The Huawei Ideos Smakit S7 is a 7-inch tablet that sneaks up behind the Samsung Galaxy Tab and tweaks its nipples. Both have Google's Android operating system on board, but the S7 cuts several corners to keep its £299 price tag well below that of the £549 Galaxy Tab.
The S7 uses version 2.1 of Android, which means you lose out on support for Flash Player 10 in the tablet's Web browser, which comes only with the latest Android 2.2 Froyo version. This is a major loss for a tablet, which is ideal for surfing the Web, although it doesn't stop people from loving the Flash-less Apple iPad.
The S7 doesn't have any built-in memory -- the Tab has 16GB -- but it does take up to a 32GB microSD memory card. It also has a SIM card slot so you can connect wirelessly over 3G, as well as built-in 802.11n Wi-Fi.
A customised user interface aims to make Android more tablet-friendly, and emphasises the landscape orientation. We certainly appreciated the straightforward simplicity of the UI, which doesn't go overboard with changes to the default look and feel. That said, we blame the resistive touchscreen and 768MHz processor for making it feel less peppy than the version we've used on the Galaxy Tab. Swiping from screen to screen was doable on the sample we tried, but definitely lacked the buttery smoothness of the iPad.
Huawei has done a good job of bringing cheap Android phones to the masses. It's the brains behind the T-Mobile Pulse and Pulse Mini, and we have a proper geek crush on the upcoming Ideos. But the Ideos has a zippy capacitive touchscreen and Android 2.2 as pure and untouched as the driven snow -- two features the S7 is sorely lacking.
On the other hand, the Smakit S7 is slim, trim, and a pleasure to hold. Held in its landscape orientation, the standard Android home, search and menu buttons are on the left, with call and end buttons on the right. That's right, the S7 can also be used as a giant phone. Click through the photos above to join the S Club 7.
Like the Galaxy Tab, the S7 has a 7-inch touchscreen. But where the Tab's is capacitive, the S7's is resistive, so it takes a bit of pressure from a stylus or fingertip to use. On the plus side, it means you can use a stylus to write on the S7 accurately. In the substantial minus column, it means the S7's screen doesn't feel as responsive as the Tab's. It's also very reflective and devilishly hard to see in bright light, as you can see in our photographs.
A handy pop-out stand is smoothly integrated into the back of the S7's case.
A microSD card slot lets you add some memory to the S7, while a SIM-card slot gives it 3G Web-surfing ability and the power of a giant phone.
The resistive touchscreen isn't the easiest to use or the most attractive, but at least you can write on it accurately with a stylus, or use it with gloves on, if you're into that kind of thing.
A USB port means that, unlike the iPad, you can connect the S7 to a computer to transfer files without using a special cable or syncing software.
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