Mahananda Bohidar

OlivePad was the first indigenous tablet to hit the markets late last year. While it was a decent attempt, it fell short of matching up to the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Tab or the Apple iPad, which have been ruling the tablet roost in the market. The second of the ‘desi' kinds that will be available across retail stores now is the Zen Pad that landed on our desk for a review.

The touch sensitivity of the Zen Pad was a huge disappointment. Even after we calibrated the touch sensitivity on the tablet more than a couple of times, an app at least two icons away from what we had pressed would get activated. This malfunction was frequent with the virtual keyboard as well.

The only camera on the tablet is a front-facing 0.3-meg camera which gave very grainy results even in a well-lit room. Considering the fact that the tablet has only one camera they probably could have opted for a higher resolution one for taking pictures and video-calling.

It took ages for the tablet to charge (much like the OlivePad) and even when it had some charge (about 40-50 per cent) the juice got drained in very little time without any significant activity, without any multimedia playback or Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connectivity.

We loaded on some music and videos on the Zen Pad. While most formats played without a hitch, the glare on the screen marred the experience of watching videos. We tried viewing an episode of the BBC series, Sherlock, on. Most music formats, too, were supported and apart from that we also streamed a couple of YouTube videos. It didn't take much time for the videos to buffer over a Wi-Fi connection. The Zen Pad has speakers on both sides of the tablet but the audio was not loud enough for a room with more than a handful of people and was a little tinny most of the time. A pair of headphones will work just fine with the 3.5mm jack on the Zen Pad. The tablet has a mini HDMI port, which means you can stream content to your HD telly. Other connectivity options include a microSD slot, miniUSB port, proprietary charging port and an OTG (On The Go) cable that lets you pair up your phone to the tablet to transfer content or play back from one to the other.

The Zen Pad comes with a jacket which has an in-built physical keyboard, definitely a boon considering how bad the virtual one is.

H.T. Impex, the company that created the Zen Pad has attempted to offer a pocket-friendly tablet but unfortunately it also reflects in the build quality and performance of the Zen Pad.

Rs 13,999

(This article was published on January 7, 2011)
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