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  • Customer 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.
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on April 15, 2011
I got my R101 from Amazon in 01/2011. I only purchased it because my research told me I could possibly turn this into more....got exactly what I expected from researching. I found several sites that almost walk you thru "rooting" it. Rooting is getting root permission on the operating system to do things you normally cannot do. Look for Z4 root,it is GREAT.It gives superuser access,same as doing it to a cell phone. Once I had root I proceeded to Slatedroid for loading another ROM from JGM.This gave me the Market from Google and much more. I even get 800Mhz instead of factory 532Mhz. The forum on Slatedroid Forum is very helpful.I also used JGMs APP2SD which takes you from the limited 60mb for apps to whatever you can store on the internal or external SD.Mine is running about 3 browsers,4 readers,Angry Birds,IMdb and quite a few other apps. If I had not done what I did to it I would have been able to load about 1/4 the apps I have and I still have a Gig of space for apps left. I also took the back off and connected a laptop wifi antenna that I got online for about $4. There is an extra spot inside to connect one, helps the wifi speed.Now, I have a great little Tablet that I can do soooo much more on. I rooted in about 5 minutes and installed a new ROM on this thing all in all in about an hour or so. I can even run a few apps intended for Android 2.1 or higher. For $100 I have a $300 tablet now. I will be happy to try and answer some questions if you ask. Good Luck
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on January 24, 2011
I don't mean to brag, but I got Android market (as a part of Google experience), replaced with a bigger micro SD card, can read library books in EPUB and MOBIPOCKET formats, overclocked to full 800 MHz, got rid of any apps that starts with cruz xxx, ....

FLASHING:
For those looking to modify this tablet to make it into an Android Tablet, the basic idea is to FLASH the modified update file instead of the one provided by Cruz. Look at the CRUZ website to learn how to FLASH. You can modify the provided update file before flashing it yourself. The apps under system/apps are the ones that you WILL not be able to uninstall from the tablet (unless you follow directions under uninstall in Cruz support website), and the apps under data/apps are the ones that you will be able to uninstall easily.

The app you need is android market, which is not readily available. It is available as a package called google experience, which is provided as a zip file. You can combine this with the cruz provided update file to create your own. I used the update file provided by jgm (Amazon does not let me post the website, but the posting is in slatedroid).

I used setcpu app to overclock, but flankly it doesn't make notable difference.

For LIBRARY BOOKS:

I use overdrive app to directly download and read the library books in epub format, and ireader app to read mobipocket or kindle books. ireader cannot download directly from the library website, so you will have to download it through your computer first. I used the same PID for the computer and the tablet. The great thing is that the mobipocket books do not expire anymore when you read using ireader.

OTHER USEFUL APPS

The tablet comes with three types of memory: Internal memory (256 MB), Internal micro SD (4 GB, but easy to replace with larger capacity micro sd card), and External SD (you have to provide the external SD card). All the apps are installed on the internal memory (256MB), and the apps download stuff (ebooks,...) on to the internal SD card. It is possible to force the apps (the ones that you install) to be installed on the internal SD. This can be done using an app called app2sd. I have not done this, because I don't need many apps.

The only thing I can't do is to play my mp4 files. It turned out that the resolution on mine is too big. When I ripped a DVD with lower resolution, it played the video just fine. I use dvdfab software, and I chose IPOD Mpeg format.

I got an app called memory booster. It is fun to see how much memory I am using, and kill some apps that are using up memories.

I am also planning on adding another antenna (very easy to install). Without the extra antenna, it has a very good signal as long as you don't move the tablet around so much. I don't know what people are complaining about. I have a BIG house that is much longer in one dimension, but I have no problem getting a signal as long as I don't move the tablet.

By the way, COBY tablets can be modified the same way (by modifying the update.zip file before flashing it).
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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 July 12, 2011
I have had the R101 for a while now and even though I tried to like it I must say that it needs work. The touchscreen is nowhere near responsive enough and the device itself is clunky. I never expected this to be an I pad, I just wanted something that would let me read my ebooks but after using this I deeply regret spending money on it. It's a piece of junk plain and simple and since velocity Micro made my computer (which is really good) I expected better. If you plan on using this device for a while be ready for frequent freeze ups and crashes as well as battery drainage (if it's left on) and wifi problems. Right out of the box it kept losing the wifi signal that is RIGHT IN THE HOUSE and I would need to turn it off and turn it on again to re-establish a link. Then there is the cheap plastic touchscreen that as I mentioned before is very unresponsive . My advice to anyone who buys this would be to invest in a good stylus and don't loose it unless you want numb fingers from repeatedly poking at the screen.

I know what you're thinking as you read this. I only want something to read ebooks on . Well I was once in your shoes and trust me you can do better. Without wifi you cant connect to any of the sites to update your library, and trust me it is frustrating. My advice to you is to get something that works you'll be glad that you did.
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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
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on January 5, 2011
I read a bunch of reviews about this prior to buying it (on Amazon and elsewhere) and they were about 50/50 so I was a little hesitant about purchasing this. I bought it though because I figured that was Amazon's return policy if I got it and hated it, I could send it right back. I basically wanted something that I could access my emails, surf the web, read and play games on from my bed and office. I was seriously anticipating having to send this back but from the minute I opened it, I've loved it! I've had it about 3 weeks and it's womderful! A lot of the reviews that I read were about how limited the apps and so for were but looking at the dates, those were written like 6+ months ago. I have had no trouble finding apps for this or operating this. I just wanted something bigger than my Blackberry, cheaper than a Netbook or Ipad and smaller than a computer. It fits right in my purse so I can take it to work and read at my lunch hour or kill time playing games while waiting for an appointment. After owning this I dont know why anyone would want a Kindle. This is really easy to use right out of the box. It is so much more than just an e-reader. If you want an I-pad then go spend $400 dollars more and go get one. BestBuy carries this but they had a really crappy return policy so I would reccomend looking at it there but buying it on Amazon. You can also search you tube videos to watch about it which I also thought were helpful but just make sure that you are looking at the correct model. If you are interested get it and then if you don't like it send it back :) It does not come with a memory card though. You will have to buy that. Overall, I am really happy with my purchase and would recommend this to any & everyone!
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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
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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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