While the Aakash tablet has been having its own share of controversies the commercial version of the tablet has begun rolling out to customers who pre-ordered it on the DataWind website. We got our hands on the commercial version of the tablet UbiSlate 7C+, which also happens to be the recommended specifications for the Aakash 3. Here are our impressions of the tablet.
The tablet is quite compact, but one will require two hands to use it even in the portrait mode. We found the tablet a bit heavy and could not hold it for long without placing it down. There is a very thick bezel around the screen which makes the front quite unattractive. It also has a speaker in the front along with the home button which is at the top and bottom respectively in the portrait mode.
All the buttons are placed on the edge near the home button. There is a 2.5 mm charging port, followed by the power button and volume rocker, a port for USB on the Go, a microSD card slot and a 3.5 mm headphone jack slot. We found it weird that Datawind chose to put almost the buttons on one edge. The tablet has rounded corners which makes it a bit easier to hold. The back has the SIM card slot and also the speakers.
If you place the tablet on something the sound from the speakers is almost inaudible. You also have the Datawind and UbiSlate branding on the back. The back has a textured pattern which helps in gripping the tablet better.
For some reason you can only wake up the phone with the power button and not with the home button. We found this very inconvenient. Also the fact that the button is on the bottom when in portrait mode makes it even more difficult.
The tablet has a 7-inch capacitive touch with a screen resolution of 800×480 pixels. The display is pretty terrible with text looking pixilated almost all the time and images not appearing crisp at all. The screen is multi-touch and quite responsive and pinch to zoom worked almost flawlessly. Viewing pictures and movies are average on the display, but when it comes to text it was terrible. Small font sizes cannot be read at all.
The tablet runs on Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich. We really don’t expect this tablet to get any updates so you are stuck with what comes in the box. There is no skinning of the OS so you get a vanilla experience of the OS. The icons both on the home screen and in the menu look oversized and one could take some time adjusting to this.
It comes with Google Play support (Thank God!), which means you can download all apps from the store. The tablet comes with some apps preloaded like App Killer, File Manager, Mango CBSE, a few dictionaries and games like Solitaire Plus, Tic Tac Toe and Minesweeper. It comes with a modified version of the browser and all Google Apps present on other ICS tablets.
Since the tablet comes with ICS, you have full support for notifications, which appear at the bottom right corner. There is also a quick setting toggle for stuff like WiFi, auto rate screen and brightness in the notification panel. We found this really useful.
One also has various Workspace effect settings to change the animation of the movement between home screens, a good addition for the tablet. The tablet also has full support for widgets and creation of folders on the home screen.
The keyboard is the default keyboard and we found it to be excellent and very responsive.
There is also a PDF manual that explains all the features of the tablet.
The tablet is powered by a Cortex A8 1GHz processor with 512 MB RAM. Most of the time the performance of the tablet was average at best. Though one was able to flip through home screens and menus without much difficulty, opening any app and switching from landscape to portrait mode will see major screen lags.
Music playback was very average and as we mentioned before placing the tablet down will get the sound all muffled up. The default music and video players were able to play most of the popular file formats which we found impressive. The tablet has a USB on the Go which means you can play files directly from your pen drive and hard disks. We tried a 720p video file this way and it worked pretty flawlessly. The inbuilt file explorer was very effective in finding and browsing files.
The phone comes with just 4GB of internal memory which is too less in our opinion. It does have support for micro SD cards up to 32 GB and also for USB on the Go which luckily saves the day for the tablet.
Keeping a few apps open did not cause any issues, but more than 4 apps open and the tablet became almost unusable and we had to restart the tablet a few times.
The Ubislate 7C+ comes with a 3200 mAh battery which will get you through a day with average usage. When we tested it with our continuous video test, it lasted just about 2 hours and 45 minutes. We found an issue with the battery wherein if it goes below 20% the tablet becomes slow and also shut down a few times and will not come on till it is charged again. Standby time is excellent with just about 30% battery drain even after leaving the tablet untouched for three days.
The tablet did not get hot even after a few hours of usage.
Gaming on this tablet was atrocious. While we were able to play games like Angry Birds comfortably, others like Subway Surfer were almost unplayable on the tablet.
Over our usage of the tablet over two weeks, it just HUNG once and would not come back on. We had to finally press the reset button at the back to get it working again. We wondered why the reset button was there. Now we know! Pressing the reset button just got the tablet working again and we did not lose any data.
The UbiSlate 7C+ is a “7-inch smartphone” according to the packaging. Not really sure why Datawind has categorized 7 inch as a phone. There are an integrated a range of connectivity features to keep you connected including GPRS, WiFi, and data connectivity through the SIM. There is support for 3G. The tablet picked up Wi Fi and also network signals very well and we did not face any issues in this department.
At the outset do not even consider this tablet if you are looking for one with a decent camera. Pictures are horrible with the VGA front camera. There is no rear camera. The camera can probably be used only for basic video conferencing and the Skype app does come preinstalled on the tablet.
With its various flaws especially the low resolution screen and the tablet just hanging for no reason at all, requiring us to use the reset button, we really can’t recommend this tablet. The biggest negative is probably that one cannot read text on it. The positives with this tablet especially at the Rs 5,000 price tag is the ability to make calls and connect to the Internet via a 3G-enabled SIM. We also loved the USB on the Go feature. If 3G is not a requirement of yours we recommend going with the Micromax Funbook which offers much better performance at Rs 6,000.
- 3G Connectivity
- Battery backup is good
- Low resolution screen
- Low speed/performance processor
- Terrible camera
- Screen: 7-inch capacitive touch screen
- OS: Android 4.0.3 OS
- Processor: Cortex A8 1GHz processor
- Connectivity: GPRS, Wi-Fi, WEB and E-mail
- Memory: 4 GB internal memory; Supports microSD card up to 32 GB; 512 MB RAM
- Battery: 3200 mAh battery
- Price: Rs 4,999/-