As more and more people realize that they want tablets but just can’t afford to shell out hundreds of dollars for one, consumers are turning to more economical solutions to fulfill their tablet lust. While the rest of the world drools in excitement over the next high-end product release from Apple, Samsung, or HTC, Chinese manufacturers are slowly but steadily releasing very impressive, yet cheap alternatives. We’ve just reviewed one such mid-range tablet that has recently become available on the market — the Window N90 FastTab Android 4.0 tablet.
The Window N90 (in Chinese YuanDao, not to be confused with Microsoft’s Windows) has mostly average-to-good specifications, not unlike most other low to mid-range tablets available.
Window N90 specs:
1.2 Ghz Rockchip processor
1GB DDR3 RAM
Built-in 8/16GB storage, with MicroSD card support for up to 32GB
9.7-inch 10 point multi-touch capacitive display with 1024×768 resolution
3.5mm headphone jack
2 MP rear camera, 0.3 MP front camera
8000 (4000×2) mAH battery
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
The box in which the device arrived is of a practical form, neither overly impressive nor distasteful to look at. In the box, you will find the standard fare, including a power adapter, two USB cables, and an instruction manual, which, like most other similar releases, is only in Chinese.
Unboxing the device reveals a 9.7-inch tablet of a surprisingly nice build quality, akin to most high-end tablets available in the market. The tablet has an ultra slim design with a thickness of only 9.6mm, and, at only 630g, is lighter than the iPad 2. It also features a glossy HD screen and a brushed silver casing. The Window N90, at least out of the box, looks and feels very much like any high-end Android device. It seems that, with every passing day, the spec sheet becomes the only real difference between budget friendly-tablet devices and high-end ones.
Window N90 tablet ports
External ports and controls
The Window N90 comes with support for 2 On-the-go USB ports, a 3.5 mm headphone jack, and an AC adapter port. Surprisingly, missing from the list of ports is a HDMI-out port, which has become standard in most tablets nowadays. The microphone jack is at the bottom of the tablet, just below the screen. Physical buttons include the standard volume rocker and a power button, and an additional camera function button, a feature not found in other similar devices.
Screen and Speakers
Gone are the days when the resolution and quality of the screen were considered the worst things about a mid-range tablet (and the reason why most users preferred high-end products). The Window N90′s 9.7-inch screen boasts a 1024×768 pixels with 1080p video playback capability. The display comes with IPS technology, which adds considerable range to the viewing angles. One of the tablet’s more distinctive features is the ten-point multitouch display (where most low to mid-range tablets offer five-point multitouch), which works beautifully on this tablet, and makes us wonder why this feature is not present on all modern tablets. The display shows no noticeable lag; it’s very easy to swipe between screens, open menus and apps, or quickly shift between pause and play (as seen in the video below).
The stereo speakers are placed on the thin bottom side of the tablet. This is certainly well thought, as placing speakers at the back usually leads to reduced sound quality when the tablet is placed on a surface. But, that is where the good ends for the sound capabilities of the Window N90. The sound quality is distinctly poor, with seemingly no bass. While playing car racing games, the noise of the engine is almost grating to the ears. However, there is a big improvement in sound quality when headphones are used.
The Window N90 contains a huge 8000 mAh battery. However, usage statistics are not as impressive as you’d expect from such a big battery. The Window N90 provides 11 hours of music playback, 4 hours of HD video viewing, and 5 hours of intensive web usage over WiFi. The battery does charge very quickly, requiring only three hours to reach 100%.
While most current Android tablet owners eagerly await an upgrade to ICS, the Window N90 comes pre-loaded with Android 4.0, with some minor tweaking to the user interface. Applications do tend to load comparatively slower, but it is barely noticeable and does not affect performance.
The UI allows significant customization, giving users access to all their favorite applications without leaving the home screen. A full view window allows users to see which applications are open, and apps and documents are neatly sorted. Gameplay is very impressive, with the G-sensor functioning perfectly, and some games are extra fun thanks to the ten-point multitouch (think Fruit Ninja).
I would recommend this tablet to any user looking for a good tablet at a reasonable price. Window N90′s specifications are better than average and the device looks and handles itself like a high-end tablet. Sound quality could be improved, but the inclusion of a branded set of headphones helps alleviate the inconvenience. Remember that you get numerous features for the bargain price of $230 for the 8GB version and $270 for the 16GB version.
The Window N90 FastTab is most likely part of the first wave of cheap slates, with more (and maybe better) tablets set to arrive on the market in the close future. If you cannot wait to get your hands on some ICS goodness, the Window N90 FastTab should definitely get your attention.
Here is video of the unboxing and review of the Window N90 FastTab: