Android on x86: A quick look at Asus’ Memo Pad ME176C tablet

Remember when people dismissed the iPad as a fad? It’s just a big iPod Touch, they said. Who would want one of those?

Quite a lot of folks, actually. The iPad touched off a revolution that has grown to truly epic proportions. 207 million tablets shipped last year, according to market research firm Gartner, and that total is expected to grow to 256 million in 2014. The following year, Gartner projects that tablet shipments will hit 321 million units and eclipse PCs for the first time.

So, yeah, probably not a fad.

Intel initially missed the boat on the tablet trend, but it’s starting to make inroads in the market. In an earnings press release issued last week, CEO Brian Krzanich said the company is on track to ship in 40 million tablets this year. Many of those devices will likely be smaller, inexpensive Android slates like Asus’ Memo Pad ME176C.

At a glance, it’s easy to see why Intel expects to move a lot of tablets like these. The Memo Pad sells for just $149, yet it has a quad-core Bay Trail SoC, a 7″ IPS display, and a nice selection of additional features. Looks like a great deal, right?

Maybe. You see, those Bay Trail cores might be great for Windows PCs, but they’re based on an x86 instruction set architecture (ISA) that’s sort of a foreign language in the mobile world. Most tablets use ARM-compatible chips with a completely different ISA. Any apps with ARM-specific code must be adapted or translated just to run on x86 hardware, which could lead to slower performance and longer load times.

The obvious question, then, is how does Intel’s latest Atom fare on an Android device? More importantly, can a cheap Bay Trail tablet like the Memo Pad ME176C deliver a good user experience? I’ve been using one to find out, and the answers are a little complicated. Allow me to explain.

Anatomy of a budget slate

Some aspects of the Memo Pad are easy to grasp. Take the Atom Z3745 SoC, for example. It’s an Android-specific version of the Bay Trail quad found in Asus’ $350 Transformer Book T100 convertible. The CPU cores have the same 1.33GHz base and 1.86GHz Burst frequencies, and the base GPU speed is unchanged. The peak GPU clock is 111MHz higher, though, at 778MHz.

Processor Atom Z3745 (1.33GHz base, 1.86GHz Burst)
Graphics Intel HD Graphics (311MHz base, 778MHz Burst)
Memory 1GB LPDDR3 1066
Display 7″ IPS panel with 1280×800 resolution (216 PPI)
Storage 16GB eMMC

Up to 64GB via Micro SD

Wireless 802.11n Wi-Fi

Bluetooth 4.0

Ports 1 Micro USB

1 analog headphone/microphone

Cameras 5MP rear, 2MP front
Battery 15Wh, 3910mAh
Dimensions 7.5″ x 4.5″ x 0.38″ (190.5 x 114.3 x 9.65 mm)
Weight 0.65 lbs (295 g)
OS Android 4.4.2

The Memo Pad runs Android 4.4.2, otherwise known as KitKat. This OS revision includes optimizations for devices with lower memory capacities, so the gig of system RAM shouldn’t be a huge handicap. Neither should the 16GB of internal flash, which is comparable to the base storage capacity of premium Android and iOS slates. Unlike a lot of those pricier tablets, the Memo Pad has a Micro SD slot ripe for secondary storage. Up to 64GB can be added via mini memory card.

A Micro USB connector and headset jack are the only ports of note. There are dual cameras, of course—a 5MP unit at the rear and a 2MP one up front—plus 802.11 Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, and the usual collection of sensors. Power and volume buttons grace one edge, but their arrangement is a little unusual. The power switch sits below the volume rocker, which is the opposite of how things are organized on the Nexus 7 and most other Android tablets we’ve used.

Despite its bargain price tag, the Memo Pad doesn’t feel overly cheap. The back is draped in smooth, soft-touch plastic that has just enough grip to keep the tablet from slipping out of my hands. This matte finish isn’t completely impervious to smudges and fingerprints, but neither is the glossy touchscreen on any tablet. I’m over it.

The build quality appears to be solid overall. The frame is fairly stiff, with minimal flex and no obvious creaking when the body is torqued. I don’t have the guts to do a drop test, though.

The display is based on a 7″ panel with a 1280×800 pixel array. That resolution is a decent fit for the screen size, though it obviously doesn’t match the crispness of higher-PPI alternatives like the latest Nexus 7. Text and images still look reasonably sharp, and individual pixels aren’t visible unless you hold the tablet right up to your face. Picky reviewers are probably the only ones who will ever get that close to the screen.

We haven’t had time to run the screen through our usual, ahem, gamut of colorimeter tests. However, the output looks good to my eyes, with vivid colors, wide viewing angles, and no obvious signs of backlight bleed. As an added bonus, the picture can be tuned with Asus’ Splendid software, which has sliders for color temperature, hue, and saturation. The brightness can also be adjusted, but only manually. The Memo Pad lacks the ambient light sensor required for automatic backlight control.

Everything is squeezed into a compact chassis that’s 0.38″ (9.6 mm) thick and 0.65 lbs (295 g). Slimmer tablets do exist, but I think we’ve reached the point where shaving a couple more millimeters doesn’t make a big difference. The Memo Pad is easy to carry and hold with one hand, just like every other 7″ tablet I’ve used. The battery life seems to be comparable to that of other contenders, too. Asus claims run times up to nine hours on a single charge, which matches my subjective impressions based on casual use.

 

Multiple paths to x86 compatibility

Bay Trail’s x86 pedigree may be at odds with the predominant ISA for mobile devices, but the situation isn’t as dire as one might expect. Intel has been working with Google on Atom-specific Android tweaks since 2011. The CPU giant has contributed code to the Android kernel and libraries, and it’s validated and optimized device drivers to work with x86 hardware. At the OS level, at least, the Atom’s x86 roots shouldn’t be an issue.

The situation with applications is a little different. Most Android apps run in Dalvik, a virtual machine that’s isolated from the OS. The code is typically written in Java, and it’s compiled only when the program is launched. Dalvik can generate x86 instructions, so there shouldn’t be any problems with these kinds of apps.

Instead of relying Dalvik’s just-in-time approach, some Android apps use pre-compiled binaries generated by the Native Developer Kit (NDK). The NDK supports other languages, such as C and C++, and it can target different ISAs, including ARM and x86. As I understand it, generating an x86 binary from an NDK project involves little more than clicking a checkbox. I’m not a programmer, though; the process may be more complicated than that. In any case, Intel has a full suite of resources to help developers build native x86 apps using the NDK.

If apps lack x86 binaries or are otherwise tied to ARM-specific code, binary translation is used to transform ARM instructions into x86. This software-based emulation layer should be invisible to end users, but there’s some unavoidable overhead involved. Naturally, Intel and ARM disagree on the impact of that overhead. Intel claims the effect is minimal in most applications, while ARM warns of slower application load times, increased stuttering in games, lower overall performance, and reduced power efficiency.

The argument may end up being moot, because Google recently introduced a new Android runtime environment, dubbed ART, that will replace the Dalvik VM in future versions of the OS. (ART is available in an experimental capacity in the current KitKat release.) This new environment ditches Dalvik’s just-in-time approach for pre-compiled code that’s supposed to improve performance. Given Intel’s previous contributions to Android, ART should be well-optimized for x86 CPUs.

Performance

Right now, gauging the impact of binary translation is somewhat difficult because Android apps generally don’t advertise their x86 credentials. APK files can be searched for telltale binaries, but that’s a little involved for a quick-take piece like this one. Measuring application performance in Android is tricky enough without having to deal with different ISAs.

For the Memo Pad ME176C, we elected to combine a handful of common benchmarks with load-time tests and real-world usage impressions. That should provide a sense of how the tablet behaves even if it doesn’t answer some of the deeper questions about how well x86 processors deal with ARM-optimized code.

Let’s start with the benchmarks, which compare the Memo Pad to a selection of mobile devices running Android and Windows. The graphs have been colored by operating system, with our subject set apart from the rest of the Android pack.

The Memo Pad impresses in our JavaScript-heavy browser benchmarks. It’s notably quicker than the latest Nexus 7, which sells for 50% more, but it can’t catch the Shield. To be fair, the Shield is basically a game controller with a Tegra 4 inside. The chip is strapped to a blower, so there’s a lot more thermal headroom than in a fanless tablet.

Note that the Memo Pad nearly matches the Transformer T100, which is based on a similar SoC running Windows. At least in these tests, there doesn’t appear to be too much of a penalty associated with Android.

Next, we’ll look at graphics performance in 3DMark’s “Ice Storm” test. To compensate for devices with different resolutions, this benchmark renders scenes offscreen at 1280×720 before scaling the output for the target display.

Bay Trail’s graphics horsepower appears largely intact on Android. Although the T100’s advantage is wider in this test, the Memo Pad isn’t too far behind. And it’s still ahead of the current Nexus 7.

Load times

For this next batch of tests, we recorded application load times with a high-speed camera capturing 240 frames per second. We used popular apps and tried to avoid ones that grab a lot of Internet content on startup.

Interesting. The Memo Pad loads our selection of games slower than both Nexus tablets. The differences are especially apparent in Clash of Clans, where the Memo Pad trails even the old Nexus 7 by more than five seconds.

Don’t act like you weren’t curious about Kim Kardashian Hollywood load times.

These other apps load much faster overall, and the Memo Pad leads the competition in three of four tests. The differences only amount to about a second at most, though. They’re usually much slimmer than that, especially between the Memo Pad and the Snapdragon-powered Nexus 7.

For what it’s worth, we observed more run-to-run variance in Skype and YouTube load times than we did in the other tests, probably because those apps pull content off the ‘net.

 

Living with Android on x86

To evaluate how well the Memo Pad ME176C works in the real world, I’ve been lugging our sample around like a digital security blanket. The thing barely leaves my side while I’m at home. I’ve grown a little attached, to be honest, but I’ve also become acutely aware of the device’s shortcomings.

For the most part, the tablet delivers a good user experience. The UI is responsive, web pages render quickly, and games look good and run fluidly. I rarely feel like I’m waiting on the device—until I start multitasking. The Memo Pad tends to bog down when more than a few apps are running, likely due to its limited system memory. Trimming the number of concurrent apps quickly brings the tablet back up to speed, so the slowdown isn’t crippling. Power users are likely to be disappointed, though, especially if they’ve experienced the Nexus 7’s more consistent snappiness.

Apart from a few crashes in GT Racing 2, my testing has been entirely free of quirks—no compatibility issues, application glitches, or graphical artifacts. The Memo Pad’s Wi-Fi reception isn’t great, but that’s my only other real complaint. Well, that and the fact that Asus’ ZenUI Android skin replaces the usual six icons at the bottom of the screen with four oversized ones. Fortunately, ZenUI otherwise sticks closely to the standard Android script. Its configurable Quick Settings menu is a nice addition, and Asus’ File Manager utility is excellent.

All things considered, the Memo Pad ME176C is pretty good given the $149 asking price. It feels kind of like the netbook of tablets: a decent solution for folks looking to cover the basics on a tight budget. That seems rather appropriate given the Atom underpinnings. After all, Intel’s low-power CPU rose to fame in netbooks, which undercut the pricier ultraportables of their time.

Back in that era, the Atom stole market share away from Intel’s more premium processors. Now, it’s being used to gain a foothold in hostile territory. Intel is basically paying tablet makers to use its processors. That strategy seems destined to increase the installed base of x86 chips running Android, which should encourage mobile developers to make sure their apps work well with that ISA. If that means more cheap, capable tablets for consumers, I can’t complain.

Comments closed
    • edwpang
    • 5 years ago

    I bought a ASUS MeMO HD Pad 7 16G(MT8125) for my relative last August. It started to show touch screen issues several months ago. Then starting a month ago, the touch screen was not reponsive anymore. I contacted ASUS online support, and they were quickly to identify it a Hardware issue and gave me a RMA number and assigned a service center in Texas(I am in Ontario Canada). Before shipping to US, I googled ASUS service center by location, and found a service center within 15 minutes drive. I called them, they prompted issue a new RMA number started with CA, and they accepts drop-in. The rest is quite smooth. I got a brand new replacement within a week. It’s running without issue ever since.

    The only minor complaint is the online service agent should have assign the closest serivce center already knowing my address.

    • oldDummy
    • 5 years ago

    $129.99
    Tiger Direct

    [url<]http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/campaigns/deals.asp?campaignid=2976[/url<]

      • B.A.Frayd
      • 5 years ago

      Awesome! If you like yellow.

    • Jigar
    • 5 years ago

    WOW, i see those random slow downs haven’t been rectified yet, I sold Lenovo K900 because of those random slow downs.

    BTW, when i say slow down, these slow downs were very irritating, example: You start a game – it would hang for 1 second and than move on, if something major graphic change happens in the scene, it would again hang for 1 second and than move on. I sold it after 2 months and bought the Sony Z ULTRA – its is an awesome piece of hardware.

    • davidbowser
    • 5 years ago

    Just for reference and to show how good a deal this Asus tablet is for the money:

    my iPad Air –
    around 5600 Kraken 1.1
    around 385ms SunSpider 1.0.2

    The Asus scored pretty darn good compared to a device that costs 3-4x as much.

    • Chrispy_
    • 5 years ago

    This basically highlights that Microsoft are being abandoned even at the top level – by Intel.

    Intel believe that Microsoft cannot help them sell tablets, and rightly so – the sales figures show that for every windows phone/tablet shipped, something like 30 Android or iOS devices are sold.

    • SonicSilicon
    • 5 years ago

    I must be the minority, because when I think x86 Android, I become curious about how well it can run x86 Linux applications. With the added software for keeping native Android applications happy, this model piques my interest that much more.

      • chuckula
      • 5 years ago

      [quote<]when I think x86 Android, I become curious about how well it can run x86 Linux applications.[/quote<] You aren't the only one... I may very well root this thing one day and put in a standard Linux install. The 16 GB of storage should be fine for the OS and software packages in a light-weight config. 1GB of RAM isn't much by modern standards (I shudder to hear myself say that) but should be enough to get a light-weight desktop with a touch UI running.

    • HisDivineOrder
    • 5 years ago

    $149 for this or $199 for a Nexus 7.

    Given the fact most of the “performance difference” is coming from the fact the Nexus 7 is doing everything at 1200p while this is doing it at considerably lower resolution, I think if you’re keeping your tablet for more than a few months, paying that extra $50 is worth it.

    Especially when the end of year sales start dropping the price even lower on Nexus 7’s.

    • anotherengineer
    • 5 years ago

    Impressive!!

    A selfie using the reflection of a tablet, with a DSLR no less.

    Indeed the force is strong with you………….

      • chuckula
      • 5 years ago

      Excellent, now I can create perfect forgeries of his iris and retina for my evil espionage program. All I need to do is click my CSI-enhance button a few hundred times.

    • tipoo
    • 5 years ago

    Should we be worried that you have a Kim Kardashian game, Geoff?

    • MadManOriginal
    • 5 years ago

    Shouldn’t this article be titled Android on x86?

      • Damage
      • 5 years ago

      It is now. Cannot believe I didn’t catch that in editing.

        • MadManOriginal
        • 5 years ago

        Too bad it wasn’t Android on Android…you could have been appealing to a whole new audience.

          • SonicSilicon
          • 5 years ago

          All those hardcore autobiography readers?

    • trackerben
    • 5 years ago

    No cellular LTE version, therefore no decent 4G hotspot plus. That’s a likely use case wasted given the tablet-sized antenna and battery. It’d make for a good reader and media player but then so would a Nexus 7 or iPad Mini.

      • chuckula
      • 5 years ago

      [quote<]It'd make for a good reader and media player but then so would a Nexus 7 or iPad Mini.[/quote<] Nexus 7: Fair enough (still slightly more expensive for the newest version though). iPad Mini [Retina]: Buy 2 of the Asus tablets, then use the extra $100 to buy extra movies to watch for the price of the iPad by itself.

        • l33t-g4m3r
        • 5 years ago

        You could also use the extra money to buy a separate hotspot. But then you wouldn’t be saving money either…

          • trackerben
          • 5 years ago

          I’d like to know if there’s an Android app which exposes reprovision/authentication to reprofile a Nexus LTE for unfettered access in global networks. With the iPad Air I routinely achieve 20MBps sub-100ms latency after a reset in most cities I travel to, even with the most throttle-mad Asian carriers.

        • trackerben
        • 5 years ago

        The extra $hundreds adds the only worthwhile mobile games console with frequent free apps and available MS Office. iPad LTE is the only general-purpose tablet with the quality to withstand constant on-the-go use. But the price needs to be at least $50 less and/or base memory be 32GB vs. decent droids like the Nexus 7 LTE.

        For niche use as media reader/player or WWAN hotspot or auto media/satnav, Nexus 7 LTE with the right apps is the smart choice. I’d stay clear of any Android tablet that isn’t Nexus or updatable likewise.

      • raddude9
      • 5 years ago

      [quote<]It'd make for a good reader and media player but then so would a Nexus 7 or iPad Mini.[/quote<] There are much cheaper options if you just want a reader or a media player, even from the same supplier, e.g. the Asus MemoPad HD7 which has very similar specs except that it is cheaper and uses a slower 1.2Ghz MediaTek MT8125 Quad-Core Processor. I see this tablet as one more suitable for running a few apps and some web surfing rather than media playing and reading. Although the low-res screen hurts it's chances of doing well in that market.

    • tcubed
    • 5 years ago

    I want: Discovery vs this tablet. And power draws/battery life for both! 🙁

    Also I would root it and install windows if the chip would be any good and use it as mobile desktop with all my files on it and with a docking station for screen keyboard and mouse…

    • ronch
    • 5 years ago

    If we all want Intel to rule tablets and smart phones the way they’ve kept everyone else from making x86 desktop chips (apart from little ol’ AMD), sure, show some love and go ahead and make sure your next phone or tablet is powered by Intel. I for one want ARM to gain more traction against the 800-pound gorilla so I’m with ARM all the way.

      • Peldor
      • 5 years ago

      How about I just buy whatever is the best value for me instead of having a tilt at the windmills of swaying the market with my singular purchase?

        • ronch
        • 5 years ago

        It’s kinda like global warming, right? Why buy an expensive electric car when they’re all mostly using petrol anyway? In the end though, we’re all going to face the consequences of our collective ‘sense’.

          • Peldor
          • 5 years ago

          No it’s nothing like that. If Intel gains significantly in mobile even to the point of having a virtual monopoly, the ice caps are not going to flood every coastal city. The externalities of choosing a processor are miniscule.

          More competition in mobile (ARM v Intel) is better than less (ARM only).

          • srg86
          • 5 years ago

          Because electric cars that take hours to “re-fuel” are not practical. Hydrogen fuel cell imho is a better idea.

      • srg86
      • 5 years ago

      Nope, in the mobile space, ARM is the 800lb gorilla. Most mobile devices use arm OSs, so you need an ARM based chip, you want to make your own, you have to license from ARM. Just like Intel with x86, arm has a monopoly on the ARM ISA. They are more freely licensing it than Intel is, but they are still a monopoly. Nobody can make an ARM chip without ARM’s permission. The anti-Intel fanboys seem to forget this.

      If you want what you want, maybe you should be championing something like OpenSPARC.

      I’m not anti-ARM by any means, Intel *needs* competition, and AMD is circling the drain. Nobody should be able to have it all their own way though, not Intel and not ARM either. Why not MIPS or SPARC, or ARC, or some other ISA?

        • raddude9
        • 5 years ago

        [quote<]Nope, in the mobile space, ARM is the 800lb gorilla[/quote<] How is ARM the mobile space 800lb gorilla, why not Qualcom? Or Samsung? or Apple? Those are some very powerful companies that are worth many orders of magnitude more than ARM is... The fact is that an architecture-only monopoly is far less destructive than an architecture-and-silicon monopoly. One allows many companies to specialise, compete and thrive with diverse devices. The other allows a single company to dominate every device. What I'm trying to say is that you can't directly compare the two monopolies, that's something the intel fanbois tend to gloss-over. [quote<]Nobody can make an ARM chip without ARM's permission[/quote<] A better way of saying the same thing is that "Anybody can make an ARM chip with ARMs permission". ARM don't refuse to let people make chips based on either their own designs or their instruction set. [quote<]I'm not anti-ARM by any means, Intel *needs* competition[/quote<] Then why don't you accect ARM as being the best Intel competitor that has shown up in many long years. Sure, you can look to other architectures for competition in the future, but we have one here and now. Granted, ARM is only a competitor to Intel in the mobile space, but with time they could become a competitor in other spaces as well.

    • albundy
    • 5 years ago

    yeah, but can it run winblows non-rt? i need my notepad!

      • l33t-g4m3r
      • 5 years ago

      Actually, I think this tablet just signed the death certificate for windows on tablets. Not even intel thinks windows should be on a tablet.

      Oh, and there’s no such thing as non-rt on a MS tablet, because the touch screen interface (Metro/Modern) is written in WinRT. Using Metro is using RT, even on x86. Sucks, but that’s how they designed it, and win32/desktop probably isn’t that touchscreen friendly at this size.

      Android has completely beaten windows here.

    • nico1982
    • 5 years ago

    [quote<]If that means more cheap, capable tablets for consumers, I can't complain.[/quote<] Until they take over the market, that is, and enstabilish a new monopoly 😛 Anyway, did I miss the battery life test in the review? I just looked at the graphs, to be honest.

    • NeelyCam
    • 5 years ago

    Forgot to mention that two weeks ago I did a system update on my Dell Venue 7, and “Puzzles And Dragons” started working again! It stopped functioning with an earlier update… I assumed it was some sort of an x86 incompatibility, but now I don’t think I have any apps that don’t work.

    I don’t use it much, though, since tablets are kinda toys..

      • raddude9
      • 5 years ago

      The Android Play store doesn’t let you download incompatible app, they don’t even show up when you do a search.
      So I find it funny when people say that they don’t have any problems with incompatible x86 apps, why would they? The problem only arises when they try to find a specific app that is ARM-only and they can’t find it.

        • chuckula
        • 5 years ago

        Well then point out a widely used ARM-only app that is really causing people trouble since it just doesn’t exist for x86 Android. There was some concern about Netflix but that’s been running just fine, and nobody has been able to come up with an example of a real app that is popular but won’t run on x86.

        My FUD detection levels are really starting to spike since I have first-hand knowledge that Android on Baytrail works just fine.

        [Edit: As an aside, when you consider that basically every Android app in existence is developed using an x86 PC that emulates the Android environment (often with too much horsepower that needs to be toned down for real devices), it’s a little bit silly to imply that there’s some magical barrier that prevents a Linux-based OS from running on the very same x86 architecture that has been running Linux since day 0.]

          • raddude9
          • 5 years ago

          Whoa, hold your fire Mr. intel fanboi.

          I was just pointing out that just because you never see a “You can’t run this App because it is ARM-only” dialog pop up on your Android device doesn’t mean that there are no incompatible apps.

          [quote<]My FUD detection levels are really starting to spike since I have first-hand knowledge that Android on Baytrail works just fine.[/quote<] Sure, Android works fine on x86 these days, I never said it didn't. [quote<]when you consider that basically every Android app in existence is developed using an x86 PC that emulates the Android environment (often with too much horsepower that needs to be toned down for real devices)[/quote<] Sorry but that's pure BS, I've developed Android apps on intel based workstations, and not once did my emulated Android device have too much power or "need to be toned down". In fact, in every app I developed the exact opposite was true. I wished my intel-powered machine was faster so it could run the emulation better. [quote<]it's a little bit silly to imply that there's some magical barrier that prevents a Linux-based OS from running on the very same x86 architecture that has been running Linux since day 0[/quote<] I have no idea how you came to the conslusion that I implied that x86 can't run Android. Maybe you have a persecution complex or maybe you need to dial back your "intel defence-o-meter". [quote<]Well then point out a widely used ARM-only app that is really causing people trouble since it just doesn't exist for x86 Android.[/quote<] I'm pretty sure the vast majority of "widely used" android apps will run on ARM and x86 these days. Intel worked hard on their binary translation layer and it works well, although it does increase power consumption which is going to hurt your battery life if you run these binary-translated apps frequently. If you only used the popular apps you'll be just fine, the problem is with "less widely used" apps. For example, at my workplace we had hundreds of Adobe AIR based apps for education etc. These were originally Adobe-Flash based and ported to AIR. Until about a month ago AIR-based apps didn't work on Android x86 at all! Adobe fially updated AIR to include x86 though, but only if you update your app to the latest version of AIR and recompile it. For us and a lot of other old apps out there, that's not going to happen.

        • NeelyCam
        • 5 years ago

        I guess my case was special. Puzzles And Dragons worked when I first downloaded it. Then, when I updated the OS, it stopped working. After a few OS updates, it started working again.

        Every time I update the OS on that tablet, it goes through all my apps saying it “optimizes them” or something. I’m not sure what’s going on in there.

          • raddude9
          • 5 years ago

          Sounds like they temporarily broke something in the binary translation layer, but fixed it again with a later update. That kind of software often goes through some two-steps-forward/one-step-back situations before everything is eventually fixed.

    • chuckula
    • 5 years ago

    I JUST GOT MINE LAST NIGHT!!! YOU GUYS ARE FAST!

    Here are my quicky thoughts:
    1. It comes with a GPS built in! Not the most vital feature but there are many tablets that lack a GPS because some people think that any device without a 3G/4G WWAN data connection would have no use for a GPS… wrong.

    2. I know it’s only 1280×800 but my main use for it is to replace my old-school first generation Kindle. The Kindle app does a great job in the tablet’s “reader mode” and I’m not experiencing blurred text or anything unpleasant.

    3. It is lightning fast compared to my (admittedly old) Droid Razr MAXX with a dual-core Cortex A9 processor. When not bogged down due to memory or I/O bottlenecks, it’s probably in the same performance bracket as much more expensive models.

    4. I haven’t loaded every app under the sun, but so far no compatibility issues due to the purportedly “incompatible” x86 processor.

    5. Just as you guys have noted, I’ve seen the occasional slowdown when there is a bunch of concurrent I/O activity or multiple large programs all running at once. Like you said, it ain’t because the CPU doesn’t have the horsepower, but because running low on RAM and having to push data over an eMMC interface is not conducive to high-speed operation.

    6. For $150, this thing kicks the ever loving crap out of many smartphones that go for $600+ or more unsubsidized. While it is not perfect, for $150 I’m not really seeing anything that can claim to be better at this point.

      • l33t-g4m3r
      • 5 years ago

      6: Tegra note is down to 179 at the egg. Is it worth the extra 30? Maybe. Asus probably does have the best tablet @ 150 though.

      • oldDummy
      • 5 years ago

      Just ordered one from Tiger Direct.
      Seems like a no brainer for 150.
      Will use it like a kindle, unless my son “borrows” it.

      EDIT: Will honor the 129.99 sale price…$20 credit on site only 🙁

      • NeelyCam
      • 5 years ago

      I like the fact that mine has a GPS on it. Sygic is a cheap way to turn it into a really nice off-line GPS navigator.

    • yokem55
    • 5 years ago

    As far as app compatibility goes, does Netflix work? The last I had read was that Netflix did not function on x86 Android.

      • chuckula
      • 5 years ago

      I’ll try to check netflix when I get the chance.

      [Edit: Works just fine. Just watched an interestly documentary on Legos and it performed fine.]

      • NeelyCam
      • 5 years ago

      Runs smoothly on Dell Venue 7 (with Clovertrail+).

      • cwj717
      • 5 years ago

      Ive never had any problems with Netflix on my Lenovo K900 and Ive had it for over a year.

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