Solid Tablet on a Budget with HKC
Pros:- Solid construction & reasonable performance, microUSB host mode, bang for buck.
Cons:- Screen resolution could be better in 2013, can't charge via USB.
A solid tablet for those on a budget with a few extra features such as expandable memory and host mode.
The HKC Tablet as it is creatively named, is a 7-inch tablet running Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich). With a 800 x 400 screen resolution, 1 GHz processor and 1 GB or memory, its not about the set the world on fire in terms of performance. Similarly there’s only 8 GB of onboard storage, however this is upgradeable to 32 GB via the microSD card slot.
The HKC Tablet also features built in WiFi, a front facing 0.3 megapixel camera with microphone, a small speaker at the back and claims to offer up to 5 hours of battery life. Most importantly, Google Play is included giving you access to the near endless amount of applications available for Android.
So the HKC Tablet seems to cover all bases reasonably well, along with a surprise or two. How does it stack up in daily use?
The HKC Tablet feels reasonably solid in your hands. It’s not flimsy, but while not the thinnest tablet out there, it doesn’t feel all that bulky either. The back of the tablet is made out of a glossy plastic that is a bit of a fingerprint magnet and we’re sure will get a bit scuffed up over time. The screen however seems to resist fingerprints quite well. Similarly the volume rocker buttons and power button are nice and solid, and HKC have included a lot of ports to make the tablet as versatile as possible.
Charging is via a DC input, and curiously doesn’t work through USB. Interestingly however, HKC have included two micro USB inputs – one to connect up to a PC or laptop, and one is used where the tablet is serving as the host, such as with a portable hard drive. A headphone output is also included, as is a microSD card slot for memory expansion. The HKC weighs around 226 grams (0.5 lbs) which makes it lighter than the current 7-inch tablet benchmark, the iPad Mini, but obviously the dimensions are a bit bulkier.
Screen and Graphics
The HKC tablet runs a native 800 x 400 resolution with a 16:9 format. Colours are reasonably bright and well reproduced, but is obviously limited by the amount of pixels – especially with the quality of phone screens nowadays. Viewing angles are quite good too with reasonably clarity even when at 45 degrees plus, except curiously from one landscape angle when the capacitive buttons are to your right. Even eBooks are possible, although reading from an LCD capacitive screen is a bit more tiring as expected.
The HKC tablet has the performance to be a solid media consumption device. The Operating System scrolling is not as silk smooth as you’d expect from Ice Cream Sandwich but there’s no noticeable lag, browsing is pretty simple, and watching or streaming videos is as simple as you’d expect. Sound from the single speaker is reasonably strong, which is all you can expect really. The HKC can even handle more graphics intensive games without much effort.
HKC claim up to 5 hours of battery life with the tablet which sounds fine for most people’s needs. However there’s a problem with this. The device seems to use quite a lot of energy even in sleep mode. That means if you leave it unplugged overnight, its likely to either be very low on battery or completely flat in the morning. It certainly won’t be able to handle a day of use without a bit of a top up. I guess this is an area where you really get what you pay for, though that said DC chargers are relatively cheap, or if your tablet never leaves the home, its not much of an issue.
The HKC Tablet retails for $129 at Officeworks (Australia), which is a great value proposition and entry into the Android tablet market. It’s solid build means it’s a great choice for younger children, or those after a simple device around the home. The screen resolution, and lack of battery life however do hinder it for those after a bit more of a power device, as most modern Android phones will run rings around it in every way except physical screen real estate.