[Review] FSL Fast


Senior Member
Nov 25, 2012
Dare to be Different – FSL Fast Review



After entering the tablet market with Windows 7 proves to be little success, FSL, the Shenzhen based Chinese tech company starts to covet after the fast-growing market for Android tablets. It has recently launched its first Gtab called “Fast”, which uses a 9.7 inch IPS display manufactured by LG, an RK3066 dual core 1.6GHZ processor, and 1GB of DDR3 ram.
The market has seen dozens of tablets with 9.7 inch IPS displays since the end of last year, almost all falling into the category of iPad copycats. Well, bigger plans have been made for “Fast”, as FSL engaged a Korean team of expert designers to tailor the contour of the Fast, making sure that it’ll be unique and fashionable.

Key Features
◇9.7” 16M-color IPS display of XGA resolution (1024X768 pixels)
◇Weighs 580g, 263.9mm*173.9mm*9.8mm in size.
◇RK3066 chipset: Dual-core 1.6GHZ ARM Cortex-A9 processor; 1GB of DDR3 RAM; Mali-400MP4 GPU
◇Stock Android 4.1 JellyBean
◇16GB of built-in-memory
◇2.0MP front facing camera; 2.0MP rear-facing camera
◇Stereo speakers
◇HDMI TV-out
◇USB host
◇Bluetooth 2.0
◇Micro SD card slot
◇Standard 3.5mm audio jack
◇Adobe Flash 11 support
◇1080p videos of all formats
◇8000mAh Li-Po rechargeable battery
1. Retail Package

The FSL Fast comes in a gigantic paperboard box that’s much thicker and wider than the tablet itself. It holds the charger, a USB cable, a 3.5mm headphone and an OTG cable, along with the user manual as well as the warranty certificate.

The tablet is packed in a smaller and much slimmer sub-box in the package.

The only impression this gives you is that the whole package is unreasonably humongous for such few fittings.

2. Design and Build Quality

As is mentioned above, “Fast” features a 9.7 inch XGA IPS display manufactured by LG. Yet, there’s nothing special about the resolution, especially as some 9.7 inch tablets have already pushed the pixel density to above 260ppi. If you did the math already, you’d know that “Fast” is far behind at only 132ppi.

However, this LG IPS display, which has already had great success in supporting the dominant iPad2, does have impressive viewing angles, great color saturation, deep black, infinite contrast, nice outdoor visibility, much better than most ordinary IPS display seen on other Chinese tablets and smartphones.

And yet, despite all the superlatives it deserves, the screen won’t be the Fast’s key selling point. The role is most definitely reserved to its unique design by a professional Korean team. The black border surrounding the white bezel can easily help u spot the Fast among a bunch of 9.7 inchers.
The Fast, just like the rest of the Android gang, has very few hardware controls. With all the navigation done on the screen itself, there’s no need for hardware buttons on the front panel. All you get there is the 2m pixel video-call camera.

Unlike the iPad, the Fast is designed with lateral use in mind, you can identify that with where the video-call camera is located. Of course four-way screen rotation lets you use the tablet however you like, but the lateral seems to be the default orientation.

The back of tablet is also quite cool. The steel-colored aluminum, with a porcelain plastic trim for where your fingers rest when you hold it of its back cover gives the Fast all the exclusivity it needs. The stereo speakers and a 2 mega-pixel rear-facing camera are on the back, exactly where they are needed. The two speakers are quite far apart, creating stereo effects while playing music and videos, the volume is quite ideal, too.

Also notable is the Fast’s impressive complement of ports and slots. Along the right edge (when holding the tablet in lateral orientation), you have a Micro-HDMI port, a charging connector, a micro USB data port, a 3.5mm audio jack, a USB host connector, and a TF card slot that supports card up to 32GB, which could easily accommodate most people. The reason why the Fast needs to separate USB host and USB data port into two connectors remains mysterious.
As is mentioned above, Android tablet doesn’t need many hardware controls. Having said that, along with the power/standby key & volume rocker which all tablets have, the Fast is also equipped with a physical back button, this is a very considerate addition as the status bar can be faded to dots while the display is showing pictures or videos.

3. Software

After lots of tablet makers’ efforts in improving the experience with customized UI turned out to be setbacks, many people would rather have a stock Android tablet than any skin, full stop. And FSL listens to many people. No customization has been done to the original Jelly Bean user interface, no icons changed, no color scheme tweaked….In a word, nothing has been changed.

The taskbar at the bottom of the screen is designed from ground up for tablet use, the navigation keys are in the left corner: Back, home and Task Switcher. The notification area is on the right corner, tapping it brings up the notifications box, which includes quick controls for turning on/off Wi-Fi, Flight mode, and screen rotation lock, among other features, plus you can access the brightness setting on the fly and tap into the full settings menu.

The search shortcut (voice and text) are in the top left corner of the home-screen, while the app drawer stay in the top right. There’re no dots or other shapes on the screen indicating the number of available homescreen panes and the current selection.

There are a few additions, though, including a customized FSL free market app which offers thousands of free applications for FSL users, a PDF reader which allows you to view PDF documents with the page-flipping effects, a Gaming center where you can download games compatible for this tablet. A voice assistant app which is a cool improvement from the famous Google voice search function.

The biggest improvement of Jelly Bean over its predecessor is the function of “pop-up play”, which enables you to watch videos in a floating box on the screen, and you could do some reading or even gaming simultaneously. I did play “Fruit Ninja: Puss in boots” while I was watching a clip of Adele “Set Fire to the Rain” in that floating box, and I scored more than 400 points in that game, pretty impressive, huh?

4. Performance

Rockchip RK3066 is inside of many tablets I’ve tested in the last few months, and they pretty much all work the same. The Fast is really fast and responsive, and is particularly adept for playing games – as it is powered by the impeccable Mali-400MP4, which is also used by the famous Samsung Exynos 4410. I am getting really good at “Virtua Tennis” and “Star Warfare” as I test more and more tablets. And they are as smooth and impressive on the Fast’s display as any I’ve tried.

With Android4.1, the performance has been improved in many ways: the screen rotates much faster, scrolling is smoother, and every animation happens slightly faster. I ran some traditional benchmarks on the Fast. Obviously, processing power is the last thing to worry about in this tablet – there are few dual core android tablets that can outdo the Fast in most tests.

Below are the benchmark scores of the Fast in comparison with some of the Mainstream dual core Android tablets:





If you are a fan of videos, then the Fast won’t disappoint you in anyway. The RK3066b processor in it can support all formats of videos to at least 1080P, all local videos in my mobile disk and all online HD videos I tested can be streamed smoothly on the Fast.

Below are the videos I’ve tested on the Fast:
5. Connectivity

According to the findings of testing many other tablets, metal back cover can lead to poor data reception when a tablet is connected through WIFI. Unfortunately, this is also true on the Fast. Data reception heavily depends on the performance of your WIFI router, if your Fast is a wall and more than 6 meters away from a weak WIFI router, you probably will not be able to stream online videos, and even loading the mobile version of a web page can take quite some time. At least that's what I've experienced.

However, the Fast does support a 3G network card through an OTG cable, a very cool addition since FSL doesn’t seem interested in producing a 3G version of this gorgeous tablet.

6. Battery Life

This tablet includes an 8000mAh battery, and this should be sufficient for most users. The Fast lasted more than 8 hours during my 720p video-playback stress test (with 50% display brightness and full volume), which is better than any Chinese Android tablet I’ve tested during the past several months, it even beats Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9’s 7 hours. Impressively, the Fast’s charge can last several days when the tablet is not being used, even with WIFI turned on and automatically receiving some emails. This is quite great for non-intense users.

7. Cameras

FSL includes two 2-megapixel cameras in the Fast, one in the front and one in the rear side. Both cameras did a better job than I had expected, especially the front-facing camera, very ideal for video chatting, and the camera in the rear side can shoot images clear enough to share on Twitter or Facebook. But that doesn't mean I will suggest you to take it out as a digital camera.


Front-facing Camera Shot


Rear-facing Camera Shot​

8. Browsing and Reading

Most android tablets come in with a widescreen, which is ideal for watching movies. But the advantage in browsing and reading of the 4:3 standard screen which are mainly seen on the iPad, doesn’t get talked about enough.

All browsers, even the stock one on Android 4.1 can offer up-tabbed browsing experience. Thanks to the powerful RK3066 dual core 1.6GHZ processor and 1 GB of ram, loading and scrolling of the web-page happen very fast, even with lots of flash contents on it. And the 9.7 inch XGA display shows just the right size of all the contents on that page, you don’t have to zoom to see them clearly.

Reading with the Fast’s 4:3 display is even more of a pleasant experience. All screen resource can be fully utilized, and 9.7 inch is just the right size for reading a full scanned copy of magazine. Of course you can zoom it a little bit just in case the contents are not big enough for your eyes. Flipping of the page also happens very fast, even with a 300MB full color PDF magazine of National Geographic, I experienced no lag at all.

Fast's standard display compared to Tab8.9's widescreen in reading​

9. Accessories:


One of the iPad’s biggest advantages doesn’t get talked about enough: It has a wide range of accessories that complement and improve the device. For a company that’s still in its early stage, there isn’t going to be an ecosystem for its tablets any time soon. But FSL did smartly release a protection case specifically designed for the Fast. The case is nice, a thin and light rubbery material with a cord for keeping it closed. Unlike most covers which only uglify the tablets in them, this case, which comes in many colors, is a rather nice decoration for the Fast.



The design and the build are pretty close to ideal. It doesn’t reach the high point of iPad4 or Nexus 10, but it’s a solid and unique piece of gear at a super low price (@USD 160.00). The Korean team of experts has done a remarkable job in making the Fast one of a kind, and most importantly, gorgeous.

The LG IPS display is impressive in view angles, color saturation, contrast ratio and outdoor visibility. Although the 132ppi density is now far behind most other tablets, you will still appreciate it if you are a Magazine subscriber or comic reader, you can read those stuffs full screen here.

The fast-growing Shenzhen tech powerhouse has also managed to pack in a slew of ports and slots for the Fast, saving the cash you might have to spend on other tablets which need adapters to work the OTG or HDMI output.

Dual cameras and dual stereo speakers also help the Fast to stand out from its Chinese competitions. 8000mAh of Li-Polymer battery and more than 8 hours of 720P video playback is probably most of a Chinese tablet needs to have now!


I haven’t found anything that I particularly dislike about this tablet. If I really have to count one, it should be the startup company LOGO, which looks very poorly-designed and should only appear on the archways of a lame grocery store in some very remote villages.

Besides, if FSL wants to make it big, WIFI connectivity needs to be improved in the next generation of its tablets.

The Fast is one of my favorite tablets so far, and I can tell you it’s because of its gorgeous design, you will find nowhere in the world another tablet that looks exactly the same as the Fast, for that alone, it’s a device worth having.

Below are the scores according to the scale I’ve designed for tablet products and the chart showing the comparison with scores of other tablets I’ve tested.