Review: Memup SlidePad 800

 
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Published: August 10, 2011 11:00 PM
By Romain Thuret
The entry level Android 2.2 Froyo tablets just keep on coming and Memup has now joined the party. Like Storex (eZeeTab'7), Memup is one of the family of brands that do a bit of everything, but especially storage and media players. These days, facilitated by the integration of Android 2.2, it's easy enough for companies like Memup to bring out a tablet alongside their other products.


The SlidePad 800 has an 8-inch screen with an aspect ratio of 4:3, a sort of gathered in Apple iPad or HP TouchPad. Memup has also added a smaller and larger model in the SlidePad series, the 700 and 101, measuring 7 and 10 inches (16/10 format) respectively. This one is equipped with a Samsung ARM Cortex A9 processor (S5PV210), clocked at 1 GHz. This processor also serves as a graphics chipset and is accompanied by 512 MB of RAM.


The resistive touchscreen panel uses TN technology and there are several connectors along the lower edge: a slot for the microSD card (up to an additional 32 GB), a mini HDMI out, a mini USB port, a headphones out and the port for the power charger. There's a VGA webcam above the screen.

The SlidePad 800 tested here is the 8 GB version, on sale for just under £150. A 16 GB version has also been released.

Design & Handling


Light and nicely finished, the SlidePad has a semi-glossy touchscreen. Its size makes it very nice to handle and while it's entirely in plastic, it has been very well assembled. There's no unpleasant play anywhere or nasty surprises that take away from the overall impression. Two speakers have been set into the back.


The central button on the front brings the SlidePad out of standby or returns you to the Android home screen. Memup has installed the usual Android touch-sensitive buttons to either side of this central button: Back, Menu and Search and has added a fourth, the Browser ('B').
On the extremities of the SlidePad, the Browser and Search buttons can quickly become annoying as they are overly sensitive and badly positioned for landscape usage. Accidentally pressing on one or the other, as you're bound to do, will end up exasperating you.

Screen

TN technology is not something we love. Once again, we found the viewing angles far too narrow. Hardly have you put the tablet in landscape mode and the image turns negative. Tilt it the other way and the screen will go dark. This doesn't make it all that comfortable to use for stretching out and watching a film at your leisure. In portrait mode, favoured by the 4:3 format, the panel sometimes flickers slightly and is disagreeable to look at.
The contrast isn't great with a ratio of just 306:1. With the narrow TN viewing angles and maximum brightness of 171 nits, it's not ideal for enjoying a video or browsing the web in bright conditions. The average colour temperature is 10194 Kelvins and the tendency towards blue and the gamma of 1.4 (on average, on a far from flat curve) makes the image overly dark most of the time. The weak screen brightness doesn't help matters.

As often with TN screens of this calibre, colour accuracy is very poor, with an average DeltaE of 14.3 and a very far from natural rendering. To finish things off, it has an average ghosting of 32 ms, which means you'll notice it in video mode or when scrolling down an Internet page.

Interface & Navigation

As we'll see shortly in the multimedia section, this tablet is ploughing the same furrow as the 7-inch Storez eZeeTab'7, which is to say, it uses the raw Android 2.2 Froyo OS and doesn't have access to Android Market.


To install an application, you first have to find its APK file on the Internet before installing it in the'APK' folder in the tablet or on a micro SD card in the same way. The SlidePad will then go and find the folder and finally install the application. Did anyone say 'easy'? Maybe, but we can't imagine your average user doing it off their own bat...


Navigation within the OS is classic Android, with five desktops for shortcuts for applications or Google widgets. You can't however control the OS from the panel, except for the home screen icon. Almost everything is controlled via the touch-sensitive buttons.
In contrast to Storex, Memup hasn't included any direct route for choosing the resolution for the mini HDMI port. You have to go into display settings and choose between 720p and 1080p.

We didn't expect the resistive touchscreen to be overly fluid and nice to use, but as long as you apply the correct pressure, without exaggerating it, the SlidePad can be easily manipulated, even if we're leagues away from what you get with capacitive screens.

Multimedia

Thanks to Android 2.2, browsing the Internet is an enjoyable activity on the SlidePad. Flash runs nicely and the wi-fi connection is excellent and doesn't drop off. It's right up there with higher end tablets. While playback is somewhat compromised by the very relative quality of the screen, the 800 x 600 pixel resolution doesn't adversely affect the reading of web pages in landscape mode. You may want to use the zoom in portrait mode.
As with other resistive touchscreens, after tapping twice for the first zoom, you have to use the touch command on-screen to zoom further.


Like the Storex eZeeTab'7, the Memup Slide Pad 800 does well when it comes to multimedia support. MPEG-2, MPEG-4, H.264, DivX, MKV, AVI, TS, TP, WMV, 3gp, FLV and VOB formats are all supported for video playback. It also accepts pretty much everything in the way of subtitling. The HDMI out means you can enjoy your content on an HD TV, but there's no mirror mode.
It's best not to push file quality too far, especially at 1080p, as the SlidePad may have difficulty responding if you require something else of it during playback.



When it comes to audio, again the SlidePad supports plenty of formats with mp3, AAC, FLAC, OBB, Vorbis, MPE, APE, WMA and WAV decoding.

The speakers are pretty mediocre, with plenty of distortion at full volume and a clear lack of power. It's the same story with the headphones out, though the sound is a little cleaner here.

Memup also supports JPEG, BMP, GIF, PNG and RAW files for photo viewing, but note it takes a long time to load each shot.

Battery life

In announcing a battery life of 6 hours in the SlidePad 800 spec, Memup has at least had the decency not to big up the capacities of its tablet as unrealistically as some manufacturers do. Nevertheless with just 4h40 video playback, it falls short of the claim in the spec. The SlidePad is therefore pretty much average when it comes to entry level tablets, though the HansSpree SN10T is decidedly an exception at 9 hours.
In mixed usage, the SlidePad 800 grabs back a few more minutes, but won't last you over 5h30. You also have to factor in the fact that it uses rather a lot of energy in standby mode. On two occasions, the tablet completely ran out of battery when we weren't intentionally using it. Apparently standby mode consumes less energy when you put the SlidePad into this mode yourself (by pressing once on the ON/OFF button).

It is a shame that so many faults tarnish the impact of this at first seemingly very attractive entry level tablet. Nevertheless, while the decent finish, very practical size and complete media player don't make up for the weak battery life, resistive touchscreen and mediocre display, it will perhaps serve as a first-time tablet.


2/5 Memup SlidePad 800 DigitalVersus 2011-08-11 00:00:00

Pros

  • Very practical 8-inch 4:3 aspect ratio format
  • Complete multimedia playback
  • Nice Internet display and complete browser

Cons

  • Mediocre screen, narrow viewing angles, resistive touchscreen
  • No Android Market
  • Battery life too poor and chaotic management of standby mode
  • Lateral touch-sensitive buttons too sensitive to accidental touch

Conclusion

Cheap but generous in terms of the media formats decoded, with a well-designed 8-inch, 4:3 format but let down by a very mediocre screen, the SlidePad 800 has the feel of a good idea that hasn't quite worked. A capacitive screen would have made all the difference but we'll just have to make do with this resistive one, and the rather short battery life.

OUR SCORE 2/5
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