Good price, 3G, good choice of apps, attractive design.
Disappointing build quality, awful viewing angles, unresponsive touchscreen.
The Vodafone Smart Tab II is an affordable device, but offers nothing to make it stand out from the crowds, and it is let down by a number of flaws.
Once the iPad was launched, it was followed by a whole host of imitators. The same has happened with the Google Nexus 7 – and here’s just one of those devices that has jumped on the bandwagon – the Vodafone Smart Tab II. Powered by Lenovo, which is known for producing sturdy laptops, as well as some good mid-range tablets – has it come up with the goods?
Well, in fact the Smart Tab II is actually a Lenovo 2107 in a different guise – and a good-looking guise it is too. So it looks good, but how does it perform?
If you’re used to using a high-ended smartphone, you’ll find the touchscreen on the Smart Tab II infuriatingly sluggish. It doesn’t always respond to taps and prods and the 1GHz chip under the hood seems to take its time, despite the fact that the device is pleasantly free from bloatware. What you do get on board are things such as ITune Radio, the useful Docs To Go and YouTube. There are some other neat touches too, such as the TouchPal keyboard, which uses a really user friendly and very responsive swipe method for typing.
Gamers will find their titles look great, but video and photos appear rather faded. Nevertheless, those videos can be streamed continuously for five hours before the battery dies.
This seven-inch tablet certainly looks good and we like the way the back of the device is nicely textured – rather like a golf ball. It has a good weight to it when held in the hand – and in fact at 400g is quite a bit weightier than the Nexus 7, although nowhere near the 652g of an iPad Mini.
With those good looks, you could be tempted by the Smart Tab II, but after a few hours of playing with it we discovered a number of unforgivable flaws. The viewing angles, for instance, are dreadful. Tilt it back in landscape mode and you’re confronted by a black glare – so you’ll need to fiddle about with its position and yours to get a good view.
Also the back panel, beneath which the MicroSD and SIM slots lurk, is ill fitting. When we got it out of the box it fitted fine, but once we had taken it off, nobody in the office could get it back on again properly.
Wired for sound
The Smart Tab II’s sound is fine, with a pair of speakers at the bottom that offer decent volume levels with no tinyness or distortion. You won’t be playing it at a party, but it’s adequate for personal listening and viewing.
On-board memory is a meagre 4GB, but this is expandable by up to 32GB using MicroSD cards.
The Smart Tab II can be acquired in two different ways – pay £150 on a pay-as-you-go deal, or pay £29 for a 24-month, £20-per-month contract with 2 GB of data. Yes, add that up and you’ll see you’re paying more than £500 overpriced for a tablet with a two-megapixel snapper on the rear and 0.3-megapixel camera on the front.
The Vodafone Smart Tab II may look like the Nexus 7, but that’s where the similarities end – it has too many flaws to be overlooked in a market that is brimming with decent seven-inch tablets.
|Type of device||Tablet|
|Operating System||Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich|
|Dimensions||192mm x 122mm x 11.5mm|
|CPU||1 GHz processor|
|Screen size||7 inches|
|Resolution||WSVGA (1024 x 600)|
|Display type||WSVGA (1024 x 600)|
|Memory card slot|
|Secondary camera||0.3 megapixels|
|Special camera features|
|FM Radio description||No|
|Handsfree speaker phone|
|What's in the box||USB and wall socket|
|Battery life multimedia||5 hrs|
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