Thursday, August 26, 2010

I got myself an Apad (not iPad)

2010 may go down as the year of the tablet computer. With the launch of the Apple iPad, it certainly seems that the tablet is back into the mix of possible computers to purchase and own. But it seems this market will not be the exclusive domain of Apple's for too much longer. The news is filled with the announced launching or launches of tablets. From Dell, Verizon, LG and others, the tablets will be the next big thing come Christmas time.

However, there is no need to wait until Christmas, because the Android based Google tablet exists! Indeed it does. It probably couldn't be classified as an iPad Killer, because probably nothing is, but it is there. They are also, compared to the iPad, dirt cheap. So inexpensive are they, that PCWorld had an article about them, referring to them as iPad knock-offs.

Wired even had an article about the devises, calling them Counterfeits of the Real Thing. But as many pointed out, if the "real Thing", doesn't exist, how can they be counterfeits? A very good point.

After all this reading, I went to ebay and ordered one. Yes I decided to get on the tablet revolution. After a problem with customs and a few emails to the company, the devise arrived at the local post office on Wednesday, August 25th. I ordered in around the time of my birthday in July but there was a snag. I don't blame the company, because according to them it was sent back. Not sure why, one of those things I suppose. But it finally arrived.

Here is a professional video of the Apad:

It's specs are:
RAM Installed Size DDR 128MB
Display Diagonal Size 7" touch panel
Max Resolution 800X480
Display Technology TFT
Graphics Type Integrated Graphics
Input/ Output Connectors
Audio/Video Built in 1×0.5W speaker,1× Integrated mircrophone, earphone×1
Memory Card 1x SD card slot. a 2GB SD card is attached for the item.
Communications Wireless Connection WIFI
Wireless Protocol 802.11 a/b/g
Operating System Andriod 1.6
IM Software MSN, Skype
Browser Andriod Browser
Office Word To Go, Sheet To Go, Slideshow To Go, PDF To Go.
Media player PeacockVideo, Music Player
Mail Android Email,POP3/IMAP/SMTP
Audio MP3
Video MP4 for Andriod
Image Jpeg, Gif
Other Software Google Maps,Calendar, Contacts, and many free software for Andriod.
Battery Type Built in 7.4V 1600MAH Li-ion Battery
Battery / Run Time (up to) 2 Hours
Power Device Type AC Adapter
Voltage required 100/240V
Color White
Dimensions / W x D x H 207mm(L) x119mm(W) x12mm(H)

It comes with an AC adaptor, a USB cord and a bilingual manual, English and Chinese.

I have opened the parcel, I have pushed the 'On' button and got it going. I've used a number of times since so I think I can give a bit of a review. First of all, it is a pleasant looking devise. It's white, very neat and very minimal. It gives one a good exposure to Android. It's light size makes it good to carry around and also, it's good to have when a person doesn't want to fire up the laptop but just wants to read some email or doing a bit of web surfing.

It's got a few quirks: it is slow, the screen is can be a challenge to find the right level of sensitivity to open programs or even to scroll up and down. I, at first, wasn't impressed with the keyboard, but then I recalled my many struggles with the iPod Touch and its keyboard. When listening to music, there is a bit of distortion between songs.

What's good: the screen is quite bright and it does go from landscape to portrait fairly straight forward. Music played through a pair of headphones or headsets does sound good. Yes there may be a distortion problem between each song, but it works out. Viewing photographs is a good experience. There is a bit of a learning process, but that's typical with any new system. Browsing is also good. The built in browser handles all things well. With the email program, you can set up any email to go. When new email comes, a sound is made letting you know of the arrival.

It does the simple tasks, such as reading and writing email, surfing the web and also doing some instant messaging. I've sent messages to some social network sites without any problems.

I can say that the next step will be to get some android apps onto the devise and make it a bit more versatile.

The question is, how will I use it. I can see throwing it in my backpack and using it while in the library and or another place with open wi-fi. I should also say, there is no problem connecting with wifi. I have not suffered any drops at all and the speed is very reasonable. It will make a nice picture display, when I quickly want to show people what I've taken. The fact there is a SD slot makes this possible. Battery life, to speak on that, probably no different then the Touch with wi-fi on.

There are many names for these devises, a quick search through ebay will let you know there are apads, epads, robots and so on and so forth.

For the price, a person could say you're not getting a lot. But I would say, for the price, you are getting what you are getting; a reasonable useful tablet, with some wonkiness. In the end, isn't that what we want?

Would I recommend it? I would, saying that it isn't an iPad so don't expect it to act like one. As I said, as an introduction to tablet computing and for the price, it's a good way to get started.

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