The G1 runs the Android ICS with a stock user interface and launcher. The UI is smooth and does not slow down or get sluggish at any point. The processor is a dual-core 1.2GHz and surprisingly, the manufacturer has chosen to overclock the CPU to run at 1.6GHz by tweaking the kernel. This could be one reason for which the tablet seems to be working smoothly and swiftly. However, we have observed that overclocking the processor to run at higher than normal speeds tends to heat up the tablet a little above the normal temperatures. You can bring down the processor speeds back to normal by installing a CPU overclocking app if you wish, but we don’t find it necessary as long as the tablet behaves well and performs smoothly.
We did encounter one major drawback, which might be a put off for some. HCL has excluded the Google Play Store app on the installed operating system and implemented its own version called the ME Apps. The ME Apps has quite a few apps featured on the market, but it does not have all the Google Play Store apps, which can be irritating. Though you can copy regular APK files to the SD card or the internal storage and install them on the tablet, it is not comfortable as it involves a longer procedure.
Power button is located next to the 2 MP rear camera
Display and media
As far as the display is concerned, we were a bit disappointed. It features an HD resolution display panel, which means regular HD 720p media plays without any glitch. But the quality of the videos are not up to the mark. The LCD has an issue with the viewing angles. If you watch the video from a straight 90-degree angle, you will notice the left one-fifth of the screen darker than the rest of the area. Deviate your viewing angle a little from the left and everything is normal. Deviate to the right and all is negative. Though the resolution is a 1024 x 768, there is a mild pixilation that is visible from a short distance. We also noticed that the brightness levels are below average and could be better. Playback of HD videos was smooth and we had no complaints here.
The audio volume of the tablet’s built-in speaker is loud enough, but the quality is below average and it could have been better. Audio quality from the bundled earphones is slightly above average and works well with casual movies and music. If you want to enjoy better audio from music and movies, you would have to switch the earphones with a superior pair.
Rear panel is glossy white with a large ME logo
Miscellaneous apps and freebies
HCL has loaded a few too many free apps to begin with. Apps such as 3D weather, BigFlix, Bollywood Hungama, Crosswords, Panzer Panic, ThinkFree Office, Saavn, Free Book Reader and a lot more productivity and entertainment apps are installed. Though these might prove useful to some, others might find it useless and space occupying. Fortunately, they can be uninstalled.
We ran our procedures to test the battery life of the HCL ME G1 to check the approximate time the tablet can last on a full battery. A continuous video loop playback lasted us 4 hours and 20 minutes while casual usage of the Internet using the wireless interface, playing a few games, using some productivity apps and other similar activities gave us approximately 5 hours and 25 minuutes. The battery life we got in our tests is not necessarily a final verdict on the power time. The entire battery life of any product will depend on the amount of usage and the types of apps running on them. Gaming apps that use the GPU take up more battery life while regular media playback like videos and music take up lower battery life.
To sum up the whole experience with the tablet, we would like to conclude that the tablet performs very well in terms of usability and the interface. The only glitches we found were the display quality, which is average, and the missing Google Play Store app. If HCL can fix these issues, the tablet is worth considering. A large 9.7-inch HD display, dual core processor overclocked at 1.6GHz, 1GB of RAM and Bluetooth interface at a price of Rs 14,999 is a nice deal. We recommend this tablet if style and performance matters to you. If you are not in a hurry, we would advise you to wait for a few more weeks as there are a few other manufacturers– perusing the dual-core large screen area – who will stand up to the HCL ME G1
Updated 19 Jun, 2013, 10:13 am IST
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