For people in the market for a (relatively) low-cost tablet computer this Christmas, it is hard to see past the Google Nexus 7.
It has a high-spec microprocessor, a decent screen and receives all the Android updates first. And, because munificent Uncle Google is so keen to thrust it into people's hands, its subsidised cost makes it something of a bargain. And, if you want to spend less, there is always the Kindle Fire or the Tesco Hudl.
But what if you do not want to be the willing slave of some giant corporation or just want a device with a bigger screen?
Well, there is now a decent choice of sub-£200 devices from a range of good manufacturers to choose from. Computing has been testing three 10in screen tablet computers from Hannspree (the famous Hannspad), Novatech and Prestigio to see how they shape up.
Kicking off with the snappily named Hannspree SN1AT71B, we were keen to see what the noted television and computer monitor maker would make of a tablet computer.
Hannspree has been making tablet computers for some time, and ought to have more know-how than most brands, especially at the sub-£200 end of the market.
The Hannspree is reasonably well-specced up for £149, with a quad-core 1.2GHz Actions Semiconductor ATM 7029 ARM A9 microprocessor, 1GB of memory and 16GB of internal storage. It sports a 1280x800, 10.1in IPS touch-screen, and a 6000 mAh lithium-ion polymer battery good for six hours of 720p video playback.
The reverse of the device is largely covered in a matt brushed aluminium and has sensibly placed, twin one-watt speakers either side of the device. The screen is a 16:10 widescreen format, which contrasts with the older-style 4:3 format ratio.
So far so good.
However, while the viewing angles on the screen are good, they don't reach the quality of our other two devices on test, with the colours changing from bright to dark depending on your angle. This would have been a good screen a year ago, but today it lags behind similarly priced rivals.
It also suffered from the same Wi-Fi problem as all the tested devices – difficulty connecting to a Wi-Fi network towards the fringes of the router's range. This is common in sub-£200 devices.
What is less common is the Jelly Bean 4.1 version of Android bundled with the Hannspree – both our other devices offer Android 4.2.
On top of that, though, the device benchmarked poorly with Antutu – putting in a score of just 9,832. Again, this would have been okay a year ago at this price point, but today it lags both the Prestigio and the Novatech by a long way. Two dimensional graphics were jerky, as were the 3D graphics, which indicated frame rates of between 10 and 12fps, according to Antutu.
We can only put this down to the Actions Semiconductor ATM7029 microprocessor. A little research reveals technical blogs questioning whether it really is a full-fat ARM A9 quad-core microprocessor or whether it combines one A9 core with three less powerful cores. Others have argued that a poor graphics processing unit (GPU) is to blame.
[Please turn to page 2 for the Prestigio review]
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