Top positive review
60 of 61 people found this helpful
Does what I want at a good price
on July 2, 2012
I want to be thorough on this review because I realize I'm the first one. I took a leap of faith buying this with no review, something I won't typically do.
I've had this now for a few weeks. My original idea was I wanted a tablet that I could put my guitar music on and have it at a good enough size that I could still read it from a little distance, plus maybe have the ability to view entertainment or surf the web while on vacation or traveling --- all without paying an arm and a leg. At $200 I am fairly pleased with my purchase. No, it's not a high end device like an iPad, but I don't want to pay $500+ for this. I'll also say this is my first Android device, although my wife has a Nook Tablet and I've played around with that a little.
The capacitive screen is responsive. You just have to lightly touch it and you can pinch and flick and stuff like that. Most tablets in this price range are resistive, which means pressing harder and no pinching (not sure about flicking). The display is nice. Videos look good. I use the xfinity app and it seems like it flows smoothly and the videos looks sharp. There are hiccups where the video stalls and the sound continues, but I get that on my PC so I think that's xfinity or the wi-fi and not the tablet. I haven't had any kind of lag on the screen playing games. It's pretty zippy.
It has a built-in front camera and mike so you can Skype. No rear camera, so taking pictures is awkward, but that wasn't one of my reasons for buying the tablet. The speakers are really not big enough to use for music or videos --- even at full blast they're hard to hear dialogue. You'll want headphones for that. But for games and audio prompts they work well.
eBooks are nowhere near as sharp as on a Nook. I don't know if that is because it is scaling text to fit the larger screen, or the Nook reader has special fonts, but there is a clear difference. Don't get me wrong... you can read a book easily on this. But the Nook has exceptionally sharp text on their reader, even on the Nook Tablet. I downloaded the Nook Reader for Android app, and it still is not as sharp as on a real Nook. So if you care more about eBooks than anything else, you might want to consider that.
It has 8GB built in, but really only about 6GB of that is free, the rest taken up by the O/S. I added a 32GB micros-SD for about $20. Also, I almost immediately rooted this with an iso that Arnova has on their web site for this model. That allows you to get the Google Play store. You lose the pre-installed apps, but its nothing that you can't download for free anyway. For some reason the e-reader originally installed (Aldiko) wouldn't install after the rooting. But there are tons of other free ones to choose from.
A TIP FOR ROOTING: There are instructions and videos on the site, but just remember to hold down the + for a few seconds, keep holding it and hold the paper clip for a few seconds, then release just the paper clip, then after a few seconds release the +. Trust me, this was frustrating and it wouldn't reset until I figured out this specific pattern. If you release both at the same time, it won't reset.
I have run into several cases where apps won't install. In some cases (like The Economist magazine app) it specifically says it is not compatible with my device. I don't know if that's because of screen size or if they have an "official" list to install to that this isn't on. In some cases I get a particular error message ("couldn't install on USB storage or SD card", even though I'm not trying to) and searching the web doesn't help resolve it. I can't say if this is specific to this tablet, the screen size, the newer version of Android, or what. But just so you know. Maybe 1 in 8 apps will do this. Usually there are so many choices that something will work. I have successfully installed OfficeSpace, xfinity player, Adobe PDF reader, Kobo, Nook for Android, Amazon MP3, Google maps, Skype, doubleTwist, and various games. Ironically, Chrome won't work with the newer version of Android.
The USB works seamlessly with my PC. I just plug it in and use Windows Explorer to move files. I moved all my music from iTunes and it plays fine with any MP3 player. doubleTwist allows you to sync iTunes onto your device easily, but its not perfect (I have problems when its on the SD card). But you can still just copy music over, even the older "unlicensed" ones prior to iTunes upgrade.
The wi-fi is b/g/n, so it has pretty good range. It seems about the same as other devices I have.
It does have a weird problem... I turned on the the lock where you have to enter a code to access it. When it blacks out the screen after a few minutes of inactivity, and you press the button to bring it back up, sometimes the screen is all jumbled up and you can't slide the lock to unlock it. However, rotating it seems to fix it and it goes back to normal. Not a huge problem, just weird. Maybe something that will be fixed on a future update.
I have to say the only thing I don't like about this device is the battery life. I haven't let it run completely out, but I figure it is somewhere between 3-4 hours. I did a few things (10-15 mins) then watched a 90 minute video, wi-fi going, and it was down to 58%. Another negative: it won't charge via USB. So you have to use the bulky charging cable.
All-in-all I'm happy. I won't give it 5 stars due to the battery life and the few hiccups, but for $200 it is a nice tablet.