DREAMBOOK ePAD P10
Pioneer Computers, $499 pioneercomputers.com.au
APPLE created a new gadget category with the iPad in 2010. The new-look tablet computer captured the world’s attention and inspired hundreds of thousands of Australians to buy it.
But that was last year. This year the slick computing giant will face unprecedented competition from all corners.
One competitor, Australia’s Pioneer Computers, has added an inexpensive 10-inch tablet to its burgeoning range.
Unlike its first effort, the DreamBook ePad P10 is more solid, has a long rectangular screen and shows off a unique Google Android interface.
Better than the standard Android appearance, this DreamBook adds animations you can move around the screen with a finger.
The home page showcases three widgets at its centre: weather, news and Google search. Users can virtually rotate these apps and then watch the sun shine on Sydney, for example, or select one of many news stories from the BBC. The approach is unusual and impressive.
The tablet’s Programs menu is similarly animated. Apps appear to be standing in rows of four and users can push them into the background, like Star Wars titles.
Those programs include a navigation app, Google Maps, a music player, Amazon Kindle reader, an additional book reader called Aldiko and games including Solitaire.
Other applications can be downloaded after you install an app program, a complicated task likely to involve plenty of backtracking. It’s a shame, as the tablet suffers for it.
The ePad P10 does have some nice hardware additions, though. These include a camera for photos or video calls, a built-in microphone, and space for a MicroSD memory card, a USB connection and a HDMI cable.
An extra port is available for accessories, while a slot at the tablet’s top can be used for a 3G mobile data connection.
Its computing components are above average, with a dualcore 1GHz processor and 512MB RAM.
With so many thoughtful additions, you’d think this tablet would be a winner.
The problem, however, is in the execution. It’s slow to operate, it’s hard to add apps, and many of its existing apps crash the tablet, suspending operations for a frustrating period of time.
This ePad’s body gets quite hot while charging and its screen fades to black even on a slight angle. It’s not the premium finish of its rivals.
Developers and those willing to tweak this table’s software might get something out of the ePad P10.
However, for the rest of us, Pioneer Computers’ new tablet is a set of fantastic ideas that didn’t come together.