As my children get older, buying them birthday and Christmas presents seems to be getting harder and harder, and I recently looked into buying my eldest a nice e-reader that didn't cost a small fortune. I stumbled across the Allwinner tablet accidentally, but after a little reading of some mixed reviews, I decided to take a risk. I ordered well in advance of her birthday as some reviews warned of broken screens upon delivery, or not being able to connect to WiFi.
I paid around the £42 mark for a bright pink tablet. In all fairness, stick this next to a £150 tablet, and it does look cheap, but to give it credit, it does look good, its slim, it is light. I read that screen resolution was poor, but I held up my 'decent' mobile next to it and the colours were brighter, the picture clearer and sharper. For the price, I really don't understand how anyone can complain.
It has a 7 inch screen, plenty big enough, in my opinion. For some extra stats (which don't really mean much to me!) This tablet has:
Processor Speed - 1.2ghz
RAM size - 512 mb
Hard Drive size - 4gb
This tablet is an Android, and comes with the Google Play Store already installed. Which is perfect as there are hundreds off free apps available which means when kids are using it, you can skip past the part of adding credit card details, so they don't accidentally run up a huge bill by paying for apps.
My daughter has lots of apps installed - Candy Crush, Facebook, Wikipedia, to name a few, and still has plenty of memory left, so there is a fair bit of space on this tablet.
She also has downloaded pdf e-books which she can read really well on this, so she doesn't need a separate e-reader, and she has also lots of music on here. She was slightly upset when we bought her some speakers that lit up with LED lights to the rhythm of the music that she wanted to connect to her tablet, but as the tablet doesn't have a USB port, she couldn't do so, but other than that she has no need for attaching a USB.
As much as she loves the tablet, we did find a few faults. One main one being that the adapter on the mains charger is a very small connector, and after a few weeks she managed to snap it when she tried to plug it in. Fortunately for us, we had purchased a couple more of these tablets so we had spare chargers, but now we take charge when they need charging as if the kids are just slightly too rough they are very flimsy.
Like I said, we did go on to purchase more of these tablets, we bought another for one of our other daughters, and myself and my husband now also have one too. We have them in pink, purple and blue now. Out of the 4 we have in the house now, one of them is having problems, where it will not hold its charge. I use this one as I use it the least, but I have to use it while it is plugged in to charge as otherwise the battery lasts about 10 minutes. As we got one of them really cheap though I don't complain, but I will if it happens with any of the other ones!
Using the browser can be a little slow, and if other apps are open it can often become unresponsive, so I get into the habit of using a task killer before opening the browser to make sure it runs smoother, or even using Chrome instead of the pre installed browser.
At the price we paid for these tablets, they do the job, and in my opinion they are perfect tablets for kids when you want a step up from the kiddy ones like a VTech handheld etc, but you don't want to risk small hands damaging a very expensive tablet.
I would not normally review an item I owned for such a short time. However, I do feel we have discovered some information which is highly relevant to potential customers, and might save someone else the near disaster we had. Much of this will apply to other tablets with relatively unknown names, so if you are considering a budget tablet the Christmas, please read on. But this tablet is not all bad - if won't be needing wifi - this tablet might be worth considering.
I wasn't really planning on buying new tablets for Christmas this year, however when we saw the specs on these, and with a price of only £64.99 each it really sounded too good to be true. Sadly it was just that. True the specs are brilliant. The screen is 9", it is running the latest version of android; jelly bean 4.2.2, has a dual core 1.ghz processor, 1 Gb of ddr3 ram, 8 gb built in memory - expandable to 16 gb with a memory card *. It has a mini hdmi port and cable included so we were able to connect this to our high definition TV and try angry birds on the big screen. There was also a charger, a mini usb cable and instructions, which we really didn't think much of, but this was easy enough to set up. OK, I know that is not top of the line specs, but for a child's tablet, to play a few apps, look up a few websites for school projects and watch you tube it all sounded pretty good. The camera is only .3 megapixels, but this if fine for the children to play with. There was only one thing I didn't pay much attention to, and this ended up being my critical mistake.
This uses Wi-Fi Wireless Protocol - 802.11 which is pretty standard, but it doesn't say which 802.11 protocols is used. Most of the better tablets run on a few versions of this. Our new one works with 802.11B, 802.11G, 802.11n . I won't pretend to know much about this, but in idiots terms ( which suit me) the B is the oldest and slowest, the G in between and the N the newest. I have a pretty new Virgin media super hub, which is meant to be used with N compatible devices. I am really not a techie, so this is not something I knew anything at all about prior to buying this tablet. I just assumed a strong, new internet connection would work best for any device. I was wrong.
I did buy this for Christmas, but thankfully my husband decided to very thoroughly check it out before putting it away. This machine isn't all bad. This comes with a 9" screen with rich vibrant colours and a very sharp clear picture. I am nearly certain this device was high definition, since it had a hdmi cable and such a brilliant picture. Two inches may not seem like much of a difference, but it is. This is a real treat to watch video on. The speakers are not the best, but in all fairness, I wouldn't expect top quality sound from a tablet. These would definitely be classed as low end, but you can always plug auxiliary speakers into the headphone socket, and for things like Plants vs. Zombies or you tube videos, I felt they were quite adequate. The tablet started quickly, and loaded apps quickly as well. As long as you are within 2 feet of the super-hub, this can download apps in a reasonable amount of time as well. We kept trying this for a couple of hours, and the battery was not at all drained. If you want a tablet just to download a few apps onto and hand to a young child, this might suffice. I do have some concerns as the sturdiness of the product, especially the charging jack which felt a bit loose, but it is a very inexpensive device, and if you will not need to use the internet expect to download an app it might be OK. However, this does feel light and flimsy, and there is an issue with sub standard parts.
A minor issue with this tablet is that everything comes on in Chinese. My husband was able to fix this easily, by installing Google Chrome. We have also found some of the cheap tablets using Chinese websites use an unlicensed version of Google Play - which can be shut down. I could be wrong, but we have had problems with this in the past, with Google finding ways to shut down unlicensed users. But Google Play did work without difficulties when we had this near the hub - but I noticed that Google Play is not advertised directly by the seller - although reviews mention it - and there is no mention of this being a licensed copy. Additionally, I found at least one review highly suspect.
Our biggest problem with this tablet is that even moving 3 feet away from the wireless hub caused the signal to begin to fail. by the time you move 4 - 5 feet away, there is nothing. I posted a quick review on Amazon warning other customers who had bought this for Christmas to check the device ASAP. I had a reply almost immediately from a person who could only be the seller - although he never admitted as much, stating that just because every other device, from older tablets, to phones, video games etc... work perfectly on my wifi doesn't mean it isn't the fault of the wifi. He went on to say unbranded devices are built with much cheaper components and are not able to handle the ranges of N certified devices - or the modern standard. He offered all sorts of solutions, changing wifi settings etc.. but to be honest, I don't want to use a weaker out dated wifi signal for my whole house to accommodate one device - or in this case two because I had bought tow of these tablets and both had the same issue. I had no idea how this all worked before, but I realised he was telling the truth - it isn't just his tablets, but many of the cheap unbranded tablets that share this fault. While I mentioned that this might suffice for someone who will not be using wifi other than for an occasional download, the sellers statement about these being put together with the cheapest components possible would give me cause to worry that other issues might pop up in the future as well.
I returned both of these tablets to Amazon as faulty, and because I had already promised the children new tablets, paid the difference for two HP Slate Tablets ( which I must say are brilliant). The HP Slates cost me £99 each, and are only 7" screens, but at least I know I have bought a quality product.
I have since noticed many other reviews on Amazon, for this tablet and for other unbranded ones with similar issues. It can be very tempting to try to save a few pounds, especially when you must buy two of anything, but I now believe it is false economy. I'd rather pay a bit more and have a quality product than buy something built with 3rd rate parts that can not connect properly to wifi and might not be very reliable otherwise. I feel much more secure knowing that the new tablets have a full year warranty from a well known and trusted brand. I really couldn't afford the extra money, but neither could I afford to replace something that failed in a short period of time, so perhaps it is just as well that there was an obvious and immediate fault with the wifi. Despite my issues with this tablet - I am giving it two stars. This is because the device is so cheap, and does have a brilliant screen. While I may speculate as to how reliable this may be long term - I could be wrong. It might surprise the buyer by lasting a reasonable amount of time, and I do know some children who break everything so quickly, the parents are probably better off just going for ultra cheap and expecting to replace it soon. But would I buy it again? No chance. I wouldn't pay a tenner for this.
* Please note : when considering memory in a tablet or phone you need to be aware that only the built in memory can be used for apps. A memory card can store photos and music, but you must have a large enough internal memory to run any applications you may wish to install.