Monday, May 7, 2012

Pantel T-PAD IS701R Review – Excellent for its Price

As you all know, it took a long time (over 2 months) for me to touch my touch pad (from the date of pre-booking); I never worried about it though. However their process annoyed me for testing my patience. But let me tell you in one sentence about my overall feeling on the BSNL-Pantel Technologies Product after a three day thorough review - "T-PAD IS701R has exceeded my expectations - for just Rs. 3525/- and an excellent product launched in India by an Indian Company".

What all I received from GATI (courier service partnered by Pantel Technologies for shipping their products to their customers' door step):
The Parcel Contains:
1) Tablet T-PAD IS701R (Including a charged battery)
2) A Charger with a USB connecting Cable
3) Mini to Normal USB Conversion Cable (for USB data cards & Flash Drives), on a separate envelope.

Getting into Technical Details:
We talked about the tangible items above; now let us get into technical details / specifications of the T-Pad IS701R by Pantel Technologies, below:
CPU - IMAPX210 at 1 GHz
Internal Storage is split into two parts as 1) 984 (for Applications) + 2) 869 (for Installed OS & User Files) which is totalling to 1853 MB
External Storage supports up to 32 GB using microSD card (as per the company
Screen - 7 inches, 800×480 Resolution with Resistive Touch
Connectivity - WiFi 802.11 /b/g/n
Side Ports / Buttons - 1 x Power, 1 x 3.5 mm Audio, 1 x HDMI (Closed due to technical issues), 1x micro USB, 1 x micro SD
Camera - 0.3 Megapixel
SIM Card - No
G-Sensor - Yes
Battery - Li-ion 3000 mAh 5Volts 2Amp
Operating System - Android 2.3.3 -2012-03-13-v2.0.247 ( Gingerbread)

Product Cost - I don’t think it is my mistake of opting out the BSNL offer along with this tablet pc, but they have told me the same when I first contacted them to confirm if I am getting the one with BSNL offer - end result is that they have asked me to pay just 3250/- + 25/- = Rs. 3275/- at PNB through a special challan and Rs. 250/- to Gati i.e., a total cost of Rs. 3525/- for this Tablet without BSNL data plan (Pre-Bundled 2G SIM).

Chaitanya's (My) deep insight on the T-PAD
I would like to thank Indian Government and especially the man behind Aakash Tablet, which has invited a tough competitor in the form of BSNL-Pantel Technologies' Low Cost (Cheap) 7 Inch Touch Screen Tablet. Most of the users had a very bad experience with Aakash tablets (we all have heard many horror stories) so another Indian company (Pantel Technologies) has decided to take a shot at the volume based ultra low cost entry level tablets. Pantel and BSNL have tied up to distribute these tablets across India, with an idea of launching these pads with data plans. Pantel Technologies have come up with three different models - 1.T-PAD IS701R, 2.T-Pad WS704C and 3.T-PAD WS802C and of which the T-PAD IS701R is the cheapest and getting major attention and the topic of the current blog. In fact the T-PAD IS701R has already called as the BSNL Tablet by majority of public.

Physical Look – The 7 Inch Resistive Touch Screen Pad (with a screen guard) has come with a black coloured gripping plastic body with 4 physical buttons (3 - Back, Menu & Home on the front panel & 1 - Power/Stand-by on one side of the tablet) along with a Mini USB Port, a 3.5 mm Audio Jack and a Micro SD Card Slots on one side of the tablet. The light weight entry level cheap price tablet looks stunningly beautiful with a 0.3 Mega Pixel Camera on the front panel and an In-built MIC for video calling.

CPU - The IMAPX210 processor is an ARM11-based chips (few of the ARM11 based products include Kindle 2, iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPod Touch, iPod Touch 2G, Zune  HD, HTC Touch Diamond, Nokia N810 Internet Tablet among others) so one can expect a decent quality performance with this processor (but one should never forget that it being an entry level tablet – should not expect very high speed and multiple multi tasking functionalities). Interesting note point here is that even T-Pad WS704C has a 1 GHz processor, it does not mean that the product with 1/3rd of its price will also perform with an equivalent speed. The A8 Cortex processor is also a 1 GHz cheaper processor which is comparatively a high performer than IMAPX210, so returns are based on the investment.

Having said that a Rs. 3525/- price tag is exceptionally valued for this processor, and the first time user (of a tablet) will more than satisfy with its performance. In my 3 day experience I never disappointed with its speed (except when I am doing multiple downloads and installations while surfing through WiFi).

GPU - The IMPAX210 CPU used by the BSNL Tablet has Vivante GC600 GPU. This GPU came out in early 2008 and was among the first to sport full support for 2D/3D Open GL ES2.0 . In plain speak it means this GPU can support most Open GL based games available on Android market. Also the graphics performance is good.

Screen - The 7 inch touch screen has the single touch resistive interface, so user may not experience ease of use but surely wont disappoint with its touch interface. The resolution is 800×480, which is common in budget tabs. Quality of photo display, graphics and video will be dependent on the PPI and refresh rate of the screen. The touch sensitiveness however will not be like multi-touch screen and you may have to calibrate the screen before you can use it. 

Memory and Storage - The BSNL Tablet Penta T-Pad reportedly has 256 MB DDRII RAM of which at least 72% or 184 MB should be free for user level apps. In a stock Android firmware for most budget tabs the figure is somewhere around 61% free for 512 MB. Since Android 2.3 has good memory management it can run two or more apps at the same time. But I have faced some speed issues during multiple browsing sessions on the Internet. 256 MB RAM is just not enough for heavy multi tasking. But with the target demographics in mind, it should be enough and at Rs. 3525 you can not complain.

As per Pantel, internal storage is of 2GB (but the actual storage in my pad is about 1853 MB) which is likely to be used for storing the operating system (Android 2.3) and various apps and games that you want to install, some apps will definitely come pre-installed in that 2GB. While at first glance the 2GB size looks to restrictive and small, you can move your installed apps or can install apps in a microSD card. The BSNL Tablet supports microSD card upto 32 GB in size.

Ports And Interfaces - 
The BSNL Tablet / Penta T-Pad has the following ports
1. 1 x microUSB
2. 1 x miniHDMI
3. 1 x power
4. 1 x 3.5 mm Audio socket

The microUSB, should be usable as both OTG and HOST. In the OTG mode it can be charged through a computer or used with an external keyboard or mouse or both. The OTG mode will also come handy if one wants to connect a portable USB Hard disk or USB thumb drive to the tablet. While in the USB HOST mode, you can transfer files from your computer to the BSNL Tablet or from the tablet to the computer.

Though the BSNL Tablet has a mini HDMI port, you cannot use it to connect the tablet to an LCD TV or monitor to stream videos, games, powerpoint presentations etc. Due to performance issues it has been closed - though both the CPU and the GPU supports full HD 1080p video playback to watch videos from the tablet on a big screen.

Sensors - The BSNL Tablet has a G-Sensor which is likely being used to change the orientation of the screen. This sensor can also be used to play tilt motion based games.

Power and Battery life - The BSNL Tablet is powered by a 3000 mAh Li-ion battery (5V - 2Amp), which took about 2.5 hours to fully charge. The battery life is dependent on the cleaver usage of this tablet. On following certain precautions such as reducing the brightness and switching of the WiFi (while not using internet) and turning off all the unnecessary apps running in the background etc., the battery charge lasts for more than 6 continuous hours for listening to music (using ear phones), reading books and 3 continuous hours for internet browsing, watching movies with in-built audio speakers, playing games etc.

WiFi Connectivity - The BSNL Tablet supports 802.11 a/b/g/ WiFi connectivity. You can connect to the internet using a WiFi connection. You will need a WiFi router with Internet connectivity for this to work. But the distance range will be certainly low when compared with a regular laptop / notebook PC's.

2G/3G Internet connectivity - The BSNL Tablet T-PADIS701R does not have a SIM slot so you can not pop in a SIM card and access the Internet, but you can get a USB 2G/3G dongle and connect it to access the Internet. There are no words on what models of USB 3G dongles are supported, but I think most BSNL dongles should be supported, after all they are lending their name to this device.

Camera - The BSNL Tablet has a 0.3 MP VGA camera, which will suitable only for video chat but not for taking photographs. But it will surely need a good light.

It is the fact that, only due to the tie-up with BSNL (for launching their tablets) has garnered Pantel Technologies over 1 lakh pre-bookings (I was two among them). For sure the first timer (user of the tablet PC) will be more than happy to own this product for just Rs. 3525/- with the features it has, but there are many products in the market with a price tag more than that of this which will certainly perform better than Penta T-Pad IS701R. But this kind of affordable and functional electronic device that also provides internet access on the go, will certainly build a tight fight among the  players in the market which will surely help the public in advancing themselves very quickly.

Note: - I have not tried accessing internet with a 2G / 3G Dongle, but had an amazing browsing experience using Beam Cable WiFi Connectivity. It is also matter that how close your tablet is to the internet router for the better speed of the internet! Users who already has an existing wireless internet connection for their regular purpose will have a blast using this T-Pad which is many times lighter than a laptop, and almost equally faster in internet speed. By the way this tablet can also be used to work on your office documents, apart from any other work related work.

Come on guys - grab the product now @ the official website of Pantel TechnologiesBut be ready to wait for at least 2 months from the date of your pre-booking for this product, because of heavy demand for this cheapest and fine tablet.
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