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Disgo 8400G review

Tom Morgan
10 May 2013
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
150
inc VAT

This budget tablet with 3G would have been great last year, but now the 8400G seems poor value

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Specifications

7.9 in 1,024x768 display, 512g, 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon, 512MB RAM, 4GB disk, Android 4.1

If you’ve ever tried to buy a budget Android tablet, your choices have almost exclusively been Wi-Fi-only devices. To get mobile internet access, you’d either have to tether it to your smartphone, or buy a more expensive 3G tablet. Disgo thinks this represents a gap in the market and has launched the Tablet 8400G to fill it - a budget 3G device.

Disgo 8400G

The 8400G is an 11mm thick tablet running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, which is dominated by the black screen bezel and surrounding silver plastic chassis. It weighs a substantial 512g, making it much heavier than the smaller-screened Nexus 7 or even the equally-sized iPad Mini - but then it's a lot cheaper than the latter. The power and volume buttons are at the left side of the tablet, along with a Micro-USB port for charging, a 3.5mm headset audio jack and the SIM and MicroSD card slots, which are hidden beneath a fairly sturdy plastic flap.

Disgo 8400G

Unlike the 3G version of the Nexus 7, previously one of the cheapest 3G Android tablets at £239 (with 32GB of storage), the Tablet 8400G doesn’t require a data SIM to get online. Conveniently, you can use any smartphone SIM instead, as the device reports itself to your network provider as a phone rather than a tablet - which gets around restrictions made by the networks on some plans. Disgo has also added the phone and messaging apps usually missing on tablets, so you can send texts and make calls, although you’ll look pretty stupid holding it up to your head should a call come through. It takes a full-size SIM card, so you’ll need an adaptor to use a Micro-SIM.

The 7.9in, 1,024x768 resolution display is bigger than the 7in display seen on most budget Android devices by a fairly significant 43%. Despite being bigger it has a lower resolution than the Nexus 7, which leaves it looking a little pixellated - though that argument could be also be levelled at the iPad Mini.

The display is sharp enough, but it uses a TN panel, which means poor viewing angles. Combined with the glossy finish and relatively low backlight brightness, it’s often difficult to see what’s onscreen, especially in bright sunlight. Colours are fairly muted and are slightly cold, with an emphasis on blues over the rest of the colour spectrum. Unusually for an Android device it's a 4:3 aspect ratio screen, rather than 16:9. It's good for browsing the web or reading digital magazines, but films and games will often be letterboxed.

Disgo 8400G

The 2-megapixel rear camera is a token inclusion, and given the dismal picture quality we could live without it. Images are sorely lacking in detail, making faces and objects look like oil paintings. It struggles under office lighting, over-exposing images unnecessarily, and in low light it’s practically unusable. The front-facing 0.3-megapixel webcam is even worse, but it will suffice for basic Skype video calls.

Disgo hasn’t added much in the way of interface customisation, so you’re getting a mostly stock Android experience. We were happy to see that the Google Play Store comes included as standard, as we’ve seen plenty of budget tablets that use third-party app stores. SlideMe Market is also installed, although we can’t see why when Google Play is available. Thankfully, you can uninstall it without needing root access, unlike with many pre-installed apps.

Disgo 8400G

Unlike previous Disgo tablets, the 8400G is powered by a Qualcomm CPU. The dual-core, 1.2GHz Snapdragon S4 is paired with a meagre 512MB of RAM, which simply isn’t enough to smoothly render page transitions and effects in Android 4.1. Swiping between home screens, dragging widgets or switching between apps becomes horrendously jerky. Downloaded apps take a long time to respond and the keyboard takes at least a second to appear when tapping on a text box.

This translates into apps too, with the 8400G completing the SunSpider Javascript benchmark in a dismal 3,445ms, posting a very low 1,464 overall score in Quadrant and crashing when we tried to run the 3DMark Ice Storm benchmark. It also refused to play YouTube videos smoothly in HD, although we could play a 720p video when we copied it to the tablet itself.

There’s only 4GB of onboard storage, but there’s also a MicroSD card slot to add extra capacity. Disgo told us that many retailers will be bundling memory cards with the tablet, so it’s worth looking around if you want to buy one. Battery life was equally disappointing, with the 8400G lasting just four and a half hours in our video playback test.

Despite the bigger-than-usual screen and the inclusion of 3G, we simply can’t recommend the Tablet 8400G - it's slow, feels hefty by modern standards and has a dim screen. The screen may be smaller, but in every other respect, the Asus FonePad is well worth the extra £30. It's slimmer, has 16GB of storage, 1GB of RAM and a great IPS display. If you don't need 3G, then the Wi-Fi only Google Nexus 7 remains our top choice.

Basic Specifications

Rating***
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon
Processor clock speed1.2GHz
Memory512MB
Memory slots free0
Maximum memory0.50GB
Size214x155x11
Weight512g
SoundQualcomm 8x60 SoC Audio
Pointing devicetouchscreen

Display

Viewable size7.9 in
Native resolution1,024x768
Graphics ProcessorQualcomm Adreno 203
Graphics/video portsnone
Graphics Memory512MB

Storage

Total storage capacity4GB
Optical drive typenone

Ports and Expansion

Bluetoothyes
Wired network portsnone
Wireless networking support802.11n, 3G
PC Card slotsnone
Supported memory cardsMicro SD
Other portsminijack audio output

Miscellaneous

Carrying caseNo
Operating systemAndroid 4.1
Operating system restore optionrestore partition
Software includednone
Optional extrasnone

Buying Information

Warrantyone year RTB
Price£150
Detailswww.mydisgo.com
Supplierhttp://www.lambda-tek.com

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