With the advent of iPad, the world witnessed a boom in the Tablet PC market. Everyone wants to carry a tablet nowadays. With the Android Tablets hitting the market, a more recent phenomenon, there’s a surge of manufacturers across the world entering into this arena. India is no exception with things really picking up in the last two months. Being by-and-large a price sensitive market, we are suddenly witnessing a surge of sub-20K tablets flooding the market.
Today we have another such contender from Splash Telecom Pvt. Ltd called the Zinglife ZL101, a 10.1-inch tablet running latest Android OS. Priced very competitively, will this be able to win our hearts? Let's find out.
Design and Build
Zinglife Zl101 comes bundled with a charger, a RJ45-to-Ethernet connector and a very stylish carry-case. You’ll notice a striking resemblance to the iPad. Even though it has 10-inch interface, it's a lot lighter than the iPad. There’s a front-facing camera for video chat, but no rear camera. You’ll notice the bezel is quite good around the screen so it’s easy to hold in any orientation.
On the top, we have a micro-SD card slot (up to 32GB), power button, RJ45 port for Broadband cable and volume rocker. Coming to the right we have the power port, mini-USB port, standard USB port, headphone jack, reset switch, mini-HDMI port and microphone port. The speakers are placed at the bottom and covered by aluminium grills. A power light is provided just next to the buttons. The overall build quality is decent.
Zinglife ZL101 comes with a 1.0GHz ARM11 processor and 512MB RAM for faster processing speed. The internal memory is 4GB, which can be extended upto 32 GB through a micro-SD card or a Pen Drive.
Features / Interface
The Zinglife ZL101 runs latest version of Android 2.2 Froyo. The latest upgrade available on their website has already taken it to a level to include all major features of Android 2.3 including Adobe Flash 10.1.
The TouchScreen comes with a decent resolution (1024x600) making it perfect for high-definition videos and games. But, being a TFT, viewing angles of the screen from the side is not so good. Though a high quality Resistive TouchScreen with 3D acceleration, one still misses the multi-touch support of a capacitive screen.
The tablet has decided to go with the standard Froyo User Interface with only slight customizations, which many would consider a wise decision. Standard in-bulit apps include photo viewer, video player, music player, internet bowser, alarm clock, calculator, calendar, OI file manager, notepad and Google Translate. Thankfully, we get the true Android Market and not some custom-built nonsense. Also thrown in are some very apps like Google Maps, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, MSN, Skype, etc. One of the highlights is the in-built latest version of QuickOffice. The default browser does a good job of rendering web pages and the 10.1-inch offers a wide viewing area.
The default video player is capable of playing most of the high-definition formats. It was indeed a pleasure watching videos, especially YouTube, on this tablet. Audio playback quality is decent. Though the speakers’ output is not so loud, at least the voice doesn’t crackle.
3G Connectivity is supported only through 3G data cards. We tested with 3G sticks from three companies – Reliance, Airtel & Vodafone – and it works just fine. Though, on the first time use, it takes about 5-6 mins to pick up network settings. The tablet does not support 3G SIM card, maybe to keep the price down.
Zinglife ZL101 packs in a powerful Wi-Fi like other tablets in the market. What is unique is a RJ45 Port for connecting Broadband Cable as well. Could prove to be a highly useful feature in Indian context.
I noticed the right side of the tablet tends to get slightly warm during charging, but that’s normal. The standard USB 2.0 port is an added advantage as it supports pen drives and data cards. The mini-USB port can only be used for data transfer. It even has a mini-HDMI port for connecting it to an HDTV.
The front facing camera only supports VGA resolution and has average performance. There is no rear camera in this tablet.
Zinglife ZL101 comes with a 2400 mAh battery. Normally, it gives a backup time of 4-5 hours. But if you are using WiFi or Data Card, depending on the signal strength, the backup time may come down to 2.5-3 hours. They surely could have offered a more powerful battery.
Another issue we observed is, if the battery is too low, sometimes the tablet gets hanged.
Overall is a decent tablet with very good configuration. It’s lightweight, offers you a large screen and plays high definition files smoothly. Plus it runs Android 2.2 so you can customize it the way you want. Unique features like USB2.0 and RJ45 adds on to the experience. QuickOffice is an absolute delight where, besides viewing & editing, now you can actually create word, excel and powerpoint files.
The Zinglife ZL101 carries an MRP of Rs.17,999. The street price till now was closer to Rs.15000. While this may seem like a good price for a 10.1-inch tablet running Froyo, we’ve learned from reliable sources within the company that Zinglife is planning a drastic reduction in pricing soon.
From what we’ve been told, the consumer price may come down to as low as Rs. 12,500/- approx. That would be really good news indeed. At this price and with such high configuration, Zinglife Zl101 can prove to be a great pick. Watch out for this one guys, it sure gonna rock!