Earlier in July, we got acquainted with a pre-release version of Starmobile’s 7-inch tablet during the launch of its T601i feature phone. It was promising product with decent specs for a really attractive pricetag that we weren’t allowed to reveal back then. Fast-forward two months later, a ‘box of happiness’ arrives in the office. Inside was the retail version of the Starmobile Engage 7-inch Tablet.
Upon unboxing, it was pretty much the same save for a matte black paint finish on the back and Starmobile branding on the front and the back. The tablet comes with an AC/USB charger, earphones, user’s manual and a 12-month warranty card.
The Engage is equipped with an Allwinner A10 Cortex A8 processor rated at 1.2Ghz, 1GB RAM, 4GB Flash Memory, 3-Megapixel rear camera, 0.3-Megapixel front camera, 3000mAh internal battery, an 800×400 WVGA display and comes pre-loaded with an Android 4.03 Ice Cream Sandwich based OS. Like other Android-based tablets, it comes with connection ports for mini HDMI, USB, mini-USB, earphones, 5V DC power, and a micro-SD expansion slot.
Before you begin bashing the specs, take note that this is an entry-level tablet that retails for merely PhP5,990. Although I did find the actual processor performance to be quite disappointing as system information on Quadrant listed CPU to only perform at a maximum of 1Ghz, instead of the 1.2Ghz advertised. The missing 200mhz has actually a significant effect resulting in lackluster performance with multiple apps open.
The display is decent WVGA resolution. Don’t expect AMOLED, Super AMOLED or other fancy displays for this entry-level tablet. It is tuned to display colors accurately with decent quality. The ARM Mali-400 MP graphics chip powered display rendered 32.1fps on Nenamark 2.4 showing better than decent performance.
Ease of Use
The capacitive touchscreen can be at times buggy and inaccurate especially on the northwestern area in landscape mode. I find it quite annoying actually, as compared with premium smartphones and tablets of course. The home and power buttons also have the tendency to be accidentally pressed while you’re holding the tablet. The OS interface is based off a standard ICS-based system, there is however a very slim chance of getting a custom firmware for this due to it only being available in the Philippines unless a local ROM developer would like to work on one.
Overall, the Engage is a decent product that does what an entry level tablet is supposed to do at a wallet friendly price. You can surf the net, go social, view videos and read e-books and documents. If wanted to give your kid a starter tablet to use, this would be a good alternative to more expensive premium tablets which might end up as expensive paperweights if they don’t take good care of their gadgets.
Plus: Price, sleek design, Android Ice Cream Sandwich OS, handy 7-inch size
Minus: Processing speed not exactly as advertised, matte-black paint chips off easily, touchscreen sensitivity, slightly sluggish performance