Budget Android tablets are gaining popularity and we see these products blooming from every old and new manufacturer around the country. While the 7-inchers are the most popular ones, larger screen Android tablets seem to be the next phase. We did review a few 9 and 10-inchers in the recent past, but here is an 8-incher that begs to differ from the rest. The Ira Icon MID M801 Android tablet from WishTel was with us for a while and we scrutinised it to our best.
Design and build
The Ira Icon MID M801 is built using a very rugged metal shell. It has a glossy front panel and a silver coloured aluminium back panel. The frame is very sturdy and feels nice and tough. The front panel has a capacitive touch button each for Home, Back, Menu and Search. The rear panel has two grilles for the stereo speakers. The left side features a SIM slot and a small opening for the microphone, while the right side has the volume rocker and power button. A weird On/Off toggle switch was also present alongside here, but it does not function at all. Neither the manual nor the website states any function or feature for this switch—wonder why it is here. One would think it is for toggling the auto-rotate or switching off the tablet completely.
Camera, stereo speakers, metal rear panel
The bottom has sockets for mini HDMI, headphone, microSD card, mini USB and micro USB connectors. Surprisingly, the mini USB slot is for the PC interface and USB OTG connector, while the micro USB slot is only for charging. Here again, we wonder why WishTel would put in two different USB connectors when it could do with just one. Anyway, the mini USB interface does not help charge the tablet when connected to a PC; hence, you would have to carry along the micro USB charger wherever you go.
As for the aesthetics of the tablet, it definitely is a good looker from the front, but the rear panel looks a bit awkward due to a large plastic black strip on the right side. The reason for the plastic strip could be that the GSM antenna might be placed behind it to prevent transmission losses due to the metal body. The tablet is 14 mm thick and weighs 605 g. It is also a tad heavier due to the metal frame and the large battery pack within.
Mini USB PC interface and OTG, micro USB for charging only
Features and performance
The IRA MID M801 runs on the Android ICS operating system, which is powered by a 1.2GHz ARMv7 CPU. The graphics processor is GC800 from Vivante Corporation. The system utilises 1GB of RAM and has a built-in storage of 8GB, which can be expanded up to 32GB using the microSD slot. Of the 8GB built-in storage, 6GB is available for user data storage, while the rest is shared by the system for the OS (ROM) and the app storage.
The display is a large 8-inch TFT LCD sporting a resolution of 768 x 1024 pixels. The front panel has a VGA camera for video calls and the rear has a 2MP camera as a regular shooter for photos and videos. Connectivity options are Wi-Fi, 3G (SIM card), Bluetooth, mini USB for PC interface and USB OTG, a microSD card slot and a mini HDMI for routing videos to a larger display or LCD TV. The built-in battery is 5500 mAh and the manufacturer claims around three to four hours of maximum usage.
We did find a lot of goof-ups in the specifications of the product on both the box and the website. The box states the display having a resolution of 800 x 480 and the website does not state anything. The website also states the thickness to be 8 mm while the actual thickness is 14 mm. In addition, the website states the operating system as Android GB 2.3. If you download the brochure for the same product from the website, you get the Ira Icon 7-inch tablet brochure. Either there is a mix up of the specifications on the website or it is not properly updated. Bundled along with the product is a pair of earphones, a travel charger, a mini USB PC interface cable, an OTG cable and a sleeve.
mini HDMI, microSD slot, headset jack
We used the tablet for quite a while and found it to be sluggish to quite an extent. At times it would work flawlessly, but most of the times it would run slower. We also noticed during our testing that the tablet uses a 1.2GHz processor, but it is clocked at 1GHz. This makes us think if the tablet is actually a 1.2GHz or just a 1GHz that is marked with higher speeds for sales. Though there is a GPU to power the graphics, the tablet’s interface is sluggish as compared to other tablets with almost similar specs.
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