Ramos W17 Pro
I wanted to know if relatively unknown manufacturers like AMLogic can stand a chance against dual core chips I have tested before (TI OMAP 4430, APQ8860 and Tegra 2). I got this from a seller on Aliexpress.com for about GBP90 with UPS shipping.
Store:Shenzhen Eternal Technology Co., Ltd.
Supplier: Sles-May ET
Took a day for them to ship it and 3 working days to reach me.
CPU: AMLogic ML8726-MX, dual-core Cortex A9 at up to 1.5Ghz.
OS: Android 4.0.3
Internal Memory: 816
Screen Size: 7"
Screen Resolution: 1024x768
Webcam: 1.3MP (front only)
Battery: 3200mAH Li-Ion.
When I first lifted the tablet, I cannot get over just how light it is. It is advertised as weighing only 304g and I have no trouble believing that. It is so damn light! Fortunately, it also does not feel cheap. I think this is mostly because of the textured back.
The front is like any other buttonless tablet. Nothing special here. There is a little bleeding of light from one side of the screen of my unit but I can live with this very minor issue. It won't be visible unless you look for it.and I can't even take a picture to show it. Maybe it is time for me to invest in a proper camera :) Ignore the background. Please.
Before I get on with the screen, let me just show you the packaging.
In case you didn't catch that, here's a closer look at the important bit.
Yeah, the screen is not IPS. BUT do not let that deter you from reading any further as the screen performed admirably... for a non IPS panel that is. Here is how the screen looks at its lowest brightness. Its visible head on but not so much on any other sides. Use this if you are using it in your bedroom without any other competing light sources switched on.
And here is the screen at 50% brightness. This is my usual setting and is the one I recommend using. The sacrifice on battery life is worth it. It is visible on most angles except if you are viewing it perpendicularly. Since its an 7" tablet, I doubt you would need/want to do it anyway so its really almost a non-issue.
Finally, at its full glory. Clearly whatever anti-glare coating/technology Ramos is using here is working. Good job on improving the viewing angle as well as maintaining the low price!
Nothing special. It works well without stutters and works with Skype. Low quality camera but I rarely use it anyway. Image quality is sharp when there is enough light. It does not handle low light conditions well so make sure to use it in a well lit room.
Speakers and Headphone jack
To be honest, I was prepared to be disappointed with the Ramos' speaker (its only a mono speaker). BUT somehow Ramos continues to impress here! I mean of course, the quality is far and way below those of the Touchpad's but it is WAY better than the ones in SmartQ Ten3 T15 I reviewed earlier.
Obviously, there is no bass and just a hint of mids but the vocals are clear and crisp. The treble are not harsh and more importantly it does not distorts under any volume setting. That is really an accomplishment for a chinese tablet manufacturer!
Playing back music using headphones is easy due to the standard 3.5mm jack. Audio output is clean with no obvious noise at any volume. Dynamic range is good. Volume is plenty so it should not have any problem powering most consumer headphones.
I no longer uses the tablet as I gave it to my niece for her birthday (and hence the background and the bed sheet) so this part is purely based on my 2 weeks experience of using the tablet. First off, if you used it fully with wifi turned on, screen at 50% and running 3D games it would last at most 4 hours. If you are a light user e.g. you surf periodically and let the tablet sleep every now and then expect to see about 8hrs or so of usage. And if you are like my niece, who happened to be a very light surfer hence wifi almost always turned off, brightness turned all the way down and use it mainly for gaming then according to her (but remember, she is 8 but with an amazingly well developed systems of thought I must say) you will need to charge it after 12 hours of usage. That really is the upper limit of what you can expect and I do not remember ever getting that much out of the battery.
Finally! The main reason why I bought the tablet in the first place. The SOC! For this unit, I decided to benchmark under the different CPU governing modes i.e. Power Saving, Normal and Performance. Power saving will cap your CPU clock to 1GHz while Normal sets it to 1.2GHz and Performance to its full 1.5GHz speed.
The main reason is that different people have different needs and expectations from the tablet. What is deemed acceptable by one person might not be enough for another. And also, it seems like there are complaints about the Ramos being too hot while in operation. Based on my experience, the Performance mode does certainly heats up the back side of the tablet but it is still within the acceptable side for me. Using it under Normal mode will heat it up a little bit but is comparable to the heat produced when you use any modern smartphones to surf on a 3G connection. You can feel it but it really is nothing major. And finally under the Power Saving mode the tablet will turn at most lukewarm under any load. This is what my niece is using all the time and the performance is apparently enough for her needs.
Under all the three CPU governing modes, the tablet still operates smoothly. These are occasional brief stutters in the Power Saving mode but does not really affect the user experience. Browsing is smooth using the stock browser even with the pre-installed flash player enabled but obviously the Chrome browser is way smoother.
Just to put things into perspective, here is a table showing the different performance of the SOC under all the modes. Performance under Performance mode is considered as 100%.
Comparison with other SOCs
Please note that I do not have any data for AnTuTu under Tegra 2 hence the 0 score.
The wireless performs okay when you are close to the router but sucks otherwise. My router is a pretty good performer (WHR-HP-G54) with a built-in amplifier and Tomato firmware installed so this should be more than enough. For whatever reasons, the wireless just will not work on areas where the signal is worse than -65dB. Good thing I have mini routers lying around so turned one of them into a repeater and all is well.
I love this tablet! The best chinese tablet I have reviewed so far. If somehow they can improve future revisions to fix the wireless reception as well as perhaps adding some cheap heatsink to help with the heat issue, I would easily recommend this to anybody looking for a cheap tablet but as it is, the Ramos W17 Pro is an excellent performer.