Chinese tablets recapped

First I tried the wm8650 that I broke. Literally broke, as I just dropped it from about half a meter and the touch screen shattered. Then I got myself a “Superpad III” clone which died no later than a day after I got it.

Know I’m typing on my brand new ZT-280  I received today.
I can’t say I’m impressed, the tablet is about half the size of the Superpad and is also smaller than the wm8650. The capacitive screen is a bit hectic or oversensitive. It has no haptic feedback, but I can live with that.

It’s exterior is superb compared to the previous mentions, and is bordering on acceptable. I don’t like the reddish metal finish on the sides too much, but it’s not all that bad. I can’t understand the mini USB connectors really. After all micro sockets are taking over, don’t they? Also I don’t get why a separate power input is needed, when it could use the 5v straight from the port. As far as I’m concerned it should have two micro USB and scrap the rest.

The tablet came with the connector cables for both pc to tablet and external device to tablet connection, a power adapter and the usual EU socket adapter. It has a little deep socket for the micro sd card, but it’s reasonable, as I don’t want to change it too frequently anyway.

And so I used the pad for a day or so with the following issues.

The touch is a bit laggy, there are times, when the strength registers a “click ” at a previous position. I seems like a driver issue and I don’t think it would be dealt with anytime soon.

The firmware is definitely based on cyanogen 7 so it promise a relatively long usability period. Unfortunately it doesn’t use clockwork boot loader, and has a legacy package format too. It still begs the question weather it can be used to do incremental upgrades, or only full updates are possible. The supplier released new firmware packs about monthly, and I can only hope they keep it up for the release of the icecream sandwich of cyanogen.

Now again, I’m kind of late on publishing, so here’s an update. A new release is available from the manufacturer ‘s site as of November 4th. I only did a partial update, so a new kernel is running on the pad. This seems to have resolved the touch issues. I’ve also recalibrated the battery, so now it provides a little bit more reliable info. This doesn’t solve the standard charge  issue of the pad. That only affects the charge level display so it only shows the range between 97% (uncharged) to 100% fully charged.  I don’t mind, as I leave office charge overnight anyway.

It does have a five point touch screen which looks nice in Fruit ninja, that I used to test 3d, where I could use 5 blades to slice through tons of fruit in seconds. 🙂

I really miss the light sensor. It boggles my mind trying to understand what made the designers think to omit such a cheap, but vital component from this otherwise well built tablet? It also shows that Android heavily relies on its existence. There is only a very limited possibility of customizing it properly, even with the notorious Cyanogen. One cannot set the actual levels to use in the power applet or the status bar, you can only select some predefined level combinations, all of which contain an auto option, despite the missing sensor.

Rooting the device is pretty simple. Connect with the provided cable, remount system with adb, copy su and superuser.apk cynosure the su and done. You can than use all rooted applications. This is required if you want to clean up the crappy preinstalled applications.

Chainfire works out of the box but I’m not a gamer, so I have no idea what’s the point. I did some fooling Around in Fruit Ninja and Angry Birds but I can’t tell the difference.

I wrote this article on the subway, using my ZTE Blade as a Wi-Fi hotspot to publish it.

MID v7 tablet from China

I’ve ordered a very cheap tablet from China, for about $85 including shipping. I  did this, so I could see if anything arrives from there at all, and also to see if it arrives at all.

I was not surprised to receive it in three weeks time, even though it had 30 working days to arrive.

It came in a rather unimpressing package, with my name and address printed on a piece of paper torn on the edges, affixed with liberal amounts of tape.

The box is just plain white with a very low quality picture of the device. It is called MID (this week probably) but it’s one of those cheap things you get rebranded under several aliases.

The tablet feels plastic, and quite heavy. The rear cover feels empty and hollow. The buttons on the sides are quite small. The painted arrow on thevback button on the front panel scratched off in mere hours! Well, one can’t expect to get a Galaxy Tab for this money. 🙂

As it came with the Chinese market and complete lack of Google apps, I decided to flash it as soon as possible. It took 4 hours after receiving it, that I just killed the original firmware and replaced it with a version of the Uberoid release found here.

After the upgrade, and the market fix described on the page, the device suddenly  became more interesting. The icons seem to be oversized on the market, and so are several icons on the screen resulting in a broken feeling. I really want to change the icon packs back, as the “Honeycomb theme” makes me puke.

Titanium backup does not seem to work on the rooted device, so I guess I’ll have to live without. The image comes with a so far unknown AppMonster to do it’s job. I’ve replaced ADW Launcher, and Prolauncher that came in the image with the GO Launcher Ex, I use on my ZTE. As it turns out it is faster on this piece as well.

It will still take some time for me to see if it was a sensible idea to get it or not.

Update

The resistive display is very unresponsive, but it might be because of the capacitive display of my phone. Talking of which, the cheap ZTE Blade is far superior to this tablet in both manufacturing and performance wise. There’s a significant lack of responsiveness on the display edges caused by the ignorant design.
I forgot to mention, that there was a stylus included in the box, that is very obviously designed for a mobile phone, there is no place to stick it in the tablet however. The power supply comes with an attachable European socket adapter, but with a cord no longer than 50 cm.
I’ve reverted the ROM to the Vestinous 1.3 release, that’s not infested with the Honeycomb wannabe theme,now the icon sizes are normal, and I can still see the market. The performance is still tragic, it should be able to run at 800MHz but feels less, maybe it’s just the limited memory.
I’ve later updated to the more stable Singularity ROM.