With the likes of the Reliance 3G Tab making the tablet market cringe when it comes to the price, here’s one that thought they can do better. Beetel is a company that I’m sure you’ll be quite familiar with, seeing as there’s a good chance you had a telephone instrument in your home that was manufactured by them at some point in time. They’ve brought the Huawei IDEOS 7 tablet to the Indian shores and called it the Magiq. It’s priced at just Rs. 9,999 and in case you’re contemplating a purchase, here’s a quick look at the device to help you make up your mind.

 

On video: the Beetel Magiq

Form Factor
Amongst the variety of tablets out there today across the price brackets, I have to say the Beetel is quite capable of holding its own in the style factor. It’s a rather elegantly designed device with a bushed metal-style finish, chrome border, with a Chrome stand for propping it up and what seems like a stainless steel rear compartment for the battery and SIM card. At the top right hand side is a 3.5mm handsfree kit. The bundled headset is really not one you should consider using and is not quite able to “keep up” with the device's media capabilities.

The Beetel Magiq

The Beetel Magiq

A power button is on the left hand corner but should have been raised a little more as it’s quite difficult to access sometimes. On the right side of the device are the volume keys, while the micro USB and charging ports are on the left. It doesn’t charge with a standard USB charger so you’ll have to carry this one around with you alongwith the USB cable. It would have been cheaper and more convenient to have gone with the all-in-one option.

The perfect stand to sit back and enjoy videos

The perfect stand to sit back and enjoy videos

The 7-inch resistive touchscreen features a resolution of 800 x 480 pixels which is pretty decent all things considered. Color reproduction isn’t as vibrant as you’d hope as they appear slightly dull. Keeping the price tag in mind though, it’s not a factor that one would complain too much about. A 2MP video calling camera (2MP camera also at the rear), call take and end keys as well as an optical track pad button are on the left of the display while the Android buttons viz Home, Menu, Return are on the right. Unlike most Android devices these days, the Magiq has incorporated buttons rather than touch sensitive keys although they may look like them.

A memory card slot (up 32GB) and docking port are located at the bottom. The Magiq is equipped with 8GB of internal storage. A stylus is also provided and has a little slot for it to be neatly packed away at the rear.

Dimensions are just about right for easy portability

Dimensions are just about right for easy portability

Overall, it’s a good looking piece of hardware and although not as slim as the Samsung Galaxy Tab or Reliance 3G Tab, neither its weight nor shape will be an issue you need be concerned about.

Features and Performance
Interface
What’s impressive is that Beetel has used a very well laid out UI on top of the Android FroYo OS. The UI, called Emotion features individual pages categorised with headers like Web, Entertainment, Communications and Favorites. This makes sorting your most used apps easy on the multiple desktops. The UI also has its own widgets that go quite well with the overall look and feel of the device. The drop down menu also serves as a task manager for closing apps as well as a notification center. Virtual buttons to activate Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and adjust the brightness are also available right from the home screen.

Well designed UI

Well-designed UI

Although it’s a resistive touchscreen which means you either use the stylus or press the display a little harder than you would a capacitive display, it's very finger friendly. It’ll take no more than 5 minutes to get used to the amount of pressure you need to apply. The UI makes for easy access to everything and running on a 1GHz Snapdragon processor with an Adreno GPU, the Beetel Magiq aka IDEOS 7, is no slow poke when it comes to functionality. It handled multi-tasking and 720p video playback really well. Overall functioning was also quite smooth.

The Linpak readout of the device’s performance was a bit off the charts clocking in at 28.829 MFLOPS on a Single Thread Run and 26.256 on Multi-Thread. AnTuTu’s benchmarking tool ranked it almost on par with the HTC Nexus One. That’s quite impressive as low budget smart-devices go.
Media
The Beetel Magiq fared averagely in this department. Music playback was quite ok via the stock Android player as it has no frills. However with a third party option like Mixzing, the quality and output was a whole other story. It’s recommended you get yourself a good set of earphones, Bluetooth or standard to get the best out of the device. The Stereo speakers on either side of the device aren't overly loud but reach a high enough level for music to sound out clearly enough while it's sitting on your desk.

Will need thirdy party apps to really rock the boat!

Will need thirdy party apps to really rock the boat!

It won’t play full HD videos (1080p) and has no support for AVI, FLV, MKV or WMV formats but MP4 files at 720p resolution worked just fine. Once again the Android Market came to the rescue as third party players like Mobo or RockPlayer will give you the capability of a lot more formats. The display works out quite in this case, its “resistive” nature not withstanding.

Connectivity
It’s an open GSM-based tablet meaning it can be used with a service provider. When it comes to calls, as mentioned earlier, get yourself a better handsfree and you’ll have no issues. Call quality is pretty good overall. It’s 3G and Wi-Fi with a hot spot creator is supported. If 3G is still a bit out of your reach, it works just as well (only slower of course) on EDGE. The Magiq also comes with a GPS module built in for third party software or Google Maps and all its corresponding apps like Places, Navigation or Latitude. Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP and USB 2.0 are also on board. Social networking apps like Twitter for Android and Facebook are preloaded along with Gtalk amd Android’s stock Gmail app. Microsoft Exchange accounts are also supported. An RSS reader, Google’s Voice Search, YouTube and a Weather and News apps are also provided.

Connectivity options as good as a smartphone

Connectivity options as good as a smartphone

Misc. Features
There aren’t any significant extra apps that Beetel has thrown in other than a Memo Pad with a widget, a lite edition of Documents to go that allow you to access and read MS Word, Excel and PowerPoint files are on board. The calendar app can sync with your Facebook and Google accounts to update you on anniversaries and appointments. There is, of course, an alarm clock and calculator as well.

Camera
The 2MP fixed focus camera is not too bad. It’s not going to give you the crispest images in this range but it does a pretty good job nonetheless. Features include Geotagging, White Balance and Color effects. Colors do tend to look just a little washed out but quite alright since we’re not looking at a high end camera phone lens.

FroYo is good to go

FroYo is good to go

Battery Life
Equipped with a 2200mAh battery, the device didn’t seem to manage power distribution too well. A video ran for 4 hours and 50 minutes non stop with 3G and Wi-Fi switched off and just about 4 hours with 3G and or Wi-Fi active. In this round that wasn’t too shabby and on par with the Reliance 3G Tab. In our tech2 Loop test though, the Magiq did not impress. It failed to complete even the first loop which meant running it for 2 hours of video, 2 hours of audio, 1.5 hours of talk time and 2 hours streaming. It managed to fall short of the first loop by 30 minutes as during the last leg i.e. audio streaming, it went dead after 1 hour and 30 minutes.With 3G active this device will not last you for more than a day of nominal usage.

The Bottom Line
We’re talking about a tablet device priced at just Rs. 10,000 that includes 3G support, a 1GHz processor and 8GB of storage with the ability to boost that by another 32GB. Sure the battery is its Achilles Heel, but other than that, from looks to overall functionality, the Beetel Magiq tablet or Huawei IDEOS 7, or whatever you wish to call it, is a device that’s well worth the money. In regards to performance it does as well as some high-end smartphones out there except for the battery life of course. So if you’re looking for a tablet that does almost everything that a mid-high level smartphone does, this is it.

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