Android tablets are getting cheaper every year, and even the good tablets such as the Hisense Sero 7 are getting ridiculously cheap for the quality.
But even though prices are dropping fast, there is still a limit to how cheap a tablet can get and still be worth buying. Xelio crossed that limit with their 10" tablet, the P1001A. This tablet is so cheap that it firmly belongs in the "not set aside lightly" category.
Given that I cannot find any redeeming value in this tablet, this will be a rather brief review.
Tell me, is there someone that you secretly hate? Then you might want to give them this tablet. Or if you feel obliged to buy a gadget for a disliked in-law's rugrat then this is the tablet for you.
Under no circumstances would I suggest that you buy this tablet for yourself; it is actually unpleasant to use for any length of time. I have had it for just over a week and I have found that the screen, touchscreen, speed, and stability are all serious issues which justify avoiding this tablet.
I bought it at Walmart more out of a sense of curiosity than because I expected to get a decent tablet. It only cost $70, and the user experience reflects that. And now that it is selling for $100 I can't help but strongly urge you to choose another tablet.
The P1001A is your basic black tablet with a slightly rubberized back, plastic edges, and a glossy front. The speaker is on the back, and all the ports and card slots are on the right edge. The camera is in the upper right corner of the tablet's face, and on the upper edge of the tablet are a pair of volume buttons and a back button.
As soon as you pick it up you'll note that the general build quality is okay for a budget tablet. There aren't any obvious issues and it's not coming apart at the seams (this has happened to me before, I kid you not). The front does pick up fingerprints quickly - more so than on other tablets.
But once you turn it on you will notice the first disappointing feature: the screen. The resolution is 1024x600, which is nothing to complain about given this tablet's price tag, but this is still a poor quality screen.
At its best the color quality is poor, with Youtube videos looking washed out. The viewing angle is rather narrow; if you try to turn the tablet more than 10 degrees in any direction the screen quality drops like the space shuttle. The screen will take on a milky white overtone and act as an excellent reflector.
The backlight on this screen is rather dim; while a lot of tablets could double as a flashlight in a pinch, this Xelio tablet is not nearly as bright. Unlike a lot of more expensive tablets, this is definitely not a tablet that can be used outside.
I am unable to describe how responsive the touchscreen is on this tablet. Unfortunately, it was so inconsistent in speed, touch recognition, and accuracy that I cannot state an opinion. Sometimes the tablet responded fast, sometimes slow. Sometimes more pressure was required.
Moving on to the camera, I found it to be less than useless. It's not just that the VGA resolution was too low to be useful, but also that the sensor was too low quality to take a decent photo. I experimented with the camera and took over a dozen shots, but I was unable to find one that was worth sharing.
But that could be a good thing. If you perhaps are engaged in a criminal enterprise and wish to disguise your appearance when video-chatting then this tablet could be the one for you.
Audio & Video
The sound quality on the built-in speaker was both quiet and poor, but that's not unusual for budget tablets. But I also noted that the audio quality over my decent quality earbuds was also poor, and that is unusual. And while this tablet was able to play a video at full screen resolution without dropping too many frames, the screen quality is so low that I do not believe you will want to do so very often.
This tablet ships with a minimum of software. It doesn't have Google Play, but it does have a basic email client, ES File Explorer, Google Maps, Google Voice Search, and Google Latitude. There's no Chrome, but there is the basic Android web browser. There's also a basic camera app, voice recorder, and media players.
How to Install Google Play
Speaking of Google Play, I was able to install it with minimal effort. I used the "JB_Play_Store" file found in this ZIP file. I was able to install it and log in to my Google account. I then installed several apps, including Kindle, Aldiko, and Moon+ Reader.
The install time ran rather long, and that brings me to performance.
This tablet runs Android 4.1 on a single core 1GHz CPU, and its performance reflects that. Even though a benchmark test identified a graphics chip, I found that this tablet was still laggy and generally slow to respond. It was also unstable, with several of the apps I tested crashing at one point or another.
Speaking of a benchmark, I ran the AnTutu test and this tablet scored 5876. In comparison, a decent smartphone (like the Samsung Galaxy S2) scores over 10,000. The Nexus 10 (2012) scored close to 20,000 and the Nexus 7 (2013) scored 20,438.
This 10.1" Xelio tablet is literally a third as fast as the Nexus 10 across the board: RAM, CPU, graphics, storage, everything.
That lack of speed was reflected in everything from the time to open an app, the responsiveness of the touchscreen, and even the time it took to download content and install apps. This tablet actually has a slower download speed than any other Android device on my network. Then again, this was also cheaper than any other device on my network. This is not a defense but more of a reminder that one should avoid tablets this cheap.
- Android 4.1
- 1GHz CPU
- Mali-400 MP GPU
- 512MB RAM
- 10.1" 1024x600 Screen
- 4GB of storage
- microSD card slot
- VGA webcam
- USB Host
- speaker, mike
- 3.8Ah battery
- weight: 1.32 pounds
- dimensions: 10.35" x 6.5" x .45"
- battery life: an estimated 5 hours (untested)