Suddenly, the budget tablet segment in India is buzzing with activity with all sorts of tablet PCs entering the market. Also, while each one of them is vying for consumer attention, the one aspect of price remains one of the most striking elements that has the potential to make or break a product. Beetel is all too aware of the price struggle, and that has prompted them to price their first tablet offering, the Magiq, at a quite comfortable Rs. 9999. However, is price the only point in favor of the Magiq or does it also boast of acceptable performance?
Look and feel:
To begin with, the Magiq does not conform to the conventional tablet form factor that we have come to accept so far. This since the 7 inch tablet is more elongated, which makes it look more like a super-sized smartphone. The Magiq has Android buttons on one side, but they are not touch sensitive and need to be firmly pressed down to activate their functions, which again is akin to receiving or making a phone call. But then, the Magiq does serve as one big smartphone as well. The device has an optical track pad on the other side which all in all gives the device an unorthodox shape. Where it differs most is the elongated shape that it has when compared with similar tablet offerings from Samsung, HTC, or its direct competitor, the Reliance Tab 3G.
There is another unique but simple feature to this device wherein a chrome finished stand fixed at the rear side allows for the tablet to be placed in an upright position. This comes in handy when viewing a video or when using the tablet as a photo frame. The tablet does look good with a brushed metal finish with a stainless steel finished compartment at the rear that conceals the battery and the SIM card slot. The other features that are contained on this device are the volume rocker; speaker grills a microUSB port and a power adapter port. Also, let’s not forget the Magiq is not a Beetel in-house development. Instead, it’s the Huawei Ideos S7 tablet, which has been re-branded and sold in India as the Magiq.
The 7 inch resistive touchscreen, with a resolution of 800 x 480 pixels, dominates the front of the tablet, which is pretty decent. The resolution is a bit on the lower side and color reproduction is not among the best in its class. There is no pinch to zoom feature either; it is not multi-touch enabled. But then, that’s a small price to pay for the low cost of the tablet. It also has a 3.5 mm audio jack and the power button located at the top of the set.
A 1 Ghz processor working in unison with a 512 MB RAM makes up the computing capability of the tablet. Response times are good and the apps launch fast enough, though the touchscreen can sometimes turn non-responsive. On board storage amounts to 8 GB with the ability to add on a further 16 GB though the microSD card slot. A unique aspect of the tablet is that it allows one to adjust the brightness or connect through Bluetooth or Wi-Fi by a single touch on the home screen.
The Magiq runs Android 2.2 Froyo with a custom user interface named ‘Emotion’ built on top of it. The applications have been grouped under five categories such as Entertainment, Communications, Favorites, and so on. They form a total of ten screens that one can swipe through to bring up the required group and the particular application icon. This helps in keeping things organized. The icon that notifies on start-up regarding tasks to be taken up is also different in that it is flashing.
The Magiq also comes preloaded with quite a few essential applications, which include a full version of Documents on the Go, file manager, and task manager, along with the usual quota of social networking apps. Other apps the tablet comes with include RSS reader, Google’s Voice Search, YouTube, and a Weather and News apps. Even with Android 2.2, the device is capable of running multiple applications as well as running video of 720p resolution. The device was also tested for running third party media players successfully. One of the biggest drawbacks, though, is that the tablet has a short battery life of just about 3 hours when used with all its applications.
If you are an e-book addict and look forward to exploiting the Magiq as an e-book reading device, you can definitely do that, though you will have to install specific e-reader apps such as the Amazon Kindle or Barnes & Noble. Infibeam also has a huge database of e-books with a huge majority of them in Indian languages, though they are yet to come up with their own e-book reading application. Further, the lack of Android 2.3, which includes support for several Indian languages, is another factor that won’t be to the liking of the regional language e-book reading public. Also, with enough processing punch as its disposal, the Magiq can also be quite adept for multimedia books, though the poor battery life again mars things here.
So does the Magiq makes for a sensible buy? Why not when you are getting a decent tablet at the price of a smartphone from companies like Samsung or LG. Of course, the Magiq is not the best out there. It has been built to a price and at the end of it all, the sub 10k price can be considered the Magiq’s biggest USP. Of course there are better options in the budget segment but nearly all of them cost more.
A 1 Ghz processor that contributes to good performance
Low cost while still being 3G compliant
Good build quality and nice looking
The stand is a beneficial a lot, more so while watching videos or listening to songs.
Low battery life
Android 2.3 definitely would have been a lot better, if not Android 3.2
Screen resolution could have been better