Hands-on review of the JLab Pro-7 7” Android tablet

IMG_8202As more and more people migrate away from desktop computers to mobile devices, a growing segment of low-cost tablets is beginning to emerge based on customer demand. Just as netbooks were cheaply made low-cost computers with little innovation, some manufacturers of low-cost tablets decided to address this segment by cutting component cost to the bare minimum. Amazon appears to take a different approach by basically selling the tablet hardware at a loss in hopes of making up the losses in future apps, music, and movie sales.

This hands-on review is for the JLab Pro-7 which has decidedly taking the cost cutting approach. Google “Allwinner Boxchip A23 Dual Core Cortex A7 1.2GHz Processor” and you will find hundreds of no name low cost tablets based on this chip, mostly selling for about $50 to $80.

As part of their Black Friday 2014 offering, Staples will be selling the JLab Pro-7 for an substantially reduced price of $39.99. There is no argument that a $40 Android tablet is an incredible achievement. Despite the low price, this is a fully functional Android tablet running Android KitKat 4.2.2 and capable of playing 1080p HD videos. However, this low price comes at a cost in the form of a low quality screen and missing gps and Bluetooth connectivity. Surprisingly, it does come with a microSD card slot so the paltry 8 GB of storage can be expanded up to 32 GB more.

The poor 7” display with 1024 x 600 resolution (170 ppi) makes it unsuitable for use as a primary tablet for most people but it’s ideal for use as a backup tablet or children’s tablet. At 1/2 inch thick, it’s not going to win any thinness contest.

Jlab Pro-7 tablet compared to Apple IPad 1

 

Specs:

  • Allwinner Boxchip A23 Dual Core Cortex A7 1.2GHz Processor
  • 7” display, 1024 x 600 resolution (170 ppi)
  • 512MB DDR3 system memory
  • 8GB with micro SD slot for up to 32GB additional storage
  • Webcam: 0.3MP Front Facing Camera
  • Integrated speakers
  • XP/Vista/Win7/Win8 & Mac OS 10.4 or later
  • Android™ 4.4 KitKat
  • 2400mAh Li-Polymer Battery
  • 1 Year warranty
  • Dimension approximately 7.5” X 4.5” X 0.5”
  • Weight approximately 7 ounces/200 grams

Pro:

  • Incredible value at $39.99
  • Android KitKat 4.4.2 installed
  • Supports multiple user profiles
  • Include microSD card slot with support up to 32GB
  • Usable battery life with 3-4 hours in usage
  • Good Wi-Fi connectivity and speed
  • Good build quality for price point

Cons:

  • No GPS
  • Poor screen with glare and very poor viewing angle at roughly 10 degrees making it unsuitable for reading or extended usage
  • Screen has slight blue color cast
  • Single tiny speaker on rear sounds like those found in low-end phones
  • No Bluetooth so it won’t work with wireless Bluetooth speakers or other Bluetooth accessories
  • No HDMI out
  • Unusable 0.3 megapixel (640×480) camera unless you pretend it’s 2007
  • Poor standby time lasting less than two days

Notes:

  • Time fails to correct for daylight saving time if automatic time zone is selected even though the correct location is set. Easily corrected by manually setting time zone.
  • The glare from the screen is internal and not from the glass so it will be present even when the tablet is used indoors.

At $40, there really is no comparison to any other tablets but that’s just the Black Friday price. The regular price is $70 so how does it compare to the Amazon Fire HD 6 which sells for $100? Well the Amazon Fire HD 6 is an inch smaller and about the same thickness. The Fire HD 6 also boast a much higher resolution screen with Gorilla glass and offers better battery life.

In the end, the JLab Pro-7 is a steal at $40, not so much at $70. If you’re in the market for a primary mini tablet for around $100, go with the Amazon fire HD 6 or one of the other larger Amazon Fire versions.

 

Jlab Pro-7

Amazon Fire HD 6

Price $40 sale/$70 retail $99
Resolution 1024 x 600 resolution (170 ppi) 1280×800 (252 ppi)
Screen size 7 inches 6 inches
Battery life 3-4 hours 7-8 hours
Camera 640×480 .3 mp front only 640×480 .3 mp front + 2 mp rear
Storage 8 GB + up to 32 GB SD card slot 8 or 16 GB + Amazon cloud
Dimensions 7.5” X 4.5” X 0.5” 6.7″ X 4.1″ X 0.4″
(169 X 103 X 10.7 mm)
Weight 7 oz (/200 grams) 10.1 oz (290 grams)
OS Android™ 4.4 KitKat Forked Android KitKat
Apps Google Play Store Amazon App Store
Power management None Yes
Freebies None worth mentioning Unlimited cloud storage
30 days free Kindle trial