Budget choice for tablets

Last Updated: Sun, Apr 17, 2011 19:51 hrs

If you are ready to look beyond Apple’s iPad, Creative’s ZiiO – available in both white (7-inch) and black (10-inch) with a choice of 8GB or 16GB of storage – could be your pick.

Design and built
While it would be unfair to compare it with the iPad – considering ZiiO’s price tag – the device encased in plastic is not as elegant. ZiiO is another iPad-lookalike that incorporates some similar features of its more famous cousin. Creative uses its indigenously-built ZiiLabs ZMS-08 processor – that comes with an in-built X-Fi audio enhancement technology and a customised audio app – to power the Android 2.2 OS. We found the X-Fi quite impressive because of its improved stereo effect and overall clarity of audio output.

It also includes HD video output, an accelerometer, Bluetooth 2.1, a microSD card port, a miniUSB port, a 3.5mm headphone jack and 802.11bg Wi-Fi. The device can be set up to communicate effortlessly with Creative’s new range of wireless speakers. ZiiO has a front-facing VGA camera and a top-mounted HDMI port.

That TFT screen has 480 x 800 resolution on the 7-inch and 1024 x 600 on the 10-inch tablet but the screen fades out in bright light.

The ZiiLabs ZMS-08 processor combined with the 1GHz ARM CPU inside ZiiO is impressive. It allows you to attain good speeds while browsing. However, since the device uses resistive touchscreen technology, the touchscreen to be far less responsive than the capacitive models. Also, unlike most Android smartphones, the Creative Ziio 7 does not offer 3G connectivity. You have to make do with Wi-Fi.

Unfortunately, the ZiiO does not have access to the most compelling aspect of the Android platform – the Android Market and its apps. Creative has loaded its ZiiO Space app store — a browser-based collection of apps and the Amazon Marketplace. We liked the ZiiMusic app in particular that uses a variety of views to let you navigate through music files. While using your own microSD card, the app automatically sorts content from the storage card and adds the music to the app. We had just about six hours of battery life, while playing video streamed over a WiFi network.

Retails for Rs 17,999 (7-inch tablet) and Rs 21,999 (10-inch tablet)

If you cannot wait for the iPad2 and are on a budget of sorts, then Creative ZiiO will keep you occupied.

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