This review is intended for: Android Tablet Reviews the author does not authorize its reproduction in whole or part in any other format or on any other site. Review of the freebird tablets 7” FreeBird Android Tablet PC This tablet was purchased primarily for my 8 year old son, so that he would not feel the need to use my wife’s nook tablet. My son is often less than careful with electronics, so I wanted something that I would not get all bent out of shape about should it break (i.e. cheap …errr … maybe I should have said inexpensive). Normally I do more research on a product before purchasing, particularly after reading the reviews of other users; however I could not find a positive or negative review of this tablet anywhere, and my son’s birthday was coming up, so I took a chance. The website indicates that the US & Canada should require 1-3 business days to prepare the order and 4-8 business days for shipping. I ordered on May 2[SUP]nd[/SUP] it arrived on May 21[SUP]st[/SUP] (11 business days). Unfortunately, this was after my Son’s birthday, so I had a couple of days of “Has it arrived yet?” as his anticipation of his very own tablet built up. They have a Miami and China address on the website, but the postal tracking showed that it was shipped from China. We’ve now had the tablet for 11 days, and have yet to decide if we are keeping it or taking advantage of their unconditional 30 day return (-$5 restocking fee) policy. Our intended purpose(s) for the tablet: Listening to music (particularly at bedtime) Watching videos Playing Angry Birds (and other games) Secondary goals: ebooks web surfing It arrived in good condition. I opened it up and began to test it and pre-install some favorite applications. I was pleasantly surprised that it appears to have real google android market (not play). Although, as I understand to be common for tablets, many of the applications I expected to see in the market were no where to be found – presumably because market is unaware of the type of device I have and the supported features. Also, several applications, particularly large ones like updates to the pre-installed angry birds and angry birds seasons will either not install or lock up on the splash screen. This has become my son’s number one frustration with the system and the reason he wants to send it back. After playing around with this device for a few days, I believe that the problem has to do with how the storage memory for the device is configured. We’ll come back to that. The AC adapter that the tablet ships with claims to be 5V 2000mA. Although, I have since found that the USB charging cable I have for another device will fit and the tablet acknowledges that it is plugged in and charging – I do not know what the full recharge time using this method would be. The tablet does not have a micro or mini usb for either charging or file transfer. What it does have, that some on this site have been asking about, is a dongle that allows two standard USB-A devices (thumb drive was tested, an externally powered USB hard drive would probably also work, maybe even an externally powered CD/DVD drive – I have not tested this. The dongle also provides an RJ-45 (standard TP Ethernet) jack for a wired connection to the internet, and thus might make this device an OK Point of Sale device for a small store. I have not tested it, so I don’t know if it is 10, 100 or 1000 MB/s bandwidth. Since you don’t appear to be able to use a micro/mini usb cable to sideload apps – plugging in a thumb drive with the apk files and using the included “My Pad” file browser to select SD2 (the 8GB mini SD card I installed was SD1) and clicking on the apk files, seems to install them fine (I had already enabled install from other sources). Most apps installed, however there were a couple which did not. I could not find an option for moving the files to the SD card – this may be related to my problems with some larger file installations. I later installed ASTRO file manager, and the file structure actually appears to be that the mini-SD card is actually mounted as /mnt/sdcard/sdcard1 (and /sdcard1) and plugged in thumb drives as /mnt/sdcard/sdcard2 (and /sdcard2) and/or /mnt/sdcard/udisk1 and /mnt/sdcard/udisk2 Thus the internal memory (storage) actually appears to mounted as /mnt/sdcard. Thus apps and their data files seem to be unable to use the installed memory. However, music files play pretty well from the installed mini-SD card. In fact, the (apparently stereo) speakers located at the bottom of the tablet (if holding in portrait mode) are loud and clear, not tinny at all, and easy to hear even on 20% of max volume. For us, it has better sound (volume and quality) than the Nook. Playing videos also works ok. I have tried out both mpg and mp4 files. Occasionally the video would lock up within the first 10 seconds of playback and claim to be an unsupported format or cannot play file. Almost always, if I went back and restarted the file, it played back just fine. This seemed to occur more often when a background task started to do something – often the music app deciding it was time for it to begin playing, I may have to choose a different default music playback app (Music player). Playback was generally pretty smooth, and the viewing angle was probably up to 60 degrees off center. However, do remember that now (in landscape mode) both speakers are now on the right side (or left if you hold the tablet the other way). This is a resistive tablet, and sometimes the screen is not responsive. My Son also really hates that he cannot pinch and zoom on angry birds space. Even for the price advantage, I do not think I will ever get a resistive screen again. I’m used to a resistive screen, I used palm pilots for years, but this frustrates even me. We even tied using Nintendo DS a stylus with no noticeable improvement. Luckily voice search (web and market) appears to work pretty well when internet connected. The battery life is really poor. The site lists 2-4 hours, which may be accurate in general. With the brightness in the 75% area, it will last around 2 hours with moderate use. Running Angry Birds, it is less than 1 hour. Also the battery use indicator keeps claiming that the 75-90% battery use is “cell standby”. The tablet apparently can support a 3G (china telecom?) data connection with a different dongle installed. At first I thought it was trying to run that dongle even without it being installed. I went to the pre-installed 3G management app, and turned off the use of 3G data, but that has changed nothing. The WiFi works pretty well when it’s up, but often when it goes idle or first turn it on, I need to manually turn off and turn back on the WiFi setting for it to find my connection. I loaded an Airplane mode widget to try and help easily reconfigure and/or save battery life. The built in WiFi seems to ignore the widget setting. I don’t use skype (preinstalled), so I don’t know how well that works. I use clearsea (or at least I did until Logitech bought them), and I could not get clearsea to work on the tablet – even loading older versions of the software. The camera (front only), when taking pictures, appears a little dark, even allowing for the lighting, but otherwise sufficient. Linpack: 7.47 MFlops single thread, 9.038 MFlops multi-thread with my current configuration – I wasn’t smart enough to run the test when I first got it. Construction: It is light, it feels good in the hands, the plastic is not too slick or tacky. The extra menu hard button above the volume buttons is a nice touch. The screen seems to “flex away" from the bezel around the center of both long sides, however, not enough to catch anything, and it doesn’t feel like it’s going to break, it’s just springy. Android version: 2.3.3 Model Number: m7206 v2.2 Baseband version: unknown Kernel version: 22.214.171.124-infoTM hexianghua@ubuntu #29 Build Number: GRI40 There is no FCC, CE or UL stamp visible on either the tablet or the power supply. SUMMARY: The device is cheap, but not well suited for a developer or for someone who really wants to game on the tablet. Probably fine for casual web browsing and ebooks (although I could not find a nook apk to install yet – haven’t tried the kindle app, I use adobe reader and/or cool reader for epub. It also had documents to go preinstalled and that also seems to work). If I compare it to the cost of a CD player, or a 7” digital picture viewer, or a portable DVD player – it’s probably cost effective for the extra features. When the Google nexus tablet comes out, I was already planning on one for myself and I’ll probably upgrade my son to one as well, and give this one to my 5 year old daughter as she’s probably fine with the tablet’s gaming limitations. Because of the poor battery life, it’s not a good device to keep kids occupied on long car or airplane trips. Hopefully the tablet is cheap enough that some people over at XDA or cyanogenmod will feel its worth creating a custom ROM that improves on the performance. I have not tried to root it. -- The above review is 100% the OPINION of the author and is not intended as either an endorsement or a condemnation of the product. It represents the author’s experience with the product. The author fully acknowledges that the author may be improperly or non-optimally utilizing the product, thus leading to a less favorable review than the product might otherwise deserve.