Look and feel
Probably the best thing this tablet has going for it; the Smart Tab II is a good-looking combination of the Kindle Fire HD and Nexus 7. This is let down by an ill-fitting panel on the back.
Ease of Use
Running Ice Cream Sandwich, there are no tricksy elements to get used to here. The text input software is excellent.
Decent speakers, striking design on rear, and expandable memory.
The 1GHz processor handles most tasks well but the occasionally unresponsive screen is an annoyance.
A 3550 mAh battery gave us five hours of continuous video streaming at full brightness.
Review by Sunetra Chakravati,11/26/2012 5:05:27 PM
Ease of use
Affordable, 3G, wide selection of apps available, attractive device.
Poor build quality, terrible viewing angles, sluggish touchscreen.
Just as the iPad spawned a glut of imitators, so too, has the Google Nexus 7. The most recent of which is Vodafone’s Smart Tab II, powered by Lenovo.
Lenovo has a reputation for making solid laptops, and its other slates are all decent mid-range performers, so what about this...
Well, the Vodafone Smart Tab II is the Lenovo 2107 in a different frock. It’s a nice frock, but what’s underneath is exactly the same.
Golf ball backside
The seven-inch has the right looks and a nicely textured rear – reminiscent of a golf ball – and the device has a decent amount of heft. At 400g it’s 60g heavier than the Nexus 7, and has almost 25 per cent on the iPad Mini's 308g.
On paper, this is a perfectly reasonable option for someone after a mid-powered Android tablet, but its only after living with it for a while that some unforgivable flaws appear.
First of all, viewing angles depend on which way the Smart Tab is tilted. In landscape, tilt the device backwards and within a few degrees everything becomes a headache-inducing black glare. So, your seating position will have to adapt depending on how and where you use this device.
Secondly, the panel covering the SIM and MicroSD slots does not fit correctly. Of course, out of the box it is in place but this was presumably achieved using witchcraft because nobody in the Mobile Choice office could get it back in place again.
Consumers already using higher-end smartphones and tablets will find the touchscreen sluggish. Taps are often not registered. The 1GHz processor seems to struggle sometimes, which is puzzling as the device is refreshingly free of bloatware. Coming pre-packed with things like YouTube, InTune Radio and the genuinely useful Docs To Go, there’s little on the Smart Tab that you’ll want to kill off. In fact, there are some elements you’ll wish were on your other devices, particularly the excellent TouchPal keyboard, which has a fantastically intuitive and responsive swipe system.
While games look great, the 1024 x 600 screen has an unfortunate habit of making photos and video look washed-out – but the 3550 mAh battery will play your washed out videos for just over five hours, without the all-too-common problem of making the device hot to touch.
Sound is acceptable, the two speakers at the base of the rear giving decenyt volume levels without distortion or tinyness. It’s not going to power any parties, but for personal viewing/listening, it’s perfectly suitable.
With just 4GB internal memory, there is (mercifully) the option to add a further 32GB via microSD.
Vodafone offers the Smart Tab II in two ways - £150 on a pay-as-you-go deal, or with a price of £29 with a 24-month, £20 a month contract that offers 2GB of data. Yes, that’s more than £500 in total, and that's an awful lot to pay for a tablet with a 2MP camera on the rear and 0.3MP on the front.
Aping the Nexus 7's textured rear is a clever ploy, but this is a pretender to the crown and simply has too many flaws to succeed in the increasingly competitive world of 7-inch slates.