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Wikipad 7 review

Expert Reviews Staff
23 Sep 2013
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
250
inc VAT

The hardware design is good, but an ageing chipset and a lack of appropriate Android games makes it a niche choice

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The Wikipad is yet another 7in Android tablet, though this one comes with gaming firmly in mind. The tablet is bundled with a sizeable gaming controller, which adds all the buttons and sticks you'd expect from a modern console controller. When combined the pair become a super-sized portable console, akin to a Nintendo 3DS or PlayStation Vita, but with a bigger screen and more comfortable controls than either.

Wikipad 7

It's not a bad idea, most console game genres simply aren't suitable for playing on a touchscreen; though that hasn't stopped developers trying to make such games, or the public from trying to play them. Personally, we think you need the patience of a saint, or the determination of a child, to play FPS games on a touchscreen. The Wikipad then look to fill a niche that puts it in competition with the likes of the Moga Pocket Controller and the Nvidia Shield portable console.

CONTROLLER

The controller is well designed, it sits comfortably in your hands and the various controls are well positioned. There are two analogue sticks, which could do with a little more resistance, but you soon get the hang of them. Four shoulder buttons, with click-in upper buttons and trigger-style lower ones.

The d-pad is fine for general inputs and menu navigation but too inaccurate for complex Street Fighter-style inputs. Then there are four face buttons, plus back and forward controls for menu navigation.

Wikipad 7

The controller doesn't need its own power supply, as with the Bluetooth-based Moga, its connected to the tablet through a Micro USB docking connector. You can charge the tablet wihile playing thanks to a passthrough connector on the controller. A pair of speaker ports on the front channel sound from the tablet's own speakers, making it clearer than you'd expect.

Wikipad 7

TABLET

The tablet section has a rubberised rear with a ridge. This both makes it easy to grip and also provides part of the docking mechanism with the controller. Once docked together the two feel like a single device.

Wikipad 7

The tablet alone has much in common with the now superseded Google Nexus 7 (2012). It has a good-looking IPS display with a 1,280x720 resolution, which is backed up by an Nvidia Tegra 3 chipset. Its 1,379 in Geekbench and 1,466ms in Sunspider 1.0 are nothing to get excited about, though it felt slick in use and we had no problems with the unmodified Android 4.1.1 OS.

More importantly in this case it scored a once respectable 3,583 and 1,957 respectively in the Ice Storm and Ice Storm Extreme 3DMark benchmarks. That now compares poorly with 11,793 and 7,154 respectively from the new Nexus 7 (2013) with its Snapdragon S4 Pro chipset. In real terms the Wikipad struggled at 7.8fps in the Extreme test, while the new Nexus 7 purred along at close to 30fps.

Wikipad 7

The HDMI output, and micro SD card slot, are both welcome additions

There's plenty of space for installing games, with 16GB of storage, plus the option of adding lots more via a Micro SD card, something you can't do on the Nexus 7. Very handy if you like to watch movies on your tablet too. There's an HDMI output too, again something the Nexus 7 lacks in preference of wireless options, which can be used for playing games or movies on a bigger screen. Back on the move, the Wikipad lasted a respectable eight hours and 33 minutes in our battery benchmark, slightly better than the new Nexus 7, though you can expect almost half that time if you're playing demanding games.

GAMES SUPPORT

Support for games is as good as any other game controller peripheral, with anything that works with MOGA or Nvidia Shield appearing to work with the Wikipad too - in fact the best support comes from Nvidia's Tegra Zone games line up. Even then, that still amounts to only about 150 games out of the teeming masses on Google Play.

There are some big omissions too, such as Gameloft's Modern Combat series and EA's Real Racing, which would have been two of our top picks for the controller. Hopefully the popularity of such devices will bring wider support in the near future, but right now there simply aren't enough 'AAA' console-style games available on Android for quality content such as this to be missing. Wikipad has promised an app to map onscreen controls to the controller, but there's no date on this yet.

The best games we played were The Conduit HD and ShadowGun, but neither really wowed us, though they're both a lot cheaper than games on traditional handheld formats such as the Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation Vita.

Speaking of PlayStation, the WikiPad is certified to work with the PlayStation Mobile store. This gives you access more mobile games, some of which you can't get on Google Play. There's no way of searching for controller-compatible games, but it's listed clearly on every game which ones are compatible with the controller. Unfortunately the store hasn't been a runaway success, so new software appears slowly.

A final clutch of games comes from emulators for older console titles. There's a huge wealth of classic arcade titles plus those from consoles such as the Megadrive, SNES, Nintendo 64. The emulators we tried supported the gamepad, but not all will. If you're keen on playing such games, and we certainly are, then this is a goldmine of quality software - though there are legal issues if you don't own the original software.

CONCLUSION

It all comes down to a lack of games, the issue is not whether developers support the Wikipad's controller but rather a paucity of high-quality titles available on Google Play. Rather than picking games to play because we liked the look of them, we quickly worked through pretty much every compatible, high-quality title on offer. Ignoring retro releases there simply isn't enough here to justify buying a dedicated Android gaming device at present.

The same applies to the much-hyped Nvidia Shield, but that device has a far more powerful Nvidia Tegra 4 chipset, is more compact and has a handy folding design to keep everything neatly and safely tucked away. You can also stream PC games to it from an Nvidia-graphics PC. Given it only costs a little more than the WikiPad it's a better choice for serious mobile gamers, though it's not yet available in the UK.

Of course the WikiPad does also function as a traditional 7in tablet, which makes it a better all-round device for shared family use. Here it would benefit from Android 4.2 with its multiple user accounts, or better still 4.3, with its limited user accounts which are great for keeping gaming-mad kids out of your email. The new Nexus 7 has the latter of course.

The Wikipad does feel like it has arrived six months too late. The controller is well built, and the tablet is a decent example, but the chipset at its heart is simply too slow in comparison to the competition. Admittedly there's few games at present that really stretch such Android devices, but that's equally to the detriment of all Android gaming devices.

If you're a keen gamer and want physical controls for your tablet then we'd highly recommend picking up the new Nexus 7 (2013) instead, with its faster chipset and higher-resolution screen. Pair this with a Moga Pro controller and you have a similar setup for the same money - and in our experience Moga has slightly superior games support. You won't be able to play to play on the go easily with your tablet and the Moga admittedly, but it will also work with your Android smartphone.

Given the current state of Android gaming, we'd much rather have the best possible tablet with a gaming add-on, than compromising on the tablet in order to get a very nice gaming controller. If you're absolutely set on playing your Android games on a 7in device on the commute, though, then there's nothing to directly compete with the Wikipad.

Basic Specifications

Rating***
ProcessorNvidia Tegra 3
Processor clock speed1.3GHz
Memory1.00GB
Maximum memoryN/A
Size145x286x65mm
Weight666g
SoundN/A
Pointing devicetouchscreen

Display

Viewable size7 in
Native resolution1,280x800
Graphics ProcessorNvidia Tegra 3
Graphics/video portsHDMI
Graphics Memory0MB

Storage

Total storage capacity16GB
Optical drive typenone

Ports and Expansion

USB ports1
Bluetoothyes
Wired network portsnone
Wireless networking support802.11n
PC Card slotsnone
Supported memory cardsmicro SD
Other portsnone

Miscellaneous

Carrying caseNo
Operating systemAndroid 4.1.1
Operating system restore optionrestore partition
Software includednone
Optional extrasnone

Buying Information

Warrantyone year RTB
Price£250
Detailswww.wikipad.com
Supplierhttp://www.amazon.co.uk

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