Those using a smartphone for browsing the Internet or watching a video would know better that a bigger display makes the experience even better. We have seen a lot of 7-inch display based tablets ranging from cheap Chinese-manufactured ones to the expensive branded ones. You can actually count the number of players in the 10-inch tablet zone: Apple, Samsung and ASUS are the ones we presently know of in the upper price bracket. Micromax has stepped into this zone to try and give these higher brands a run for their money. Will they succeed or not lie in the hands of the consumers. We have the latest 10-incher in our hands. Check out some more details about the Micromax Funbook Pro.
10.1- inch display with a 1024 x 600 pixel resolution
Design and Build
The Micromax Funbook Pro seems like nothing more than a stretched out piece of the previous version – the Funbook P300. The product is almost identical to the P300 except for its larger size and a few important specs. The Funbook Pro is a very sexy looking tablet if compared to any other budget tablet in the 7-inch and 10-inch segment. The entire frame is built tough, but the top and sides are extremely glossy, making it an easy prey to be damaged by dust and fingerprints or dented and scratched by accidental falls. The front has absolutely no physical or capacitive buttons except for a VGA front facing camera neatly tucked in the upper right corner. The rear is identical to the P300 with a matte-finish all-plastic silver back. The slightly convex back panel can be easily discoloured with prolonged use if not safely kept around or handled.
Stereo speakers on the rear
The entire tablet is pretty slim at 11.5 mm and though it weighs around 600 grams, it does not feel too heavy. The top can be seen with just three buttons comprising of a volume rocker and a back button. The right side features the power/standby button. These four buttons are pretty tiny and gel into the entire frame to give a nice look, but are too small for productive use. This is a huge drawback, especially when taking the ergonomics into consideration. To add to the existing inconvenience, the buttons also lack tactility; however, there are always the onscreen buttons that come to the rescue.
Top – volume and back, Side – power/standby
The right side also features the power slot, headphone socket, mini HDMI interface, micro USB port and the microSD card slot to expand the storage by up to 32GB. Surprisingly, this tablet is one of the first ones we have seen with two micro USB interface sockets. A close look at the rear panel for the information on this socket revealed it to be a discrete socket for the USB host feature, which along with the bundled OTG cable can be used to connect standard USB peripherals such as external storage drives and input devices. Unfortunately, it works only with an external storage or input device and not with a PC. The usual micro USB interface can also be used for charging the device other than the bundled 2 A charger given with the product. We see this as a positive point because you don’t need to tag along the bulky charger with the tablet as you can charge it using any other charger that uses the micro USB connector. The rear panel has no camera, but features a stereo speaker towards the top.
1.2GHz processor, MALI-400 GPU, 1GB DDR3 RAM, 8GB storage
We managed to pry open the Micromax Funbook Pro to take a quick glimpse of the manufacturing quality inside as we know that most of the budget tablets sold in India are Chinese manufactured and re-branded and known to have very shabbily-finished interiors. But to our surprise, just like the older Funbook P300, the Pro is also very neatly finished and the manufacturer seems to have taken care about the interiors just as well as it has with the exteriors. We did this to the product so that you don’t need to do the same and lose out on your warranty.
The inside story
The Micromax Funbook Pro is powered by the Allwinner Boxchip A10 chipset featuring a Cortex-A8 processor clocked at 1.2GHz and a MALI-400 GPU. The Funbook Pro is blessed with 1GB of DDR3 RAM and is coupled with an internal storage of 8GB, of which 5.3GB is available for user data and the rest is shared between the ROM and the app storage. The user gets a good 1.15GB of storage space for installing apps. The storage can be expanded up to 32GB using the microSD card slot. The display is a large multi-touch capacitive 10-incher, but sadly, sports a resolution of only 1024 x 600 pixels. We expected it to at least have a proper 1280 x 720 resolution at this size. Moving on, the operating system installed is Android ICS v4.0.3, which includes the stock home launcher. The camera available is on the front and it has 300 K pixels 640 x 480 resolution for video chats. Connectivity options are micro USB interface for PC and Wi-Fi b/g for networking. We expected to see Wi-Fi N also included, but were disappointed again. A separate micro USB host interface is also provided, which needs to be used along with the bundled OTG cable for hooking up USB peripherals such as input devices or storage drives. Lastly, the battery inside the unit is a large 5600 mAh Li-ion.
Stock home launcher, but too colourful
As we mentioned in the features section that the Funbook Pro sports a 1.2GHz processor along with a MALI-400 GPU and 1GB of RAM, we did expect to see the product performing pretty well. But to our disappointment, we found the user interface slightly sluggish, specifically when sweeping through different screens or typing URLs in the browser. We did find a few glitches in the operating system too. Firstly, the ‘Developer Options’ in the settings page, where one can change the ‘Windows Animation Scale’ and the ‘Transition Animation Scale’ from the default values of ‘1x’ to ‘.5x’ or ‘none’ in order to speed up the interface a bit mode, simply refused to function or even change. Also, the wireless toggle switch in the main status bar is missing. The Wi-Fi toggle icon is available but there is no toggle switch and if you click on it, it takes you to the system settings where you need to switch it on. This means if you want to toggle the wireless network in a particular application, it will exit and go to the settings page. The display screen is also slightly unresponsive and not as sensitive as it should be. Maybe a small tweak in the kernel settings by the developer can solve these issues in the next firmware update.
A few free apps thrown in by Micromax
As usual, we tested the Micromax Funbook Pro using the benchmarking apps and here are the results. AnTuTu maxed out at 3028, Quadrant at 2108 and Linpack scored 15.528 MFLOPS in Single-Thread tests and 14.978 MFLOPS in Multi-Thread tests. The scores revealed to us that the tablet performs almost at par with most other tablets that feature similar specs but have 512MB of RAM. This one features a higher RAM capacity at 1GB and we think it is definitely under-performing.
The Funbook Pro did impress us with almost flawless playback of 1080P HD videos on its large screen. The videos did have a lag, but was only noticeable when a fast moving or panning screen is being watched. Otherwise, you would not even notice a glitch. The resolution of 1024 x 600 does not do justice to even HD movies, as all the videos are being downscaled to match the display resolution. The display is bright enough and looks crisp from a good distance—hold it closer and you can see the minute pixels that make up the screen. But at the end, playback of HD videos is smooth and flawless and we cannot complain. Audio playback has no issues when using earphones, but the built-in stereo speakers on the rear are pretty loud and a tad too shrilly. Though clear, the speakers lack proper mids and lows, which if present would make it a perfect entertainment display for a small crowd. Do note that earphones are not bundled with the product.
Wi-Fi toggle switch is missing
The large 5600 mAh battery seems like it promises to give you adequate juice for a prolonged time. But we were surprised when the tablet was juiced out in just 1 hour and 50 minutes. This was during the video loop test where we had a 2 hour 47 minute movie on test and before the movie even climaxed, the tablet died on us. We refreshed the battery back and started using the tablet as one would casually do during the day to simulate regular use. This included Internet browsing, downloading and installing apps, watching a few YouTube videos, email and social networking, a few music and video streaming sessions and lastly, a few regular games. The battery gave up in 2 hours and 25 minutes this time. So make sure you have a charger connected while watching movies, playing games or browsing the Internet for prolonged periods. Whilst travelling, we would recommend carrying a portable battery pack or a portable charger, as the device can give up on you every two hours.
Verdict and Price in India
After reviewing the entire product from build and design to the features and performance, we have found a lot of good and bad points that will make it a bit dicey for consumers to opt for this tablet. Slightly sluggish performance, glitches in the operating system and the poor battery life are the downsides. The good aspects are great looks, sturdy build, large display, great media playback and tempting price. The balance might seem right and the sluggish and buggy interface can be corrected. But at the end, the battery life is the main heart of the portable product, which fails drastically here. Hence, recommending this product is a bit disheartening. But if you are looking for a large screen tablet on a shoe-string budget, the Funbook Pro is the only one available in the market with which you can strike a deal if you are willing to ignore the battery life. The Micromax Funbook Pro is available for a price of Rs. 9,999 in the Indian market.
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