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Medion LifeTab E10310 review

Tom Morgan
29 Aug 2013
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
167
inc VAT

A decent screen can't rescue this sluggish tablet, even with its very low price

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The Medion Lifetab E10310 is one of the cheapest 10.1in Android tablets we've ever seen, being roughly the same price as a 7in Nexus 7. Despite some meagre specifications, the low price makes a tempting first impression.

With a simple textured plastic back and rounded corners, the Lifetab looks good and feels well made, with only the smallest amount of flex at its centre. It's a shame Medion felt the need to slap an ugly Lifetab graphic underneath the glass front, as it detracts from the otherwise minimal appearance, but at least it won't rub away through continued use.

Medion LifeTab E10310

Despite the low cost there are plenty of ports, including a MicroSD card slot for adding extra storage, a mini HDMI video output, a micro-USB port for data transfers and a proprietary charging port. All the connections are found on the right-hand side of the device, along with the power and volume keys. Everything is clearly labelled on the rear to avoid confusion. Naturally, you get built-in Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth is a welcome inclusion.

Medion LifeTab E10310

Unsurprisingly for a budget tablet, the Lifetab E10310 has a fairly average 1,280x800-resolution display. Text and images still look reasonably sharp, and there's none of the graininess we've seen in similarly priced models, but there's not a huge amount of brightness and colours aren't as vibrant as we’d like to see. The glossy display also attracts fingerprints and reflects a lot of light, making it difficult to use in direct sunlight.

A 0.3-megapixel webcam is built into the top of the screen bezel, with a slightly more substantial 2-megapixel sensor on the back of the tablet for photos. The rear camera might be useful for quick snaps when you don't have time to reach for a smartphone or proper camera, but picture quality is abysmal. There's no tap-to-focus, images overexpose with only a small amount of natural light in a scene and there's barely any detail.

Medion LifeTab E10310

Our outdoor test scene showed quite how little detail is captured when placed next to the average smartphone camera. The brickwork was barely discernible on an adjacent building, there's absolutely no texture on the tiled turret and the sky is completely overblown. Without tap to focus, many shots end up blurry, and even those that are focused look like they've had an oil painting filter applied.

Moving indoors, our still life scene again showed a lack of detail, even in well-lit conditions. Colours looked fairly accurate under bright lights, but as soon as we dimmed them the tablet failed to find focus points, which resulted in a dark, blurred image.

You can also record high-definition video at a resolution of 1,280x720, but focus is an issue again. There's a real lack of detail and motion judders terribly.

Powered by a dual-core processor running at 1.6GHz that’s modelled on the venerable Arm Cortex A9 architecture, and paired with 1GB of RAM, we expected the Lifetab E10310 to perform reasonably well, even though it was unlikely to break any benchmark records. Unfortunately, it proved to be extremely slow throughout our testing, scoring a disappointing 1854.5ms in the SunSpider Javascript test and some of the lowest scores we've seen in synthetic benchmarks such as GeekBench and Quadrant. It was equally slow in 3D apps and games, scoring just 2910 overall in 3DMark.

This translates to sluggish everyday performance in Android 4.1, with pop-up messages taking several seconds to swipe away from the notification bar and apps taking too long to load. This is despite the fact that Medion has stuck with the default Android user interface. Puzzlingly, the tablet felt responsive and snappy in other situations, letting us browse the web, watch YouTube videos or stream TV through the BBC iPlayer app smoothly.

Medion LifeTab E10310

The tablet certainly felt quicker once we'd removed some of the bundled software, which includes the full version of Kaspersky Tablet Security, PowerDVD Remote, the Docs2Go office suite, Drawing Pad sketchbook and Medion's own Lifetab media player. Even so, 3D games still struggled to produce smooth frame rates, so anything beyond web browsing or watching video is a little too taxing for it. However, you’ll have plenty of room for media files thanks to its 16GB of internal storage, and with Google Play access you'll be able to install any apps you choose.

Unfortunately, you won't be able to use the Lifetab E10310 for very long if you run it off its battery. In our light use battery test, it lasted three hours and 48 minutes. Sadly, you'll need to keep the power adaptor close by, as the tablet won't charge over USB.

Sound quality is another low point for the Lifetab. The mono speaker is sensibly placed at the top rear of the tablet, so you won't obscure it if you hold it in portrait or landscape orientation, but it isn't particularly loud and sounds incredibly harsh at maximum volume. It's acceptable for watching YouTube videos, but for music or TV shows a pair of headphones are a must.

Medion LifeTab E10310

As one of the least expensive 10.1in tablets around, we weren't expecting much from the Lifetab. Below average raw performance, a disappointing camera and dismal battery life are all sticking points that the reasonable display can't redeem. This is especially true when its nearest competitor, the Versus Touchtab 10.1, costs the same amount but lasts almost twice as long in our battery test and didn't suffer from the same slowdowns, despite using similar hardware. It might look like a bargain, but you're essentially sacrificing other features for a larger screen. If you're set on a 10in tablet but have limited funds then the Versus Touchtab 10.1 is a better choice.

Basic Specifications

Rating**
ProcessorARM Cortex A9
Processor clock speed1.6GHz
Memory1.00GB
Memory slots1
Memory slots free0
Maximum memory1GB
Size261x172x12mm
Weight594g
SoundN/A
Pointing devicetouchscreen

Display

Viewable size10.1 in
Native resolution1,280x800
Graphics ProcessorMali-400MP
Graphics/video portsmini HDMI
Graphics MemoryN/A

Storage

Total storage capacity16GB
Optical drive typenone

Ports and Expansion

Bluetoothyes
Wired network portsnone
Wireless networking support802.11n
PC Card slots0
Supported memory cardsMicroSDHC
Other ports3.5mm audio output

Miscellaneous

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

Buying Information

Warrantytwo years RTB
Price£167
Detailswww.medion.co.uk
Supplierhttp://www.asda-electricals.co.uk

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