Eken m002 Android 7 inch Tablet - First day impressions

Discussion in 'WonderMedia WM8505 Tablets' started by adelineanne, Dec 28, 2010.

  1. adelineanne

    adelineanne Member

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    Eken m002 Android 7 inch Tablet - First day impressions
    Despite the negative comments from other buyers of the Eken M001 Android 1.6 MID, I impulsively decided to go ahead and purchase one when I was able to get one via a late night auction on Ebay for well under $100 include shipping. I bought it knowing that it would likely have issues, and knowing that the battery life was...less than stellar let's say.

    I bought it Sunday Night, from a Hong Kong seller, and had it in my hands by Friday. Not an unpleasant experience, I must say.

    It arrived with a full battery charge even, which I assume this seller is making a point of doing. I made sure to give him positive feedback.

    That said, let me first delve into the advertised specs.

    CPU VIA MW8505 533MHz
    Google Android OS 1.6
    Accelerometer
    Ambient light sensor
    802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi
    SD X 1 (support up to 32G SDHC)
    USB X 2 (See notes)
    Stereo Audio out X 1
    Microphone in X 1 (See notes)

    First thing to note is that you cannot recharge off the USB connection. I knew this going in, but still it is disappointing. I prefer usb charging for most of my devices these days, and usb charging also opens up the possibility of extended the mobile battery life by using backup power devices that give additional charging over usb (including the

    Secondly, you will note that it claims USB x 2, but in fact only has 1 USB connection, and it uses an iPod/iPhone style connection on the tablet side. It also claims a microphone port, but no evidence of one on the device as it is shipping.

    You may have read reports about screen orientation issues. At first, it seemed easy to blame Eken for this issue, but in fact I've since come to the conclusion that it is not the case. There is a known issue in Android 1.6, and most all apps (except the two I am about to note) orient just fine. In Aldiko, you have to get into the settings and turn off "Lock Display Orientation" to fix its orientation issue. The only apps that seem to have problems are once which are preconfigured with the orientation locked. Consequently, fixing this issue can be a bit tricky, but thanks to Katelyn it wasn't that difficult for me to figure out how to do it. It essentially involves pushing the touchscreen area where the settings button would be had the screen been properly oriented. Since this is a known issue and Android 1.6 is shipping on a large number of devices, I'm more apt to lay the blame on the App developers for not taking this into account. But so far, only 2 apps I've installed have had the issue. I'm not holding this against the m001, and won't let it affect my review.

    An important note for those who are buying this device. The advertised specs imply that it has 2GB internal storage. It does not. Far from it. And thus, the device is practicely useless without adding an SDHC Card. I had a 16GB spare card which I used. I don't recommend buying cards off ebay, too many fraudulent memory cards are being sold on there with falsely reported capacities. You should be able to find 8GB cards very cheap, under $15, 16GB cards from reputable vendors online from around $30-$40, and 32G cards from around $70-75. My 16GB worked flawlessly and was recognized and formatted by the device.

    Now that I had storage, it was time to start seriously playing with it.

    I had heard conflicting reports that the Android Marketplace app that is being used to add Google Android Marketplace access to Archos 5 devices was working on the m001. I downloaded it and copied it to the sd card over the USB connection. I then tried to install it, and it failed. Hoping it was just an intermittent error, I tried again, but no love. So getting the Google apps on it was out of the question, for now.

    I downloaded Aldiko, FBReader, and a handful of third party marketplace apps, and had good success with the installs. Only one of the marketplace apps wouldn't install. I then installed Act1 Video player, and mVideoplayer.

    I first decided to test out the video playing capabilities, as I had reencoded some video files to low res low bit rate files in the proper mp4 format. I copied those files over, and had zero success getting them to play on either player. In both apps, the opening frames would display and then stay static while the file audio played normally. I wasn't too surprised, and I wasn't expecting much in the area of Video, but it was disappointing none the less.

    I got Aldiko and FBReader configured properly, and copied over some properly format ebooks. Both worked just fine, as expected. If it wasn't for the low battery life, I would say this is a great "eReader plus" type device. The device came with iReader preinstalled, and it worked as expected (not a big fan of the app, but it works for what it does).

    I setup one of my gmail accounts with the preinstalled email app, and it worked about as expected. Checking email from the living room while watching tv or what not, it works decently.

    I then tested some music files I copied over. The preinstalled player worked good. The internal speaker, however, may as well not exist. I noticed this even more so later when I tested the alarm clock function. I pluged in a few different headsets and external speakers, and the sound was good, not great, but good. Definitely within the acceptable level. My other media players outperform it in sound quality, but again, I didn't come into this with high expectations. I copied over my thunderstorm, rain forest, and nature sound files that I use at night while sleeping, and downloaded an app intended to be used for that. Tested it out, worked great, again with external speakers. Every music file I threw at it, it played without problems.

    I next tested the Alarm Clock and Theme Frame apps. The Theme Frame app has the alarm clock built in to it. I got the proper date/time/time zone and city setup. Nice application over all. The built in speaker would never wake up even a baby on the loudest setting, but using an external speaker would work quite well.

    In general most apps I tried installed fine and worked as decently as on any other android device. I am a gamer, and copied the Blizzard Mobile Authenticator to it, and had it attached to my blizzard battle.net account, and it is working perfectly, also.

    I next tested it as a photo viewer, and it really shined here. Either as a digital photo frame, or as a good photo browser, it does an excellent job. Easy enough that my mother could use it to carry her "grandmother" photos around to show off, or more likely the photos of her custom converted harly trike my stepfather built for her with a wheelchair rack that she likes to show off.

    The basic games you can find for android apps seemed to also work decently. Not much into gaming at the handheld level, and the games are fairly basic. And with the low battery life, you probably wont want to waste much of your mobile time draining the battery on games.

    As for the touchscreen, it works fairly well. I had little problem navigating around apps and what not. No more or less than on any other touch screen device for the most part.

    As I said, I paid around $85 for this, delivered to my door. At that price, I'm not disappointed in what I can now expect to get out of it. Also, at the $100-125 price point most people seem to be getting it for, I would still say it is a decent value, if you can live within its limitations. One advantage to the price point is that a lot of device hackers are likely to get them, and thus we may find some interesting unintended uses for it, or fixes for some of the issues noted. I have an older archos media player, for instance, that device hackers figured out how to do a battery hack on, and extended its battery life quite significantly. Maybe that is an option here. It wouldnt surprise me to see more up to date android installs on this either, as they do not appear to have locked the device down to prevent software mods.

    I am a pretty price conscious gadget consumer. At $35-50 more, I definitely would have been in the regret category on this purchase. For what I paid, even if it ends up being a digital photo frame that can also play music and double as a bedside alarm clock (again with external speakers for both), and maybe an around the house ereader where if I have to have it plugged in while reading it wont be too inconvenient, I will feel I have gotten my money's worth out of it.

    I can't say at this point I would actually recommend it, but as long as you are aware of its limitations and can live within them, overall it is not a bad option for the price.
     

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