iBall Slide Review
- Good build
- 1GHz processor
- 1080p MP4 playback
- Good capacitive touchscreen
- Keyboard in landscape mode is uncomfortable
- Bad viewing angles
- No certainty of ICS update
Overall, the iBall Slide is a direct competitor to the Mercury Mtab Neo2. It is a good overall performer with the only drawback being the keyboard. It runs on Android 3.0 Honeycomb but we wished we were informed whether the device would receive an ICS update or not. Games, music, apps and videos ran very smoothly on the device. If a SIM card slot is an absolute necessity for you, then you should take a look at the Mercury Mtab Neo2.
The sub Rs. 15,000 price bracket has seen quite a few new tablets arrive recently, aiming to offer consumers bang for their buck. Tablets like the Mercury Mtab Neo2, Intex iTab and the BlackBerry PlayBook have established themselves as value for money products for the price they demand.
Today we have with us the iBall Slide i7218. It is different from the Slide we saw last year at launch, but the difference is only in terms of the visuals of the device, and better speakers. Its internal workings are the same as its predecessor. Is it worth a consideration?
Design and Build
Remove the device from the box and it gives you the feel of being a premium device. It is built out of plastic but it doesn’t feel flimsy or hollow. The rear panel of the device has a shiny silver finish to it, which is a refreshing change from the matte and glossy simple black that we have come to see from devices in this genre. The front of the device however has the standard black glossy finish that makes the device a fingerprint magnet.
The front of the device houses the 7-inch display that boasts of a resolution of 480x800 pixels. The front also has the VGA camera and three touch sensitive buttons representing menu, home and back. The rear-facing snapper is 2MP. In terms of connectivity, all the ports are at the bottom of the device (when held in portrait mode). The device has a mini USB port, mini HDMI out, full USB, a headphones jack, microSD card slot and DC in. That may seem like a lot of ports but they are neatly laid out. On the top of the device (when held in landscape mode) is the volume rocker alongside the power button.
Overall, the device feels wide when held in the landscape mode which is good for watching videos and playing angry birds but feels a little squashed in portrait mode.
Features and Specifications
Straight out of the box, the device runs on Android 3.0 Honeycomb, same as the Mercury Mtab Neo2. The mercury Mtab Neo2 is expected to receive the ICS update soon but there is no word on when we can see the same on the iBall Slide, though there have been rumours that it would arrive in the near future.
Under the hood, the device is powered by a 1GHz Cortex A8 CPU and has 512MB RAM and has 8GB internal storage. The touch screen is capacitive in nature, eliminating the need of a stylus. The capacitive touchscreen on the device is really good and smooth to navigate with but the typing experience is a different story altogether.
The device does come preloaded with quite a few apps such as Cricket News, Documents to Go, Hi MSN, IBN Live, iReader, moneycontrol, Nimbuzz, RTI India and Zomato.
Playing Angry Birds and Pool Master Pro on the device was a fun experience. The touchscreen response was good, graphics were smooth and the audio was surprisingly good, apart from being very loud.
Browsing the web on the device was a good experience. The keyboard on the other hand is a mixed bag. In the landscape mode, it feels very cramped and a little inconvenient to use. In the portrait mode however, it is well laid out and the errors are minimal. In either case, don’t expect to be able to type long documents on this device on the go.
The iBall Slide claims 1080p HD video playback support and we were more than happy to put this claim to the test. We ran two 1080p HD trailers in .MP4 format on the device and they ran absolutely smoothly without any jitters. The display though crisp lacked brightness. The viewing angles on the device aren’t the best but get the job done for a solo viewing experience.
The audio output from the speakers is one that needs to be mentioned here. It is very loud, louder than most tablets we have tested and that is a good thing. The audio does then to creak at high octave notes but that is an acceptable tradeoff considering the volume you are receiving.
The device however isn’t perfect. It lacks a slot for a SIM card but unlike other budget tablets that compromise on Bluetooth, this tablet doesn’t. It has Bluetooth. We can live without a SIM card slot and appreciate the addition of Bluetooth.
With average use, the device lasted us under a day, which is expected from a device in this category. You can expect the device to last for 4 to 6 hours at a stretch depending on your usage. It has a 4400 mAh battery that is the standard we have come to expect from tablets in this price range.
The device comes with a file manager, which is nice as it enables seamless transfer of content from your Mac/PC and the device.
Overall, the iBall Slide is a direct competitor to the Mercury Mtab Neo2. It is a good overall performer with the only drawback being the keyboard. It runs on Android 3.0 Honeycomb but we wished we were informed whether the device would receive an ICS update or not. Games, music, apps and videos ran very smoothly on the device. If a SIM card slot is an absolute necessity for you, the you should take a look at the Mercury Mtab Neo2. If you are looking for a budget tablet with the latest OS, you can take a look at the iBerry Auxus AX02 or the Zync Z990 or even the Micromax Funbook.
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