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New Review: Hisense Sero 7 Pro

When HisenseHisense_Sero_7_Pro_contentfullwidth[1] first unveiled the Sero 7 Pro in May 2013 the tech blogosphere was shocked to see that such a great tablet could be had for such a low price. With specs that were equal to or better than the 2012 Nexus 7, the Sero 7 Pro sold for $50 less. It set a new standard for quality vs price, and the market shifted as a result.

But that was May 2013; will this tablet still be a good value 7 months later?

Read the review and find out.

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MarkWebb December 14, 2013 um 4:40 pm

Boy you are so right about how quickly this Android market is shifting, and our expectations with it.

My kid just got his EVGA Tegra Note 7 for Christmas and I am blown away by how fast it is, how brilliant the screen is (once you turn off Nvidia Prism under power settings, turn up the brightness, and choose Native color profile); it’s incredible for gaming (which he does, but I don’t). On the other hand, the build quality is sub-par for 2013. Not unusable, but not where it should be these days, esp. compared to the very solid build quality of the $99 HP Mesquite with Intel Inside (LOL, "Intel Inside"). (BTW I tried extended Kindle reading on the Mesquite and with slightly larger fonts it is just fine, the pixel density isn’t so bad after all for reading).

Hope you can get your hands on a Dell Venue 8 (the Android version) and report back on screen quality. The screen quality on the Venue 8 Pro (Windows version) is amazing, but the Android version doesn’t match it based on a quick glance at a store. Of course their default screen settings might be to blame, on the other hand there is a $150 price difference depending on fluctuations so those savings have to come from somewhere….

Thanks for the tip about the HP Tegra 3. The Tegra 4 version might be more appealing – if it comes out of a different factory than the one slap-dashing the Tegra Note 7 out.

My only "wish it had" on the HP Mesquite bargain basement tablet is an IPS screen. For reading in portrait mode there is a wide latitude in reading angles (tipping front to back); but for video viewing, the angle in landscape mode if very critical, slight tipping front to back darkens the screen. Still in some ways I am very happy with the Mesquite, it is THE bargain tablet (for now).

Nate Hoffelder December 14, 2013 um 6:08 pm

So Nvidia (or HP) skimped on the build quality? Well that’s disappointing, but not surprising. I wasn’t sure how they could make the $199 price point without cutting a few corners.

MarkWebb December 14, 2013 um 6:41 pm

It was EVGA. Nvidia licenses one company per country or region to build the Tegra Note 7 which is spec’d by Nvidia (functions, chips, etc.). HP makes the Slate Extreme which seems to be a Tegra Note 7 but they don’t use the Tegra Note 7 branding – looking at published specs I can’t tell them apart. Hopefully HP’s will be better made, but it is sold out here. Or vaporware, hard to tell.

Nate Hoffelder December 14, 2013 um 8:45 pm

I’m reading the reviews, and I can see that Engadget and Cnet weren’t pleased with the build quality either.

cookie December 14, 2013 um 10:02 pm

"It can get bright enough to double as a flashlight but when turned off the screen is not at all dim."

Can´t you use the led flash on the tablet for the flashlight instead of the screen? I have found that preferable on the Samsung tablets I have owned.

Nate Hoffelder December 14, 2013 um 10:06 pm

If I got an app to do it, yes. But what I am really testing here is the brightness, not the backlight’s suitability as a flashlight.

cookie December 14, 2013 um 10:06 pm

"the Sero 7 Pro falls solidly in the middle of the benchmark scores earned by dual-core Android tablets."

So dual-core can outperform quad-core?

Nate Hoffelder December 14, 2013 um 10:22 pm

The Clickn Kids tablet scored over 15,000 on the Antutu test:

Edit: Also, the Medion Lifetab E7312 scored over 14,000. I have not posted the review but I do have the test results.

I’m beginning to get the feeling that there is a huge difference between single-core and dual-core chips but not such a difference between dual-core and quad-core. I don’t know how long it will last but right now the extra cores might not be worth the money.

fjtorres December 15, 2013 um 9:23 am

That is typical industry-wide.
Nature of the beast.
Most apps can’t really make optimum use of multithreading because they end up input/output bound. For interactive devices like PCs and tablets the bottlenecks are either the user or the internet.
Going dual core pays off everywhere because you can dedicate one to the system and one to the user, full time. Three and four cores, you need a powerful smart OS and apps optimized for multicore. Not much of either in tablet land.
The extra cores are going to twiddle their thumbs a lot. Or sleep to save power.
So a premium double core beating a pedestrian quad core should be expected.
A much more effective use of resources is to go with better GPUs, better networking and wireless, better audio.

Nate Hoffelder December 15, 2013 um 10:19 am

In this case we’re talking about pedestrian double core tablets beating it. Hell, I think even the single-core Mesquite tablet matches it.

And yes, those extra cores are going to waste and will continue to do so so long as Android is designed to perform a single task at a time. Seriously, there was no reason that the Sero 7 Pro couldn’t open a second app in a window in front of the media player app – other than the fact that Android doesn’t support this natively.

But do you know the really sad part? Windows CE supported windowed apps over 10 years ago. That OS ran well on 100MHz CPUs, and it was more capable of multitasking than Android on a quad-core 1.3GHz CPU.

Steven December 15, 2013 um 1:10 am

Wanted to know if the Sero 7 Pro has usb otg capabilities. Can it read a flash drive? Also isn’t this tablet a quad-core??? Thanks for the reviews.

Nate Hoffelder December 15, 2013 um 7:13 am

Yep, it’s a quad-core.

And it should have OTG; I just don’t have a cable to confirm it.

Gbm December 15, 2013 um 9:59 am

Works good, needs a otg app for flash drives or a file explorer that will read them. I am using OTG Disk Explorer Lite at this time.


Tony December 15, 2013 um 2:23 am

Sorry, but I would never get a Android or any tablet that didn’t have the SD/micro slot. That’s inexpensive storage and no reason for any tablet to not have it.

Nate Hoffelder December 15, 2013 um 8:49 am

I used to say that as well, but in reality the only time I have had an issue was with my iPad, and that was because of the ginormous digital textbooks and enhanced ebook apps. I have never used enough storage in my other tablets for it to matter.

Elaine December 15, 2013 um 2:23 pm

When I got the 2013 Nexus 7 I went for 32GB because the iPad 2 was tight for me with 16GB. However, with the Nexus 7, 32GB is more than adequate for apps, 8GB of music, and a scattering of graphics. I’d have a problem if I wanted to store much in the way of video.

The original Kindle had SD chips. I used it for a while, but I tend to use my desktop as my datastore, and finally decided it wasn’t worth the trouble using the chips.

Nick in VA December 16, 2013 um 11:55 am

Nate –

Thanks for the review. From the comments, it looks like you did get a decent number of eyeballs on this, so I am glad I bothered you about it.

I haven’t had the battery issue when the device is sleeping, so I wonder if it may have something to do with an app you added??

As far as the pricing, I did find it odd that Wal-mart upped the price for the holiday season, but it seems that the number of devices that were in stock were very limited as well so perhaps the price change was a stock/inventory play and then the devices started clearing out and the price went back up.


Nate Hoffelder December 16, 2013 um 12:54 pm

I’m glad you prompted me. I’m also glad I waited; it let me develop a better perspective of the market.

But I didn’t find it odd that Walmart raised the price; it makes sense to try to make more money when the tablet was in high demand.

Archos Unveils a New Trio of Budget Tablets, Suggests That the Budget Tablet Market Will be Having a Rather Dull Year – The Digital Reader January 30, 2014 um 1:40 pm

[…] CPUs might sound impressive but, as I have discovered when reviewing the Sero 7 Pro and Ematic’s first quad-core tablet, the supposedly more powerful CPU doesn’t actually […]

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