deliberate, possibly just to get an income stream from the advertisers, possibly for more evil purposes yet to be devised or to become apparent. Who knows what additional crap-ware, spy-ware, viruses etc they could remotely and stealthily install on unsuspecting users’ machines in the future via the back-door they have conveniently left open for themselves?
Very disappointed... I experimented with rooting the tablet and running an app freezer app... or running an ad blocker, but had little success. I’m sure this would be possible with some perseverance, but I’d lost confidence in the thing. I decided to get a refund and spend an additional £60 to buy a more respectable and, hopefully, more honourable brand.
Returned to Amazon for refund with reason “Product not as described” . Manufacturers should be heavily fined for such dishonesty... but they won’t be. Please punish them by spreading the knowledge .... and not buying their product !