Teclast P98 Air (Octa-Core) Hands-On Review

Discussion in 'Android Tablet Reviews' started by fashionluo, Sep 13, 2014.

  1. fashionluo

    fashionluo Senior Member

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    Crashing into the spotlight is a new Android tablet for tech gadget lovers to desire – The Teclast P98 Air (Octa-core), the first tablet powered by the all new Allwinner A80T SoC. It is now available in China for about $195, but if you want to buy the tablet in Europe or America, then things get a little pricier with importing.

    How does this processor do in the benchmark test and what else the P98 Air (Octa-core) can offer? You will find out in our review – Only here on Cngadget.info.

    Main Features

    --Android 4.4 Kitkat
    --9.7" IPS Retina Screen, 2048 x 1536 pixels
    --CPU: Allwinner A80T Octa-core, 2.0GHz
    --GPU: PowerVR Rogue G6230
    --2GB RAM + 32GB ROM
    --WiFi/Bluetooth/OTG/Miracast
    --Dual Camera, 13MP back camera + 2MP front camera
    --Li-Ion 8000mAh Battery


    Design and Build

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    At first glance, the P98 Air looks very much like an iPad Air clone, as many have commented. But it is different, there are no physical buttons in the front panel, only a 9.7-inch IPS display and relatively small bezel.

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    In Portrait, all the ports and slots are located on the top edge of the slate, you will find a 3.5mm audio jack, a Micro SD card slot, a unique USB3.0 data/charging port and a micro-HDMI port.

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    The right side of the tablet hosts all the hardware controls – a power/standby key and a volume rocker.

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    In the bottom side of the tablet you will find the stereo speakers.

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    On the metallic back of the P98 Air (Octa-core) you will find some of Teclast's branding and the 13MP rear-facing camera and the LED flash.

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    Teclast claims that the P98 Air Octa-core is only 7.4mm thick, but that is nothing but a horrible lie. It is obviously thicker than the 7.5mm CUBE Talk 9X and the 7.9mm Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7. Although overall it is still quite slim compared to most of the Chinese tablets, lying is always unacceptable!


    Display and Sound

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    The P98 Air sports an IPS Panel at the resolution of 2,048 x 1,536 -- the very same as the iPad Air. It's one of the most impressive displays I've seen on a tablet to date, though it isn’t the absolute best, I would give that honor to the Google Nexus 10 2 or the Samsung Galaxy Tab S. However, things do look fantastically sharp here. Text is rendered incredibly crisp and the UI looks better than ever. The first-party icons are all crisp and clean, though some of the third-party app icons do look like they could use a new, higher-resolution rendering. Thankfully, the apps themselves look overwhelmingly fine.

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    The brightness of the display is also top-notch, almost as searingly bright as the 700 nits the ASUS Transformer Pad can pump out. Colors are well-rendered and viewing angles are extremely good.

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    Top: CUBE Talk 9X Bottom: Teclast P98 Air

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    Left: Samsung P6800 (Super AMOLED Plus) Right: Teclast P98 Air​

    The color reproduction will also appeal to many, as it's pretty close to reality - it lacks the punch of the Super AMOLED screens seen on the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S for instance, but it will depend on personal preference as to whether that's a good thing.

    Teclast employs stereo speakers on the P98 Air Octa-core and they're situated at the bottom side of the tablet. This lets them create a moderately convincing stereo image, but you will possibly block the speakers with your hands while you are holding the slate in landscape.

    This isn’t the last word in sound quality, though. The main positive is dialogue is very clear and crisp, and the speakers reach a decent volume without obvious distortion. But there’s very little mid or low-end here, so there’s a real lack of warmth and body to the sound. They’re good for TV dramas and documentaries, but they fall short with music and anything action packed.



    System & Interface


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    Teclast hasn’t as drastic changes to Android in the P98 Air as, say, Xiaomi has with its MIUI, but it has managed to leave its own mark with some customized widgets and applications.

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    What we are talking about here are the icons, which look very much like those on the iOS and Xiaomi interface, the absence of an application drawer could be annoying to those who love the stock launcher.


    Performance

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    The P98 Air Octa-core is, generally speaking, very smooth and slick. The kinks and jerkiness we detected in the Cube Talk 9X are mostly absent, though the P98 Air Octa-core doesn’t zip along quite as smoothly as the Snapdragon 800 powered LG Optimus G Pro2.

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    The processor behind this is Allwinner’s A80T, which is in eight core chip with four ARM Cortex A15 CPUs clocked at 2.0GHz, and four lower-power ARM A7 cores at 1.3GHz. It’s right up there with the most powerful processors on any Android phone or tablet, scoring 765 in Geekbench’s single-core test, and 2,235 in the multi-core. Even accounting for Chinese brands’ reputation to boosting benchmarks with high performance modes, it’s clear this is a very powerful device.

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    We tried a few other benchmarks, although bear in mind that these measurements are of limited use to prospective buyers. In Antutu 4X, the P98 Air was returned a score of 50,652. That compares with 41,638 for the CUBE Talk 9X - so yes, it has the potential to be almost twice as fast as the LG G Pad 8.3 (23,254) and Samsung Galaxy S4 (26,138). It's even faster than the Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4, which was recorded at 34810.

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    With the monstrous Imagination PowerVR Rogue G6230 GPU on board, the P98 Air is an even more impressive performer in the graphics department, more than powerful enough to run even demanding games smoothly. It scored 13,939 in the 3D Mark Ice Storm Unlimited test, and maxed out the Ice Storm standard test. It’s only a few thousand points less than the iPad Air, though, and you’re unlikely to find any games that won’t work on it. The only downside is that the 4:3 aspect ratio of the display may make some of the games designed for widescreen look a little bit too stretched. With that said, the P98 Air Octa-core, like most phones and tablets at present, has more processing power than it really needs.

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    Thanks to the multi-core structure and 2GB RAM, the P98 Air had little problem running several big applications simultaneously. Opening dozens of image-heavy websites in the stock browser and playing a 1080P video on top at the same time, the tablet remained extremely responsive.
     
  2. fashionluo

    fashionluo Senior Member

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    Cameras​


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    The P98 Air features dual cameras, a 13MP rear-facing camera and a 2MP front-facing camera. The rear camera has an LED flash as well, which is handy. While the numbers might sound incredibly promising for a tablet, the actual quality of the photos is not.

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    The P98 Air is able to take some usable photos for Facebook and Instagram update, but the lack in clarity and sharpness is still very obvious, and you would never want to flash them into real photos.

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    The rear-facing camera is capable of 4K video shooting, but the quality of the videos it captured again wasn’t really good at all. The images were noisy and unstable, it is awkward to use a 10-inch pad to record videos anyway.


    Battery

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    Here comes the greatest disappointment of this slate - the battery life. The P98 Air packs an 8000mAh Li-Po battery, and Teclast claims that it will give its users an average of 8-10 hours’ screen time. But in our standard tests, the P98 Air’s battery performance didn’t live up to its promise.

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    In our online video playback test, it took only 6 hours and 28 minutes for the tablet to shut down due to battery drain.

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    And we got even poorer result looping Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ “Can’t hold us” video (5 hours and 29 minutes).

    We are not sure about the cause of such disappointing battery performance, maybe it is due to the lack of optimization of the new chipset, or maybe it is a result of the brightness of the display. Hopefully this issue can be fixed by later firmware upgrade.


    Special features

    Knock on

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    One of my favorite features in the Teclast P98 Air is the ability to wake the tablet without using the power button by tapping twice on the screen. Called "Knock Knock" or "Knock On," it's sort of a necessary side effect from such a big screen. You might want to wake the tablet to see a notification, but not necessarily reach your fingers to the right side of the tablet to do so. We first saw this feature In the LG G2, and it is wonderful that a Chinese brand is willing to learn from the best!

    USB3.0

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    In its early promotions, Teclast glazed over the importance of one new feature of the P98 Air Octa-core —the USB 3.0 data/charging port. The obvious plus for USB 3.0 is that it offers far faster data rates, potentially increasing the speed of transferring music, videos, and photos to and from our tablet.

    Another less obvious benefit is we'll be able to charge the tablet directly from our PC much faster (assuming we have a USB 3.0-enabled device). USB 2.0 ports generally provide up to 500mA current, while USB 3.0 is 80 percent faster at 900mA, making plugging the tablet into our laptop more akin to connecting it to a wall charger.

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    Transferring files from my Acer W700 to the P98 Air was extremely fast, more than twice the speed of to the CUBE Talk 9X, thanks to both the USB 3.0 port and the eMMC storage the Slate has on board.

    HDMI

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    As is mentioned above, the P98 Air has a Micro HDMI port on board, so that we can use it as a media center in the living room, watching videos and browsing pics on a larger TV or monitor.


    Verdict


    The Teclast P98 Air (Octa-core) is a strong tablet with a few obvious weaknesses.

    The Good

    The P98 Air (Octa-core) is a pretty light and slim tablet, making for a super sleek media companion. Its beautiful screen, capable of delivering rich tones and colors, is also on our favorite list. Useful features such as USB3.0, Knock-on and HDMI really showed Teclast's determination in making a winner tablet. It is also sensibly priced, the 32GB version costs you only RMB1,199 ($195), which is less than one third of which a 32GB iPad Air asks for.

    The Bad

    According to our test results and experiences with the slate for more than 2 weeks, the P98 Air (Octa-core) delivers very poor battery performance. And the 13MP rear-facing camera’s performance is nowhere near what the numbers would suggest.

    The Truth

    The tablet is portable, nice-looking and has a great display. So if you need a media device to stream all your movies and browse all the awesome Tumblr galleries, you have come to the right place.

    Our overall impressions are not very good, though, lots of things should have been a lot better. The P98 Air is promised as a top notch product from the Android ecosystem, we once even hoped that it could blow the CUBE Talk 9X out of the water, but it turned out to be just another mediocre Chinese tablet.
     

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