So I’ve had the opportunity to play with an iRobot for a week or so now, and I have to say I’m pleasantly surprised. Compared to some of the other tablets I’ve tried, this is much improved. Battery life is not bad, it fits nicely in your hand, and it has the Android Marketplace. The downside is that it does not do very well in direct sunlight (but what LCD really does), and it has no GPS.
I’ve used it as a media player in my car, it seems to fit quite nicely in my existing cellphone mount. Talk about a great addition! Since it only supports external 3G usb sticks (and I don’t even know what ones work, at that), it won’t have any data, and since there’s no GPS, it can’t be used for much else than a media player when not on wifi, but it’s still pretty cool.
Reliability is great. It has Android 1.5, which is not the latest and greatest, but I’ll give the manufacturer one thing: they polished it to the point of being extremely usable. No wireless issues, and only minor quirks with the keyboard (the enter key is in Chinese). They are even still releasing bug fixes, even if there will be no real update to a newer version of Android. I read some forums that were working on getting 1.6 to boot on the device, and it looks like things are coming along slowly.
Most of the apps that I downloaded from the marketplace worked great – Youtube has a funny quirk that only lets it play on half of the screen, but Facebook works like a charm, the Gmail app is stellar, and the keyboard is responsive enough to take the place of my smartphone – which, by the way, has packed it in. Most of the games I downloaded are great, and the g-sensor works on ones like aTilt 3D Labyrinth.
The browser needs no introduction, it’s fairly quick and nice to have the larger screen instead of a smartphone-sized screen. The touch screen is also better than I expected, it has a thick solid glass backing that performs very admirably. The speaker isn’t the loudest, but the headphone jack more than makes up for it. For movies, it won’t play .avi files, but that’s a limitation of Android, not the tablet itself. I used Handbrake to transcode any video files I have, and it plays without any issues whatsoever.
That being said, I think I’ve found a winner that is cheap enough to be another cool gadget, but functional enough to be useful. I’ve also been lucky enough to find a reliable supplier, and have decided to sell them directly from this site. More details will follow soon!