The Tablo has that typical budget design, which is difficult to get excited over. The plastic buttons are ugly and it's a little chunky, but it's also solidly constructed
The capacitive touch-screen means browsing through menus and websites is a cinch, while loading your media is also dead simple
A capacitive display at this price is impressive, as is full access to Google Play. There's no rear camera, just a front-facing VGA effort for Skype calls
HD video plays smoothly, and we had no issues when running apps. However, the Tablo isn't too stable, crashing at least once an hour without warning
You'll get around five to six hours of web browsing or app play between charges, an average performance for a cut-price tablet
Review by Sunetra Chakravati,5/30/2012 2:44:48 PM
Look and feel
Ease of use
Capacitive touch-screen, plays and streams HD movies, full Google Play access
Occasional crashes, chunky build, ugly buttons
When it takes you four attempts to boot up a tablet, you brace yourself for the worst. We've had more than a few terrible tablets (or ‘CrapTabs' as we've come to know them) pass through Mobile Choice HQ, including the infernal Disgo 7000. However, the Tablo 7-inch Tablet was the first where we struggled to actually turn it on.
On the rare occasions it loaded the Android desktop, we were immediately greeted with ‘Sorry! System is not responding'. We'd resigned ourselves to using it as a wrist rest, until finally it played ball.
Just what you want to see when your tablet boots up
Not the best of starts, and given the £99 price tag we certainly weren't expecting much from the Tablo Tablet. Which is probably why we were pleasantly surprised.
At first glance the Tablo Tablet isn't too remarkable, using the same chunky design as most other budget slates, complete with ugly front-facing buttons for Menu, Home and Back. It makes you long for the sleek design of the new iPad. At least the back is white, adding a refreshing touch of contrast to the otherwise black frame. However, the rear is also made from smooth plastic, making it all too easy to knock the Tablo flying off a desk or table.
The seven-inch screen is surrounded by a wide bezel, which bulks out the body, but we were impressed to see a capacitive display instead of the usual terrible resistive efforts. This made a huge difference when browsing the web and playing with apps, where you're constantly swiping or prodding the screen. Resistive touch-screens are horribly cheap and therefore frustratingly unresponsive. But the Tablo's capacitive screen registers every stroke, for a much more satisfying experience.
Our biggest surprise came when testing the Tablo's media power. Tablets at this price point usually struggle with high definition video, but our HD movies played perfectly without stuttering once. The display may be reflective and suffer from terrible viewing angles, but it's reasonably bright and colourful for a cut-price device. If you want a budget way to enjoy films on the go, or a cheap means of keeping the kids quiet on long journeys, the Tablo is definitely a worthy option.
The built-in speakers have a decent volume, but are unsurprisingly tinny. You'll want to shove in some earphones when enjoying a film or your favourite tunes. You can watch Flash videos from the likes of iPlayer, or quickly and easily copy movies across from your PC. Just connect via the bundled USB cable, and you can drag and drop your media straight onto the Tablo's 2GB hard drive (expandable via microSD). You also get a Mini HDMI port to hook up to a TV, but you'll need to buy the cable separately.
If you want a tablet to stay in touch on the go, you'll have to contend with seeking out Wi-Fi hotspots. Facebook and Twitter apps come pre-installed and you have full access to the Android Market – or Google Play as it's now known – to download more apps.
The wide aspect ratio means that the virtual keyboard is a little crushed in landscape mode, but we still managed to bash out emails and Twitter updates without much issue. The battery survives for around six hours of web browsing and app play.
All things considered, the Tablo really is a capable little device and a steal at £99. However, those stability issues we experienced at the start kept cropping up. The Tablo seems to crash at least once an hour, when loading up apps or occasionally just clicking a link in the browser. At best it's a mild annoyance, at worst it's downright maddening.
For £99, the Tablo really is one of the best budget tablets we've seen. It handles HD movies with ease and is a capable web browser too, which makes it all the more frustrating when it has a fit and reboots. It's a crushing shame as we'd heartily recommend it otherwise.