I'm a miserable old git.
I'm ashamed to say it's been a **** very **** long time since I reviewed my "trusts", have sought to rectify this by going through every review I've written in the past couple of years, if you feel hard-done-by, drop me a note.
Members who trust:32
Barely lives up to expectations
Cheap, offers very basic functionality
No built in apps marketplace, won't run much of the 'good stuff'
Look & Feel
Comfort & Portability
Robustness & Durability
Value For Money
Memory / capacitySatisfactory
Ease of useEasy
Range of Extra FeaturesPoor
Instruction manualNeeds improvement
Manufacturer SupportTotally unhelpful
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Tablet PCs are the new ‘greatest thing since sliced bread’ – largely thanks to the popularity of the iPad , iPhone and iTouch – whilst Microsoft may still be trying to flog ‘WinCE’ for handheld devices, ‘Android’ has recently become the platform of choice for the third party market.
Be very aware that not all android platforms are created equal.
Android was originally developed by Google to provide a (linux based) platform for mobile telephones – through various upgrades and technological innovations it has become a fully fledged tablet PC operating systems, but bear in mind there are some distinct limits to what you can run on each device.
The Amico is designed to provide basic media playing channels and access to web surfing and email, but if you think you’ll be getting a cut price iPad with all the functionality, think again.
As a glorified portableMP3 player, the device has a lot to offer. The internal memory won’t go that far, but you can easily plug in a micro-SD card up to 32Gb.
Small internal speakers are built in, but many would prefer to add a pair of headphones.
The unit is robustly built and claims 7 hours of operational life (although that’s optimistic if you use the internal Wi-Fi card) In standby it’ll last a couple of days without needing a charge.
What’s best about this is that it delivers pretty much what it promises; a seven inch tablet which plays media, has a very basic web browser and can access email. It has an 802.11b/g wireless facility, a single USB port for syncing data, and the capability of downloading applications – more on this later. The Micro-SD card slot allows you to store material, and swap stuff on mobile phones.
What's worst about the platform is that it's just about all it can do.
It doesn't conform to Google's minimum hardware specs, and many popular apps - such as Flash 10 and Skype to name but two won't install on the machine.
There is no 'built in marketplace' so you have to find a (non Google) site yourself and test apps yourself - fine if they're free, but I wouldn't reccommend you paid any money up fornt as there's a substantial chance the 'good stuff' won't run on this platform!
A built in camera rounds off the specification, and the unit comes with an external charger, but yiu don’t get much more in the packaging beyond a ‘quick start’ guide.
Documentation supplied with the tablet is little more than abysmal. Don’t go looking for much support online either – so far I’ve not found anything which details the menu functions, lt alone a description of typical ‘how to’s
The processor isn’t that impressive – attempting to perform the most basic tasks leaves you waiting for what seem like ages to do anything – web browsing, for example, reminds me of the bad old days on a 496 on a 9600 baud line.
A central feature of most android machines is the availability of online apps – typically offered through the Android Marketplace (some paid for, many free)
The system came with no such portal installed, so either be prepared to do some serious hunting, or use the system in a very limited ‘out the box’ configuration. Since purchasing this a couple of weeks ago, or just under £130 I’ve managed to install a couple of third party browsers with varying success; Opera is a lot better than the supplied app, but is still slow, Dolphin is a lot better, but still far from quick!
A major drawback with this item is that it doesn’t directly support Flash 10, which means that services such as iplayer will be denied to you – even shoehorning the binaries onto the system doesn’t seem to work, and in any case, the processor almost certainly won’t support a video screen any larger than a postage stamp.
The Advent brand is the ‘inhouse’ label for DSG (Dixons / Currys / PC World’ I don’t know who actually makes these though.
Build quality is decent enough – they make no bones about the fact this has a ‘resistive’ screen (senses only one touch at a time, unlike capacitive screens which do ‘flicks and twist’ actions)
To be fair, this costs around half the price of the nearest equivalent Android 2.2 system, which is probably what you were thinking of when you first considered a tablet PC!
No iPlayer then, no Skype (doesn’t recognise the platform) and s-l-o-w-w-w by almost anybody’s standards.
Still, it makes a decent enough player, and isn’t *that* much more expensive than a portable digital picture frame.
The package offers almost enough functionality to stop me throwing it back in their face, but in reality, I’ve found it something of a disappointment.
Not because of anything it specifically claimed to do, but because all it offers is absolutely all it offers, and no more!
My advice to anyone looking at these would be – wait six months for the price to drop, or wait another year, save up and buy a half decent 10” system which supports iplayer.
If you want a ‘big screen’ MP3 player, then this is reasonably priced, and happens to have basic networking capability, if you wanted a cheap alternative to an iPad, or iTouch, then look elsewhere.