An affordable tablet that you can do without.
When Simmtronics announced a few weeks ago that they were debuting the world’s most affordable tablet PC at a press event in Dubai, I was excited. There are many of us who have yet to jump onto the tablet bandwagon, and for a lot of people it boils down to how pricey some of the newer models tend to be. The iPad of course remains a firm favorite amongst people, but some have still held off from purchasing one. So would Simmtronics be able to deliver an affordable tablet that would allow so many people to enjoy media and entertainment in the palm of their hand?
Build quality & design
To answer that question, I received the Simmtronics Xpad SIMM-T701 for review. Simmtronics makes tablets in a variety of sizes and configurations, and it’s this apparently flexibility that apparently makes the tablet so affordable. Need a tablet for viewing websites and recipes in the kitchen? They’ve got one. Need a larger tablet for enjoying movies? They’ve got you covered. Surely then, the diminutive 7” Xpad is a great place to start with the Simmtronics lineup.
The build quality on the Xpad is – mostly plastic. Black and white, fingerprint-loving plastic. The back white plastic can get quite greasy and alarmingly slippery after being passed around by various people, and the front is equally as bad, framed by a thick black bezel. There’s a very stiff power button and volume rocker on one side of the tablet, and three buttons on the front of the tablet for back, menu, and home.
At the bottom of the device are a selection of ports for audio, microSD, mini-HDMI, micro-USB, and power. One of the unique features of this tablet is the apparent ability to plug in a USB 3G dongle to provide internet on the go, but surely it would have made more sense to just include a slot for a SIM card. There are small labels at the back of the device that indicate what port is for what, along with stickers for “3D Vision” and “HDMI 2160P SuperHD”, which mean absolutely nothing. Finally there’s also the lone speaker at the back, oddly located at the lower left when holding the device horizontally, so 90% of the time you’ll end up covering the speaker when holding the device and muffling the audio.
There are a variety of configurations for Simmtronics’ tablets, and the Xpad probably sits at the lower end of the spectrum. Though it runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, that means precious little when you’ve only got basic hardware under the hood.