7 in 800x480 display, 340g, 1.2GHz Allwinner A10, 512MB RAM, 3GB disk, Android 4.0
The Fineslate T01 is a 7in tablet for the remarkably low price of £80. Despite the bargain-bucket price, it has all the features you'd expect from an Android tablet, including the latest Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system. There are also some neat extras, such as a mini-HDMI output and a USB host port to attach external storage.
The Fineslate is a generic black slab with a rubberised back, so is pleasant to hold. The screen is a 7in 800x480 model, so has a similar resolution to a mid-range smartphone. As the resolution is spread over a larger screen than a smartphone's, things aren’t quite so sharp; you can definitely see the pixels and text is slightly blurry, if still easily readable. The screen is bright enough for use under indoor lighting, but you can barely see it in bright light and viewing angles are terrible.
Despite all this, it's still serviceable, and we weren't expecting hugely vibrant colours and ultra-deep contrast on an £80 tablet. It's a capacitive display and we had no complaints about its responsiveness.
The tablet has a 1.2GHz single-core processor, which is just about ok running Android 4.0. Flicking between homescreens is fairly smooth and there's no judder in the animation when turning from portrait to landscape. There is a slight pause between pressing an app icon and the app opening, but it didn't bother us unduly.
It's when you start browsing the web that you notice the tablet's lack of speed. With quad-core tablets now the norm, the single-core processor struggles when rendering web pages. The BBC News homepage takes 12 seconds to render, compared to about four seconds on a mid-range dual-core smartphone such as the Sony Xperia U. It's fine for casual web browsing, but don’t expect to be flicking seamlessly between multiple tabs.
Unlike many budget tablets, the Fineslate has access to Google's Play app marketplace. This means you can install any apps you like. We could play high-definition video smoothly using the MX Player app, and plugging in an HDMI cable made the films appear straight away on a TV, complete with sound. The tablet could also cope with gaming; Angry Birds, Tower Defense and Strike Fleet Omega all ran smoothly. The games didn’t seem to look quite as smart as they do on more expensive tablets, with some jagged edges; our guess is the tablet has low-powered graphics hardware which doesn’t allow fancy extras such as anti-aliasing. This didn’t distract from our fun, though.