Zit Seng's Blog

A Singaporean's technology and lifestyle blog

An Android Tablet Review

I feel a little strange reviewing a product without really knowing precisely what that product is. It is an Android tablet, that’s for sure. But I’ve yet to figure out exactly what sort of tablet it is. You know, as in its make and model. This Android tablet is a gift I received as compensation for tolerating a 90 min (or as it in fact almost 2 hrs?) timeshare presentation.

I had been considering getting an Android tablet. I’m already on my second Android phone, and I’ve got two iPads at the moment. But I’ve not had any Android tablets. Previously, I had considered getting the Asus Transformer Prime (but ultimately decided on that 2nd iPad), and also a cheap $100+ basic Android table, something like Ainol/Anova.

So, anyway, this Android tablet came along. I’m quite satisfied with the Android experience. The iPad is okay too. But I interact with Android everyday through my phone, so it would be nice to also move up to a bigger form factor with the same operating environment.

This nameless Android tablet, is really very OEM-ish. There’s really no branding on the box. Except, well, for the word Android. Talk about the pure Android experience, this could not have been more pure.

The tablet inside the box is equally nameless. Not a single branding on it. Yes, I tried hard to figure out. Here’s how the tablet looks.

The tablet came loaded with Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS). Pretty modern. It has 4GB of internal flash memory, a front camera (no rear camera), capacitive menu, apps and back buttons, hardware power and volume rocker, 3.5mm audio jack, mini-USB, 5V DC-in jack, HDMI output, and a TF Card slot (which I found out is the same as MicroSD). The screen measures about 6.85″ diagonally. I don’t have a weighing scale to check the weight, but it’s reasonably light. Something like the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7″.

Decent specs for a freebie tablet. I suppose it will cost a little over S$100 if one had to pay for it.

Performance isn’t great. Swiping through homescreens was not smooth. But, I suppose it is good enough to be usable. Besides, Angry Birds, which was preloaded in the tablet, ran well enough.

I’m really curious to identify the device. I know my way around Android gadgets, or at least I think I do, so I tried to connect to the tablet via adb. Nothing detected. Yes, the tablet has USB Debugging mode turned on. Too bad, I could not use adb to find out anything about the device.

There was no terminal emulator installed. It’s just one step away to go to the Google Play store to get it installed, and in no time, I had a shell to poke around the internals. It’s ARMv7 architecture CPU, single-core. I could see dmesg output, the tablet looks to have 448MB of RAM. Out of the 4GB internal flash, about 2GB was available for /data.

I’ve got to find out more about the device. Things like how to get it into recovery mode (I can see the recover partition in the NAND partitioning), download mode, or how to get ADB working with it.

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