|June 2010 |
NEW: Discuss this article on the
The same basic device is appearently manufactured by several Chinese Factories
Some include the fake Apple Logo, some omit it. It's sold under the name Eken M003
as well as several other names.
While many of theses devices certainally copy aspects of Apple's
industrial design, very few of them would actually fool an informed and
aware purchaser into thinking they were buying an Apple product.
Giving the manufactures and sellers of these devices the benifit of the
doubt, I feel that the Apple look is more of a novelty in most cases
than any serious attempt to defraud purchasers.
But are any of these things actually useable? Are any of them a viable alternative to a genuine Apple iPad?
The picture on the box sure argues against my "Benifit of the doubt" statement above. That picture is clearly a rip-off of Apple, and not a picture of what is in the box. Don't expect much inside the box either. Just the tablet, a US market AC adapter, an iPod style 30 Pin USB Cable, and a very basic user manual in English and Chinese (not shown).
I purchased my unit from Deal Extreme. Even with regular
shipping, the unit shipped and arrived in less time than I expected.
Communication to/from Deal Extreme (Link Below) has always been excellent.
Back to Contents
The unit is smaller and slightly more square than an iPad. The
bezel area is quite wide, and surrounds an 8 inch 4:3
front is actually just reflective tape. It
has nowhere near the quality feel of a genuine iPad, infact the plastic
resistive screen almost feels soft. It is very thin and
light. Copying the basic design from the iPad does make it
convienient and natural to hold. It has a definate bias toward
landscape mode, like a PC screen, as opposed to portrait like a
phone. This puts the single button at the right side. To be
perfectly honest, I am not sure what Android button that "Home" key
represents. It does not work as Home or Menu in most apps.
Interestingly, it seems to activate Volume Up if you hold it, but it
unlock the unit from the Android Lock screen when pressed (as the Menu
button does on some other Android devices). Holding the unit in Portrait
orientation, there are volume up/down keys near the top of the right
side allong with a power button. These function as expected, and
the feel is not to bad if your expectations are where they should be
for such a device.
bottom of the unit has 2 speakers, the 9V coaxial power
connector, a Push to Eject Micro SD (Transflash) slot, the 30 pin iPod
Dock connector, a standard 3.5mm Earphone jack, and a Standard USB
Host connector. It lacks a Mini USB OTG connector. The unit
cannot be charged from the Dock Port. The Dock Port can be used with a
real Apple iPod cable (at least as far as USB is concerned), but the
connector on the tablet is installed upside-down compared to an iPad or
iPhone. I have not tested to see if audio is available on the
iPod connector. The battery is not removable without cracking the
device open, and there is no reset button. There is no stylus
slot or included stylus. As with the real iPad, there is no
stand. You may want to go buy a plate holder.
Back to Contents
First Boot, and Initial Impressions:
The unit booted right up into a mildly customized Android 1.6.
It has the standard 3 Home Screens. In the early days of LCD,
such devices were marked with poor non-TFT Displays, but these days,
even devices in this price range have fairly decent screens. If
anyone asks if this is the new Apple Retina Display, they seriously need
a trip to the optometrist, but it is fairly sharp and bright. Since the
unit defaults to landscape mode, the Apps drawer is always on
side, not on the bottom as one would expect on most Android
phones. Tilt - To - Reorient does work, but expect some repeated
tilts, and waiting for a screen re-orientation. Android
only supports landscape and bottom to the right orientations, not upside-down. Since the unit has only
one physical button, the standard Android Home, Menu and Back keys are
implemented as soft keys up in the Android Status Bar. This can
present problems with some Apps that run full screen, although in my
expirience, pressing and possibly holding that one physical button will
always get you unstuck. Since this is not an official
Google blessed device, the Android Market Place, and proprietary
Android apps (Such as Gmail) are not there. Some of the default
apps such as the music player are also customized or enhanced
versions. There is also an extra item in the Home screen menu
that turns on an Apple style Dock at the bottom of the screen.
There really is nothing special about this dock area, it's just another
place you can put icons, but it will help you if you are tying to fool
your friends into thinking this is a real iPad (Advice: Get some
The soft keyboards
are the standard Android ones, and work well. The
touchscreen, while being resistive, is pretty sensitive, and the
keyboards are large on the 8" screen, so typing is actually about the
best I have seen on a device in this class. Holding the unit with
both palms in portrait mode allows even the middle keys to be hit with
grown-up thumbs, and in portrait mode, it's almost big enough to set
down and type with 2 hands. Don't expect stenographer speed
typing this way, but again it's not bad for a device that costs less
than just the up-front payment on a subsidized iPhone. Remember,
this is a resistive touch
screen, so it must be calibrated, and there is a well-implemented
settings panel for that. The alignment has to be just right for
typing, and it may be difficult to get it right for both portrait and
landscape. A seperate
Chinese Keyboard is also available. Speaking of Chinese, I had no
problems with the unit with respect to language. There are a few
included Chinese language, or China related apps (such as the QQ
client), but all menus, settings, etc. are in English once the
language is set to English. Of couse the Locale, Timezones, etc.
are defaulted to Mainland China, but this is to be expected, and it's
easy to set correctly for your particuar piece of the rock.
Since the unit has only WiFi, there is no option to set the clock from
a mobile network. If you want to do SNTP to set the system time over
WiFi, There's an App for That (sorry about the cliche'), but it
requires root access.
Dimensions: 8.66 in x 7.09 in x 0.39 in (22 cm x 18 cm x 1 cm)
Operating System: Google Android 1.6
Processor: 800MHz (Actual 533MHz)
Memory: 128MB RAM
Capacity: 2GB Internal NAND FLASH
Memory Card: SDHC TF card up to 16GB
No card included
Display: 8" 4:3 TFT LCD (800*600)
Resistive Touch Screen
Network: 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, No Bluetooth, No 3G
Speakers: Stereo Speakers
Connectors and I/O: 1 Micro SD/TF card slot, 1 USB Host, 1 Apple 30 Pin Dock Connector, 3.5mm Stereo Audio out
THIS DOCUMENT IS PROVIDED BY THE AUTHOR "AS IS". IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHOR BE LIABLE FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL, EXEMPLARY, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES ARISING IN ANY WAY OUT OF THE USE OF THIS DOCUMENT, EVEN IF ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGE.