With a growing amount of Android tablets in the Indian market, it is no surprise now that new manufacturers are seen popping up every now and then with a new range of these 7-inch devices. Almost all are seen with similar hardware specs and features, but just differ in operating system versions and build quality. Similar is the case with California-based Swipe Telecom which entered the Indian market a few months ago with three variants of 7-inch tablets. All three feature similar specifications in terms of hardware, but are slightly different from each other. We have had our hands on the Swipe 3D Life Tab X74 and here is what we found out about the tablet.

7-inch display but a regular TFT screen—not 3D

7-inch display but a regular TFT screen—not 3D

Design and build
The tablet has a very good build quality and looks great because of its rounded edges and glossy shell. But the high-gloss won’t last long and will tend to tarnish in no time. The front features three capacitive buttons for Home, Back and Menu, but we noticed the icon for the home button is either misprinted or deliberately marked with four boxes which usually denote the app drawer. Towards the top right is a small status LED which illuminates green for use and red for charge. We did note that this LED turns red whilst charging, which is normal, but remains continuously lit in green even if the device is in use or in standby mode and only turns off when you power off the tablet. This phenomenon can actually drain the battery to quite an extent when in standby mode.

Glossy white back with a 3D logo - a Gimmic

Glossy white back with a 3D logo – a Gimmic

 
The right side features all the connectivity ports such as power, audio out and PC USB interface. Unlike other tablets, this one does not feature an HDMI port using which one can enjoy media on a large screen TV. The volume rocker and power buttons are seen on the top towards the right, but though highly tactile, they are not raised sufficiently for speedy operations. The rear features the microSD card slot and a single window for a mono speaker. The rear panel is a bright glossy white panel marked with a large company logo and a 3D sticker.

No HDMI port

No HDMI port

Features and performance
The x74 3D is built using a Boxchip A13 processor clocked at 1.5GHz and is coupled with 512MB of RAM. The display is a 7-inch 5-finger multi-touch TFT screen with a resolution of 800 x 480 pixels. An internal storage of 4GB is provided for storing apps and data, but you can expand this capacity up to 32GB via the microSD card slot. The operating system installed is Android 4.0.3 ICS (Ice Cream Sandwich). The device is pretty small, has a thickness of 10.5 mm and weighs around 325 grams.

Swipe boasts about this tablet being the country’s first 3D tablet which we see as just a marketing stunt or a gimmick. The display is a standard TFT display, which is similar to any regular mobile phone, tablet, monitor or television set. The 3D offered by this tablet is nothing but anaglyph photos and videos which can be viewed with the pair of red and cyan glasses that is bundled for free. When one views an anaglyph photo or video with any red and cyan glasses, the image generated is 3D. This “3D” can be viewed on any display screen including CRT monitors, televisions or projectors and can also be printed on a sheet of paper using a standard printer. In short, this tablet does not feature a 3D display screen, but simply bundles red and cyan glasses with the product for one to watch anaglyph 3D content on it.

Simple 3D Anaglyph videos and photos are loaded

Simple 3D Anaglyph videos and photos are loaded

We did our usual tests to benchmark the tablet to gauge its overall performance and here are the scores. Linpack spewed a single-thread score of 5 MFLOPS and a multi-thread score of 7.2 MFLOPS. Quadrant and AnTuTu displayed scores of 1346 and 2718 respectively. If there was a GPU added, we definitely would have seen much higher performances, but since there isn’t any, the scores are just around average when compared to a similar product in its category. To sum up the performance, this tablet does not perform any better than any other 7-inch Chinese tablet available in the market.

Interface
We did expect to at least see 3D anaglyph-based wallpapers, a 3D home launcher or 3D apps installed on the tablet, but were highly disappointed when we switched it on. The user interface is a standard ICS-based UI seen on all similar tablets. The UI is also erratic and at times tends to freeze or majorly slow down at times, especially when using the tablet. Swiping around the apps and widgets feels a little laggy for a 1.5GHz processor. The reason could be a missing GPU or the low 512MB of RAM. There were instances where we would have to struggle to get into or out of a particular app. The tablet would just behave erratic and extremely sluggish. At a point in time, it would be very much irresponsive and then suddenly surprise you by quickly executing all the touches you made while it was in a frozen state. We did witness such instances, especially when browsing the Internet on the stock browser. We suggest an alternate home launcher in case you intend buying one of these tablets. The touchscreen does not seem very sensitive and we had to press our fingers a little harder than usual to witness a response. 

We expected a 3D wallpaper or 3D home launcher

We expected a 3D wallpaper or 3D home launcher


Media

The display incorporated in the x74 3D tablet is a standard TFT screen with a resolution of 800 x 480 pixels and does not have any 3D features like you see in high-end monitors, TVs and phones. Though the display quality is quite clear, you cannot fail to notice the tiny pixels that make up the entire screen. This reduces if you move away from the screen and watch from a fair distance. The viewing angle is also pretty bad—while watching any movie or photographs, you have to view it at an angle of 90 degrees or else the display starts looking like a negative or else starts getting patchy. Viewing angles from the top or the sides are proper. Overall, the playback of movies is pretty good and there is no lag whatsoever. High definition movies play well and without any glitches. The audio clarity from the onboard speaker is pretty decent, but slightly lacks in vocal clarity. The audio volume should have been a bit higher too.

Some 3D based apps, but equally useless.

Some 3D based apps, but equally useless.

The bundled earphones are completely white to match the rear panel of the tablet. The build quality of the earphones seems pretty good, but the audio quality it produces is just the opposite. It feels as if you are listening to an audio clip in a tunnel. There is no bass or treble, and the vocals are equally bad. Switching to another pair of decent headphones is recommended.

Connectivity
The tablet has connectivity options similar to any conventional china-based tablets in the market. Except for an HDMI port, this one connects to a PC via a mini USB cable, to the Internet via Wi-Fi or 3G dongles by using the bundled USB host cable. The tablet also lacks Bluetooth connectivity.

Miscellaneous apps and freebies
The product bundles a pair of free red and cyan glasses for viewing anaglyph 3D images and movies on the screen. The glasses have a good build quality and don’t feel cheap. You could also opt for any standard or freely available cheap pair of anaglyph red and cyan 3D glasses form the market in case you want an extra pair or lose the original one. Apart from the glasses, the product package also specifies free pre-installed 3D apps such as 3D games and 3D entertainment. What we found inside are a few low quality anaglyph movie clips and a few anaglyph photos. Jet Car Stunts and TurboFly 3D were available on it, which are regular games and not 3D. Apart from these, apps such as CricBuzz, Dhingra, Book My show, Drop Box, Instagram and more were installed. A few games such as Angry Birds, Cut the rope, Guns’n’Glory and RacingMoto were also installed. An app named 3D Zone was also seen which is nothing but just a file manager link to a folder on the SD card which stores the 3D movies and photos by the manufacturer.

Some 3D based apps, but equally useless.

Some 3D based apps, but equally useless.


Battery test

We did a battery test to check how long this tablet survives when entertaining you or when being used outdoors as a productivity device. We ran a single SD video continuously in a loop for as long as the battery could power the device. We got a maximum playback runtime of just around 3.5 hours, which we feel is a pretty low for a tablet. However, this battery time can differ completely in usage and handling from person to person. Factors that can affect the battery life of the tablet are display brightness, volume levels, network usage and file format type of the movies played which can stress the processor.

Verdict
The Swipe 3D Life Tab X74 is just a good-looking tablet with a standard set of hardware beneath its hood. The 3D portion is simply anaglyph photos and videos and is just a gimmick which can be achieved on any tablet, be it cheap Chinese versions or expensive branded ones. Apart from the build quality and the aesthetics, the product is an average performer. For a few hundred rupees more, you could opt for the Micromax Funbook which features a GPU and performs slightly better than this even with a slower processor.

Publish date: August 29, 2012 6:03 pm| Modified date: December 19, 2013 12:22 am

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