- May 21, 2011
I’ve had the opportunity to try out the new Le Pan S Tablet (tc978) for about 2 weeks now. This is one sweet tablet. It comes factory fresh with Android version 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich. Of course as we've come to expect from Le Pan this tablet is Google certified; so you have access to the Google Playstore the minute you log in and set it up.
Before I get into the details I’ve got to talk about its predecessor and, I guess, "big brother" Le Pan II. The Le Pan II sports a 1.2 ghz dual core processor, 8 gb of on board storage and a sleek brushed aluminum back. Not to mention its best feature a 9.7 inch IPS screen (same one used on iPad 1 and 2.) Hold it in your hand and you are amazed by the build quality. Needless to say I love my Le Pan II.
Along comes Le Pan S.
1 ghz dual core processor, 4 gb on board storage and a plastic back. Sounds like a major step down from big brother. Don’t jump to any conclusions about this baby though. The engineers must have been paying close attention to user comments on previous models.
Molded Plastic Shell
The most obvious change when you look at the Le Pan S is the molded plastic back. As impressive as the brushed aluminum shell on the LP1 and 2 is; it is kind of like holding a greased pig. You really must use a case with it in order to hold it comfortably without fear of it slipping out of your hands. The textured plastic shell on the LP S on the other hand is easy to hang onto and lighter than big brother. Use a case if you want (it is exactly the same shape as previous models) but it’s not necessary. The plastic also allows for a variety of colors (white, black, pink and purple).
The Volume Rocker. (a nice touch)
Most savvy Le Pan II users have adapted to the impossible to find volume controls by installing volume control apps. Don’t get me wrong, the design of the LP2 is beautiful and sleek. All buttons and controls are flush to the case. Want to change the volume though and it’s not an easy task. Le Pan S on the other hand has included a larger volume rocker, that has a small bump on each end. It’s easy to find and use. While on the subject of volume, the stereo speakers are loud and clear as well.
I have not noticed any real difference in performance with the 1 ghz dual core processor from the 1.2 on Le Pan II. The tablet is quick and snappy. (I'm not a game player so this might be a factor for more demanding games and apps). At The suggestion of Yann2.(Many thanks as always) I ran some benchmark tests for all three Le Pan Models just to see how things stack up.
Screen shots below are from my first benchmark tests. A second test scored as follows:
Le Pan S = 5441
Le PanII = 5356
AnTuTu Benchmark scores
Le Pan S(tc978)
Le Pan II(tc979)
Le Pan I(tc970)
4 gb on board sounds like a step down but it isn’t really. Storage is actually much more effectively utilized on the Le Pan S. 4 gig on board allows the external SD card to be designated as SD card and not SDcard2 like big brother LP2. Apps can be moved to and run from the external card. This is a big advantage if you like to collect and run lots of apps.
Why this matters
Most Android devices have the opportunity in setting to move apps to SDcard. Typically this will move apps to your external SD card thus freeing up limited internal storage. Le Pan tablets can support an external card of up to 32gb. That's plenty of room for apps, books, pictures, movies, etc. This works just fine on the the Le Pan I.
What's in a Name?
Le Pan II with its larger 8gb of Nand storage has partitioned "SD card" as part of the internal built in storage. The external removable card is called "SD card2". You will notice in the screen shot below there is no option to move apps to SD card2. Apps are locked into the on board memory. In truth this has never been a problem for me as I tend to limit the apps I install to those I am actually using. Still there is a pretty serious limitation on how you can use the storage of the LP2. This problem has been resolved on the LP S. Because the external card is called "SD card" Android can move and run apps from the external card.
In short, it's great they have fixed this feature. If you use a lot of apps this is great news or you,
Battery life is good enough to keep a tablet obsessed lunatic like me up and running all day and well into the night with enough juice left over for breakfast.
HDMI out works with the available (not included)adapter. Wi-Fi is strong and steady, bluetooth, and GPS work without a hitch. You're still limited by the proprietary 30 pin connector.
Le Pan S supports Flash Player but it is not included on the tablet. Since Flash is no longer available from the Playstore we've found a link where you can download it direct from the Adobe archive. Get it here.
Le Pan has managed to tighten up the specs on this new tablet without sacrificing performance and in fact making it easier and more comfortable to use. You’ve still got that amazing 1024 x 768 IPS screen found on previous models and its all for a very competitive 229.00 retail available for pre order on Amazon.
In my opinion Le Pan has listened to their customers and responded. They've managed to create the perfect blend of performance and quality at a very affordable price. As Bin Wang, GM of Le Pan. explains“. I believe we have found that sweet spot with the Le Pan S.". I agree and highly recommend the Le Pan S.
(test unit provided by Le Pan)