The all new Reliance 3G tab plays out good

Last Updated: Sun, Aug 21, 2011 19:30 hrs

Everyone who has looked at a tablet PC and backed off because of the price will see sense in the Reliance 3G Tab, an Android tablet PC that costs just Rs 13,000 (data prices extra).

Provided your area supports 3G connectivity, you would really appreciate the data speeds that you get on this Android Gingerbread OS.

While the device is sourced from Chinese company ZTE, it weighs well under 400 grams and has a 7-inch capacitive multi-touchscreen. However, the big draw is that it can make calls too. It might look a little absurd to hold a 7-inch screen to your ear, but Reliance has made it easy with a pair of headsets. A 2-megapixel back camera and a VGA camera on the front, Reliance 3G Tab will not click prize-winning pictures (in fact in dim light, the pictures were pixelated) but they can be shared on social media apps that come pre-bundled on the device. The 800 x 480 pixel display works for the small screen.

As a mobile internet device that runs on 800 Mhz CPU power, Reliance promises a download speed of up to 7.2 Mbps and an upload speed of up to 5.76 Mbps. While 3G networks will not give these speeds, the 3G Tab comes off looking better than the 10-inch HCL ME Tablet AE7-A1, which sports a resistive touch-screen, has no built-in 3G support and costs around Rs 11,000. The other competitor is perhaps the OlivePad VT100, but it costs about Rs 17,000.

Since the hardware is not a powerhouse, it helps in stretching the battery life to up to eight hours (on 3G networks). The device comes with an in-built GPS navigation, Wi-Fi capability, a 4GB free data card (external SD Slot with up to 32GB of external memory), music and video player with Mp4 support, video recorder, Bluetooth and a 3.5mm stereo headset.

At Rs 12,999, it is about Rs 2,000 cheaper than the cheapest 3G-enabled tablet in the market and is half the price of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7-inch (Rs 26,000) despite having similar specifications. You need to also factor in the cheapest monthly data offer of Rs 598 (free 2GB download) in your budget and an additional charge of Rs 1/MB will be applicable, if you exceed the data plan. Reliance 3G Tab can be a first time tablet PC user’s full entertainment device since the large touchscreen and G-sensor make multimedia and games an enjoyable experience.

Those who want a bigger screen to their smartphone functions can view pictures, videos (streamed or downloaded), games from the Android store, supports to Google features like multi-email account set up, desktop widget application, online document writing and so on.

Since it runs Android 2.3 version that wasn’t made for tablet PCs, the user interface is distinctively laggard. Most high-end tablets (Samsung 750 and others) now come loaded with Android 3.0 or 3.1 (Honeycomb). The touch on the 3G Tab is not exactly smooth and takes time to get used to. The 3400 mAh battery heats up after an hour of continuous usage making the 3G Tab an uncomfortable device to hold.

The tablet has 512 MB of RAM, equalling the iPad2, but falling behind other tablets like the Motorola Xoom or the Samsung Galaxy Tab, both having 1 GB RAM. What this means is that you run too many applications in the background (or multitask) then the device will slow down. We tried running up to 10 apps (games to productivity) and the 3G Tab seemed to be processing applications slowly.

Most other tablets come with dual-core chips running at 1 GHz (compared to Reliance’s 800 MHz single-core processor), sport HD screens that render one million pixels and have patented capacitive screen technology that gives you a smooth touch experience. Reliance 3G Tab cannot be placed along side these high-end tablets, but then its price tag does define the device as the cheapest 3G tablet PC cum 3G smartphone.

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