Tabtech M009S Tablet Review
I’m not a big fan of cheap Android tablets from no-name manufacturers. They tend to be slow, have unresponsive resistive screens, and often deliver a very buggy experience. However the Tabtech M009S is a cheap tablet that has received some very good user reviews on Amazon and now is one of the bestselling tablets there.
I’ve managed to get some time with the Tabtech M009S so will be reviewing it in the context that this is a very cheap £80 tablet. Pros and cons are less comparable with other tablets as the pros are related to this price point. Limited hardware specification details are stated on the literature or hardware so the review is focused on the experience the software and hardware deliver. For that reason, we have a slightly different format for this review.
What’s In the box?
- 7-inch Tabtech M009S 2GB tablet
- Power adapter (European plug)
- Adapter plug to convert this to UK socket
- Adapter that plugs into the connector port and offers 2 USB ports and a Ethernet port for a wired Internet connection
- Connector port to USB port cable for hooking up to a PC to transfer files
- Instructions book – not the clearest to follow
- Stylus – not great and I was worried it would scratch the screen at any point. I largely stuck with prodding away at the screen with my finger tips
- Fairly plasticy design won’t win any beauty prizes but what do you expect for this price. Relatively sturdy though. A single button on the front acts as a back button.
- Ports on the side are for headphones, power input, MicroSD cards and a connector port for hooking up to a PC.
- Boot up took about a minute from pressing the power button to using Android 2.2.
Tabtech M009S 2GB Tablet PC Pros – given the price
- Headline – very cheap. Just £80 on Amazon UK. You therefore have all the guarantees and returns policy of Amazon.
- 7-inch tablet so highly portable and relatively light – fits into a jacket pocket.
- Android 2.2 is a smartphone operating system but works fairly well on the 7-inch format. Apps scale ok and icons are relatively easy to hit. It’s not a full-on tablet optimised operating system though – the experience of using it on this tablet is like an oversized smartphone.
- Browsing experience is ok given the hardware limitations. It’s not very fast but it’s not slow either and copes with navigating web pages ok.
- Android 2.2 standard smartphone install so out of the box you have a few phone related icons that aren’t relevant to a Wi-Fi only tablet. The instruction book referred to use with a SIM card but I couldn’t find an option or a slot to get it working on UK mobile data networks.
- The Android Market is available directly on the tablet so you have access to the full range of Android apps and games available for Android 2.2.
- The tablet happily played the popular Angry Birds game and the BBC app installed and ran as expected. It comes with a lot of apps already installed for playing music, videos and managing files.
- Good YouTube app – works pretty smoothly and plays videos over Wi-Fi. Not in glorious high-definition but still decent quality standard video output.
- MicroSD port functions for giving additional storage or getting files on-and-off the tablet – such as music, films and video. Storage space is limited without a MicroSD card so it’s really a necessity – they’re cheap to buy on Amazon though.
- Adapter that ships with the Tabtech tablet gives the option to plug a USB stick into an adapter connected to the tablet to transfer files on and off the device.
- You’ll need to load video and music files on the tablet via the USB adapter accessory or MicroSD card. The video performance is fine for standard video but it won’t play high-definition video.
Tabtech M009S 2GB Tablet Weaknesses
- Resistive touchscreen – Resistive screens are not as responsive as the capacitive screens on modern tablet PCs. This one needs a deliberate hard prod to respond and sometimes can be a little frustrating in combination with the weak processor. Most of the time it’s fine but sometimes it’s hard to know if it has registered your prod or if it’s just the processor taking its time to perform the next action. The on-screen keyboard needs a deliberate approach to typing – long emails or documents will take a considerable time.
- Screen is low resolution so icons and images are a little pixelated.
- Weak processor – this processor is substantially weaker than tablets such as the Archos 101 and Advent Vega (the next price level up). This means it takes longer to perform actions, is slower to respond to user input and can be a little laggy. That said, the experience isn’t bad considering the price.
- The Tabtech tablet struggles to handle tasks that require heavy lifting. This leads to it crashing if you open too many apps at once, navigate to processor intensive web pages (see below on Flash capability) or try to run intensive apps or 3D games. It does however perform the standard tasks proficiently – e.g. General web browsing, reading emails, playing standard video and music files, using apps and basic gaming.
- Web browsing was occasionally stuttery to swipe around pages. As you prod on the screen to get around you can easily hit a hyperlink and end up accidentally navigating off to another page. You regularly need to zoom out of web pages too as they don’t automatically render themselves around the screen size.
- Flash compatible (web video) but not a great experience on standard websites. When using the BBC iPlayer, for instance, the playback stuttered and then crashed out of the browser.
- Wi-Fi only so no 3G connectivity – you’ll need to find a Wi-Fi hotspot or connect to your home Wi-Fi to get online.
- The screen is not very bright and has very bad viewing angles. You can still watch it but videos appear quite dull so are hard to view in bright sunlight.
- Speakers are fairly tinny.
- Battery life is better than other tablets in the same price range but low compared with more expensive tablets. You’re looking at 3-4 hours of general use before you need to find a power socket to charge it up.
Tablet Review – Tabtech M009S 2GB Android Tablet PC
Overall, the Tabtech M009S tablet is as good as you can expect at this price. It’s clearly not comparable to an iPad or mid-range Android tablet though. The experience is somewhat eclectic; sometimes you think it’s great for the price – such as playing angry Birds, other times it’s stuttery, laggy and freezes up. There are software updates available through the open source community on the web that should improve the performance but the hardware limitations will always restrict performance. If you can only afford to spend a limited amount on a tablet then this will do a job but I’d recommend saving up a bit more for an Archos 101 or Advent Vega.
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