We bought the andy pad recently to replace a MID X10 Tablet PC 7 Inch, which my husband had dropped damaging the power jack to recharge it. This was also a bargain brand tablet, on special at the time for £74.99 at Amazon. It has since gone back up to £129, and dropped down to it's current £80.99, so the prices on this seems to fluctuate quite a bit.
The andy pad gets some stick for being designed by a mattress designer. This product is actually made in Britain ( although I expect assembled in Britain would be more accurate) by a company known only for beds - Mattressman UK. The inventor is meant to have designed it for his children - to keep them away from his much more expensive I-pad. This fact has put some buyers off - but I like to support a British industry wherever possible. Andy pad currently has two models, the older original andy pad, and the new andy pad pro. I will be reviewing the original, 8 gb model.
Obviously, this is not an I-pad, no matter how much it is made to look one. I havent used an I-pad myself, but for an extra £400 I would certainly expect a bit more. In all honesty though , other than apps, I can't imagine it being much better than this, certainly not £400 better. For such a budget item - this devices does have a reasonably good set of specs. To start with, it has 8 gb of memory. This is twice the memory of the other tablets in a similar price range on the day we bought this. This also takes a mini sd - card which will allow you to add an additional 32 gigabytes of memory. This has 512 mb of ram - which isn't bad for a tablet device. For comparison, I looked up an actual I-pad at a price of over £500 and it had only half the ram. What do you need ram for - speed. the more ram the faster you can access web pages, games etc... You also get HDMI video at a full 1080p. The processor is 1 ghz, and the screen is resistive. Resistive screens are often less sensitive than capacitive, but this screen is exceptionally responsive. Being resistive, you can use your finger or a stylus, but this can only register one touch at once - you can't pinch and zoom like you could with an I-pad.
Our andy pad is operating on android 2.3 . A free upgrade is available to ice cream sandwich, but it does not look easy, and I am not exactly technologically gifted. There are several steps and I'm sure I'll mess it up at some point. If I thought it would fix the apps problem I would give it a go, but I can't find anything on this, and other than apps. I am very happy with the operating system.
As a budget item - you do not get a lot with the andy pad. You get a quick set up guide, a charger, and a micro usb cable. It says you get headphones, but it is a very cheap set of hard plastic ear phones. I 'm afraid I can't tell you what the sound is like, as ours came broken into two pieces. They look so horrible, it really isn't worth asking for replacement as I wouldn't use them anyway. For the purposes of the review, I have tried wearing them. They are very uncomfortable and do not really stay in place, but then we have plenty of earphones about, and the kids have good children's headphones anyway - so this is not an issue. You do get a few pre installed games, as well as an ebook reader with a small collection of books.
The overall physical build quality of this device is impressive. It looks like a higher quality item. It is plastic, but it feels solid and just appears so much more carefully made than our last tablet. It has already survived it's first couple of falls as well. My husband left it on the back of the sofa and my 3 year old knocked off. Worse - my seven year old came running to tell me something about clearing a level on Angry Birds. He tripped and the thing went flying. My heart missed a few beats at the thought of losing another tablet so quickly - but he picked it up and no damage was done. It appears a mattress designer with kids has thought of something all the high tech experts have not - kids drop things! Actually in all honesty - I drop things as often as the children. Building this to withstand a few bumps and bangs was a real inspiration in my opinion.
Another real plus to this tablet is the Internet. We have wireless in the house, but the signal is considerably weaker upstairs and I believe nearby police radio equipment interferes with our signals as phone reception, tv reception and radio reception are all poor here. Still this will connect quickly and easily in any part of the house, loads web pages in a flash and is excellent for tasks such as watching videos online. My sons love using it for this.
Battery life is estimated at 6 hours. In practice, I feel this estimate is just a little bit high - we usually get 4 -5 hours, but that is playing games and watching videos. Other uses may take a bit less juice. Then again, someone in our house is often playing this while it charges, and it is often unplugged before the full 7 hours of charging the manufacturer recommends.
This has a camera, which is on par with the DSI cameras I think, but it isn't something we would use anyway. The speakers on this are decent. Nothing special, but decent. The children are happy enough to listen to music this, and I think it is OK, but certainly not anywhere near as good as with proper speakers. My husband - who has an incredible ear for music - does not really like this for music without headphones,. He finds the sound somewhat distorted and tinny. My husband says with a good set of earphones it is as good as his MP3 player.
Up until now - I'm sure this device sounds brilliant - and if you just looking something to surf the net with - it really is. It does however - have one very major flaw, which is so serious I am actually considering whether I return the product. I am currently waiting on a reply from andy pad to see if there is any way to fix this as we really do love this tablet otherwise. The problem is - this will not download most of the aps we want. We can not get anything through Google Play, and I have seen from reviews on Amazon that this is common problem. In addition to this, we have not been able to download a great many apps from other sites as well. We can not get DC or Marvel comic book reader - both items that were very high on our wish list for apps. We are also unable to download any of the educational apps from Mathblaster or Jumpstart, and several other apps have failed to download as well. We did get Angry Birds and Cut the Rope from the pre installed games room, but even using these, many apps such as Where's My Water, repeatedly fail to download.
In spite of this - I simple can not decide whether to keep this or exchange it, and I know I need to hurry and make up my mind. It is such a brilliant product in every other way and the children really do love it. It gets hours of use everyday with videos, the Internet and the apps we have been able to get. The only other niggle with this, is that it does occasionally freeze, requiring a restart by pushing a small button with a pin. This is not constant, or even every day - so not a major problem. If the apps problem were sorted - not only would I want to keep this - I would be saving to buy 2 more for Christmas for my sons as this would be ideal both for entertainment and for home education.
As it stands, I think this device would be ideal for a child to access the Internet. This would be wonderful just for researching an assignment or doing a bit of web surfing. I'm sure many teens would love this for social networking as well. It's low price and high durability would make this an ideal 1st computer for a child. For an adult, it is a good portable device. It is lightweight and sturdy. If only they could get the apps problem sorted this might actually be one of the best devices on the market. The problem with apps is a major one though, so I have knocked off 2 stars for this single fault. On the quick rating bars, I have also taken a bar off for processing quality and for reliability for this fault. But if you can live with fewer apps - I would still recommend this. In fact I may still buy my son another simply because he can surf the net and research projects so easily - but if he could read his comics on this too, or use educational apps, I would be sold.
I have written andy pad as well and will re write this if there is a solution to the apps issue. I suggested they may want to reply directly on dooyoo as well - and even had the cheek to suggest advertising :)
UPDATE: Andypad has contacted me - and there is a way to get Google Play. Unfortunately it involves an upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich, and try as I might, I am unable to do this. I have checked their forums though and several otehr people have done this. It's not Andypad - it's me. I'm not the best at these things. While I still consider the apps a major issue, I have checked several other comparable tablets, and in this price range - most do not include Google Play. The manufacturer must pay a hefty fee to include Google's Android Marketplace and many of the less expensive models do not. As the manufacturer never made any claim to include this - and I am now aware that many devices in this price range do not include the Android Marketplace - or Google Play - I am revising my rating to 4 stars. I still feel this a major issue, but as long as you are aware of it - not enough to keep some one from buying this. I have decided to keep ours - as anything of decent quality with Google Play already installed is just a bit too high. I'm still not certain if I will buy an extra one - or even two of these for my sons for Christmas.
As an added bonus - I did find their customer services polite, friendly and helpful. They kindly sent a site for free apps as well.
Update: After trying to update the Andypad we did end up with more problems getting apps. We found Amazon Apps which helped a lot but many were not compatable. Still we bought a second one, deciding these would be childrens tablets as my husband lost interest. The 2nd one was nowhere near as good and nothing but trouble. Andypad was quite fair and said they would take both pads and upgrade them - all it would cost was postage, but they also said I could just return the new one to Amazon for a refund - which I did. I ended up buying another model instead which had Google Play.
I considered rating down because the 2nd one was pretty bad - but you can't complain too much when the company offers to fix it or help you get your money back. There were some issues with this tablet, but they do have a newer model the andy Pad Pro which looks like a much better product , but was priced out of my range. I believe the newer models are coming with the Ice Cream sandwich upgrade, but I am not certain. If this is the case, I would have no problem buying another Andypad, it is a good well made item - but the price has gone up quite a bit to £129 for the older version and £179 for the Andypad Pro.
Although we had problems, this is a company with top notch customer service, and if anything does go wrong, you can rest assured they will help to sort it out.