Hannspree HANNSpad SN70T3 review
If there are three words to strike terror into the hearts and minds of the portable-computer-buying public, they're: budget Android tablet. Previous models have been universally terrible, running out-of-date versions of Android and lacking important features, such as access to Google Play.
With the Hannspree HANNSpad SN70T3 things appear to be looking up, as this budget 7in Android tablet runs Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) – a proper tablet OS. Removing the tablet from its box, we were pleased to see that the HANNSpad didn't look particularly cheap, either. The rear, mottled plastic casing looks like it's made from the same plastic as an 80's car dashboard, but it feels well made with no creaking or bending in the case.
Turning it on for the first time is where things start to go a little bit wrong. To keep the price down, the HANNSpad uses an 800x480 resolution screen, which is the same as on a lot of smartphones. While this is fine on a sub-4in screen, on a 7in screen the resolution is a touch low and text looks a little blurred.
We could forgive this if the screen quality was fantastic, but it's quite a let-down. Viewing angles are so poor that you really have to have the tablet square-on to be able to see what's going on. It doesn't help that it's dim and reflective to the point that we found it hard to use inside with daylight streaming through a window. Even in a dimly-lit room, the HANNSpad feels like it is part mirror, part display.
As for the benefit of having Android 4.0, it's slightly let down by the fact that there's no Google Play store. Hannspree confirmed that this isn't installed on the tablet. With the previous HANNSpad budget tablet, there were ways to unofficially install Google Play, but we couldn't get any of these methods to work here. Hannspree also won't confirm that any unofficial way works. It's frustrating, as Google Play is essential, particularly if you already own an Android phone and want access to all of your existing apps.
Also missing are the standard Google apps, including Gmail and Google Maps. These can be installed from the alternative markets Hannspree has installed - 1MobileMarket and CMarket - but there are a lot of big apps missing, such as Sky+ and BBC iPlayer. Out of the two markets, 1MobileMarket is the better, but it's not as easy to use as Google Play.
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