iBall Slide i7218 review

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iBall had launched a tablet device in September 2011 and now the company has launched a revamped version of its Slide with i7218. The newer version of the device runs on Android 2.3 though the user interface is similar to Honeycomb.

The i7218 is cheaper than its predecessor, as it comes with the price tag of Rs. 11,999 and will be competing with the likes of Reliance Tab 3G. When switched on, the device greets you with "Get ready to enjoy the ride", so let's try and find out how is the ride of the new iBall Slide i7218.

Hardware/ Design
In terms of design, the 7-inch tablet is made primarily of plastic and has a metal-based side casing. Unlike the previous model's box like design, this one has a curved and lighter body. At the back is a 2.0 MP camera, with the speakers. The front has a VGA camera on the top and three capacitive touch control buttons on the right.

On the right side, is a Micro-USB port, a mini HDMI port, a USB port, 3.5 mm headphone jack and an external slot for a microSD card. The top panel also houses a power button, volume control and a reset button. The device is loaded with a 1 GHz ARM Cortex Processor. The USB port can be used to connect dongle or an external flash drive. Overall the design and hardware is apt for the purpose, price and usage of this tablet.

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Display
The 7-inch TFT display claims to have a resolution of 800 X 480 pixels. In terms of brightness levels, it's a little dim. The dim levels turn out to be a little troublesome while using this tablet in sunlight. But indoors the tablet provides a comfortable display.

Software/ Interface
Slide has a user interface similar to that in Honeycomb. Several elements of both Gingerbread and Honeycomb have been combined to bring about the UI skin for the tablet. However, it uses a stock animation while switching windows.

Moving on to preloaded apps, the device has few to offer.First up, is an app called the iReader. It is not just similar to Apple's iBook app in terms of names but even in interface. The app helps ones in reading eBooks and it offers support to TXT and PSB files. The interface is smooth and replicates iBook's page turn animation. But on downside, it does not support PDF files.

Another app that comes pre-installed is ApkInstall, which reads all APK files in the memory and gives you the option to install the applications. Other apps include Google Maps, File Manager and UT Player. The device also has the option of accessing portable Internet, by connecting a dongle via the USB port.

Camera
The device offers a 2MP primary camera at the back and a VGA camera in the front. The camera does not offer zoom and the quality of the images produced is nothing to rave about. On the video front, the video output turns out to be just about average.

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Performance/ Battery life
In terms of performance, this tablet will surely test of patience and it would not be wrong to say that this iBall slide offers a rather troublesome ride. It took about 35 seconds for this tablet to boot up and about 5 seconds to wake from its sleep.

There is a persistent lag on the touch front and the processor takes its own time to process any and every request. When we tried watching a movie, the application crashed mid-way. And in the time that we spent with this tablet during the course of this review, there were several such crashes.

Keyboard is cramped in horizontal view as the keys are small in height and extra wide. When kept vertical, the dimensions of the keyboard keys might be comfortable but the size and the weight of the device make it difficult to type. Thus, typing in any form is a bit difficult with this device.

For first time use, the only way to purchase applications is through a tiny icon in the top right corner for the Android Market. It is only later on, that it updates the application and upgrades it to the Play Store. Thankfully, Play Store finds a spot amongst the regular Android Applications apart from the tiny icon on the top.

Internet browsing is smooth over Wi-Fi. The screen size is comfortable for the same. Sound output is decent. However the battery backup could have been better though. 15 minutes spent on YouTube drained the battery to almost half. Once the battery is completely discharged, you require at least 6 hours for bringing it back to its full capacity.

Verdict
The budget Android tablets market is currently exploding in India and there seems to be a new tablet being announced almost every month. In such a scenario, it will be difficult for iBall to create a market for itself with Slide i7218. The strengths of this tablet are that it has a well-rounded design and comes with a Honeycomb like UI on board, unlike the other Android tablets in this price range that are purely Gingerbread. However, with the performance lags and poor touch response this is not the tablet that you would want to lay your hands on.

Price: Rs. 11,999

Pros
  • Design

Cons

  • Poor touch screen response
  • Persistent lag
  • Cramped keyboard

Ratings (out of 5)
Design: 3
Display: 2.5
Performance: 2
Software: 3
Battery Life: 2
Value for Money: 2.5
Camera: 2
Ecosystem: 3

Overall: 2.5

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