Beetel, the handset arm of Bharti group, launched their first tablet in the Indian market some time ago. The tablet has a 7 inch screen, boasts 1 GHz Qualcomm processor and Android 2.2 operating system. With all that and a price of just Rs 9,000, it has the potential of a blockbuster.
We tried the handset at its launch and here is what we feel about the tablet.
This tablet is a 7 inch Android but it gives a feel of a larger tablet than other 7 inchers – this is a good thing as it aids in holding the tablet. There is a docking port and a microSD slot at the bottom of the device. The volume rocker is on the left while on the right side lies the 3.5 mm audio jack, USB port and a proprietary charging port (a la old Nokia port).
The charging port is one negative aspect as the tablet can’t be charged through the USB. At the back, the tablet has a stand which can be used while watching videos. The battery cover is metal with chrome finish, under the cover lies the tablet’s 2200 mAH battery and beneath which lies the SIM slot.
It has two cameras of 2 MP both at the front and backside. There is a call pick up button and call cancel button with the track pad in between the two on the right side of the screen. On the left, there are four touch sensitive Android keys.
The form factor is perfect and nothing much to complain, in fact it is only tablet with a stand and that’s a good thing given the fact that people watch a lot of videos on tablets.
Performance and specification
The display of the tablet is a 7 inch WVGA (800×480) unit, which is not really top notch but is good for this price range, and it produces appreciable colour and brightness as well.
What is not so good is the touch part of the display. It uses a resistive touch panel and is not the most responsive of touch screen technology. At times the screen does not respond to commands with urgency and that takes away a lot of fun from operating this tablet. There are cheaper capacitive display technologies available which would have done wonders to the touch response of the tablet had that been included, for which people would not even mind to pay a few more bucks.
The processor of the tablet is a Qualcomm 1 GHz unit with 512 MB RAM, and this lends the tablet with fast response – the applications open without much delay, and games are fun to play. However, the resistive display plays the spoil sport but once you get habitual your fingers will learn to press it just right to get the desired response. So for the first time users of touch display, they will probably not realise what they are missing, but for someone who has already used a capacitive touch display, it will certainly be the biggest negative aspect of the tablet.
The tablet comes with 8 GB inbuilt memory, which will take care of requirements of most users. For those who want more, the capacity can be increased by 16 GB through a Micro SD card.
The tablet comes with a single SIM slot and offers 3G connectivity as well as voice calling facility, this lends the tablet true smartphone feature. However, the voice calling can be used by using handsfree kit or putting the tablet on loud speaker only as it is too big to be put to ears.
Apart from the resistive touchscreen, the next big drawback is the inclusion of Android 2.2. Though, Android 2.3 version is available, there is no clear upgrade path mentioned to be sure of the next update. However, this is something that most users can live with. Users, especially those who are more proficient in Indian languages and no so much in English, will miss is the lack of Indian language support that 2.3 version brings to the tablet.
There are two cameras of two megapixel units each – one at the back and one in the front. They do a very ordinary job of clicking images, with acceptable images in well lit conditions, but fails when the lighting is slightly low.
The front facing camera can be used for video calling and for capturing still images in basic VGA resolution, but it can capture 2 megapixel images as well with change in settings. There are in-built speakers which do an average job of playing music and a mic for calls.
The tablet includes A-GPS for navigations and location based services. WiFi and Bluetooth are there for connectivity apart from 3G and USB cable.
In the box, you will get a travel charger (which is the only way to charge this tablet), a USB cable, and an earphone. The earphone is of very average quality, but the 3.5 mm jack means that you can use your own ear phones in case you want.
The tablet is the only one in the price range (at least from a known brand). Being made by Huawei (one of the largest Chinese equipment vendor), the quality is also decent. Though Android 2.2 and resistive screen are compromises that have been made to keep the cost low, these are not big enough to reject this tablet.
As an entry level tablet, it does its job well and with added benefit of being able to make voice (mobile) calls, it definitely is worth recommending but with a caution. The 2200 mAH battery is also not sufficient considering it is a tablet.
If you have got Rs 4,000 more to spend, Reliance has a tablet which address these two short comings (screen and Android version), but it is a SIM locked device and the processor is of lower strength.
In this price range (Rs 12,000), you also get MSI Enjoy 7, which has much better specifications (capacitive screen, 1.2 GHz processor, and latest Android 2.3.3 version). The only thing lacking is 3G support but it does support 3G dongle (which is now available for just Rs 999).
So if you have got money, MSI is worth spending, or if you don’t mind a SIM locked device, Reliance 3G tab is worth considering. But if you are looking to buy your first Android tablet and are not really a gamer, Beetel Magiq is just right for you.