Update: Sylvania 7″ Android tablet IS CRAP

CVS is selling a  7″ Android tablet for $99. I’ve been trying to get one for a while now, and I finally got one when they added it to their website. It’s a pretty decent tablet for $99, and I’m pretty sure that I’ll keep it for my collection.

But I’m also seeing a weird battery issue, so maybe not.

I’ve decided to amend this post with a recommendation that you not get this tablet.



It’s running Android v2.2 (I checked) and it comes with a great collection of apps. It  has Skyfire, DroidReader, SlideMe, Youtube, and others. The apps give me a pretty good feeling about the quality of the software developer.  It also has a pretty well designed custom home screen, which also speaks well of the software developer.


Update:While looking into this tablet I discovered that my unit is actually supposed to have HDMI out. That’s what the specs show on CVS.com. But that’s just a minor snafu compared to the hardware problems.  CVS shipped me the wrong tablet. There are actually several models floating around under the one name, and if you buy one you won’t know quite which one you get until you open the box. That alone is reason enough to avoid this thing.

It has USB Host (a converter), Wifi, a microSD card slot, microphone, and a so-so speaker. There’s also a headphone jack but it appears to be a smaller size. (Don’t lose the converter.) Sound quality was pretty good over the headphone jack but the speaker sound quality is poor. There’s also a stylus, and it has a slot on the back.

It shipped in a huge box with just the 2 converters and the power supply. It also had a paper sticker stuck to the screen, so be careful when you pull it off.

The touchscreen took some getting used to. But after I calibrated it and gave up on using the stylus I quickly got used to it. The screen is not the greatest in the world but I don’t see any obvious problems. The general image qualities of the screen are great.

Responsiveness and Speed

This is actually a pretty fast tablet – while plugged in. I’ve noticed a change in behavior between when the tablet is plugged in and when it is not. I’ve noticed that turning on the Wifi while not plugged in tends to make it sluggish. But turning the Wifi off again seems to fix the sluggishness.

I think the battery doesn’t provide enough power on its own, and that concerns me.


Update: After using it for a number of hours I know that it is a crapperjack* tablet. It has multiple flaws; this is a tablet that should not be set aside lightly; it should be thrown away as hard as you can. Folks this thing has no Sleep/Suspend mode and an underpowered battery. It’s JUNK. This is most definitely a crapperjack* tablet.

The biggest problem is that it has no sleep mode. Once you turn it on you’ll have to leave it plugged in or manually turn it off. Battery life  is about 3 hours, which is only okay because my sole reason for keeping this was to use it as a toy.

The other major problem is that the battery is underpowered. Whenever I try to run Wifi (without plugging in the tablet) the responsiveness would best be described as abysmal. That’s a pity because when plugged in this is a very speedy tablet.

I wouldn’t get this as my main tablet. It’s an excellent toy but the battery issue is a killer, IMO. But if all you want is a toy, knock your self out.

P.S. I also haven’t found a sleep mode yet.  If I have to power this off manually then it falls firmly in the crapperjack tablet category and it will go back.

* Crapperjack is a term I coined last year for Android tablets that were so bad that they might as well have come as a toy in a box of candy.

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. elmonica25 April, 2011

    I think I speak for everyone in the blogoshpere when I say we would prefer you to buy tablets that are new to the market. Like the one that you mentioned was being sold at Big Lots. Just saying………..

    1. Nate Hoffelder25 April, 2011

      Actually, I bought this before I heard about the Big Lots tablet. I wish I’d waited and gotten that one instead.

    2. Nate Hoffelder25 April, 2011

      Now that I have it in my hands, I’m pretty sure this is the same hardware as the Sungale tablets (coming soon).

  2. Ellen Hage25 April, 2011

    Nate, Do you have any info on how to get the tablet that Big Lots is selling? There is nothing on their site and the store in my area know nothing about it.

    1. Nate Hoffelder25 April, 2011

      No, sorry. It looks like they’re out.

  3. […] I got my Sylvania 7″ tablet and as I am wont to do I posted about my first impressions. Then I started looking for more info on the tablet (I was hoping for a hacked firmware) and I […]

  4. David Nosotti26 April, 2011

    The firmware in my Sylvania is DG 2.01. I understand Android 2.2 is not yet available. The upgrade feature says one is available, but there is no indication that the upgrade worked. It is advertised as having Android 2.1 but the firmware indicates a lower version. Anyone know where I can get upgrade information?

    1. Nate Hoffelder26 April, 2011

      I thought it had v2.2 based on the version of the Linux kernel. I just double checked and I was right.

  5. David Nosotti26 April, 2011

    For $99, the tablet does what I want, which is provide time, date, weather, read email, Facebook, Twitter, and a TV guide listing. Amazon.com has a lot of free apps. Some of them work and some don’t. It doesn’t have a GPS or camera so apps using those features don’t work. Games play ok but to exit the games I have to do a hard reset. It is poorly designed and limited but for $99 it is a fair price.

  6. David Nosotti26 April, 2011

    I knew I had trouble the minute I opened the box. The paper covering the screen was not easy to remove. There were piece still left which I used Goo Gone to remove. I was worried I might scratch or otherwise ruin the screen. Thankfully I didn’t. I do find the tablet useful but I am glad I didn’t spend more than $99 for it. I think $49 would be a better price point.

  7. Scott_T26 April, 2011

    After having messed with a few cheapos my rule of thumb is to avoid anything that doesnt have a capacitive touch screen. That kind of sets the bar for crap/not crap.

    1. elmonica26 April, 2011

      There are people who prefer resistive. People who work in garages and other places and have dirty hands, women with long fingernails, people who wear gloves a lot.

      If the price is right and the other specs are solid, I would have no problem buying a tablet with resistive.

      1. Scott_T26 April, 2011

        Thats the problem, when someone makes a cheap tablet they’re going to use resistive screens and it doesnt stop there.

        1. Michael_B16 March, 2012

          Some applications, such as handwriting recognition demand resistive tablets because capacitive sensors require too much surface area to have a reasonably finely pointed stylus.

  8. Danny26 April, 2011

    Crapperjack has been in use since at least 2004 (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=crapperjack) but would definitely work to describe this tablet.

  9. Mike Cane26 April, 2011

    Let’s see if I can get this damn Comment through. It got eaten yesterday!

    1) This is not the $99 CVS was recently touting. That was from CRAIG.

    2) Sylvania was sold at Toys R Us during Xmas. And every YouTube video I saw said what you’ve since discovered in the last 24 hours: AVOID IT! IT’S CRAP!

    The Craig is crap too but it’s a higher-grade of crap and people who root it seem to be happy for their $99, unlike you.

    1. shawnlyn elton6 July, 2012

      This sylvania that was sold at Toys R Us at Christmas is crap.
      The wi fi connection last about 4 minutes and then you have to disconnect/reconnect to make it work again. It was the biggest waste of money

  10. Mauricio Guillen1 May, 2011

    Well, lets start this: What did you really expected to obtain after paying $99?? An ipad2? A Galaxy tab? I have one of this tablet, of course i was hoping too to receive the one that comes with the hdmi port, and it didnt show up, so when i unboox the tablet i noticed that as well; this is my first tablet, my first MID with android os; so the learning curve was a little slow, after reading forums over the net, i realize that i can accomplish a lot of things on the “crapperjack” that you are mentioning, do some upgrades into it on the os, and finally getting all the software that i need, i’ve rooted the tablet, uninstalled some programs that were running. In the backgrounds such as bluetooth, telephone service, telephone applications, and some others; right now this tablet runs pretty smooth and fast(whitout even connected to the ac as you mentioned), office soft works great, maps works great too, games works great, i can even power off and reboot on this “crapperjack” just touching the screen with the help of a neat soft call quickboot(the tablet has to be root to install it); after doing all of these and all of that,installed some new market such us the android market, google market(you have to hack som few things) and the appmarket too; i realized that you can accomplish a lot of tasks, of course you’ll have to read, learn, try a lot of things(yea yeah, you’ll say that you dont have time and bla bla bla)but, what i dont understand is? Because it didnt work for you? Does that means that it wont work for others?like me? I really i’m glad to bought this basic tablet(comparing the other models that comes with hdmi out, bluetooth, camera, cell phone, 3g, better screen and so on, and cost more)it helped me to learn on it, installed and uninstalled a lot of things, i can even watch internet tv, and heard radio broadcast over the net too from around the world; got map droyd a map soft that u install and can have all the maps that you want on the tablet from anywhere in the world, whitout even get connected to the internet to run it, and this map shows you better info that the one on google maps)of course the tablet doesnt have gps as well; but i managed to do all of this; so, i”m not complaining about my $99 that i payed, so it works for me, whith the root and hacks i managed to get it working for 4 to 5 hours on the battery(of course you have to reduce the brightness on the screen, turn of some background services)but this “crapperjack” as you mentioned WORKS, i am very sorry to read that for you it didnt, but thats you, not me; i encourage if you have the time, knowledge, and the feeling to learn more on it, and. You’ll discover a lot of things on this tablet(if you still have it of course) that would amaze you (this is not the best tablet ever fabricated in the world, its not); search on the net, search on forums for android tablets, google it; but like i said, i cant stand that if you didnt know how to handle. operate, manage and so on with it, thats you, not me, not us; i dont work for sylvania, digital gadgets neither; but what i found is that this is a really nice tablet for the price that you and i payed, of course you’ll have to do some research to make it better. A word of advice; read, search, investigate; this would let you know more in the following tablets that you will get;

    The better you learn, the better you understand, and that goes for all of the things that we do; but if you dont really want to learn, search? Just get an Ipad2, or galaxy Tab, wich are better to my knowledge of course, and live happy with it if that is what you want of course

    Im happy with these one (sylvania) at the moment; and looking forward to get a blackberry playbook, in case that i find that i need to replace it, if i dont i’ll be happy until i find the one that works for me; but i am really glad to learn and keep researching on this sylvania tablet

    1. Nate Hoffelder1 May, 2011

      The battery is weak and the build quality is poor. It’s a crapperjack.

    2. fred28 May, 2011

      Hi Mauricio,

      Can post or email your methodology to root and un-installed pre-loaded program. Which are safe to remove?


    3. Sam B31 August, 2011

      Will the sylvania tab run kindle books?

    4. Wendy1 January, 2012

      Were you able to get flash player to install? Santa brought this to my son and he has been greatly disappointed b/c most of the games that he has loaded won’t play b/c they need flash player and we can’t figure out how to get it to install. Any advice???

    5. Emmie12 January, 2012

      Well I got the Craig [email protected] aid and I know nothing about ipads/notebooks at all I would love if some one would help me out I want to download a flash player on it I want a free one so I can watch some tv shows/moveies thank you and so far I like this device.

    6. heather5 April, 2012

      Thanks for taking the time to write this in-depth review. AND it’s favorible! … this is a second tablet at our house, mostly for the kids, so I’m not as picky about many of the “problems” other posters have been so adament about. We knew when we bought this (used) that it wasn’t top-of-the-line. But we’re satisfied with what it is. I hope people don’t summarily toss this tablet in the garbage, as has been suggested. Not everything in life has to be “the best”. “Middle” has a wonderful job to perform.

  11. Robert L4 May, 2011

    Is it possible to put in a better battery?

    1. Nate Hoffelder4 May, 2011

      Not easily, no. I did try to open it and it looked more difficult and riskier than I wanted.

  12. JericoC7 May, 2011

    So will this thing play 720p h264 content?

    1. Nate Hoffelder7 May, 2011

      Not if it’s unplugged, no.

  13. Kevin M20 May, 2011

    To me it’s a price point issue. If you get the one with hdmi and 2.2 and disable some services it will run 3-4 hrs and do most things. Despite the stylus, which is pretty usable. The only alternatives are twice or more the price… I think of it as a cheap ereader that can run android apps, browse the net, and play music/movies. Pretty light and has 1G processor and micro SD. Could it be better? Yes. again, price point. Digital Gadgets supports (patience).

  14. Mauricio Guillen31 May, 2011

    Hello Fred; rooting the tablet is a procedure that would allow you to modify some issues over the os; right now i found over the net a great place to learn and make a lot of updates for this tablet; this tablet has served for me a lot, we’ll, for me the $99 that i payed haved been worth it, the web page that i found all of the info that you request for this or any tablet is: http://www.androidtablets.net, its a very nice forum and the people over there is a lot of helpful; going back to answer your question, i haved rooted my tablet with an apk called universalroot, just google for it and download it; after you find that apk installed get the super user mark and you’ll be set; after doing the root, you can access all the parameters on the tablet, i have to say that when i bought this tablet it was my first android mid and its still the first too and for me the learning curve was slow, but after reading a lot from that forum i have learned a lot, i even upgraded the os to froyo 2.2 and now works 400 times better, the touch screen works much faster, the battery holds 3 to 4 hours of course this depends on what you are doing too, but for me i repeat it has been worth it; i managed to run skype and i can talk and chat as well; i managed to install the android market (it doesnt come with it) and install another apk called nettalk that would allow me to talk for free over the U.S., and canada an it works over internet; i managed to install also google maps with streetview and also works too; so as i said before, i still recommends this tablet; of course you still have to do a lot of research, but that too would be helpfull to any android base mobile that you’ll get on the future, right now we are working over the flash player, at the moment it doesnt work; but everyone over the forum is working to manage a way to get it run, after that it would be another concept on this tablet; of course if you can live whitout the gps, bluetooth, camera as i do on this tablet go for it, but of course i would love those features as well, but i paid 1/4 over the price of a galaxy tab or an apple ipad2, i hope that it would be a time when we can install hoenycomb 3.0 into it; and lets hope that it would be very soon,

    1. jk26 July, 2011

      I’m having trouble with the stylist so I ‘m unable to navigate. Won’t work using the fingernail either. Any suggestions?

      1. heather5 April, 2012

        Calibrate screen. Possibly reset then calibrate. Works fine after that.

  15. […] with, and now that it’s been refurbished I’m not sure it’s safe. I’ve had a bad experience with this Sylvania tablet, but it appears I’m in a […]

  16. alicia12 July, 2011

    Hi i enjoy my new tablet have not had any problems so far. X cant get flash player to install to play games….any idea how i have taken it to best buy they couldnt et it either…please help i like my tablet Android want to be able to watch videos or play games. Thanks alicia

  17. Aricka8 August, 2011

    Well i honestly think this thing is a piece of crap my husband got it for me for mothers day. .. and i misplaced my charger for a couple of weeks to find it plug it in now the sob wont turn on…. now my husband thinks its my fault when i havent even been able to sit down long enough to even see how it actually works… its a fake tab I’m so mad that i even wanted this thing. .i should have jus got a real 1 at least i would b a satisfied customer i remember its supose to have a warranty i have no idea where my reciept us and the box been n the trash it was 2months ago i dnt think i would buy a sylvania calculator if they made them smh

    1. someone23 December, 2011

      What do you expect for 99 dollars, a pot of gold, an ipad? If you are so dissappointed in the take another look at this price, than the top of the line tablets then get back to me.

  18. atul14 August, 2011

    How would u feel if u get this thing for 70 USD ?

    rush to 1saleaday or search for 1saleaday shop on ebay !

  19. mauricio guillen7 September, 2011

    Yes it does, also nook works; and now we are waiting for a cyanogen mod for it, so it would work with a custom rom based on android 2.3 not 2.2 wich is the actual os at the moment; flash player now works(altought i have mixed results, but 90% works), for the ex version(cvs wich its not selling now over then), netflix works, voicesearch works, the ex version definetly doesnt have a rotation senson like the lp wich is selling on brandsmart and this one comes with hdmi output; tuneinradio works so i can listen to 5000 n more radio stations over the net, facebook, facebook messenger, whatsapp, nettalk, skype,all of them works, cnn news, pulse news works as well, the only missing point here is: both camera’s, and gps; the rest it could be done, you still can attach a usb keyboard and usb mouse and they would work too, with the cyanogen mod it would be better performance, and faster response cause we are implementing new things over the custom os; right now this is a reverse enginnering and try and error; but when its done, this tablet would fly…. Stay tuned(right now mine its flying, with the new rom, it would fly faster)

  20. Mark Vasquez24 October, 2011

    I got the EX Plus version of this at CVS for $99 and I am completely satisfied. Out of the box it’s mediocre but after 2 days of tweaking and installing thinks like Launcher Pro, LCD Density, Flash 10.2, super root, mobo player and both google market and amazon market it’s great! Netflix is the only thing I am still trying to get to run

  21. Mindy30 October, 2011

    I have just purchased a Sylvania 7″ Mini tablet from Big Lots that is running using Android. I cannot get onto the internet. It says I am connected but on the icon 0n he toolbar it says No SERVICE! Can anyone help me??

  22. Chuck30 October, 2011

    I was going to get one of these today. Can you verify it doesn’t take a 1/8″ regular headphone ? How is the overall speed of the tablet?

    Take it to McDonalds and try and get on the free WiFi. Make sure it isn’t yours that is the issue. If doesn’t work, return it…

    – Chuck!

    1. Daniel21 September, 2012

      On the one we got from a scratch and dent place for $15 (wouldn’t boot, now fixed), the SYTABEX7-2, no the headphone jack isn’t 3.5mm/1/8th”, it is 2.5mm and comes with an adapter dongle.

  23. traceenicole17 December, 2011

    I bought the sylvania 2.2 android tablet about a week ago. I can’t get the wi-fi to connect. It’s connected once and ever since i turned the tablet off after that, it won’t connect again. It will go through scanning, connecting, authenticating and then says disconnected and it just does this over and over until the battery dies. Any ideas that will help? Thanks

    1. someone23 December, 2011

      Try clearing the cache. If it works like my phone does go to the browser, go to menu , go down to setting , clear the cache.

  24. newtabuser25 December, 2011

    was wondering how to get oovoo on my sylvania??? there is no android market its market is called slide n has no appps..help please

    1. skyler17 January, 2012

      go to slideme.org and download 4.0, you can also download them from other app websites through your browser

  25. hernan27 December, 2011

    hello! mauricio guillen, im from argentina and i will be so thankfull if you help me to root my tablet, i’ve got it useless since a error message appears instantly the android system starts “com.android.launcher1” and i have to force close and then appears over and over again…

    i cant start ir in recovery mode for do a factory reset from there… cant acces to the setting too… so bad…

    thank you!!

  26. henryg27 December, 2011

    is it possible to use this tablet as a frisbee since i am not able to returned due to store policy?

  27. valkeyrie27 December, 2011

    Can i get skype or somme type of video chat on my 7″ 2.2 sylvaniatablet?

  28. Kelly6 January, 2012

    My tablet was a Christmas gift. It is basically worthless, with the exception that mine does have an HDMI port and will run Youtube. I have been trying to download the Netflix app, but the Android app market will not recognize my ANDROID device. I cannot say I am surprised though. I have had two Android devices now that were complete crap. I will stick with Apple.

  29. skyler17 January, 2012

    I bought this tablet and I love it, once you update it to android 2.2 it serves all the basic purposes I require. The battery life is as advertised . Since it has the same software as my phone it was what i expected. I’m sorry you had a bad experience. Maybe yours was an earlier model and since you ordered it online the pulled it from the depths of a stockroom. lol

    You keep blogging, I’ll keep loving to read em!

  30. Phil20 February, 2012

    Total garbage, wouldnt power up or charge, right out of the box. 99 bucks is waaay too much. I’m taking it back tomorrow, and would’nt even think of exchanging it, I want my 99 back

  31. tony23 February, 2012

    its my first gadjet, will not compare to anything else till i can get to work it
    all i want to do on it is watch videos

  32. Rhonda6 April, 2012

    Bought this as well…the syntab7mx supposedly the android 2.3…it has stuck on the sylvania logo and will not boot…any suggestions??

  33. zach18 May, 2012

    I hate it I tried to return it but they would’t I’m 11 and its my birth day I hats toys u rue the whole change there focking policy

  34. Jim29 May, 2012

    I got it for my grand daughter. It started up fine and was able to get her facebook working, then all of a sudden the screen cracks. What a piece of crap. Know I am waiting for their customer service to open so I can see what they are going to do about.

  35. ashley29 June, 2012

    I got it for $49.99 and i regret it.

  36. Reviewer18 August, 2012

    Doesn’t anyone read the specs any more before you buy? HELLO! If you did you knew exactly what you are buying.

    1. Thomas19 August, 2012

      Did you bother to read the review? One of his complaints was that the specs listed were incorrect!

      His main problem was the lousy battery life. The battery capacity listed for this tablet is 3000 mAh, which should run a 7 inch tablet for quite a while. If it runs dry after 3 hours, the tablet has a problem. Most likely, the tablet actually has a much smaller battery than the specs indicate.

      One problem with low end tablets is that the specs provided by the seller are frequently incorrect. For example, many tablets with the Allwinner A10 or A13 processor are listed as 1.5 Ghz, because the chip can theoretically be clocked that high. In practice, the chip is set at 1.0 GHz and will not function if overclocked beyond that.

      1. Jon Hawk16 December, 2012

        yes the battery is lower than advertised, most i have seen actually come with a 1600 mAh battery not the 3000

  37. Marilyn Monroe16 February, 2015

    I have the 7″ 2.2 android Sylvania and it is a fucking piece of shit. It will not connect to the internet. Now it wont even go past the start up screen. POS


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