Android tablets in the Indian market seem to be gaining momentum because of cheap prices and competition from other manufacturers in the same segment. Newer tablets are seen entering the market but most of them feature almost the same hardware specs. Today we have the LAVA E Tab, a 7-inch Android tablet with us and the tablet impressed us to quite an extent when compared to others we have reviewed in the recent past. Let’s take you through the entire feature set and the performance of this tablet to know if it is worth a buy.
Crisp 7-Inch display, 480 x 800 pixels
Design and Build quality
Comparing other 7-inch tablets in a similar price range, the LAVA E Tab seems to be made of a superior build quality and sports a good look. The shell is rugged and firm and has a completely matt-finished exterior, promising a longer lasting aesthetics. The front panel features an inlaid 7-inch display panel, a front facing VGA camera and a speaker grille on the left side. The front panel has no capacitive or physical buttons for Home, Back or Search as they are featured in the Operating System itself using the display panel. The rear panel has absolutely nothing except for a sober company logo and a product model number, and this makes the tablet look very neat. A volume rocker, Home and Power buttons are placed on the top. The right side features the power jack and audio jack, the microSD card slot and a micro USB PC interface that doubles as a USB host when used along with the bundled micro USB host cable. The tablet is 11.9 mm thick and weighs 350 grams, but still feels lighter and less bulky than most other tablets.
Rear panel has absolutely nothing and is pretty neat
Features and Performance
The E Tab from LAVA does not sport any powerful hardware, but still functions very smoothly. It is built using a 1.2GHz Cortex-A8 processor, but surprisingly, every system information utility we used on it reported the tablet being clocked at 1008MHz instead of 1200MHz. It is supported by 512MB of RAM and a MALI-400 GPU. The Operating System is Android ICS 4.0.3 and the internal storage is 4GB, of which around 2GB is reserved for the ROM and internal app installation and the rest is free for the user to store his or her data. This storage can be expanded via a microSD card to a maximum of 32GB. The 7-inch display, even though it features a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels, gives out more vibrant and crisper picture quality as compared to earlier tablets in the same price bracket.
Android ICS v4.0.3
We ran our usual benchmarks to check the performance of this tablet. Linpack resulted in 15.13 MFLOPS in single thread test and 13.48 MFLOPS in the multi-thread test. Quadrant gave us a score of 2784, AnTuTu gave us 2972 while NenaMark spewed 25.5 fps. Comparing this tablet to the rest of the 7-inchers we reviewed in the past, we found it performing a tad faster by around 8-10 percent.
1008MHz processor, 512MB RAM, MALI-400 GPU
The user interface, as we mentioned, is pretty smooth and fluid. There was no lag or sluggish feel whatsoever even after using it for a while too long—thanks to the GPU onboard. The stock tablet interface has no fancy icons or unwanted widgets and wall papers installed. The multi-touch screen recognises up to five simultaneous touch inputs and is very sensitive and responsive.
As usual with almost all tablets, the connectivity options are Wi-Fi and 3G (via USB dongle). There is no Bluetooth or GPS provided. A micro USB interface is provided as a PC interface and can also be used for charging the tablet. The micro USB port also doubles as a USB host for connecting 3G dongles or USB peripherals such as USB to Ethernet, external storage, input devices and such. The USB host OTG cable is provided with the product. An HDMI port is not available and is a downer. This also probably explains the price cut on the unit.
Stock UI, smooth and swift
The LAVA E Tab supports various media formats, which include AVI, MP4, VOB, MPEG4, FLV, 3GP, H.264, H.263, DivX, Xvid, WMV, MKV, MP3, FLAC, WAV and WMA. Playback of movies up to HD 720p was flawless. Playback of 1080p videos also was great with no framing seen. The audio output from the front speaker is very clear and has a good and pleasant quality. If the audio encoded in the video is too loud, the vibration of the speaker causes the audio quality to crackle a bit, but this will never be the case with regular good quality videos and audio. Overall, the audio is loud and very audible. The audio quality of the bundled earphones also is decent and good enough for casual movie watching. You would need a earphones replacement while enjoying music, though. The manufacturer bundles along a pre-installed movie for free (Aamir Khan starrer, 3 Idiots) and around 10 HD music videos, which are copied to the internal storage.
A bunch of free apps pre-installed
Miscellaneous apps and freebies
As far as freebies are concerned, there are none. But the manufacturer does mention that you can avail a TATA Photon USB 3G dongle worth Rs. 1,400 for just Rs. 750 with this product. This offer is subject to availability of TATA Photon services in your area. A few free productivity apps and games are pre-installed by the manufacturer. These include Adobe Reader, Flyte MP3, File Manager, Fusion, Hungama.com, Moon+ Reader, NimBuzz, OfficeSuite, TOI, Bubble Blaster, Chess Grandmaster, MineSweeper, Memory Game, TicTacToe, Sudoku Plus and Pizza Ninja.
Decent camera for video chatting
The LAVA E Tab features a 2800 mAh battery and the manufacturer claims that the tablet can give you around 5 hours of run time. This seems to be almost true, but completely depends on the way you use it. We tested this tablet by running a video in a continuous loop till the battery died. We got a battery life of around 4 hours and 50 minutes. We also tested the tablet by using it casually around the day browsing the Internet, listening to music, watching videos, media streaming and alike. The battery lasted for around 6 hours and 10 minutes in this case.
It was a great experience testing the LAVA E Tab and using it for a while. The lack of an HDMI port did not seem to put us off as one would not use the HDMI that often. The rugged build quality, the neat finish of the tablet, the excellent speaker audio, crisp display, smooth user interface, the flawless 1080p video playback and the price tag of Rs. 5,500 managed to impress us quite a bit. Comparing this tablet to the 7-incher Micromax Funbook, and all the other 7-inch tablets that we reviewed so far, this one did raise eyebrows with regards to its performance and usability experience. We definitely recommend this tablet to all those who are seeking a 7-inch tablet for now.
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