Sunday, September 4, 2011

Airtel introduces Beetel Magiq tablet at just Rs.9999.

How low one can go with the price without impacting user experience on a tablet? Indian government believes $35 is the limit.
NEW DELHI: How low one can go with the price without impacting user experience on a tablet? Indian government believes $35 is the limit. Though India government has so far not been able to walk its talk. Beetel - yes, the company that makes all those telephone sets - believes Rs 9,999 is its limit.

Beetel claims that in market full of shiny but expensive tablets, there is an opportunity for anyone who can offer an affordable tablet experience to the masses. We at TOI concur and take Beetel Magiq out for a spin to see if it is the tablet masses were waiting for.

Small but heavy
Beetel officials were pretty coy at the launch even of Magiq when we asked if this tablet has been by manufactured by Beetel's or, as it has been the norm, by some Chinese vendor. Magiq in its settings clearly specify that in its earlier avatar it was known as Ideos S7, a 7-inch tablet made by Huawei. But it seems there is a reason why Beetel officials were reluctant to admit it- Magiq is not just a rebranded Ideos S7.

It is a rebranded - and beefed up - Ideos S7. Unlike the Huawei tablet, Magiq rocks a 1Ghz processor and 8GB internal storage (a SD card of up to 16GB can be added). RAM too has been bumped to 512MB. What has remained unchanged is the WVGA (480x800) resistive touchscreen and overall look and feel of the device.

Due to its almost widescreen (16:9) resolution, Magiq has a more rectangular design compared to high-end 7-inch tablets like HTC Flyer and Playbook. The build quality is reasonably good for a tablet that sells for less than Rs 10K. It's all plastic but we have no niggles to pick as far as finishing is concerned. Magiq is quite portable, though weight - around 500grams - nullifies this advantage somewhat.

Two fatal flaws
Just like other 7-inch Android tablets, Magiq runs on the version meant for smartphones. But not Gingerbread (2.3), the latest one. Instead it uses Froyo (2.2). Not that it really matters much for a tablet this cheap.

The Froyo on Magiq has been customized. The biggest change is lack of pull-down task bar, a standard and much-loved feature of Android. In its place, Magiq uses various icons, which can toggle Wi-Fi etc, and an animated 'i' icon for notifications. The revamped taskbar gets the job done but there are chances that Android purists may not like it.

Given the decent hardware, performance is good overall. Yes, cameras are bad but that's not big deal because none of the tablets - even the expensive ones - offer anything much better.

Unfortunately, a bad screen mars the whole experience. No, it's not WVGA resolution on a 7- inch screen. Even though for a resistive screen, Magiq's display is very good - bright, good colours - it is frustrating to use at times because of the amount of pressure it requires before it can register touch. Also, there is not multi-touch, limiting the tablet's functionality. Viewing angles are equally bad.

Battery (2200 mAh) is another area of concern. In real life use, it lasts three hours of moderate to heavy use on 3G. Even if you cut down on usage, it is not going to last from 9 to 5.

Worth the money
In one word - No. Unless you want a cheap 7-inch device just to see what is all this hype about Android and tablets. Magiq has its moments under the sun - it is very cheap, has decent performance and build quality.

But a resistive screen and bad battery life means we cannot recommend it. Yes, we are happy to see a tablet selling for less than Rs 10,000 and laud Beetel for making it possible. At the same time we believe that price should not come down at the expense of good tablet experience.

Pros: Low price, Android and its plethora of apps, can be used to make calls

Cons: Resistive touchscreen, poor battery life 
Review Source:

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