The Next 8SE is a recently launched budget tablet running Android 4.0 on a 1GHz CPU. The one in front of me is a loaner from E-Fun, but if you look online you should be able to find to selling for around $170.
It’s a slim grey-brown basic tablet with a minimum of ports, 1 speaker, and a VGA webcam. It also has a microphone, 4GB Flash storage, a microSD card slot, and a g-sensor. The speaker is on one end of the tablet, and the ports, slots, and the webcam are all clustered on the other end.
The general build quality is good, and the capacitive touchscreen works well. But I’m not so happy about what I see on the screen. This tablet has a screen resolution of 800×600, making it only slightly less sharp than the 800×480 7″ screens I’m used to.
But that’s not what it looks like. All the icons and menus look bigger than I expect. It feels like they’re displaying on a lower resolution screen. I’ve confirmed the specs so I know it’s impossible, but this screen does look funny to me.
It ships with the Nook Android app and E-Fun’s own reading app (yech) as well as the usual web browser, file manager, media apps, camera, and GetJar. It also has a second web browser, Net Nanny, which is supposed to offer a safe browsing experience.
I’ve installed Angry Birds, and I’m generally pleased with the performance. The speed and responsiveness of the tablet is pretty good, and it’s definitely better than past Android tablets I’ve tried.
Netflix also installed, but I cannot get anything to play. I also tried to install Google Reader, but oddly enough it would not download from the Android Market. I’m not sure if that’s the fault of this tablet or the hack I used to install Android Market.
On a related note, I’m somewhat concerned about the numerous freezes I’ve seen. This tablet has frozen while I was trying to open the web browser, Android Market, reading apps, and a screenshot app. This is a problem I kept having throughout the week that I tested it. That’s not a good thing, needless to say.
I installed Android Marketplace by following the usual instructions. They worked, and I now have the Kindle and Aldiko apps installed and working. That’s great news, because I cannot get the Amazon Appstore to register. The app is installed and it runs. But I cannot log in.
This tablet ships with a couple basic apps. they work well, but not spectacularly. I test with a couple AVI files from my collection, and both played just fine without skips, screen artifacts, or losing the sync between audio and video.
The sound quality is pretty much what you’d expect from a budget tablet. It’s not going to please an audiophile but it will let you listen to a song or watch a movie. The speaker is rather quiet, so you might want to use headphones.
There’s a problem with the battery. I’ve now been using this tablet for over a week now, and my battery usually lasts less than 24 hours on standby. That’s not good. It is far below what you can expect from the average budget Android tablet, but it is also about on par with E-Fun’s recently released 7″ android tablet, the Next 7SE.
I have to say that I have mixed feelings for this tablet.
Eight inch tablets are the odd little beast of the current Android tablet market. That makes me wonder what they offer, which is why I accepted E-Fun’s loan of this tablet. Now that I’ve played with this one for a bit, I now know that this screen size doesn’t really offer much.
It’s not as pocketable as the 7″ tablets (yes I do put them in my pocket) nor is it as large as the 10″ tablets – even though it costs the same as some of the 10″ tablets I’ve looked at. What’s more, those 10″ tablets usually offer more ports as well as the larger screen. If I have to go with a tablet less portable than a 7″ model, I think it best to get the biggest I can.
- Android 4.0 ICS
- 8″ (600×800) capacitive touchscreen
- 1GHz CPU
- 4GB Flash storage
- VGA webcam