The competition for the cheapest and best 7-inch budget Android tablet seems to be sizzling. A few manufacturers are bringing in larger screens and in the similar budget space, giving the 7-inchers a run for their money. Micromax Funbook Pro, the 10-incher we reviewed recently, is priced at Rs 9,999. Bringing the budget even further down is the 9-incher Play BE 200 from a new entrant in the tablet zone, but old player of electronic equipment, Mitashi. Let us have a closer look at this tablet.
9-inch display with 800 x 480 pixels, 1GHz CPU and 512MB RAM
Design and build
The Mitashi Play BE 200 is a 9-inch Android tablet that closely resembles the Micromax Funbook Pro to quite an extent. It is around 12 mm thick and weighs just a little over half a kilo (510 grams), but does not feel as heavy. The tablet looks very sleek and is good-looking with an all-black exterior, but it has a very glossy surface, which is prone to scratches and fingerprints. A bundled sleeve would have helped to an extent, but sadly, you would need to purchase one for this tablet. The front panel has no buttons except for a large 9-inch display panel and a front facing camera placed on the top right corner. The rear panel sports a single speaker and a slot for the microSD card. The right side features a micro USB PC interface that doubles as a USB OTG slot for external peripherals. Also seen on the right are the audio jack, power socket and a power switch. The volume and back buttons are assigned to the top. The entire chassis is very firm and lightweight and feels nice to handle.
High-gloss rear panel with a single speaker grille
Features and performance
The Play BE 200 runs on the Google Android ICS V4.0.4 operating system and is powered by a Cortex A8 1GHz Boxchip A13 processor, a MALI-400 graphics processor and 512MB of RAM. The internal storage capacity is 4GB. Do note that the official Mitashi website specifies the product as having 8GB of internal storage, which is misleading. The manual inside the product box states 4GB of storage and the product itself has 4GB of internal storage, which is shared between the ROM, apps storage and user data. The display is a decent 9-inch sporting a resolution of 800 x 480—we did expect to see a larger display with a better resolution, but were disappointed again. A VGA camera is available in the front for video calls. What we noticed here is a missing mini HDMI port and a Bluetooth interface, which could be one reason for the price bargain.
12 mm thick, 510 grams
We tested the Play BE 200 to check the performance to compare it with other tablets with the same chipset and speed using our regular benchmarking apps. AnTuTu scored 2985 while Quadrant gave us scores of 2336. Linpack scored 14.56 MFLOPS in single-thread tests and 13.73 MFLOPS in multi-thread tests. Lastly, Nenamark2 gave us frame rates of 27.1 fps in its test. Even though the product is equipped with a 1GHz processor and 512MB of RAM, the BE 200 is at par with the Micromax Funbook Pro in terms of performance.
No HDMI port
On the connectivity front, the Mitashi Play BE 200 comes with a micro USB PC interface that doubles as a USB OTG interface to connect external USB peripherals such as a USB storage drive or a keyboard or mouse. However, you would need to opt for an OTG cable, as Mitashi has not bundled one with it. The micro USB slot can also be used to charge the tablet, which is a plus point for the tablet as you won't need to carry an additional charger for the tablet separately. Lastly, you can connect the tablet to the Internet via the Wireless 802.11 b/g/n interface or by using a 3G Internet dongle via the OTG feature.
The user interface on the BE 200 is the stock tablet launcher, which is very smooth and intuitive. What is a bit disturbing is the initial Mitashi wallpaper that blends with the default widgets – but that can be changed anyways. The UI and the icons are pretty large and clear, but the display resolution being on the lower side clearly highlights the tiny pixels, which are more prominent when using a lighter background. Overall, there is no lag whilst using the tablet and at any given point, you will not feel the user interface going sluggish on you.
Android ICS with stock tablet launcher
Display and media
The tablet runs the usual media formats that all Android-based tablets are compatible with. High definition 1080p videos are smooth and do not judder or lag. The brightness levels of the display are good and the quality of the videos is pleasant. However, as we mentioned earlier, the low resolution of the display brings forward the tiny pixels that are a bit disturbing while watching a video or checking out some photos. If the resolution of the display were higher, it would have added more value to the product.
The audio volume of the built-in speaker is about average, but not as high as one would expect. The audio quality is a bit shrill and lacks a bit of bass. Using a pair of headphones is definitely recommended. However, Mitashi has not bundled any headphones along with the product and you would have to buy one yourself or use an existing pair if you have one.
Few free apps thrown in for entertainment and productivity
We did test the battery of the BE 200, and we were impressed. Comparing the product with the 10-incher Micromax Funbook Pro, which gave us an average battery life of around 2 hours and 47 minutes, this one went on for almost 6 hours and 10 minutes in the continuous video loop test. Casual usage with audio and video streaming, productivity apps, mild gaming and Internet browsing during the day gave us around 7.5 hours of battery life. This would definitely vary depending on your usage. The battery supplied for the BE 200 is a 3500 mAh lithium polymer battery.
Verdict and Price in India
The Mitashi Play BE 200 is a good 9-inch Android tablet for cheap priced at Rs 7,999. A long battery life and the good looks are its plus points, but the weaknesses are the display quality and missing HDMI interface. Comparing this product with the Micromax Funbook Pro, we would recommend this one only because of the price and battery life. The difference in the display size by 1 inch might not matter much as the product is available for almost Rs 2,000 cheaper than the Funbook Pro. If you are looking for a large display-based Android tablet on a tight budget, this is the one we can recommend at this point of time. However, the market is yet to see a lot more of 9-inch and 10-inch budget Android tablets in the near future. If you are not in a hurry, we would suggest you hold your horses for a while longer.
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Oct 26, 2016