A brief review of the SmartQ V7, pt 2

This is the second part of my review, and you probably should read the first part. In this part I'm going to compare the 2 units and discuss where the V7 falls short. It may sound odd that I am already dismissing the V7, but I really don't see a reason to buy the SmartQ V7 at all. It has a capable and cheaper predecessor which has fewer bugs and equal performance. If you want to buy a Linux tablet, the V7 isn't it. Actually, if you want a small tablet of any kind (Linux, Android, WinCE), the V7 isn't it.

Linux

As I said before, I also have the V7's predecessor, the SmartQ 7. I took the opportunity to set the 2 devices next to each other and do a direct comparison. The tablets run the same version of Ubuntu, and SmartQ took the time to customize the firmware so it works better on a small touch screen. Even though the V7 has more RAM and Flash, I could not see a difference in performance. I have to wonder why Smart Devices released the v7. I do not see that they made any significant improvement.

Android & WinCE

Quite simply, I found them to be useless  because neither OS had Wifi support. Given that the V7 is a Mobile Internet Device, I would say that Wifi support is a pass/fail issue.  Until SmartQ fixes this, there is no point in trying to use these OSes, and that eliminates one reason to pick the V7 over its predecessor.

The broken Wifi support is especially critical for the Android firmware. One of the key design decisions for Android is downloading new apps over the air from the Marketplace, Appslib, etc. The V7 is cut off from these sources. Not being able to use Appslib is particularly damaging; most of the apps on Appslib are designed for the V7 screen resolution.

My Opinion

I'd recommend almost any other tablet over the V7. I'm going to put mine back in its box and put it on a shelf in my closet. I got it so I could test Android reading apps, and I plan to keep it around for that purpose. But as soon as I find a better alternative, the V7 will be sold (or given away).

About Nate Hoffelder (11582 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader:"I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

2 Comments on A brief review of the SmartQ V7, pt 2

  1. I came across your review of the V7 as I was searching Google for more info on the R7. As the owner of a V7, a couple of things you mentioned puzzled me.

    First, the mention of no ability to sleep or suspend: I haven’t tested this in Android or WinCE (haven’t used WinCE at all yet), but in Linux it will go to sleep if left unattended and you can suspend it by pressing the power button, which will bring up a system menu that includes several features, such as power off, calibrate touch screen, and suspend. I’ve used this numerous times now when I’m going to be away from the V7 for a little while but not long enough to shut it down.

    Second was the mention of no WiFi support in Android. I also found this puzzling because I’ve used WiFi with my V7 under Android.

    Could it be that mine came preloaded with a newer version of the software than what you received? My V7 was delivered to me with V5.4 of SmartQ’s Linux image (not sure what version of Android).

    That said, I found the Android experience lacking, especially given the large amount of untranslated content in their software image (switching to English made it usable for most apps, but there were still a lot of settings menus that were in Chinese and a lot of apps were not translated).

    Anyhow… the primary difference between the 7 and V7 is in the video hardware. The V7 has the capability of playing full 1080p video and sending it to external devices via HDMI. I haven’t had a chance to exploit this capability yet, but I have played some 720p videos and the quality and smoothness is tremendous.

    But, in fairness to your review, if all you are doing is surfing the web or reading e-books, then there really isn’t a compelling reason to pay extra for the V7 and the 7 would be quite sufficient.

    You may want to see if later versions of the software are available. I know that V5.5 if out, although I haven’t tried loading it yet. Perhaps this will improve your experience with the device.

    • Audrey,

      Whenever I put my V7 in suspend mode I could never get it out again. I always had to reset the unit and reboot. I checked, and this was with the Linux v5.4 firmware.

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