Not a bad choice for beginners.

Tonight I’m reviewing the X9 tablet by iRULU. It features a 9″ diagonal screen with a 976×600 pixel display at 160dpi, 512MB of RAM, 8GB flash, Android 4.4 KitKat, Allwinner A33 CPU, Mali 400 MP2 dual core GPU, sd card slot, bluetooth and dual cameras.

iRulu X9 Tablet Review 2First impressions
At first glance, it is instantly apparent this is a budget tablet. It is fairly heavy for its size, a little thick, and the edges of the screen do not fit perfectly with the rest of the case. It is easy to bend and flex the back of the unit causing distortion on the screen. It does have nice port placement and an easy to use SD card slot, and personally, I prefer a tablet like this with a bit of a bezel around the edge. This makes it easier to hold while reading or watching videos.

Performance and Function
The X9 performs surprisingly well for a tablet at this price point. You will find most apps to run with only minimal stuttering, and the screen is responsive when using the keyboard for the most part. If you’re used to a faster device, my suggestion is to be patient and not tap repeatedly when something doesn’t happen as quickly as your other devices; usually things will work just fine, but just a bit slower. Some of the newest apps from Google have a bit of a problem at first, but most I tried eventually settled out and performed pretty well. I recommend continuing to use the Browser app included with Android as opposed to Chrome. It seemed to perform a bit better on the limited hardware.

Wifi was a bit of a problem for me. The X9 seemed to connect easily to my network, but occasionally I would come back to it and it had disconnected. Only a full reboot would solve this problem for me.

The display is the most disappointing part of this tablet. With a meager resolution of 976 pixels by 600 on a 9″ screen, text is jarringly jagged and individual pixels are readily apparent. I could have gotten used to the lower resolution, but the viewing angle of the display is so poor that holding the tablet perpendicular to the ground and a few feet from my eyes, there are parts of the screen that only one eye can see clearly. The result is ghostly, eye strain inducing, and washed out images. Color reproduction seems somewhat poor, and high brightness was barely noticeable compared to low. This tablet would have been vastly improved by even a marginal improvement here. I was able to play Netflix and Youtube very well with the tablet, and in a darker room or environment the picture is more acceptable.

iRulu X9 Tablet Review 3Bluetooth worked well, though range was reduced compared to my LG G3. I had no problems connecting to my Fugoo Bluetooth speaker or playing tunes through the Google Music app to it, other than Google Music being a bit slow while playing and trying to search for music simultaneously most likely stemming from the device’s lower performing CPU and limited RAM.

Battery life was surprisingly good. It’s easy to get several hours of playing games, reading, and music out of the device.

Sound reproduction was decent from the headphone port, but like most tablets, the speaker is mounted facing away from you so you’ll do nicely to cup your hand near the speaker to direct the sound forward while watching videos. The speaker got loud enough to hear dialog and game music well in a quiet room, but don’t expect audiophile quality sound from its small speaker.

Included with the device is an app called iRulu Game which includes limited free, ad supported, and trial version games on a secondary marketplace outside of the Google Play store. I tried a few games and they seemed decent and ran decently. You will find some recognizable titles and some clone games. Curiously the device made me enable third party sources when I first tried to use an app from this market. I found that a bit odd that they wouldn’t have worked around that as consumers today can be pretty wary of disabling security features on their devices. Other than this game app, a partially broken catalog app of iRULU products, and the ebay app there is no bloatware on this device, which is very nice.

iRulu X9 Tablet Review 4I tested the graphics performance of this tablet with Monument Valley, and Bridge Constructor among a few titles from the iRulu game store. I found this device surprising it is ability to play the latest casual 2D and 3D tablet games. I’d see this as a great option to keep kids entertained on a long road trip.

The 2 megapixel rear camera performance is pretty poor in all but bright conditions which is not unexpected in this device class. If you have a very well lit room, the front facing camera does decently for a Google Hangouts video chat. I’d could see this being as a gift for someone who needs an introductory device to participate in video calls with.

Final thoughts
The iRULU X9 has a lot of features and adequate hardware to run all your favorite social media apps, email, light web browsing, and video watching. It is plagued by a very poor display viewing angle, and limited performance for more demanding apps and browsing of very complicated web sites. I would recommend this quickly as a low cost second tablet for a child that you can let them use without fear of having to replace an expensive device if something were to happen to it.

For more information, visit
Find iRulu on Facebook and Twitter.