A tab that does the job

Karbonn Smart TabTablets are all the rage. If you don’t have one, well, why not? For one, they are now smaller than ever starting at 7-inches in size and cost less than a decent smartphone. Really.

Much is in questioned about the capability of tablets like the Micromax Funtab, the Karbonn SmartTab and others in the sub Rs 7,000-range. So we set out to find the truths. With a Karbonn SmartTab 1. And we’re impressed.

At Rs 6,499, this is perhaps great value for money. Yes, the Google Nexus 7 will be a gamechanger at Rs 9,000 (approx.), but till then, this one will have to do. We did play around with the Micromax Funtab as well, but the higher processor speed (1.2GHz) of the SmartTab swayed us toward it. Also helpful was that there are no physical buttons on the front facia, something that will prove useful as you use the tab in different situations.

The price point at which the SmartTab retails, you wouldn’t expect too many features. But this one has full 1080p HD display and it rocks! The audio is a bit tinny, but that’s due to the physical limitations presented by the form factor and of course, the cost. But pop on a good pair of earphones and there won’t be much to complain about. With a nice black outline, it does become a pleasant experience to view movies on the go. And with a battery that will easily do 6-hours plus, two movies aren’t out of the question either!

Under the hood, in addition to limited RAM (512MB claimed), it is running Android 4.0 ICS. While Google Play works well, there are a bunch of apps that aren’t compatible with the device. And we’re not entirely sure why. Among the best apps you can get for this are Kobo book reader (we tried Kindle, but it didn’t play nice) and a bunch of newsreaders like Google Currents, Flipboard and Pocket.

Of the necessary apps, Twitter doesn’t work on this tab but Facebook does. You will need a publisher like Seesmic to get on to Twitter. And although Facebook works, it is a bit laggy (the FB app is to blame here more than the tab, though).

As you may have guessed, we have extensively tested the tablet’s capabilities as a reader. And it comes out with flying colours. It does present some limitations, too, though.

For one, the internal memory is just 1GB. It can be expanded to 32GB with a microSD card and you would do well to get at least a 16GB one. While the tab connects to wireless connections seamlessly, it works only with Tata Photon for mobile connectivity. And you do have to jump through some hoops to achieve this. Just flipping 3G in the setting to ON won’t necessarily do the trick.

The camera on the device is purely ceremonial. It’s front-facing, just 2MP and despite a great screen, photos can’t be salvaged. Viewing photos from other sources, though, is a pleasant experience.

We started off the review with a lot of good stuff to say about the product, but have since presented a bunch of shortcomings. So what does this mixed review mean? Do we still recommend it? The answer is a resounding yes! For Rs 6,499, you are not likely to get too many better devices that will definitely do the basics right. Don’t try writing too many emails or documents on it and you’ll be just fine. Use for what it does best – casual connectivity.

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