Astro Tab A10 has a great screen and newer version of Android make this tablet a pleasure to own.
Ten years ago, the concept of a computing device consisting of only a keyboard-less and wire-less “magic screen” used to have connotations of heavy cost and limited utility. Since then, Tablet computing has come a long way since earlier devices like the Palm Pilot and Windows Tablet PCs. Today, mobile devices are so versatile and so varied that in many cases, an end user will not even look at a particular hardware specification when shopping for a new device. Instead of checking on a new device’s available RAM or processor frequency, the primary question will be along the lines of “Will it play my games?” or “Can I watch my movies?” Another inevitable question would be “Are you going with Android or iOS?” (Sorry, Microsoft.)
For those that seek Android, the Astro Tab A10 is the positive answer to any of these questions. This is the best bang-for-the-buck Android tablet that I have used, by far.
The tablet has an IPS display panel with a maximum resolution of 1200×800. This means that right out of the box, this tablet screen that is a leap ahead of the pack. Where most cheap tablets cut costs by offering a display panel with poor color and viewing angle, this screen is quite the opposite. Color is very well represented and the viewing angle is excellent. The brightness of the display goes a bit higher than I was expecting and even allowed a decent outdoor viewing experience during a recent road trip. No one will look at this screen and confuse it with the fancy super high-res screens used on an iPad or Galaxy Tab, but the A10 has a screen that is still impressive standing on its own.
Additional features include 16GB of built in storage which puts it in line with a few of the entry level devices by the “bigger guys”. The provided microSD slot is nice since it will support up to a 32GB card for additional storage. A Mini HDMI port and the usual 3.5mm headphone jack are good for media uses that do not involve a Chromecast. A full-size USB port is provided and worked great for file transfers to/from a USB thumbstick and even plugging in a wired controller for gaming, though I admit the latter did look a little silly. The tablet is charged by either the provided Adapter through a tiny DC pin port (boo.) or the available micro USB port (yay!). The AC Adapter charges the tablet faster, but has too short of a reach.
Battery life is rated at about five hours of active use and this seems about right. This lower expectancy is to be expected due to the lower cost of the tablet, but I was able to make it through my work day just fine without any battery emergencies.
Two cameras are provided in the usual front-back combination (front 0.3MP, back 2MP), but they are very poor.
The A10 offers excellent performance for the price. I was able to swap between active apps with ease. Loading times were minimal on all except the most demanding apps. Vainglory and Hearthstone ran well, though Hearthstone initially warned of unsupported hardware due to the lesser-known graphics chipset. Streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu were unsurprisingly perfect and streaming my PCs video content over local network share worked without trouble. Each of the benchmarks used during my testing recorded scores that fit my baseline expectation: Top of the line as far as “cheap tablets” go, and nowhere near the performance levels of the $500+ tier.
The tablet includes Android 5.1.1 and using the newer version of Android along with the increased performance of the tablet definitely improved my opinion of the tablet. It was great to see Google’s newer Material Design on a cheaper tablet and the available Google Apps (Drive, Mail, Docs, Sheets, etc.) worked excellently.
With a low cost, great screen, impressive performance, and Android 5.1.1, users will be getting a fantastic tablet experience with very few caveats. This tablet appears to be truly special.
|Example Benchmarks||Alldaymall A88S||Nvidia Shield Portable||Astro Tab A10|
|OS Version||4.4.2 (KitKat)||4.4.2 (KitKat)||5.1.1 (Lollipop)|
|CPU||ARM sun8i @ 1.34Ghz||ARM sun8i @ 2Ghz|
|*only 1GB available for general use.|
For more information, visit astroqueo.com.