Four months ago, we reviewed the BSNL Penta T-Pad WS802C, which was priced at Rs 14,700 because of the SIM card 3G and calling support. The product is still available on its website with a new price tag of Rs 11,024. This time, BSNL has brought in another similar product with a low price of Rs 6,999, but has cut down a number of features to bring down the price to an affordable zone without compromising on the 3G SIM card support. Let us check what the differences are.
7-inch display, 800 x 480 pixels
Design and build
The BSNL Penta T-Pad has a very firm and sturdy shell with a glossy silver coating that can easily get scratched. If placed on a rough surface, or handled badly, you can end up with a tarnished tablet in no time. Fortunately, BSNL has bundled along a free sleeve to protect the tablet whilst travelling. The rear panel has a large logo of BSNL Penta, which is a put off as it looks more like an advertisement that covers up almost 30 percent of the entire area. The front panel has three capacitive touch buttons for Home, Back and Menu, and alongside is a battery status LED. The display panel is a 7-incher with a resolution of 480 x 800, which is similar to most tablets in this budget and size. The power and volume buttons take their place on the top while the right side features the power jack, microSD slot, mini HDMI port, a micro USB PC interface and the headphone jack. Two VGA cameras are available, one on the front and one on the rear. The rear panel also sports a mono speaker grille and the SIM card slot.
Cluttered logos on the rear, silver glossy surface.
The Penta T-Pad WS703C is based on the Android ICS operating system and runs on a single core 1.2GHz Cortex A8 processor with a MALI-400 GPU accelerator. The RAM featured is 512MB while the built-in storage is the average 4GB. As usual, the storage can be expanded up to 32GB using a microSD card. The display panel is standard 7-inch capacitive LCD with a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels. Included by BSNL here are what other tablets in the similar price bracket do not offer as yet—Bluetooth. Bluetooth feature is a great advantage for casual data transfers and for enjoying wireless audio for music and videos. The tablet can be used for voice and video calls using the built-in SIM card or the wireless b/g/n interface. A micro USB port is available for the PC interface and doubles up as an OTG port. The tablet can also be charged via the micro USB port using a regular compatible phone charger. However, the charger provided with the tablet is a 2 A charger, which will charge the tablet faster than conventional 0.5 A and 1 A chargers used for mobile phones. Nevertheless, the micro USB charging feature is an advantage as you wouldn’t need to tag an additional charger around whilst you are on the go.
Regular connectors similar to all Android tablets
As mentioned earlier, the display is a 7-incher and sports a standard resolution of 480 x 800 pixels. We did notice that the display on the older WS802C we reviewed was much better as compared to this one—the display looks highly pixilated, a little washed-out on the colours front and lacks the sharpness and crisp picture quality we expected. Browsing the Internet or using the tablet for text work will make you notice the below average display quality within seconds. However, watching a video on the tablet speaks the other way—it is almost flawless. The video quality is good and crisp; you cannot notice any flaw in the display quality with regards to colour reproduction.
3G SIM card slot on the rear towards the top
The viewing angles of the display are a bit bad though. Whilst watching a video or flipping through photos, you need to keep your viewing angle at a sharp 90 degrees. A slight deviation towards the bottom makes the display go darker and further more inverts the colours completely. You could miss the entire effects of the movie or photograph. We also noticed that the sensitivity of the capacitive display is a tad weak, and we witnessed it especially with the capacitive buttons on the front panel.
Interface and performance
The WS703C uses the Android ICS operating system with a stock tablet interface. The entire UI is a bit sluggish as compared to the older WS802C we reviewed a few months ago. The low sensitivity of the capacitive display could be the reason for the sluggish interface. After casually operating the tablet for a few days, we found that the entire operating system runs fine for some time, gets a bit sluggish at times, freezes for a moment and then runs faster than usual later on.
Volume and power on the top
We tested the tablet to gauge the performance and compare it with similar existing tablets in the market. AnTuTu gave us a score of 3169, Quadrant resulted in 1911 and Linpack scored 13.443 MFLOPS in single-thread tests and 14.5 MFLOPS in multi-thread tests. Nenamark2 scored 28.9 fps. Looking at the scores, there is nothing much to talk about the performance; the core performance of this tablet is at par with other tablets in the same category.
As with all Android tablets, the WS703c plays the usual file formats such as AVI (H.264, DIVX, DIVX, XVID, rm, rmvb, MKV（H.264, DIVX, DIVX, XVID), WMV, MOV, MP4（H.264, MPEG, DIVX, XVID), DAT（VCD), VOB（DVD), PMP,MPEG, MPG, FLV（H.263，H.264), ASF, TS, TP, 3GP, MPG etc. Office documents such as EPUB, WORD, EXCEL, POWERPOINT, PDF, TXT are compatible.
12 mm thick
The audio volume from the built-in speaker is very low and you cannot enjoy any music or video entertainment on its own. You would have to use the headphones but the audio volume from the headphones is also low. The bundled headphones are glossy white and look like a replica of the iPhone earphones. The earphones are calling headsets with an inline call button and microphone. The audio quality for calls of the headphones is surprisingly good and you will not need to replace them to get good call quality. Using the headset for calling is good enough, but as we mentioned, the lacking higher audio volume can be troublesome when you are in a noisy environment or out in traffic.
Stock tablet user interface with a few freebie apps
Misc apps and freebies
As we mentioned earlier, the BSNL bundles along a sleeve for protection while carrying it around. Also bundled is a headset, a charger and a micro USB cable. An OTG cable is not supplied, which is a drawback, as you would have to hunt for one if you want to use a 3G-Internet dongle or USB peripherals with the tablet. Lastly, the tablet is flushed with a few free apps for games, entertainment and productivity.
A few productivity, entertainment and gaming apps are thrown in
The power source used in the tablet is a 3000 mAh Li-ion battery. We did test the tablet for the battery life and found that it gave us a decent 5 hours and 10 minutes with continuous video playback and around 5 hours and 45 minutes whilst using it for browsing the Internet (3G and Wi-Fi), music, audio and video streaming, casual gaming and emails. On an average, the battery life seems to be good as compared to other tablets in the category.
The BSNL Penta T-Pad WS703C is an average performer if we compare it to the other tablets with the similar specs and budget. The plus points it gains is the 3G SIM card support and Bluetooth feature, which others do not sport in the said price range. However, the display quality, sluggish user interface and low audio volume are a put off. What we also noticed is that BSNL has another variant to this model—the WS702C, which is available for a price of just Rs 700 more than this tablet and seems to have a better feature-set. The 702C features a 7-inch display with a higher resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels, sports 1GB of RAM, has a 2 MP rear camera and has a built-in memory of 8GB. Therefore, if you are getting a better display resolution, higher storage and more RAM for just Rs 700 more, why spend for the WS703C? We would recommend the WS702C in place of this tablet if you are planning to opt for a BSNL Penta product.
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