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Style Name: Le Pan I|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
UPDATE 26 NOV 2012: Please note that the following review was for the Le Pan I and NOT the Le Pan II. Due to circumstances not under my control this review may actually appear under the latest Le Pan II which appears to be a good upgrade but I've never used it - I am still happily using the first version tablet (Le Pan I) acquired in June, 2011 (so durability is good).

IMPORTANT UPDATE 11/30/2011: Please read B. Brinton's Amazon review (can't give the URL but it's one of the two star reviews here) regarding inability to update to new operating system. I stand by my original review as to the quality of the tablet, but recommend that you check out Brinton's review before actually buying.

Before I even start, I absolutely LOVE my Le Pan tablet. It's a blast to use, has a lot of upside for the things I want to do with it, and has a definite "wow" factor with bystanders. Typical quotes are, "wow," and "I want one" and "that is so cool!" This could be said about a lot of the better tablets (e.g., iPad) that have nice, high def, shiny screens showing video, but I appreciated the coveting looks (and I let people play with it extensively and had trouble getting it back a couple times).

I have never used a tablet (well, 10 minutes goofing with an iPad in the Apple Store a year ago) and have never used anything with the Android operating system.

A lot of my "cons" are probably pertinent to a lot of similar pieces of hardware, as well as shortcomings of the Android OS as it is currently implemented, rather than unique to the Le Pan.

I would NOT recommend this for someone looking for a turnkey, works perfectly out of the box solution. You will need either some experience, or a strong nerd compulsion (or a little of both). You'll have to overcome quirks of the hardware and software.

First, the "bad."

The power button sucks. After four days I STILL fumble with that sucker.

The fingerprints on the screen drive me nuts. I think it's worse in a tablet with a large screen than on an Android or Iphone with smaller screens. I'm already carrying around a microfiber cleaning cloth. A definite hazard of this entire class of machine. You might want to invest in some wet-dry LCD screen wipes for when you want to get it in pristine condition before you show off in front of the boss (e.g., Audiovox Surface SURF402 Wet/Dry Screen Wipes). Think of it as detailing your tablet.

Saying the speakers are "tinny" might be generous and there is absolutely no recognizable bass component. I'm ready to get a bluetooth headphone for this immediately.

Can't run Hulu to watch TV (yet) - the hardware is probably perfectly capable, but Hulu sees "Android mobile device" and just serves up an annoying message. However YouTube (included app) looks and works better than I have ever seen it.

It's heavier than I thought, but not that bad. It's about the same weight as an iPad. I found that holding it in one hand I would cramp up after a couple of minutes. It is light enough to cradle, and propping it up on an ample paunch while in bed was ok. Sitting down with tablet on lap, no problem.

Next, the "weird."

The onboard camera only shoots pictures in a mirror mode (i.e., titles of books are reversed like in a mirror). In using Skype I found that for this version of Android, video calling is not supported. Otherwise, Skype works quite nicely on this platform.

In certain network environments (I'm on a University network half the time) you can easily purchase apps via the included Android Market, but downloading wouldn't commence - probably some security feature of our network. Using my home wifi connection (DSL via AT&T) I had no problems downloading and installing Skype and some other navigation based stuff.

The included browser can't handle Ebsco databases (if that means anything to you). The browser handles most websites well, and the large screen means you don't need to access the specially configured mobile sites, which are still a lot cleaner. I ran this on our library catalog and most of our databases with no problem, but the Ebsco ones didn't allow any search entry. Weird. (NOTE ADDED June 2, 2011: Just installed the Opera Mobile Web Browser ver. 11 from the Apps for Android store on Amazon and the Ebsco databases work just fine).

Finally, the "good."

The screen is awesome (except in daylight where it is useless). Use this indoors, not at the beach.

The response time is lightning fast. Apps come up fast and operate fast. Scrolling, screen switching, etc. is ultra-smooth.

In the right network environment, getting, installing, and using apps is trivial.

The integration with web based Google apps is seamless. I didn't even notice my calendar and contacts were downloaded and synchronized (and continue to be synchronized). A very cool thing I discovered this morning was that when I was out of wifi range (on my bus and train commute) I could still do my Gmail offline. The Gmail app downloads and caches your email so you can use it offline, including replying to messages. The next time you get a wifi connection, synchronization will send all pending messages, and download new ones - this was all done while sitting in my backback.

The GPS is useful, but not yet a substitute for a good stand-alone unit (I'm a TomTom user). But the connection to Google Maps is very cool. You have to wrestle to find it, but once you get into street view, it's obvious that high def simulated 3d is designed for tablets with big shiny screens. I'm still struggling with the interface (I think the GPS keeps wanting to tether me to Missouri), but I've taken friends to Florence and Rome on this tablet, and the fast and seamless "look around" on a tablet is very, very, nice.

Photos and video on this screen are gorgeous, without question. I haven't read anything yet that contests that - I vouch for the visual impressiveness as well. Again, the screen WILL get covered in finger smudges, and if you're in any kind of daylight you're out of luck seeing anything.

So, take this review in stride. Think of my comments as caveats and warnings, and whether or not they're deal breakers is up to you and what you need. I'm not sure there is any tablet that can satisfy all the myriad details wanted by end users. I give this four stars for being an impressive work with some upside potential with upgrades (video calling with Skype, Hulu compatibility). Read the specs and decide if things like not having video output is important, or not.

ADDED June 2, 2011: To watch movies you might have to convert them to an appropriate format (and/or download some other video software). I've been able to take video and using VLC (free and available on PCs and Macs) and convert to MP4 format then view with no problem. Also, because of movie sizes, you're likely going to need to buy a bigger micro SD chip (or two). I have some DVDs from Orlando (wife and kids swimming with the dolphins) and was able to extract the unprotected "VOB" files. I converted to a couple of formats but the MP4 format seemed to universally work. Again, this is one of those areas you need a bit of a nerd compulsion to work out.

Regarding using wet/dry pads to clean the screen. Almost all of the standard pads should work fine, but in most cases you're going to waste a lot of pad. I've taken to opening the pouches and cutting the wet AND dry pads in half. Then I stuff them back in the pouches and fold it over to preserve the dampness. You can probably clean the screen 3 to 4 times with one set of pads (experiment on your own).

UPDATE AFTER SIX WEEKS (added July 15, 2011): I'm hooked. Durable, dependable, and now I've modded it with all sorts of useful and fun apps (hint: Amazon apps store gives a free app a day SUCH A DEAL!!!). I've been using for six weeks without a hitch and this has become my "go to" device for browsing the net and wasting time (playing games). Power button still sucks, but I've gotten used to the fingerprints.

UPDATE AFTER SEVEN MONTHS (added January 11, 2012): Le Pan has now come out with a successor, the Le Pan II, so this will be my final update. I received my Le Pan in early June, 2011. As of this date my TC970 is still running strong with no quirks or hardware faults whatsoever. Anecdote is not evidence, but my personal experience continues to be positive with this tablet. I even loaned it to my son for a couple of weeks as he took it to Budapest, Prague, and Vienna. Toting it around Europe in a backpack for two weeks, and it's back home, still humming along perfectly. This is still one fine machine.
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on January 10, 2012
Update 27 November 2013: I have had the Le Pan II for almost 2 years now. Mine still works perfectly. I have had it physically powered off for only about 2 weeks during this 2 year period, I literally just set it to sleep mode when not in direct use by myself. Even with that constant use my battery life is still nearly what it was when I bought it. When the tablet gets to about 35% battery I charge it up (usually to full if time allows). I have a bit of an issue with bringing it out of sleep. I press the power button and sometimes get no response. I simply hold the power button and it wakes up asking if I want to power down. I select "no" and log in just fine. I do not use my tablet non-stop like I did initially, but it is always working and still does everything it did before. My parent's Le Pan I's are still working fine for them. I also convinced my roommate and another friend to get Le Pan II's earlier this year. My roommate loves his and has found it invaluable for using recipes, watching youtube videos, and a few other purposes. He has had his with constant use for about 3 months now and no problems. My other friend got hers earlier this week. I shall update when I can about her response to it, but thus far it is working just like mine and she loves it.

Update 4 August 2012: ICS has been released and it is working very well. Flash support on chrome is giving me some trouble, but Dolphin browser still has it working fine. ICS is nice and runs a bit smoother. I cannot get the HDMI mirroring to work (and now have the official Le Pan cable for it) so if that is important wait on the upgrade. I am really enjoying ICS far more than I thought I would. I remade the attached video in a streamlined format with ICS and it is on youtube, just search "le pan ice cream sandwich" and I think it comes up. Since I think they still ship with Honeycomb I am leaving the old video up for now.

Update 23 May 2012: I am still very pleased with my tablet. I have had almost no problems, and the few I have had were fixed with a reset. I leave my tablet on all the time. All the time. The total time it has spent physically off since I got in Jan is less than 3 days. I still have good battery life and things are great. Quick note since this generation of tablets is being replaced by newer models(transformer prime, Ipad 3, etc). You can now find comparable tablets with good options in the ballpark of this price. Part of my emphatic nature of recommending this tablet originally was that all comparable tablets at the time were $400 or more. Le Pan II is still certainly a contender. One advantage this tablet still has is being nearly the only Android tablet of 4:3 ratio. I find that very comfortable for web browsing. If that is not a big deal you could probably get a Xoom or some such that is comparable and possibly better depending on the price, though most are refurbs versus Le Pan being for a new unit. I still recommend this tablet, but the progression of technology marches on. Also if you have a Roku and get an android device check out Gregg Reno's apps for Roku; Juice for Roku is the app I use second most. It is only beaten out by the browser on my tablet. I have a surround sound system and now my tablet is graphical radio control; it is awesome for anyone with a lot of mp3s.

Video:
In my video I show basic functions, google applications, amazon applications, built in camera, music and video demos. Much of the bullet list of pros and cons are still best seen in the review below. It ran kind of long, so I cut it back for amazon's requirements. Sorry again for the length of it and my written review, but there is so much to say about this tablet. I very much hope it helps people make informed decisions.

**Also the tablet accesses Google Play (my video was before the switch when it was Android Market, but it still allows access to all the Google apps and markets).

Original review:

Let me start by saying that I purchased the TC970 (previous model) back in October, and after 2 months was excited about the Le Pan II. I have had the Le Pan II for a few hours and am really enjoying it already. Originally I was wary about the unknown company, but took a chance. It was the best move I have ever made since I got a reliable Ipad quality device at a fraction of the price. I shall comment more on that in the company section.

Basics:
**Pros:
It has a nice professional build and feels solid, no cheap plastic feel here. All quality.

Fast processor, boots in about 30 seconds, quick start on apps, and can run many with no problems.

It has a 4:3 aspect ratio like the Ipad, which I find more comfortable for web browsing than the 16:9 tablets.

Fully functioning android market.

Youtube app works great.

Syncs with Gmail just fine.

Beautiful high definition screen.

Full Flash support.

Sensitive screen with good response on keyboard, I can type about 30 words per minute on the tablet (~90 on a real keyboard) and it keeps up just fine (my speed is going up as I get used to the onscreen keyboard).

No problems with Wifi, good signal.

Good accelerometer, can use it to play games easily and works well with google sky map.

Decent microphone with wide pick up (I use a frequency analyzing program).

**Cons:
Proprietary 30 pin connector, but it comes with a USB connection and charger (so only kind of annoying).

No USB ports, do not get keyboards that connect through USB (it does support Bluetooth so you can get accessories, but only with Bluetooth).

No rear camera (no big deal to me, I have a digital camera anyway), and front facing camera is only 2MP.

**Notes:
The speakers are above average for portable devices (almost no portable devices have good speakers since good bass usually needs larger speakers). These are pretty good overall, but for audio excellence in any portable device you need a good pair of headphones.

I have not tried to connect this tablet to my TV with HDMI, I still need to get the adapter, but will update after I try. It does not come with the connector initially (at this time anyway).

I expect it will function similar to the TC970, so the battery life should hold for about 7 hours even with constant video use. I almost never turned my old one off, just sleep mode. It can run for days easily in sleep mode. With intermittent use I would only charge every 3 days or so and expect the Le Pan II to perform about the same.

Cases: I use an off-brand case designed for the HP touchpad (HHI HP TouchPad Folio Flip Case with Muti-Function Stand - Purple (Package include a HandHelditems Sketch Stylus Pen)), and it works well. I had to cut it a little to use the camera and access volume, and I have to remove it from the case to charge it. However, I got the Targus Truss Case/Stand for HP TouchPad - THZ07202US (Black/Gray) for my mother and this will fit the Le Pan II (identical size to the TC970) perfectly and allow easy access to all ports. In general you can use any case designed for Ipad or Touchpad, but may need to cut a little free for all the ports to be open.

Interface:
**Pros:
Latest OS (honeycomb with possible upgrade to ICS)

Runs all online video well. My main problem with the last version was that I could not watch amazon prime videos on it. Partly it was the hardware, and partly android 2.2. This tablet runs amazon streaming just fine, as well as Blip.tv, and comedy central's videos (just the few I have tested). I do not have Netflix, but the reviews of the last tablet (TC970) said that it worked fine with the Netflix app and I expect this one will too.

**Cons:
None really. I got used to the simplicity of Froyo, so Honeycomb is proving challenging to adapt to, but I still figured everything I wanted to do out within an hour or so of playing with it.

Tying into the last point, the previous version the TC970 may be a little easier for the non-technical people to use. My parents can use Android 2.2 with little trouble, but I think it would be tougher for them to use Honeycomb. I got this one to try amazon streaming (which worked) but the TC970 was easy to use and could do almost everything. If ease of use is a priority, you might consider the 970. I might change my mind as I get more used to Honeycomb though, it might just seem more confusing having gotten used to one and having to switch.

**The Company Le Pan:
Like I said above, I have had the TC970 for over 2 months. I take it everywhere and love it. The new Le Pan II is replacing it, and my mom is getting my old one. In the months of using the TC970 I can count the number of resets I had to do on one hand. I had one booting issue over Christmas weekend. Tech support for Le Pan opened again on Tuesday morning. By 9am on Tuesday I got a response to my email for tech support and opened a ticket. By the end of the day I had my tablet up and running again. I was impressed with the professional and attentive support I got from Le Pan. My father's and brother's tablets (also TC970s) have had no tech problems at all.

tl,dr: This is an excellent tablet with top end specs and abilities. It has played every online video I can throw at it well (including Amazon Prime streaming). Do not be frightened of the unknown company, I was at first, but the products are great and I have first hand experience with tech support and it was more than adequate. I cannot recommend this or the previous TC970 enough, especially at the price.

The battery life on the original 970 is better than this one (expected since this has twice the processor power), but this one is still what they quote. Good 7 hours of straight use off of a single charge. It loses about 1% per hour while asleep.

Finally, on the video. I can run every video I have tried, except Hulu. Hulu identifies the device as mobile and will not let you play anything (I think this is something on Hulu's end). I was able to watch Hulu on my old 970 indirectly with Playon, but it requires you to have a computer running the software nearby. It worked fine though, and I could watch regular Hulu (I do not have Plus to test). Trying on the 979 it seems to crash when I start the video, I expect it is an issue in Playon's app though, and will follow up with them. Thus far Hulu is the only online video I can not get to work on the Le Pan II, and that is because it just blocks any mobile device it seems.
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on July 5, 2011
The Le Pan TC970 is an excellent Android tablet, I am honestly thrilled with it. It's extremely responsive, never once did I have an issue with it slowing down no matter how many other things were going on. I'm thoroughly enjoying the TC970, and I think you will as well.

Aesthetically the TC970 is very pleasing and stylish looking, it's also thin and lightweight. The build quality is excellent, it's a solidly made tablet on par with those much more expensive.

I've had the pleasure of testing both the Motorola Xoom and the Samsung Galaxy Tab, and I have to say I like the Le Pan TC970 much better overall. The TC970 doesn't have a Tegra in it but from what I've seen it doesn't need it, it's more than capable a handling anything you can throw at it in terms of apps, games or videos or anything else. I was truly surprised that the 1Ghz CPU could handle everything I threw at it.

The most surprising or actually amazing thing is the battery life, no joke here I got over eight hours use while doing a mixture of playing games and browsing the web. I even left I on just sitting and overnight and still had battery left to use it.

The TC970 isn't without its problems though, but they're small and not deal breakers. I don't care for the Apple-like USB connection at all, I would have rather seen a standard micro-USB or even mini-USB connector. The screen is very glossy causing reflections in the correct light and after a few hours of use you'll find the accumulated fingerprints very annoying.

The built-in memory is rather small, yes you can put a larger microSD card in it but I would also like to see more built-in memory.

The build quality is excellent, but the back is rather slippery honestly, I would have liked it to be more rubberized of textured for a better grip.

The other small issue the limited video support, it can't play basic WMV or Divx files.

Yes it's running Android 2.2, some people might think that's old and ask why not Gingerbread or Honeycomb. I thought the same thing so I asked them and they told me to expect an update last quarter of 2011 with Ice Cream Sandwich, they told me they decided to skip Gingerbread and Honeycomb and wait until the next major Android release.

The camera shows things mirrored or backwards, a major update is supposed to be released any day now to fix it. I got no real explanation as to why the camera was that way in the first place though.

The pros and cons are listed below and it might look like a lot of cons but they're small, and not exactly bad things really.

Lastly I should mention the price, it's very low for a tablet of this caliber and quality. It's nice to see something this nice at a low price.

Pros:
+Amazing battery life
+Very responsive touch screen
+Does work in bright light
+Fast and responsive overall
+Low price compared to other tablets
+Simple to use
+Excellent design and construction
+Aesthetically pleasing
+Viewing from most any angle

Cons:
-Proprietary connector
-Screen attracts fingerprints
-Glossy screen
-Small built-in memory
-Back is rather slippery
-Can't use in direct sunlight
-Limited video formats
-Camera is backwards
1818 comments|185 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 16, 2011
I got this tablet back in September and was initially fairly impressed. It looked pretty good, seemed to have a good build quality, had fairly fluid graphics and ran on Android. Plus, even though it was inexpensive, its memory was expandable to 32GB through the micro SD. I talked with their customer service folks before buying, and they explained that although the camera wouldn't actually work with video chat for the time-being, when the new Android OS (4.0) came out it would be able to [Note: I've since been corrected that there is other software and other ways of doing video chat]. As I started to use it I realized that Android 2.2 (aka froyo) is really mainly designed for cell-phones rather than tablets. It doesn't use the screen space very well, doesn't support split pane gmail, and is incompatible with a number of apps you'd would hope to be able to use on your tablet (although I managed to find others that still did most of what I was looking for, it was a pain--particularly given that it was a new product). I also noticed that although my wifi connection was fairly stable at home, it was extremely unstable with my school's enterprise wifi network--a big deal for me since I had bought it mainly for school use. Still, I figured that as soon as I would be able to upgrade to Android 4.0 (ice cream sandwich), the rest of its functionality would be restored.

Google released the source code for Android 4.0 (ICS) 2 days ago (Monday 11/14/11). I called Le Pan about the wifi issue today and confirmed that it was probably because of the old OS. I asked when I'd be able to upgrade the OS, and they said that their engineering folks were now saying it would be impossible to upgrade, but that they'd be coming out with a new tablet next year that would support it. I would be stuck with my current OS. I explained how limited the functionality was and how I wouldn't have bought it if they hadn't reassured me that it would soon have the fully functioning OS and asked for a refund. They said they couldn't offer a refund unless it was broken in some way (as opposed to intrinsically broken). Fortunately, after talking with the folks at Amazon they are refunding it (way to pull through, Amazon!).

I realize that for some of you this wouldn't be a deal-breaker and am giving it two-stars because it does work for some things. But for those hoping for a cheaper (slightly slower) iPad alternative, I'd say this isn't the android you're looking for.

[Note: I realize that I could root it and install a slightly newer OS, but that would void the warranty, and it would ultimately be a dead-end--it would never get to 4.0 or beyond.]
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on February 3, 2012
[Update as of 2012-04-01 below]

I'm in a rush and will hopefully write a more in depth review over time. First impressions:

Let it be clear: I'm a first time Android user, and first time tablet owner. I've used an iPhone 3Gs for years and have a number of laptops and desktop workstations. I would say that in computing I'm an advanced user, but not an expert user. I do front-end Web development including coding, so I can figure out most things, but I don't have a degree in networking and usually figure stuff out thanks to our friends at Google. So perhaps don't know too much about computers, but I follow directions reasonably well when things start getting buggy.

Why I wanted a Tablet:
I like to read PDFs at night and my iPhone screen is just too tiny. Moreover, I like to practice my guitar using online or PDF tab and instruction and well as video instruction. Not only does the laptop create too much distance with the keyboard, but it only allows me to view documents in landscape mode. I felt that an eReader would be best, but I was very unimpressed with the performance of those I tested. I do prefer e-Ink for reading, but the slow processors just killed it for me. I eventually settled on a tablet as it was more versatile. I knew I wanted a monitor that was at least 9", as most of my documents are in PDF format.

Why I didn't buy an iPad
As an iPhone user I was committed to purchasing an iPad after doing a lot of tablet research. I figured that it was the best performer and I already owned many of the apps that would be iPad friendly. However, two things stopped me from taking the plunge. First of all, the iPads are what I consider prohibitively expensive for such a portable device (which I suspect I will eventually sit on, drop, or leave at a cafe by accident). Second, I really, really hate iTunes. It was mostly the iTunes headaches that solidified my decision to go with Android. I'm pretty good with computers and sometimes can't figure out how so many regular computer users seem to get by with iTunes. Don't get me wrong. I think Apple hit a home run with the iPhone. It is ingenious and I love mine -- but it's hard to believe the very same company that created a device so intuitive that it doesn't need a manual -- also created what could be the worst piece of software I've ever used. That would be iTunes. Fortunately, I found an ample iTunes substitute, but it was only after purchasing my Le Pan II.

Why I settled on the Le Pan II.
I did a lot of research before taking a chance on this one. Read hundreds of reviews and had actually given up on Android (as mentioned -- concluded that Apple was the only player in town) until I found the first version of the Le Pan. I was actually going to pull the trigger on that first model, but I felt the limitation of the OS would eventually become an issue in the app market. The Le Pan II is far more versatile unless you root the old one; something I just don't have time to deal with. I spend a good chunk of my time trying to troubleshoot PC and network errors and don't need another headache.

Build Quality: 5 stars.
LP II is quite heavy, but the heft has a very solid feel to it; no creaking or cheap feeling parts. Not prohibitively heavy, but it's definitely got some weight.

Ease of use: 4 stars.
My first real go at Android, and surprisingly it was a no-brainer. Very intuitive. The only reason it doesn't earn 5 stars is because I feel that the app organization is a bit confusing. You can choose to pull the apps onto the carousel sliding start pages, but I don't quite understand why that's necessary. With iOS, all the apps are in your carousel sliding start pages, and you can simply group them together using the drag and drop folder conversion concept -- much more elegant. I also experience some minor bugs when dragging apps to different carousel pages -- sometimes they skip over the destination page, and do other odd things. Not a big deal -- just not as polished as Apple.

App installation simplicity: 5 stars.
I was a bit concerned about app installation issues with Android, but all of my usual apps such as Evernote, Roboform, Skype, Google Apps and others loaded without a hitch.

Speed: 5 stars.
I recall testing out a few different tablets months ago at a local Best Buy. This Le Pan II strikes me as being on equal ground with the iPad in terms of response time. It's very responsive.

Connectivity: 5 stars.
Very simple. Connected to my wi-fi network sans events.

Quick first impressions:
So far my expectations have been exceeded by this high quality, bang for the buck. I haven't tested everything yet, but it organizes my PDFs and MP4 guitar lessons perfectly -- and so this purchase has been worthwhile. The PDF viewing is a little limited in terms of zoom factor, but I may have overlooked a setting that defines the percentage of zoom, etc. It may also be app related. I have only used Acrobat thus far, but have installed a number of readers.

I love the fact that it uses a micro SD. The elastic door that covers the MicroSD is perhaps the only quality control issue -- it doesn't seem to seat flush with the unit, but this does not impact me in any way as long as it doesn't pop open.

The keyboard layout takes a little getting used to. Not sure how enamored I am -- only time will tell. I may purchase a small Bluetooth keyboard and give that a whirl for business tasks where I need to do a lot of writing. Haven't found a way to turn off the vibration when I touch the keys -- despite disabling that function in settings. This concerns me because I need to do stealth reading and writing while my wife sleeps.

The size is good, but not what I would call perfect. Ideally I would like a larger screen by at least 2 diagonal inches and a thinner, lighter body. That would really make it perfect for reading and reading music. But so far, this is adequate--a world better than both my laptop and iPhone. In time I hope to give long-term user impressions for those of you who want tablets for e-reading. Haven't tried it yet in sunlight but imagine it will make things pretty tough to see. I spend most of my time indoors in a poorly lit computing man-cave.

I took the advice of one of the early reviewers and purchased the Targus Truss Case/Stand for HP TouchPad - THZ07202US (Black/Gray) that serves a dual function as a tablet stand. What a great suggestion. First of all, perfect fit, not buttons covered up. The case is so sturdy while supporting the tablet in various angles that I think it's a must-have item.

Night readers: take note! If you hold the tablet in Document view, you can use the HP book-like cover as a shield to prevent light spillage from bothering your spouse while reading in bed at night. That right there is a home-run. I know that at least one of you out there is concerned about this issue, and it was hard to find sympathizers on Google. Brilliant solution.

Last but not least, the cover of the case is stiff enough that you have ample support for viewing the Le Pan in Document View (whatever the opposite of landscape view is called). Get it.

I just can't see paying $500 for a tablet when you can get such a marvelous piece of hardware for this price. I don't think tablets will really hit the mass market until they reach the $200-$300 price point. Le Pan II seems to be ahead of its time.

-----------------------------------
EDIT: 2012-04-01
Despite the date this is serious feedback. No April Fools antics. Just wanted to take a moment and write that I'm still very satisfied with the Le Pan II. It has been a joy to own. That being said, I still believe that iOS is far easier to navigate and the fastest point from A-B. So if money were no object -- now that I have CopyTrans to replace iTunes, I might go with the iPad. But the total upside of the LePan is that Flash video compatibility is ubiquitous, and for my needs that's an important feature. I can access sites with integrated Flash applications, like Songsterr. It's amazing. iOS would be useless for any Web-based Flash apart from Youtube.

I did have quite a scare with the Le Pan where I thought it was bricked. I had installed an app from the Android App Store that is a customized app launcher. The Le Pan went into a continuous reboot cycle for two days. I methodically addressed all the variables. Tried the hard reset with Cables in, cables out, etc. Finally performed the reset with the volume button held down, and that did the trick. Immense relief, because it was my last option. I think this is more indicative of Android OS, and nothing to do with Le Pan as a product or brand.

One annoyance of the Le Pan II that I have not been able to resolve is another thing that is related to Android OS and not Le Pan itself. This is the hepatic vibration feedback when you push the navigation keys. It's a great feature in general, but when I want to do some stealth reading at night next to my sleeping wife, it's very annoying. Very stupid of Android to make this feature uncustomizable. There is no hack short of rooting the OS that addresses this.

Another annoyance that I have fortunately solved is that the screen luminosity could only be reduced by a small amount for night reading. I went through a number of apps and finally came upon one which I will highly recommend to all of you night readers. What makes it great is that you can access it from any screen so if you accidentally disable it and your Le Pan is glowing like a torch while you spazz out to cover it up with the sheets, this app allows you to make a simple swipe gesture with your finger and you're back in dark screen mode.

I will warn you that Android allows you to nearly brick your OS by adjusting the screen brightness to zero. So how on earth are you supposed to get your screen visible again if you can't see anything? I had this happen once accidentally while playing with the slider and thankfully I pressed the right place on the screen to get things visible again. Fortunately this app allows you to set a minimum of, say, 3% which gives you enough rendering to see everything you need. Therefore, You can never accidentally make the screen go black.

App is called Display Brightness. Free if I recall from the Android store. Once you install the app, just add the widget to your home screen. Now keep this in mind since the widget isn't the most intuitive thing in the world. You need to set your default swiping area. Make sure you give yourself enough adequate area. It's in the form of a vertical strip. You can make that strip thinner or thicker. That attribute is controlled in the app setup screen by the top slider bar called the "Select Size." Once that is enabled and you've tweaked everything perfectly after some trial and error, enable the app by pushing the "Enable Indicator button on the lower left." Now, in whatever screen you may be, you just need to swipe your finger down to reduce the light and up to increase. One word of caution -- there may be a small, innocuous bug. Sometimes you will have apps with menu buttons on the top left of your screen. When you touch them, this disables the Display Brightness, so suddenly you have a glowing torch in the dead of night. Easy fix of course is to just swipe your finger down the left side of the screen again to go back into dark screen mode. This app is the most useful I've found. You will thank me :)

If you would like to know about other useful widgets I've found just let me know.

Other small annoyances of the Le Pan II. The volume buttons are so integrated into the profile of the Le Pan that I cannot find them with tactile fiddling. This becomes annoying, because in a dark environment you just cannot see them. Once you learn where they are, however, it's not that big a deal.

Other than the one Brick scare I had, no other problems. My battery was being consumed like crazy at first until I learned how to manage apps and power consumption. Apple is far more intuitive in this department as well.

My original use for this product was instructional guitar videos and guitar tab, and it's been perfect for that application. Definitely happy with this purchase. Android OS is weird, but while you have to go through more steps than necessary to get something done, it's doable.
3030 comments|72 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 10, 2012
I was very exited about my Le Pan tablet at first, things were going well. Then I woke up one morning and the screen was dark. I pressed the power button. Nothing. I pressed the reset button, it comes on and boots to the Le Pan logo screen and stays there. I Press the power button, nothing. I press the reset button again and it boots to the Le Pan logo screen and stays there.

Wash, rinse, repeat.

What now? I'm a week past the point were I can return it to Amazon. I contact Le Pan. They tell me a few things to try. I try them. No joy. Then they give me an RMA. Immediately I became anxious. I don't even know who these people are. What if I never get my tablet back. I keep trying to get it to work. Nothing. Finally I boxed it and sent it out via Fedex, which I had to pay for.

Guess what? It's been almost 2 months and I'm still waiting. OMG! How many times do I have to learn this lesson! Never go cheap!

Basically, I'm in a black hole without an inkling of when I'm going to see light again. They won't even give me hope! Here's Le Pan's last message to me:

"Hello XXXX,

Unfortunately we are backed up with RMAs at the moment.
Your unit is being processed at this time, though I am unable to give you an estimated day on which we will be able to ship out. We will however, update you with a tracking number when we are shipping the unit back to you. We will move as quickly as possible to get your unit shipped out.
Thank you for your patience and we understand that this can be a frustrating process."

Hmmm...Apparently I have allot of company in this black hole, even though I can't see them. So yeah it's half the price of the iPad, but half of nothing is nothing. I hope yours never breaks.
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on July 22, 2011
Don't normally write reviews but had to on this occasion. This is a great little tablet at a great price and I highly recommend it to anyone wishing to purchase a tablet that is a good combination of looks, performance and price. Only problem I've had occurred when I recently downloaded Skype and found the tablet microphone to be faulty. I immediately phoned Tech Support and got through to a support person almost immediately.....now THAT is something new these days...and found him extremely helpful. I was asked to return the unit and had a new replacement within 3 days. I have no criticism at all of the unit, great bright screen, good battery life and very responsive to all apps I have downloaded to date.
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on August 30, 2011
I have been using the Le Pan for almost two months now, and although it isn't quite as sleek or fast as other 10" tablets costing hundreds of dollars more, it is really close. It is solidly made, it has a great picture quality, and the battery life lets me leave it on 24/7 for almost two weeks with light-to-moderate daily use. It does start to lag once in awhile, but a reboot usually gets it going again.

Here are a few of my answers to the negatives about this tablet:

1. I have a screen protector, and I bought the Targus Truss Leather Case & Stand for iPad. It fits very well, especially with a cotton ball stuffed inside the lower left corner to let the power button be accessed (you don't see the cotton).

2. The power button IS a pain, so I only use it to turn ON the tablet. I installed an app from the Android Market called "Screen Off and Lock" that turns off the tablet by pressing and holding the search button on the front.

3. If you install another app called "Mobo Video Player", you can play videos of many more formats than the included video player. Don't install the (v5) version.
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on November 21, 2011
**Update 3 March: I have added a video review demonstrating several functions of the Le Pan I. It is very similar to my review for the Le Pan II. In it I show access to Gmail, markets, Kindle, Pictures, music, Browser use with amazon prime streaming (now working apparently), YouTube and the web cam among other things. The tablet shown is using Build number 4078 for those interested.

**There is a newer version for the TC970 at [...]

For anyone having technical issues with their tablet, try updating to resolve them.

Cases: The Le Pan I and II are identical size with much of the same hardware. I have found cases for IPad fit a bit better than HP Touchpad, but both are usable. The case in this video is CaseCrown Bold Standby case for Apple iPad 2 (Built-in magnet for Apple Smart Cover's sleep & awake) - Black, I use HHI HP TouchPad Folio Flip Case with Muti-Function Stand - Purple (Package include a HandHelditems Sketch Stylus Pen) on mine and both require adjustments to access volume and buttons. They must also be removed from the case to charge. My mom uses Targus Truss Case/Stand for HP TouchPad - THZ07202US (Black/Gray) and has none of these limitations, but it is a bit thicker (my mom likes that for more protection), I do not since I put mine in a messenger bag with books on the go and space is a premium.

****Comparison of Le Pan I and II:
I had this model for 2 months and loved it. I upgraded to the Le Pan II for amazon prime streaming (which apparently works on both now). In general the Le Pan II is worth the extra money for newer and stronger capabilities (more online video options in general and newer browser with TABS!). However, for eReading and basic web surfing the Le Pan I will work for an average user. If you want higher power for more techie oriented things, I recommend the Le Pan II. That is if you can find one, most places are sold out and with good reason.

My parents (not technie inclined) love theirs and now use them in daily life. My dad surfs the web quickly and easily from his recliner, and my mom uses hers as basically a large Ipod touch for music and games. They use them daily and have no complaints. I do not think they would get any more out of an upgrade to the Le Pan II.

I have adapted to my Le Pan II and sadly cannot live without it any more (I could settle with Le Pan I and live). I use it at all hours of the day to control other devices, surf the web, check email (all can be done just as well from Le Pan I). The added power of the tablet and browser compared to the Le Pan I was well worth it for me. I use my computer a lot, and thanks to my Le Pan II there are now days I simply do not turn on my computer at all.

If web browsing and email (not a lot of streaming video embedded in pages) is your main focus, the Le Pan I will work fine for your purpose.

If accessing all the techie parts of the internet with 6 tabs in your browser is how you surf the web, get the Le Pan II.

I understand Netflix works on both with the app for those interested. The battery life is slightly better on the Le Pan I (half the power so no surprise). I like the default keyboard on the Le Pan II better, but you can get other keyboards. I can now type about 70 words per minute on my Le Pan II and it keeps up, the Le Pan I should be able to match that. In either case both are really great tablets.

***Original review:

I shall try to avoid repeating what others have put into reviews, and try to be brief despite much praise. First to explain my culmination comment, I have been searching for a viable tablet to watch online videos, read webpages/email comfortably, and as a small portable media player. This tablet does all of these things acceptably well or in exemplary fashion, and met my final criterion of not being retardedly expensive. I picked up a few of the really cheap 7" tablets. They did okay, but lacked web video support. They make good supplemental media players though. I saw this tablet, and was wary given the unknown name. However, I took the chance and am very happy I did. I showed my family, and have now had to get one for my father and brother, too.

There are a few notes I would give on top of the given info in other reviews, I agree with pretty much every positive thing said in the other reviews. This tablet is wonderful, and at an excellent price, but there are a few caveats I have noticed. These are in no way deal breakers for me given that other tablets of similar quality cost twice as much.

Not all online video works, the single core limits the video capacity on non-'mobile optimised' videos. It usually does fine for the most part on short videos (~10 min or less) but not so well on longer ones. The videos optimised for mobile play just fine, and I have had no trouble with youtube etc. The dual core tablets seem to do this fine, but it limits little compared to the price.

**Apparently no longer the case see video update** Tying into the last point it does not stream video from Amazon.com well. My connection should be fine, but the attempts I have made at watching amazon prime streaming video has been unwatchable from moment one, I hope amazon gets mobile support. They needn't sell me a kindle fire at a loss by supporting general mobile devices, and it would increase my video rentals.

The speakers are actually pretty good for portable devices (almost no portable speakers have good bass, but this is certainly not 'tinny'). A good pair of headphones is a must for audio excellence on a portable device. I have noted that the sound through my headphones, while certainly above average, is not as good as some other devices (I listen to opera, and you can really tell differences).

My Le Pan has been very stable, I have had it 3 weeks and only had to reset it once.

I think that is most of the information I have that did not show up in other reviews. If I think of anything else I shall update this.

In conclusion, if you are looking for a great price on a far better than average tablet: get this product. If you are looking for top shelf, be ready to pay twice this amount or more.

**Update** After 2 months of continual use, my tablet ran into a booting issue. I sent an email Friday night of Christmas weekend. The offices were closed until Tuesday (which I pretty much expected). By 9am PST I received a response email instructing me how to open a ticket so that I could get tech support. I did so, had a few back and forth comments to go through tech support steps, and by Tuesday evening I had the information I needed to restore my tablet to perfect function. I am now enjoying my tablet once more. I got so addicted to this thing that I was very eager indeed to get it back up and running. The other TC970 tablets I got for my father and brother are still running perfectly. I am excited about the upcoming Le Pan II to be released in early January.

update tl;dr I needed tech support and got it in a professional and expedient fashion, my experience with company interaction has been emphatically positive.
99 comments|23 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on September 27, 2011
I have been doing research, reading reviews, watching reviews on YouTube, and pulling my hair out trying to find the right Android Tablet to fit my budget, my quality standards, and my wants/needs. Well folks...I have found it! The Le Pan TC 970 is an Awesome Android Tablet! The touchscreen display is beautiful and smooth, the Android 2.2 is awesome and super easy to use, the WiFi is easy to connect, the Bluetooth is nice, the speakers are not bad at all even though other reviews say they are terrible...not true at all, the battery life is Amazing (10+ Hours), and I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the materials used for the Le Pan and also how heavy duty and sturdy it is. I recommend getting a stylus for this tablet because the fingerprints on the screen will drive you crazy and I also wish it had bigger internal memory cause I had to buy a 16 GB Micro SDHC Card ($30) so I could store movies and music on the tablet...because the 2 GB is just way too small...other than that it is an Awesome & Inexpensive Android Tablet and I am very happy I decided to take a chance on purchasing the Le Pan TC 970. Thank you everyone for the good reviews here on Amazon to help me make my decision.

UPDATE: (10/17/11)
I am still in love with my Le Pan! The battery life is even more amazing that I have previously thought. I played on it throughout the day for 3 days in a row and barely used half the battery. The apps all work fairly well and it is so much fun to relax on my couch and play on my tablet vs. having a hot laptop sitting on my lap. The Le Pan also works well on long trips to have fun and pass the time away...of course do not operate it while you are driving...LOL! I bought a stylus for it which works very well at keeping the screen fingerprint free, but I also bought a screen protect and man was that a waste of $13! I should have just thrown $13 on the ground and walked away...what a joke that was! Anyways...if you are still debating on buying the Le Pan...don't hesitate...you're gonna love it!
22 comments|31 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

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