Tablet review: Karbonn SmartTab 1

Karbonn's first Android tablet is a 7.1 inch budget device with 1.2 GHz processor and Android 4.0 operating system. But how is it to use? Here we find out

    Pros
  • Good build quality
  • Good battery life
  • Good price for performance
    Cons
  • Apps take longer time to open
  • No physical volume rocker
  • Not all apps are supported

Karbonn SmartTab 1 is the first tablet from Karbonn Mobile and has been launched under their new Karbonn Smart label. It is priced attractively at Rs 6,999 and yet has decent specifications which include a 7 inch 5 point touchscreen with 800 x 480 pixel resolution, a 1.2 GHz Xburst processor, 3700 mAh battery and a 2 megapixel front facing camera. These specifications are not very different from what is being offered by several other tablets priced in this range.

Karbonn SmartTab 1

So, is the tablet unique in terms of performance? Let's find out.

Design

The tablet is white and the front is all black with glass covering it edge to edge. The ports, which include a 3.5 mm jack, HDMI, mini USB, microSD and charging socket, are all on the left side of the tablet while the front camera is on the middle right on top of the device. There are also physical keys for power, options, home and enter, on the top left corner. The back panel is flat and curves along the edges.

Karbonn SmartTab 1

The placement of ports and buttons is fine; the only problem is the lack of a volume rocker. One has to rely on a screen volume button, which means that you need to look at the tablet to tweak the volume (in case of a physical button you can get accustomed to toggling it without looking at it).

Overall the tablet has a nice feel to it in terms of quality of fit and finish and also in terms of ergonomics.

The tablet comes with Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system. While there is very little tweaking in terms of user interface, Karbonn has added some of its own apps like Karbonn Browser and Karbonn Games (powered by ibibo,) which are well designed and offer good options in terms of games that you can download for free.

Karbonn has also included some other apps like NexGTV and ingenic app market, which are useful but not unique.

Karbonn SmartTab 1

Other than that you can download Karbonn push mail client and Karbonn messenger client which are free for a year.

The keyboard is pretty straightforward and well designed and is easy to type on in both landscape and portrait modes. One sad thing is the lack of Indian language support, something we were looking forward to, especially in the low cost category.

Display

The display of the tablet is good in terms of colour and depth but the resolution is very average and no different from what is being offered by others in this category. However, the display is not bad for what you are paying, and watching movies and photos is pleasant.

Touch sensitivity is good and works with multiple touches easily and without any tantrums. Playing games is also a pleasurable experience thanks to good touch response.

Karbonn SmartTab 1
Performance
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Performance

The tablet comes with a 1.2 GHz Xburst processor.

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Performance
is not scorching fast but works fine. We did encounter some sluggishness while opening apps and games. However, once the app is running it runs smoothly.

Even game play is smooth. We tried Fruit Ninja, Angry Birds and Turbo Fly, and they all worked well. Sensors like the gyro sensor and gravity sensor work fine and make game play easy.

However, because of the Xburst processor the tablet doesnt support all the apps on Google Play, though most of the popular apps are supported.

The speaker on the tablet is loud and also reasonably clear, that is, it's not the clearest but is good none the less. The tablet supports almost all the major audio and video media types.

Camera

There is only a front facing camera with 2 megapixel resolution, and it is just decent for video chatting. The camera, you will find, is not very useful for photography. In any case it is not meant for that. The settings of the camera are limited; there are only time lapse (wherein you can delay the click after you press the shutter button,) and white balance options.

Karbonn SmartTab 1
Battery and others

The 3700 mAh battery offers decent backup and truly delivers the claimed 7 hours web surfing time using WiFi. We did not test it on 3G using a dongle but we suspect it will be less than that. Given that other tablets in this category manage 4 to 5 hours of only-WiFi, this performance is very good.

Verdict

The tablet very well justifies its price tag with performance and quality. It looks good and also performs well, though there are problems like an average camera, sluggish performance at the time of launching an app, or lack of physical volume rocker. However, none of these problems are serious.

Given that this tablet is priced at the entry level, you don't really have many better options to choose from. Karbonn being a well established brand compared to many newcomers with whom this tablet competes, has the advantage of a well established sale and service network.

Karbonn SmartTab 1
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