Down to price
I’VE SAID IT before: the only 7” tablet computer showing any form of promise is the BlackBerry Playbook. The others… well, they just feel like big phones. But I’m willing to admit there are niche uses for them and – in the case of the new Huawei S7 – we’re seeing the most important feature being addressed: price.
As iPad competitors, Android tablets have an inherent problem: they’re all more expensive than the iPad. Nerds will tell you they have better specifications but normal people don’t care. They see two tablets, one of which was launched first, has better battery life, a high “cool” factor and costs less – it’s a no-brainer. So then it’s also no surprise Android tablets have done dismally until now.
The S7 is one of the few tablets on the market that actually costs less than an entry-level iPad. And it has decent specifications, if those matter to you. Apart from its 7” screen with 800x480 resolution, there are two cameras, WiFi, 8GB of storage and built-in 3G, Bluetooth and GPS.
Its shape is rather strange – being long and narrow. But I got used to this soon enough. Its cameras just don’t cut the cheese. They’re OK for video chats with people over the Internet but you definitely don’t want to take pics of your kids with this thing – unless they’re really ugly.
It also runs version 2.2 of Android – designed for mobile phones – instead of the newer 3.0 “Honeycomb” version developed for tablets. However, weird screen, phone operating system and rubbish cameras aside, the S7 does surprisingly well in other departments. It’s great for watching videos with its 16:9 resolution and loads applications in a snap, despite running a much slower processor than most of its competitors.
Its internal storage is small, but you can expand it using the included microSD slot – up to 32GB. It has HDMI out, so you can play your media over to a television set or other monitor. Not a feature I tried, but definitely a nice to have.
So, all things considered, this isn’t a bad product for the price. It certainly is no iPad and most people will want to spend the extra grand to go the Apple route. But it’s great for what it is. And lower prices are what we need for tablets. So kudos to Huawei for steps in the right direction.