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Showing 1-10 of 98 reviews(4 star). See all 322 reviews
on April 24, 2011
The tablet meets my expectations, but only because I was already aware of its shortcomings before ordering it. As other reviewers have stated, this is not an iPad. The screen is not bad at all and good for reading documents in bed. I've found the best reading app to be the Kindle one, although for comic book CBR files, I'm using the Droid Comic Viewer version 1.3.10. The YouTube app from the Cruz market really stinks. The videos are terrible quality, I'm not sure if anything better is available. So far I would say video is the weakest feature, I actually haven't been able to successfully play a video from the SD card yet, but will keep trying different formats and encode rates. Photos look very nice in the photo viewer though, it will make a good tool for showing off snapshots on vacation. In any case, my main reason for purchasing this was as a reader and internet browser. The included browser seems sufficient in rendering most websites, with the exception of any flash support. I understand there are other third party browser options, but I have yet to check them out. Bottom line; for $120 it fits my needs right now. There are issues with responsiveness and quirks to be sure, but nothing that keeps it from being useful. I kept my expectations low and was pleasantly surprised. I'll keep my Kindle for reading outdoors and on long trips, but this will be my new bedside reader.
4 people found this helpful
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on June 15, 2011
I did a lot of research before buying this; I wanted an inexpensive color eReader, because I have a lot of comics and you need a color screen. I was not looking for a tablet or iPad, so I didn't need a device with a lot of features. I read the negative reviews first, and found that the most common reason for the negative review was because they were expecting a $100 eReader to act like a $500 iPad. This isn't the device's fault, it is the idiot who bought it with those expectations.

First the bad... when it was built it was capable of accessing the Android Market, but because the Android Market has upgraded and now requires Android 2.1, this R101 is not capable (stock) to access the market. You have to root the device and upgrade the ROM in order to access the Android Market- the R101 is stuck at Android 2.0 and will never be upgraded. I find this process pointless for a slow device that will not be able to run most apps anyway. Why go through all the trouble just to have a mediocre experience?

The internal memory is only 256MB, and even after using the uninstall utility available on Velocity Micro's website to remove six apps, I still only had 40MB left available!! The only way to remove the remaining bloatware is to root the phone and jump through a couple more hoops to delete the .apk files. Because I didn't plan to use this device as anything other than an eReader, I installed the only apps I wanted... Aldiko (v1.2.6) and Perfect Viewer (for comic reading). Both installed perfectly fine, and afterward I have 36MB of available internal memory.

I don't really consider these two things as necessarily bad, since the device now does exactly what I wanted, and it does it perfectly. I've read a book and several comics, and had no problems using the resistive screen for movement; I have a stylus and haven't had a problem with it. When I first started the device, I went in and calibrated the screen and got a perfect score.

For those complaining about the WiFi range, there is a way to add an additional internal antenna which greatly improves the device's range... and the antenna costs less than $5.

I also will add that the reason I use Aldiko as my ONLY eReading app, is because I convert all eBook files using the free program Calibre, and then load them onto the R101 via external SD card. So it doesn't matter where I buy books or what format they use, you don't need separate apps if you convert them to a single ePub format for Aldiko to read.

So in closing, I'd just like to say that this device works perfectly if you use it for the purpose it was intended- as an eReader. Because this device is already outdated, don't expect it to access or run the latest apps or Android markets. Even with jumping through the rooting process, it would be akin to putting a 4cyl engine in a Cadillac; you may have increased your space, but that's really about the only improvement.
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on August 14, 2011
I've owned the Cruz Reader for nearly three weeks, now, and out of the box it was rather disappointing. I understood it was a limited function device prior to purchasing but believed it would, at least, be responsive within its limits. Such was not the case. Most of the problem seems to be with the speed of the CPU (533 MHz) and translates into very slow everything. Apps loaded slowly; the touchscreen responded slowly; page turns in ereaders were slow; everything was slow. Video was sluggish regardless of bit rate, file size, resolution, or encoding method. Even audio playback of music files was lack luster.

But...

I was able to root the device and install a "hacked" ROM. Doing so allowed for pumping the CPU up to 800 MHz and the world changed. It's still not up to par with higher end Android tablets or iPads, however, it does everything it should have done (according to its promotional material) out of the box and does it very well. It's still a resistive touch screen rather than capacitive but I've used early PDAs (Palm, HPaqs, etc.) so I'm rather accustomed to the feel. Apps install fine and run as they should and it even works with older incarnations of the Android Appstore. All-in-all, I'm quite happy with the device as of this writing. The only downside, even after hacking is it still is stuck with Android 2.0.

It would be difficult to recommend the purchase to anyone who wants to do anything other than read books without having to root and apply third party hacks. But if you're familiar with UNIX based OSes or Android rooting and hacking, it's worth the price and turns a sub-$100 reader into a functional Android tablet.
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on February 9, 2011
It's been said before, but to reiterate - DON'T EXPECT AN IPAD. The thing is $100, iPads are $500 - there is a reason for this. No one's going to make you a super fast, comparable model for 80% off. With that said, it's a great device for the cost.

Screen: good for indoors reading, very difficult to use outside in the sun. It's much easier to use if you have a stylus, but it's not necessary. Just keep in mind it's not as responsive as an iPad, so you have to press harder.

Speed: Not incredibly fast, but usually good enough. You have to carefully monitor the apps you have open and shut down the ones hogging memory using your task manager. Also, there are some hacks available that allow you to modify the running applications and overclock it to 800mhz, although I haven't tried them yet and can't endorse them.

Apps: the built in reader is decent. I downloaded FBReader and Aldiko (favorite) for epub files and that's improved the experience. I mainly use it as an ebook reader, so didn't check out the games or email clients or anything, but there should be enough for most purposes.

Cost: When I bought it 2/4, Amazon had it at $120 and used for $100. You can probably find it for $90 - $100 used on ebay. Unbeatable in terms of function for the cost.

To summarize, it's a good ereader/ web browser for the price. If you need a full functioning fast tablet for online videos or processor intensive tasks, be prepared to pay for it
3 people found this helpful
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on December 19, 2011
I bought the Cruz R101 because I was looking for a second reader (I already have a Samsung Galaxy Tab 7") and the R101 appeared to me more efficient than specific e-readers like Kindle or Nook, which I also know well.
My idea was that any Android tablet should have more capabilities than those simple e-readers, even if runs with old Android 2.0 version.

That became true, but I found out that the Cruz R101 is mostly a e-reader and not an efficient Android tablet. Also, that the information in Amazon didn't emphasized this point and skipped some important details. For instance:

1) The "touchscreen" is not sensible at all. You have to push hard the finger on icons, or touch it with a plastic stylus (like those designed for telephones). After reading the manual I learned that R101 has a "resistive screen" and not a "capacitive screen", and they even recommend using a plastic stylus. However, there was not previous information or warning about this.

2) Because of such an "unsensible" touchscreen it's also hard to access the basic controls (home, back, search and settings) that Android tablets usually have, because the R101 has them inside the screen area, when they should be outside, like the "bottoms" in other tablets.

3) After reading the Manual I also learned that R101 uses any external memory card mainly for file storage, so you can transfer files to the internal memory card which is only 4 GB (in my case). This means having to work with a very limited memory size.

4) The disadvantage of this little internal memory size (I as understand but might be wrong) has to do with multitasking activities.
For instance, I found out that if I wanted to listen music while reading, first I had to copy MP3 files to the internal memory. Otherwise, if I played the files only from the external card, the music stopped when a book was opened.
Again, there was no indication of this characteristic in the advertising, and unfortunately I had bought an external memory card which now has little use here.

It should be clear that my observations have to do mainly with THE ADVERTINSING OF THE CRUZ READER R101 and not the reader itself.

Even more, after 3 months playing with the Cruz R101 I kind of like it and certainly confirmed that is a better option than a simple e-reader.

My point is that I would have like to know in advance about the limitations described. Believe me, I would probably have bought the Cruz R101 anyway, but without those excessive expectations that made me frustrated during the firsts days. I hope this review might help to adjust other costumers expectations

Albam Brenes
Costa Rica
2 people found this helpful
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on April 20, 2011
Like many other reviewers, I'll affirm that if you think you are getting a tablet with functionality like an iPad or higher end Android tablet (e.g. Xoom, Galaxy) for 1/4 the price, you'll be sadly disappointed. Why one would think such a thing is a bit beyond me.

That said, for the price it's a great little gadget. It is easy to setup and use. The apps provided are decent and if one is unhappy with the Cruz Market one can add the amazon market or search the internet for ways to change the ROM and add the Android Market, root the tablet, and overclock the CPU, etc. Definitely better for web browsing and reading vice email and other more interactive applications that require a lot of typing. It has, after all, a resistive, not capacitive touch screen, which means one must press somewhat hard and accurately to trigger a key, link, etc. A stylus makes things easier but not perfect. I found that it was easier to use the touch screen after it was calibrated.

I haven't tried any games on it, but I doubt anything requiring precise touching would be much fun.
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on February 3, 2011
I am an independent, honest reviewer--not a Kindle or NookBook spy, employee or contractor. I purchased this product through Amazon.

I received this in great condition. At first I could not do a thing with it because I had my internet registered as wireless and had to convert it to wifi (my fault). I took it to a McDonald's that had a great wifi reception and viola! It worked perfectly. Downloading to Amazon Kindle books was a cinch. Searching the web is fabulous! Email is wonderful. Grant it, I'm having trouble with viewing Youtube, but if I work at it, I'll probably be able to do it. For the money, it's a pretty darn good reader tablet. I love the fact that it's a touch screen and in color. Sure, the screen smudges, but that's what Clorox wipes are for. And sometimes you have to press the keys several times before it responds, but so what, just be patient, it'll show up. I was impressed enough until I purchased one for my family member.

Velocity Cruz is not paying me to review this product. I've taken it upon myself to offer this review because I want folks to know that you don't have to spend $250 for a decent color/touch screen tablet. The Cruz R101 is a great investment at under $120. Try it, you'll like it. And if you don't, send it back within 30 days for a full refund. Just don't expect it to be a laptop; even though it acts like a mini laptop and knockoff Ipad.
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on April 21, 2011
When I bought my R101 initially, I did so just as a student looking for a inexpensive and versatile e-reader. I found that the prospect of carrying a one pound slate rather than scores of heavy college textbooks extremely alluring. So after considering a number of alternative machines and slates, I chose this item as I had began obsessively reading Slatedroid, and found that it can be rooted and re-ROMed EXTREMELY easily, should the limitations of the device prove frustrating.

I recalibrated the touchscreen right away with a stylus, (and I suggest EVERYONE do this) spent a month with it running the stock ROM, customizing the features etc until I had about 20 or so nice apps, and loaded it up with movies and pdfs I needed to study. It ran smoothly and had an acceptable battery life per charge.

The Positives- In its original form:
+1. It's a versatile e-reader, able to run a number of e-book formats.
+2. You can load up plenty of videos on your external sd card, in lots of formats.
+3. Customer support is actually very good. Believe me. I've called them probably a dozen times with some pretty involved questioning- before I even bought anything from them. Good people if you give them a chance. Plus the fact that they're stateside, actually means something to me.

The Negatives- in original form:
-1. It cannot access the full Android Market as is. And yes, that means no AppBrain for you either.
-2. Memory at 256mb means you'll have to juggle your priorities, and apps. Learn the art of backing up to SD. It's annoying, but no, you don't need an application for that.
-3. Android 2.0 Eclair is all you get with this. No flash support, no real youtube. While Velocity Micro states on their website that the Cruz T301 can update to 2.2 via the firmware update- don't hold your breath for the R101 to get such treatment. It's all about pricepoints people.
-4. Greasey fingerprints adhere on this items screen bigtime. Glare is also an issue.. screen protector with matte finish is a great idea with almost all tablets though. I had to cut and iPad screen protector to fit- worked perfectly.

Ultimately if you choose to try the "Macho" ROM found on SlateDroid:

The Positives- in the adapted form:
+1. The Market. Yes, that one. Getting access changes your device and adds much much more possiblity I won't go into here.
+2. Live wallpapers. I don't personally use them... but if you find the livewallpaper picker app, it can run them, although you might find some hog the cpu and kill battery time.
+3. A little more available RAM to start with. Every bit helps. =P

The Negatives- in the adapted form:
-1. The battery life could become subpar after installing the Macho ROM. Sadly likely.
-2. The HTC Sapphire loading animation with this ROM is the big brother of Ugly. Remove it if you can. It's doable.. but again bothersome.
-3. You could, in theory, brick your reader.. sometimes these things happen. You might be able to reflash the firmware via the update on VM's site. They might cover you with the warranty.. but there is a risk. Decide for yourself if it's worth it.

Having said my peice now, I'll just conclude by saying in either form, it's a great device. I really enjoy mine.. and I would buy another, without a doubt. Everytime anyone in the know regarding tablets has seen mine, they always seem suprised at what a bargain it was, and total suprise at its variablities and strengths. It's a keeper if you know what you're in for, and treat it with a lot of tlc.
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on March 2, 2011
I got this reader because I wanted one that supports color. I was looking for a READER, so the added capabilities were just a bonus. I set it up within fifteen minutes of getting it and so far I love it. The only reason I gave it four starts is because it is a bit slow and it does hang on occasion; however, this is not a deal breaker for me. I was wary because of some of the bad reviews, but I don't regret having purchased this. It's easy to get excited with the extra features of this reader, but you really do have to keep in mind that it isn't a tablet. It's a reader with a few extras.
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on August 3, 2011
Bought this because I ahd no portable device to connect to the internet and was going to europe and did not want to be stranded if my phone junked out. It connects to Wi-fi just fine it sometimes is intermittent if the signal is not great but it worked better than my friends ipod and is able to stream youtube. It works great as a reader I would rarely read a paper book again, I live reading black backround with white print.

Now for the negatives, this is not an Ipad and is only runnind Droid 2.0 so it has limits on apps. Also does not ahve the droid market so also has alot of limits on apps. Internet is slow at times and rarely fast, had some issues with it turning on seems to be fussy but then will work a few minutes later. Perfect size screen for me except when reading it sometimes may eb akward when laying down, battery has been very good but I feel like it accidentally turns on to easy and I have found myself out of batterys once or twice which sucked since its always when im on the move. But all in all great buy for the money, pretty much what I was expecting.
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