The Lexibook Tablet uses a TN (argh!) panel with restive technology (oh no!), is equipped with a previous generation single core 1 GHz processor and 512 MB of RAM.
There are 4 GB of internal storage to which 32 GB can be added via the microSD card slot.
The rest of the connectivity includes a USB 2.0 Host (for plugging in an external hard drive or key), a 3.5 mm headphones out, a mini-USB port for file transfers and a power supply connector - you can’t (argh again) charge the Lexibook Tablet via the mini-USB port, in contrast to most 7-inch products.
The Lexibook Tablet is on sale for around £200.
Design & Handling
In hand, the Lexibook is reminiscent of many other entry level 7-inch tablets such as those released by Memup for example, but the Lexibook has plenty of added qualities combined with a metal (front) and plastic (back) finish.
The front is rather raw looking, with no decoration, while the back has been designed ‘for the kids’, with flashy colours, a guitar, forks of lightning and so on alongside decent implementation of the connectivity.
As with various other low-end Android 2.x tablets, the Lexibook has shortcuts and touch buttons in the OS for going back a step, back to the home page, volume and settings. The back-a-step controls can also be operated using physical buttons on the top of the tablet, to which an ON/OFF button has been added.
Does the use of a TN panel mean we should run for cover? It’s not all bad news here as the contrast ratio was recorded at 825:1. This makes Lexibook Tablet contrast better, for example, than the first iPad. Otherwise the screen isn’t as good however. First of all, as with all TN panels, the viewing angles are much reduced. In landscape mode, depending on which direction you lean the product in, the image darkens or takes on the appearance of a photo negative. The Lexibook Tablet is nevertheless better here than many of the other TN tablets on the market.
The colour accuracy is poor with an average deltaE or 11.4 and sometimes awful and very variable colours depending on the orientation of the TN screen. A flesh coloured salmon can therefore appear very pink, or black or even blue! Ghosting times also hit a record, with an average of 40 ms!
To all this you need to add the fact that maximum brightness (160 cd/m2 – half as bright as the average of products tested on DigitalVersus) renders the Lexibook unusable outside.
As you can see, the Lexibook Tablet screen comes with some baggage but our guinea pigs didn’t seem to reject it out of hand for all that.
Interface & Navigation
Unlike with 3.x Honeycomb, there’s no purely tablet orientation in the Android 2.3 interface, giving it a smartphone type navigation, though with a larger screen. Lexibook hasn’t added any layers (no ‘child’s interface’ with outsize icons or simplified access) to this and Android is in its raw state. You navigate five different desktops, with access to applications coming in the usual scrolling menu on a black background and via shortcuts on the desktops.
This tablet only stands out due to its content, in, for example, the numerous cartoons. Some of the heroes of these will be known to everyone and others will no doubt be unknown to humans over the age of twelve. In all there are more than two hours of preloaded videos.
You can add to the panel of videos using LXBVideo, a virtual store full of programmes and VOD rental or purchase options for varying ages. You have to set up a parent account that you top up with cash online.
Added to this are various educational applications, files to help small people with their homework, pre-loaded electronic books and an application that stores more than fifty manual activities, which should give parents a bit of peace!
The Lexibook Tablet can thus be a good companion for six to twelve year-olds in a good number of areas, whether for educational or leisure activities.
All this fills the tablet memory to such an extent that the 4 GB memory is almost entirely taken up right away and the addition of a microSD card is pretty much indispensable.
When it comes to downloading other apps, Android isn’t included and has been intelligently replaced by the Lexibook Market on this machine. This store covers much of the software available on Android Market.
The resistive touchscreen (see inset) is what poses the biggest problem to the darlings we lent the tablet to for testing.
Internet browsing is pleasant and fairly rapid considering the positioning of the product. We advise using it in landscape mode when browsing as the TN panel limits your experience in portrait mode.
Imported videos are subject to the limitations of Android 2.3 (mp4, MPEG4, H.264). Lexibook Market has no worthwhile replacement for this media player but if, rather than converting your files to the appropriate format, you want to download a third party application and place it in an Android product (.APK), there is an APK Installer here.
When it comes to music formats, mp3 is the basic Android format. The loud speaker is however, as is often the case, of poor quality. Sounds resound within the shell and maximum volume is low.
The headphones socket is better and the maximum volume level won’t damage your kids’ ears.
For gaming, all undemanding 2D formats run fine. One 3D title has been included, TurboFly 3D, and shows that you can do some 3D gaming on the Lexibook Tablet as long as you don’t get too ambitious!
With a 4000 mAh battery inside, we expected better than the 2h25 video playback we measured with the Lexibook Tablet. Plus, that was with the wi-fi off. When you turn the wi-fi on, battery life drops to around 2h.
In mixed usage (Internet, gaming, videos, ebooks), the tablet gives up the ghost in around the same time as for video playback.
Note also the relative absence of intelligent management of standby - the Lexibook Tablet won’t give you more than a day, even when you're not actually using the product. It really is a shame that a cigarette lighter charger wasn’t included as part of the design!
If you want to look at things on the bright side, at least your young ones won’t be spending all their time eyes locked on the screen...