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Customer Review

on 13 January 2012
EDIT: 12/04/12, took the plunge and updated my older version (from January, supplied with gingerbread) to Ice Cream Sandwich, pleased to say it makes a good little device even better, battery life and wifi both seem improved and video performance is better too with no lip sync issues now from any source, my review below is less relevant now as the ICS update on the newer devices means it doesn't refer to what is being supplied today, I've left here for archive interest only. Also, just a note, I've no problem with people commenting on this review, but if you have tech support questions, I don't know everything and can't help you all!, you will likely get more help by posting to the forums for this device (linked from the product page, usually at the bottom somewhere)

EDIT: 08/04/12, still happy with mine, my review was based on the older Gingerbread software version, the version being sold now has Ice Cream Sandwich so many of my points are no longer relevant, you should bear that in mind when reading.
EDIT: 29/01/12, All below holds true for my tablet and I'm still very happy with it, but some of the more recent later shipments are seemingly of a slightly different unit, not sure how they compare for performance as I've only got my one, the spec is almost identical for the different ones but there are some physical and software differences, and in forums, users have different issues dependent on Firmware/Tablet version, price has also shifted up by about 10% since I bought mine, bear this in mind for context.

Bought this after using parent's iPad over xmas and enjoying the tablet experience but really didn't want to shell out £400+ for the privilege, This device will do 90%+ of what an iPad will do (and some things an iPad can't, flash websites and homescreen widgets for starters, HDMI output doesn't require an extra £40 adapter either!) for only 25% of the price... pretty good deal I think!

Others have made many good and positive points here already, so rather than repeat many of them again, (they are all true!, the tablet is really well built and stylish for the money, it copes with all the games and apps I've thrown at it etc. etc.) I'll simply add some extra info to what others have posted and try to answer some of the points others have made:

1) SKYPE, not actually a big deal for me, I rarely use it, but since people had said it didn't work I tried to get it going for the challenge, the version pre-installed is not the latest available and it won't update from the market (wouldn't for me anyway) BUT, if you can get a copy of a newer skype apk elsewhere, (I got version " v13 beta", google it!) then it works, including video calling! (this took me about 10 mins to sort out in total, not difficult at all if you are vaguely tech minded)

2) File management, someone else already suggested using "ES File Explorer", it is really easy to browse the file structure in that, and it also can access files on your LAN network (if you have NAS or shared drive on PC etc) what isn't immediately obvious is that the external SD, if you have one is mounted as /mnt/extern_sd (in Favourites in ES File explorer) also media on that card isn't picked up by the gallery/music apps on the device until you power off (fully, not just into standby) then back on, the card is then scanned and the cache of those apps updates

3) The Pre-Installed games really show the device off well (Samurai and Fruit ninja are great) other games can be easily loaded from the market

4) Mine has 8GB of built in memory (1GB available for apps, 5-6GB as "SD-CARD storage") despite being advertised as having just 4GB ;)

5) The beauty of this device is that whilst the interface doesn't look as polished as an iPad out of the box, because it is Android it is as configurable as you like: If you have a modicum of patience you can make this device's interface look really pretty using "Go Launcher EX" or similar from the market (it is free) to replace the standard launcher and installing a clock/weather widget etc, I have set it up to have a grid of 6x6 (allowing 36 apps per page instead of the default 16 as supplied in standard android launcher) the processor copes just fine with the overhead and it transforms the look to something much more polished (more iPad like, especially if you install the "classic" theme), Go launcher has widgets available for Facebook/Twitter etc that are very well implemented and it is fully customisable with different screen transition animations etc. try it, you don't need to be a programmer just willing to push and pull some icons around and you will be rewarded with a really nice user interface (edit: I added a couple of pics to the listing so you can see)

6) The latest android market apk IS worth getting as it now has movies and books in it as well as games/apps (despite comments I've seen that the latest market might be slow it works perfectly and quickly for me and looks much more polished than the old version that is pre-installed) Again you will need to google this and download the apk from a website somewhere

7) Wifi connection was no problem at all, found and connected within 30s of powering up and it always reconnects for me from standby within a second or so, WiFi range does seem a little limited, not a problem for me as I use it in same room as router or room above, both are fine, but may be an issue if your router is at other end of house. EDIT 1: I did start experiencing the problem with wifi not reconnecting after sleep, but the "advanced wifi locker" app from market that others had found fixed this easily: EDIT 2: That app eats battery life while device in standby though!, I found setting a fixed IP solves problem too and I can turn the App off again...

8) Not seen anyone else mention that the device charges via its mini USB port as well as from the power port, useful if out and about as you don't have to take the mains charger with you, just hook up via USB to a PC or phone charger (mini usb leads are reasonably ubiquitous, there is one in the box if you don't have one already)

9) I also bought the case with inbuilt keyboard, it fits the tablet well and the keyboard works fine, good for the price

All in all, this has to be one of the best gadget bargains I've ever bought, I'm already considering buying a second one for my wife, really can't recommend it highly enough, happy tableting! Can't see how anyone could be seriously disappointed with this for £10 more than a Kindle, you can even install the Kindle app on it and read books on it anyway...
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