I’ve been taking the past week or so to go through a new iRulu 7″ android tablet [phablet]. It’s a dual core android tablet, but more than that it’s actually a large smartphone w/GPS. This particular tablet is what I would consider a baseline model. It has the ability to do things like watch Netflix, Skype and play some low-end games.
One thing that I’ve found with portable devices and especially android tablets, and this is true for PC’s, the more complex the operating system and the more complex the applications, the more additional processing and memory is required for the device to function on an exceptional level.
IRulu was gracious enough to allow me to do a review on this particular tablet and while I think the tablet functions on baseline level, I think with some additional memory, I think this tablet would perform much better. Background discussions with them were that it would be possible to increase the memory of this particular tablet to 1 GB, as opposed to the standard 512 MB.
The packaging for the tablet was very straightforward. The tablet came packaged in a cardboard box with a Styrofoam packaging for protection. In my particular case, the tablet arrived and was small enough to be placed into my mailbox.
In the box was a users guide, 2 USB cable adapters, stylists and the power supply. When the tablet was received, it had a full charge. I was able to start using the tablet immediately.
The tablet that I received was all black. It has a front WebCam and a back WebCam. If you’re using this tablet as a giant phone, there’s a speaker at the top of the tablet. At the top of the tablet [vertically] there’s a headphones jack and the micro USB for accessories and device charging.
When you pick up the device is comfortable to the hand, but as you’re running your hands around the device and as you’re using it, you notice that your fingers tend to stick or hang on the edges because they’re not rounded or refined. It’s not a great inconvenience, but you do notice it.
On the back there’s a small removable panel to get to the SIM and memory slots. It’s very easy to get to, but not so much the panel is going to pop off.
Playing around with the device
In using the tablet for the first time, I was not overly impressed with the responsiveness/performance of swiping left and right on the device. I felt there was just a little bit too much lag in the device responding. This could be something that can be addressed with adding additional memory to the unit.
If I’m being honest about the evaluation of this tablet [and I am] , when I swipe my finger across the device screen, I expect the responsiveness of the device to be there. I don’t like a delay when navigating the device.
This android tablet didn’t have that snappy responsiveness that I’m really looking for. I want the tablets that I work with to have that crisp reaction and be responsive.
It’s my opinion that Skype is one of those applications for a tablet that must work if you’re going to keep it. Android tablets are great and they can do lots of things, but being able to do videoconferencing just makes it that much more convenient and it really establishes the devices being more than just something that you can have fun with.
In my testing with this tablet, I found that Skype performed fairly well straight out of a cold boot, with no other applications running, but I did find that Skype puts a fairly large load on the dual core processor of this tablet. During the course of my testing, I was using Skype and during the conversation I rotated the tablet from portrait to landscape and the Skype application crashed. The application seem to work fine as long as I didn’t rotate the device during the middle of the conversation. The rotation of the device while I was using it seemed to place too much of a load on the processor; reorienting.
This tablet did not have any problems with connecting to Netflix or browsing the movie selections. When I would use Netflix to try to view movies or TV shows, it was pretty responsive. I found the performance of this tablet with Netflix to work fairly well, but I did notice that from time to time the playback seemed a little bit jumpy. I’m willing to say that it’s possibly an issue with Wi-Fi, but based on other experiences, with other applications, I’m going to go back to the requirement for additional memory.
Plex was another application that I was using on this tablet and it seemed to perform the same expectations as Netflix and Skype. The application worked and it did what it was supposed to do, but I did see instances where the playback of the video was just a little jumpy, nowhere as good as the previous review I did for the other iRulu tablet.
I think testing the tablet with Plex is a definite requirement because the media that I’m using is stored locally and I should have the best possible connection in accessing that media.
It’s fair to say that I loaded several videogames on to this android tablet and while some performed very well, some applications that were working on other android tablets didn’t work at all. For instance, beach buggy which is a 3-D intensive videogame for the android platform, would not load on this particular tablet. This android tablet only came with 512 MB of internal memory and this could be a limiting point of this tablet.
Some games seemed to struggle and pause at times.
Is it useful?
It’s not fair to say that this tablet’s usefulness is limited to watching videos and playing video games. This tablet still has a very high level of usefulness in doing other stuff. I was able to plug-in by USB adapter to it and play movies directly off of an external hard drive and a jump drive. The tablet had FM stereo. I was able to tune into a local radio station and listen to actual FM radio without having to stream content from the Internet. I was able to take notes, browse the Internet, take pictures, listen to music [MP3s] and do many other things.
As with other devices, you purchased devices based upon what you think you’re going to be doing with them. This tablet would be great for someone with casual usage of videogames and a requirement for videoconferencing, but it would be great for doing generalized searches, email, calendars, taking notes and just generally using the Internet.
It’s definitely a tablet that you can purchase for low-cost and keep it with you at all times on the couch for those moments of instant research; when you have to look up something right now. It’s definitely a lot easier to use than a larger tablet, but you get the benefit of having a 7 inch display as opposed to the standard four-inch display on any random smartphone.
If you’d like to read and see more about this tablet, visit Amazon.com or iRulu.com.
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