Tablet PCs are soon changing the way people communicate and entertain themselves on the move, and 7-inch budget Android tablets seem to be highly welcomed by the Indian market. We have reviewed a large number of budget 7-inch Android tablets in the recent past and while many disappointed us, a few did manage to steal our hearts. This time again, we have on our bench an Android 7-incher by a new entrant in the market. The myZenTab 708BH is a tablet brought to you by ZenFocus, which is an asset and service management solutions company. Do not confuse it with Zen Corporation, which brings you a range of mobile phones and tablets. Let us update you about this new entrant and if it is worth investing on.
Android ICS, 1GHz processor, MALI-400 GPU, 512MB RAM
Design and Build
As per the manufacturer, the myZenTab 708BH is built using a metal shell, but it doesn’t seem like it. The rear panel is completely made of plastic and the frame could be metal. The exterior has a matte-finished steel-grey colour, which looks like it is made of metal, but is not. The tablet is around 11.7 mm thick and weighs about 347 grams. The shell is firm and rugged but not as sturdy as one would expect. The front panel sports the 7-inch display along with a front facing VGA camera and three capacitive touch buttons for Home, Back and Menu. The volume rocker and power/standby buttons take their place on the top, while the right side sports all the necessary interfaces. These include the power and headphone sockets, a microSD card slot, the mini USB PC interface and a mini HDMI port. Alongside these interfaces is a tiny hole for the microphone and a small window for the speaker grille. The rear is a plain back with a curved surface and features only the necessary port names and the company logo.
The rear panel…no speakers
The 708BH is powered by the Allwinner Boxchip A10 chipset SOC, which is codenamed as Sun4i Crane. The processor is an ARMv7 clocked at 1GHz and uses the MALI-400 GPU for acceleration. The RAM supplied is 512MB, while the internal storage is a good 8GB. However, of this 8GB internal storage, 5.35GB is available for user data and 1GB is reserved for app installation. The display is the regular 7-inch LCD screen seen on all the 7-inchers around and has a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels. The front-facing camera is a 0.3 MP. The operating system installed on the 708BH is Android ICS. Connectivity options are Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n and 3G support via USB dongles. Lastly, the battery supplied inside is a 3200 mAh battery, which the manufacturer claims is capable of giving you at least a 5-hour runtime. The 708BH has a similar variant in the family—the 708B, which is a slightly downscaled version of the former. It features identical specs except for the Box A10 chipset, half the built-in storage, a lower rated battery and a plastic shell in place of metal. It is also thinner and cheaper than the 708BH.
8GB storage, Wi-fi, 3G and Ethernet via USB OTG dongle
As we mentioned earlier, the 708BH uses the Android ICS 4.0.x operating system with the stock interface. Though the tablet uses 1GB of RAM and a MALI-400 GPU, the user interface is a tad sluggish. The sensitivity of the touchscreen seems like it is the culprit for the under-performing UI. We did try to tweak all possible settings, but it does not improve the performance of the UI. Moving on, the 708BH has only a twitter app thrown in with no other freebie apps, unlike other budget tablet manufacturers who flood the app drawer with too many useless apps. This makes the UI a bit lighter and less cluttered and gives the user some more free space to install app of his or her choice.
We tested the tablet using a few benchmarking applications and surprisingly, we found this tablet to be performing a little better than other tablets with similar hardware. The reason for the better performance could be the large 1GB RAM provided to the OS and CPU. AnTuTu and Quadrant resulted in 3291 and 2418 respectively. Linpack gave us a single-thread score of 15 MFLOPS and a multi-thread score of 13.13 fps. Lastly, Nenamark recorded a frame rate of 31.1 fps in its test. Sadly, though the internal performance seems better, the user interface makes the user feel that the entire tablet underperforms.
The tablet plays a large number of media formats with ease. High definition 702p and 1080p videos were flawless. The manufacturer’s website states that the tablets can also playback 2160p videos with ease; we did try some of these 2160p resolution files and they failed. Though the picture quality seemed good enough, the frame rate was unacceptable and the video did not play anymore than 10 seconds.
The top features just a volume rocker and a power button
The onboard mono speaker is low and very unclear. Watching movies and playing music through the speaker is useless unless you are in a very silent room. If you are outdoors, you better put on the earphones. The bundled earphones surprisingly have a good performance. A decent high and low in the audio quality makes audio and music enjoyable. What is a downside of the earphones is its white colour, which does not match the tablet in any way. Nevertheless, the audio quality of the earphones will at least help save on some cash from buying a better pair, unlike other tablet manufacturers who give out below average earphones. If only ZenFocus had them in a colour matching the tablet, it would have been nice.
The display is similar to other tablets in the segment and sports a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels. We did notice a good as well as a bad side of the display screen though. The viewing angle from the bottom is great and allows you to position the tablet comfortably whilst watching a movie or using the tablet otherwise. This is unlike other similar tablets where the viewing angle from the bottom inverts the display colours completely. The bad side was the display itself—it has a very fine grainy texture, which is highly visible when there is a bright or white screen. It gets very disturbing while watching a movie or while browsing the web. We noticed the very same issue with the Wammy Note smartphone from Wicked Leak. What makes it even more disappointing is that nothing can be done about it.
The myZenTab 708BH has a 7-inch display with a resolution of 800 x 480 pixels
The myZenTab 708BH is no different from any other budget tablet available there. You can connect the tablet to a PC using a mini USB cable or to the Internet using the built-in Wi-Fi or a 3G dongle. The mini USB port also doubles up as a USB OTG interface to plug in a USB 3G dongle or USB-based input devices and storage drives. A USB OTG cable is bundled along free with the tablet.
Mini USB, mini HDMI, power, audio and microSD slot
The 708BH uses a 3200 mAh battery within and the manufacturer promises a 5-hour battery life with continuous video playback. This seems true as our video-loop test gave us the exact same results in our labs. Using the tablet for average daily regular purposes such as browsing, music and videos gave us a battery life of about 5 hours and 25 minutes. This usage will depend on how exactly you make use of the tablet. If you are using the Wi-Fi more often, then the battery life will be lower, but if you use it for music only, then you might even get around 50 percent more battery life.
Verdict and price in India
After using the tablet for a few days at a stretch and then testing the actual performance using the necessary benchmarking procedures, we have to state that the tablet is overpriced. Priced at Rs 7,899, it is simply not justifiable. The new entrant—Wammy Desire, which features a dual core processor, has twice the performance, better build quality and even better looks, is sold for almost Rs 1,500 lower than this one. In addition, the Ubislate 7Ci, which features almost identical specs as the 708BH, is available for almost half the price. The “claimed” metal body and additional 4GB of built-in storage is the reason the price is higher. We recommend the Wammy Desire to those looking for a better performing tablet with a cheaper price tag or the Ubislate 7Ci if you are on a very tight budget.
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