The Tablet race has just begun here in Oz, with the high-end being taking up mainly by the iPad & Galaxy Tab and the low-end being filled with heaps of cheap Tablets such as the Telstra T-Touch Tab, Optus My Tab and of course the Millennius SmartQ. As most of us know, with cheap technology “you get what you pay for,” this of course applies to all these low-end Tablets but each of them certainly has its own use. Going into this review I honestly did not have high hopes for the SmartQ, but hey for something that retails at
$299 $199 it really did surprise me. Hit the break to get into it.
- Full HDMI output (1080p & 720p)
- USB for 3G dongles
- Resistive Screen (there, I said it)
- Confusing button layout if you are used to other Android devices
What’s in the box?
Inside the SmartQ box is most of the accessories needed to happily use the Tablet.
- Millennius SmartQ
- Wall Charger
- HDMI Cable
- Quick Start Guide / Manual. All that lovely reading material
There are no headphones included, but that’s not a major loss considering nearly every household has a pair or six hanging around and headphones included with device are usually quite bad.
When you first pick up the SmartQ it feels relatively heavy and somewhat thick considering its body is made entirely of plastic, it’s not an over-the-top kind of heavy though which is always a plus. The first thing that struck me when I tried to turn it on, is that all the buttons aren’t set out like your average Android device, instead the power, lock/unlock/volume up & volume down are located on the side of the device with strange icons denoting which is which. It’s the same on the front of the device with back, home & menu. No doubt this is to cover input when you dual-boot into Ubuntu.
The screen, as resistive as it may be, is usable even without the included Stylus. It’s the full 7″ rocking 840×400 pixels, which is pretty good considering its price, as well as not having to worry about apps not scaling up properly. I didn’t encounter any issues with the screens calibration allowing typing on the keyboard to be fairly accurate. The kickstand is a great addition, especially when you want to watch some HD movies or play the occasional game (I was hooked on Angry Birds), although it is made out of plastic like the rest of the body making it feel as though it could snap if you put too much pressure on it.
There are stereo speakers on the rear of the SmartQ, which make for legible sound quality and are prefect for playing back your favourite tunes as it leans back on its kickstand.
I love the addition of the full-sized HDMI port, and the fact that Millennius include a HDMI cable. I plugged it straight into my TV, browsed the web (there’s this great site called Ausdroid ;)) and continued to play Angry Birds. It’s also great when you put HD movies on the SD Card (yes, SD) of the SmartQ then play them onto your TV as well as the many other things you could do.
WiFi worked perfectly for me, and at times had better signal than that of the high-end Desire HD. I never encountered problems with the minimal 128MB of RAM when multitasking, if you were to push this thing to the limits then yes, RAM & battery life would be a problem.
The only real problem I had with the hardware of the SmartQ were the buttons. Mainly because I am so used to the normal layout, and that the lock/unlock button was a little slow to turn on the screen again once locked, making me think the device had switched itself off. Other than that I was happy with the quality of the hardware.[nggallery id=57]
The SmartQ can dual-boot into Android 2.1 and Ubuntu, which is great but we only care about Android here, right?
On booting the SmartQ you are faced with the difficult decision of whether or not to go with Ubuntu or Android, clearly I’d always choose the latter. Boot up time isn’t going to break land speed records, but when something’s powered by a 600MHz CPU you’re already aware that no speed records are out there for the taking. That’s not to say the SmartQ isn’t slow, it had no trouble browsing the web, checking emails, playing games and watching video (HD & YouTube).
As you can probably see in the picture above of me playing Angry Birds, the text in the top right corner is whited out for some reason. I am guessing that it’s a software conflict with the SmartQ, though Solitaire worked perfectly. That’s the only real error I’ve found with the software. Live wallpapers hardly lag the system at all, which is very similar to what I saw with the LG Optimus, must be those resistive screens.. or the placebo effect. Another absolutely brilliant thing about the SmartQ is that it supports the Android Market, something that the Pioneer Dreambook does not. Having the Android Market almost makes or breaks the device, either you have access to ~100,000 apps, or you have access to a bare few unless you know how to side-load them, so props to Millennius for that.
Since the SmartQ isn’t sold via a Carrier there is no crappy ‘bloat-ware’ to worry about and since it’s running Vanilla Android it won’t take Millennius long to push out the Android 2.2 update soon.
There is a massive 4500mAh battery packed into the back of the SmartQ which is the reasoning behind the weight of the device. 4500mAh is more than enough to power the device during your casual browsing, emailing & games; however, if you’re a HD movie watcher you can’t be asking too much from the battery but you will get through your favourite Film. At the time of posting this review, I currently have a HD movie (Scott Pilgrim vs. The World @ 720p) playing over HDMI to my TV. I’ll let you know of battery after the movie.
Millennius are selling the SmartQ with the motto “The Millennius SmartQ is for the smarty-pants of you who want to read, write, surf, send e-mails, share videos, screen and share images and much more”, I think they’re 100% right. Sure this device isn’t going to be speedy and as good-looking as the iPad or Galaxy Tab, but it’s currently one fifth the price of a Galaxy Tab, and its features and hardware allow it to do much more than one fifth of what a Galaxy Tab can. I would love to have one of these around the house just to check my emails on, browse the web and watch videos, it’s perfect for those jobs at this price point, the T-Touch Tab, My Tab and Dreambook have some real competition on their hands.
And really, for $199 it’s a giveaway *hint hint*.
Note: As most of you know I keep reviews short so you guys can ask us questions that you want answered about the device. Hit us up in the comments 🙂