I don't like to review a product so soon after buying it, especially since this is technically a Christmas gift. However it is on close out sales everywhere at the moment, I don't know if you'll find one after Christmas and the price is brilliant. My husband did spend an entire afternoon " testing" the product, and calling me back and forth to have good look at everything. I'm really glad he does spend so long testing though, as we had bought another set of tablets that were a complete dud, and we've learned a lot in the process and through buying cheaper tablets which may help other buyers.
We've had rotten luck with tablets. Our first one was bought very cheap second and was a complete dud. The Andy Pads were pretty good - except that they would not work with Google Play and when we tried to download a fix from Andy Pad - we really wrecked one. It was exchanged no problems, but we couldn't get one child a better tablet with the other and we ended up with Scroll II's. For the price they were pretty good but one was damaged and one went missing - I suspect from allowing a couple of neighbourhood children into play. Sadly many of the children in our neighbourhood regard an invitation to play as a shopping trip, trying to make off with everything in site. So we ended up with a real bargain on two 9" tablets - well it would have been a bargain if they worked, but they did not. The children had already been promised tablets, so it has put us into debt, but I spent hours online and came up with what I feel is a brilliant product for the price.
I paid £99 each for these from Argos, marked down from £129. I have seen these as high as £149, But I feel £130 was probably the standard price. Curry's also has these on sale at £99, but all Northern Ireland stores are out of stock, and amazon has the grey Model at £99 which has only just gone down in price. The red model is out of stock with Amazon direct, but available through Marketplace for £126. These are available in red or silver. My tablets are 8 GB which are being cleared to make way for the newer 16 GB model. We bought our tablets in red.
I chose these tablets primarily because of the brand name. So many of these tablets are of unknown make, assembled in China with the actual manufacturer being impossible to trace. Whoever sells them just slaps a different name on them and they disappear from the market as quickly as they appeared. HP is a brand I trust, and they offer a full years warranty on this product , which looks very good.
WHAT'S IN THE BOX ?
Microfiber dust cover
Earphones are not included - which I found unusual but just as well as I have found the earphones which come free with other devices are usually pretty poor. My children have their own headphones which I much prefer.
Instructions - In clear native English! ( several other languages are provided as well - but each is a separate book.
Detailed warranty info with instructions on what to do if there is a problem. Apparently, they expect the consumer to ring them first and attempt to resolve the problem with tech support. Only if this fails will they arrange a repair, and according to this booklet there were several options including dropping the tablet off at a certified centre, arranging a collection, or returning the tablet through the post. Once again, everything is in English and easy to understand. I'm finding this a complete shock after the poorly translated materials that we have had some with some tablets.
The HP name was a major factor in this purchase, but I would not have bought this without good specs and featured. I will go into further detail on the licensed Google Play and wifi below.
Jellybean 4.1 android operating system
Certified version of Google Play
ARM cortex dual core 1.6 ghz processor
1GB DDR3 SDRAM
8GB SSD memory can be expanded to 32 GB with memory card but please see note on memory below. *
0.3MP front and 3MP rear facing cameras
Pre installed Beats Audio
Works with the following wireless types: 802.11B, 802.11G, 802.11n ( I know next to nothing about this beyond what I could find on a Google search, but this does seem to cover most common wifi frequencies).
Head phone jack
Note This does not have a mini hdmi slot - I do believe it would be possible to stream hd video through this, in fact to the best of my knowledge this is not high definition - but I certainly can not tell the difference by looking at. The screen is crystal clear and sharp, the detail on video is excellent and of course games display perfectly as well. The one picture we tried was perfect as well.
WIFI AND GENUINE GOOGLE PLAY.
First on my list is the fact that this has licensed copy of Google Play. We've had so much trouble with unlicensed versions. According to the HP site "If it's on Google Play, it will work on this fully-certified Android tablet". We put that to the test right away, trying some apps that we have had trouble with on all of our other tablets. They worked perfectly, as has every other app we have tried, and we put on quite a lot as we want these all ready to go on Christmas morning. My husband also felt in necessary to play the games for hours - just to be certain. In fact he took so long the children were coming in begging for a try as well, but they have no chance of playing with a Christmas present. My husband was so surprised at the speed of downloads he brought it up to show me. He selected Angry Birds Star Wars and started the download. We thought it had failed at first. The download bar just disappeared, but the whole game was on in seconds, and this upstairs in my room, which is the worst in the house for wifi. He tried a few other games and they all just flashed in. Then he played them to make sure they worked. The wifi reception on this is brilliant.
We had previously bought Andy Pads, which did not include a licensed copy of Google Play and we were never able to get Google Play to work, which really limits the apps you can choose. We also found several Amazon apps would not work with this device. I honestly don't know if the Scroll tablets version was licensed or not, but it was all in Chinese at first. Most apps worked, but one of my son's favourite ones did not. I read in other reviews that some of the older Andy Pads had come with an unlicensed version, and Google found a way to shut it down. Knowing this is a full and certified version makes me feel much more comfortable with this product.
One of the selling points of this tablet is the licensed Beats Audio. My husband has a far better ear for music than I have, and he does feel this is an improvement over the standard tablet, or even his phone ( which he loves). I felt the speaker sound was very good as well, but it is better if you plug it into external speakers. I feel this is the same for any tablet though. These speakers are better than the average phone or tablet, but external speakers or a good set of headphones is always going to be better than the small built in ones on a tablet.
This streamed video from youtube instantly and the video quality was top notch with no interruptions. Web pages loaded instantly. This was all done upstairs which, as mentioned is a poor reception area. The screen is very responsive and this a joy to use.
The manufacturer claims this lasts for 5 hours. I would say we used it very nearly that long, with quite a lot of downloading and the battery is not low yet, but then battery life is always best on a new device anyway.
BUILD QUALITY & WEIGHT:
Despite having a stainless steel back, this is surprisingly light weight. It is very comfortable and easy to hold with one hand, even with the fact that I have a disability affect my hands. But something about this feels more solid than the cheaper tablets as well. The charger and other connections fit securely, and it just feels well made.
* Internal vs external memory: I am most certainly not an expert on this, but the bigger the internal memory you can get the better. External memory is grand for storing photos, music etc... but apps must be downloaded to internal memory and like everything else, they are becoming more and more memory intense. I would consider this a mid range tablet as far as internal memory now. Many of the cheaper tablets have only 4GB, but the newer models usually have 16 GB and some have as much as 64 GB - but then these cost closer to £350 as well. Obviously more memory is better - but I do feel this more than adequate for our purposes, and the fact is, in a few years they'll likely be after something different anyway with a newer operating system etc... We did have quite a lot of games on the old tablets with only 4GB with plenty of room to spare. Of course if you get memory too full, it will slow everything you do down.
So far we have only experienced one problem with this tablet, and is very minor. As with all of these devices, the orientation of the screen flips when you turn the device. With my husbands phone this almost instant, but with this it can take a few seconds. You can speed it up by titling the device a bit further than you normally would if it is taking too long.
I'm glad we paid the extra money for these tablets. We really couldn't afford it at the moment, but neither can we afford to replace a cheaper one if it fails. These are faster, clearer and so much easier to use. I feel secure that our Google Play can not be cut off, and that I have bought a well made item from a reputable company. If you can afford the extra £80, the 16GB model is very much the same with a larger memory, but for a simple cheap tablet, especially as a child's tablet, I do not feel that we have sacrificed quality for price in anyway. If you're looking the perfect Christmas book for a youngster this year - this may be just the ticket and it has the added bonus that so many apps are free, and even the top apps seem to all be under £3 where games for a handheld console can easily cost £30 each. This really is a cheaper way to game, and great for the surfing the net, doing homework or just watching a few videos.