Tablets in the sub-15k category have been attracting a lot of attention in the recent past with Zync pricing its ICS tablet at 9,000. Micromax has its Funbook and in the midst of all these brands, there’s an Ainol Novo 7 Paladin with its super affordable tag. Can Intex's new muse, the iTab, tip the scales, though? Let’s find out.
Design and Build Quality
The iTab comes in a complete black outfit; the front has a matte steel finish with a silver lining between the bezel and the screen, giving the tablet a sophisticated look. The back though is a fingerprint magnet due to the glossy finish. We’d have loved a similar matte finish at the back. The 8-inch screen size makes it stand out in a crowd of 7-inch low budget tablets currently in the market. Let’s take a quick tour of the device.
The front camera and buttons
The front consists of the large 8-inch (800 x 600 pixels) capacitive touchscreen with a G-sensor. There’s also a VGA camera on the top right, along with a rather unwanted icon of a tower depicting the tablet's Wi-Fi capabilities. All the connectivity options are located on the right. There’s a USB slot, microSD card slot, mini USB, 3.5mm headphone jack, power slot, microHDMI, Reset slot, microphone and power ON button – all on that one side. The volume rocker keys and back and menu button are located on the top, while the speaker is located at the back.
Owing to the fact that it's an 8 incher and not the usual run of the mill 7-inch tablet, the form factor deserves a special mention. It’s easy to hold the tablet in both, portrait and landscape orientations, as there’s equal weight distribution. The uniform bezel on all sides is another plus, as we saw with the Funbook that uneven bezel widths don’t really contribute to the tablet’s looks. At 457 grams, it’s not the lightest tablet in the market, but with this form factor and ergonomics, we’re definitely not complaining.
The iTab is predominantly made up of plastic, but we didn’t observe any creaking parts even with a substantial amount of pressure applied. The screen itself does catch a lot of fingerprints, but that’s unavoidable. With the iTab, Intex has managed to conjure up quite a looker of a tablet.
Features and Performance
The iTab is powered by a 1GHz Cortex A8 processor with 512 MB of RAM and 8 gigs of internal storage. Intex has put a custom ROM atop the stock Gingerbread user interface and have pretty much made it look like Ice Cream Sandwich for tablets. It's quick, smooth and extremely user friendly. We're mentioning user friendly because Gingerbread on the tablets that we reviewed in the past was definitely not up to the mark. The iTab though, is the exception out here. It has a well customizable home screen, an ICS-esque menu and a fairly quick interface. Next up, synthetic benchmarks.
Linpack gave us a single thread score of 16.326 points and a multi thread score of 15.107, slightly higher than what we received on the Funbook. AnTuTu gave us a score of 2262 placing the iTab below the Galaxy S and the Nexus S. Quadrant on the other hand, gave it a score of 1502 placing the iTab above the Nexus S.
The synthetic benchmarks
The media interface of the iTab is plain boring, it’s the stock Gingerbread version. Once you’re over that bit though, there’s a lot of usability that this section boasts of. Audio drivers are great and due to that, media playback via headphones is brilliant. There’s a bunch of preset equalizers to adjust your music according to your tastes. Speakers are loud enough for personal viewing. This, along with the Ainol Novo 7 Paladin, was one of the few tablets in this price range that managed to play FLAC content with the default media player.
The iTab played 1080p content seamlessly out of the box. WMV, AVI, MOV formats are supported as well. Though FLV and MKV weren’t playing out of the box, 720p MKV videos played smoothly on third party media applications. Though the viewing angles aren’t the best, the iTab makes for a great personal media player.
The company has given quite a few connectivity options with the iTab. The all-important USB slot allows you to connect keyboards, mice and there’s on the go support for flash drives and portable hard drives as well. 1080p media content from our 32GB NTFS flash drive and 1TB portable hard disk played seamlessly on the iTab. It’s important to note here that the Funbook wasn’t capable of reading that same portable hard disk.
Connectivity options well covered
The iTab also comes with a USB to LAN port adaptor and in our tests, it performed just as expected. It’s as simple as connect your LAN cable and you’re ready to go. The company also provides a 3G USB stick so you can put in your 3G SIM card and access the Internet on-the-go. Wi-Fi is there, but Bluetooth, however, isn’t included.
Great as an eBook reader
The inbuilt browser supports flash and browsing the Internet is a pleasant experience, due to both the form factor and the lag free experience. Manouevring through image heavy flash websites was slightly jittery, but we’re not complaining. The iTab’s form factor makes it one of the better eBook readers in the market right now. The tablet is easy to hold in both the portrait and the landscape modes and makes for a nifty reading-on-the-go device. Something that reminded us of the Tablet P’s eBook reading capabilities.
There’s not much out here, besides Arcus Dictionary, Apk Installer, File Explorer, Hanuman Chalisa, Gita and Office Suite. An app called Intex Zone has been included as well, and it basically accumulates all your bookmarks into one app. Besides the devotional content, there’s nothing special, but that’s why you’ve got the Google Play store.
Poor viewing angles
The iTab is equipped with a front facing VGA camera, and a rear camera. Who needs a back camera on a tablet anyway, right? That could be a debate for another article. Anyway, coming back to the front camera, it’s decent enough for video calling. We did have a few issues with Skype compatibility initially, but it was pretty smooth thereafter. It’s decent enough for self-portraits as well.
This 8-inch tablet is equipped with a 5000 mAh non-removable battery and in our video calling test with brightness set at 75 percent and connectivity options turned off, the iTab lasted for ten and a half hours, which surpasses the time set by other tablets. The Ainol Novo 7 Paladin, its closest competitor, came in at nine hours and twenty minutes. Under normal usage, you’ll easily manage to get close to one and a half days of usage, which is pretty impressive, making it one of the strong points of the iTab.
Worth a buy?
The Intex iTab is priced at an MRP of 11,900. For this amount, you get a 3G data card (with SIM slot), LAN adaptor, leather cover and a pair of Reebok sunglasses. If the omission of the last accessory would have resulted in a one or two thousand buck price cut in the overall pricing of this tablet, we’d have definitely given it more marks. At this price, it’s a very good tablet with great multimedia capabilities, but the relatively high price and the fact that it comes with Gingerbread, holds it back from being a must have.
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Oct 24, 2016