Prestigio MultiPad 9.7 PRO Tablet PC

3366985Tablet PC’s are all the rage nowadays, compact and convenient, the tablet PC has fast become the device of choice whether you’re using it for business purposes or recreation.  Though not in the same class as mobile PC’s, and sometimes even referred to as ‘underpowered laptops’, tablet PC’s are lightweight tools ideal for books, comics, movies, internet and music, and serve as the perfect media companion when traveling.  These devices are everywhere, and this can be confirmed by strolling through your local mall where you would undoubtedly see people (usually in coffee shops) reading the news while they sip their coffee or groups of people gathered at one table as some work-related slide show or spreadsheet is being displayed.  The real problem with tablet PC’s of course, is picking the right one…

So who are Prestigio and are they any good? Well, while not as renown as Samsung or Apple – the two largest players in the tablet PC world with the Galaxy Tab and iPad respectively, Prestigio is a relatively new brand, only been on the market for a decade and are based in Cyprus, with a business model offering luxury, state-of-the-art technologies aimed at competing with the high-end market.  Prestigio is a fast-growing and well-established international brand sold in 63 countries and is increasingly ranked among the most regarded brands in emerging markets across the EMEA (Europe, Middle-East & Africa) region.

So let’s get down to brass tacks.  Prestigio offers a wide range of tablet PC’s designed to suit the specific needs of consumers, my model of choice was the MultiPad 9.7 PRO as it is the nearest equivalent  to an iPad or Galaxy Tab, retailing for around R2900 (320USD).  The reason I picked this tablet over the aforementioned competitors is because I believe them to be overpriced, and while Samsung’s Galaxy Tab is Android-based, I disdain Apple’s far-less flexible iOS platform and cannot justify purchasing the Apple product when there are literally thousands of free Android apps readily available.

As with all computer-related hardware, specs are important and thankfully the MultiPad 9.7 PRO has a rather impressive array.  The MultiPad 9.7 PRO is preloaded with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, a very nice, very neat little OS that not only looks great but is easy to utilize and navigate and comes preloaded with a multitude of apps.  Apart from all the free apps available online as well as the aforementioned preinstalled ones, there are also over 300 000 apps available to purchase on Google Market.  At its core, the MultiPad 9.7 PRO runs on an ARM Cortex A8 Rockchip RK218 cpu @1GHz.  It has a 9.7″ display with a 1024×768 resolution and has back-light LED IPS with a capacitive multi-touch screen using G-Sensor rotation.  It has an internal memory size of 8GB, 1GB of installed DDR3 RAM and supports 32GB Micro SD/Micro SDHC.  Apart from the Micro SD/SDHC, other interfaces include – WiFi, Mini HDMI x 1, Mini USB 2.0 x1, and 1 3.5mm mini jack.  Bluetooth and VGA interfaces are not included and it’s worth noting that as there are no phone features, the only internet interface available is WiFi.  A 0.3 megapixel camera is present on the front of the device, one of the MultiPad’s few drawbacks, and supports the following multimedia formats:

  • ebook formats – EPUB, PDF, TXT, FB2
  • Audio formats – APE, AAC, MP3, WAV, OGG, FLAC & stereo audio playback.
  • Image formats – PNG, BMP, JPG, GIF
  • Video formats – AVI, FLV, 3GP, MOV, MVN, MKV, MP4, RM, RMVB, WMV, VOB (DVD), DAT & has full HD playback.

The MultiPad 9.7 PRO uses a lithium-ion polymer battery with a decent capacity of 6000 mAh, approx 4hrs video playback, 36hrs audio playback and has a standby time of 120hrs.  The dimensions and weight of the MultiPad 9.7 PRO are as follows:

  • Width (mm) – 241
  • Height (mm) – 187
  • Depth (mm) – 9.6
  • Weight – 610g

The MultiPad 9.7 PRO is an extremely affordable and high-quality device with its best feature undoubtedly being the display. Images and video are sharp and crisp, and with OpenGL 3D technology, multimedia files (such as HD films) run remarkably smooth, and thanks to the HDMI interface, one can easily connect the tablet to a TV.  Much like the Galaxy Tab and iPad, the MultiPad 9.7 PRO also features a scratch resistant screen as well as a high quality metal housing with rubber grip pads on the backside.  You will find all the buttons and outputs located on the topside of the device.  To top it all off, this device comes with a stylish leather pouch.

Conclusion

The MultiPad 9.7 Pro is a superb device, and if like me you were looking for a tablet specifically for books and comics then you need not look further.  Though some may find the lack of phone features and WiFi-only internet annoying, it doesn’t bother me in the least as I have a laptop and PC to access the net, and even then I can download any app I like and just place it onto the tablet.  The only niggle I have with this device is that the Micro SD  card is almost impossible to remove without tweezers and it’s a little annoying that if the tablet is connected to a PC via USB it renders the SD card inaccessible.  If you intend on using this device for comics, do yourself a favour and download the app – QuickPic, as it renders images faster and is more feature-rich than the default image viewer.  All-in-all, the MultiPad 9.7 PRO is a sleek, cost-effective and high-performance alternative to the iPad and Galaxy Tab.

Grade: A

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Samsung G3 Station External Hard Drive 1TB

With the ever-increasing demand for data storage, high-capacity drives have become more common place with every major hard drive manufacturer having released their own version of the large data capacity drive and at the same time, promising that theirs is the definitive choice and most worthy of your hard-earned cash.

Having been a long-time user of Western Digital and Seagate hard drives I decided to give Samsung a shot as I’m a huge fan of their products.  After seeing what was made available to me I ended up buying a pair 1TB Samsung ‘G3 Station’ external drives and I’m pleased to report that they don’t disappoint.  Inside the box you will find – G3 Station External Drive (of course), an AC adapter (not USB powered I’m afraid but it’s something I had anticipated given the size of the drive), a USB cable and preloaded software (for Windows platform).  Samsung also offers a standard 3 year-limited warranty on the product.

The G3 Station also employs ‘EcoTriangle’ – a green friendly technology resulting in low power consumption, low acoustic noise (it’s the quietest drive I’ve ever heard) and it uses eco-friendly components.  The drive wont start-up without the USB cable plugged in and because it has no power switch the drive will power up and shut off automatically whenever Windows 7 starts up or shuts down.  The G3 Station comes in a 1TB, 1.5TB and 2TB variant and you’re given two colours to choose from – Cobalt Black and Silver White.  The most unique aspect of this drive is the stylish multi-faceted exterior that literally sparkles in the sun (though never enough to annoy), it has a sort of snake-like skin look to it though officially Samsung says; “the case sparkles in the sun, much like sunlight filtering through leaves of a baobab tree swaying in the wind.”  I still reckon it looks like snake-skin…

Sadly, no product is perfect and the G3 Station is no exception.  As stated before, the drive has no power switch and while this doesn’t really bother me, there are plenty of people who will be annoyed by it.  In fact, earlier today I wanted to shut down the drive so usually I’ll do a safe removal in Windows and then pull out the USB cable though this time I couldn’t because – “there may still be programs in use on the drive”, even though there wasn’t and because there was no on/off switch I had to restart Windows in order to ‘free up’ the drive.  Another thing to note is that when the drive is idle, it takes 10 – 15 seconds to spin up when you try to access a file, not a train smash but a little annoying.  Finally, the most annoying thing about the G3 Station (though not really a hardware fault as opposed to a manufacturer one) is Samsung’s choice of formatting the drive with FAT32 instead of NTFS.  It took 16 hours to reformat each drive to NTFS (full format is best because it simultaneously checks for errors and bad sectors) and it’s necessary if you intend on storing files larger than 4 gigs in size.  As there is no software disk bundled with this product, you’d probably want to copy the preloaded software to an external source before formatting the drive.

To conclude, The Samsung G3 Station, is an excellent product perfect for backing up large amounts of data.  Though the USB 2.0 interface does throttle the transfer speed somewhat, this and the few aforementioned annoyances can be overlooked as the pros far outweigh the cons.  A stylish drive that’s cool, quiet and easy to transport, highly recommended purchase.

Price – R999 @ Hard Wired Computers (Cape Town)

Email – hardwiredcomputers.cc@gmail.com