Monday, November 22, 2010

Velocity Micro Cruz Tablet (T104) Review

11/2011 - We have the new Cruz T408 tablet on hand and are currently testing it.  Check back for our full review.  As a tease, its better than this T104.

UPDATE: Due to a number of questions on playing Youtube videos, I decided to note the link on where to download the Youtube app.  Click here.  This is directly from Velocity Micro.  As the review mentions below, we did not have success with the Youtube app that we downloaded.  You must use the version from Velocity Micro if it does not work.  

Back in July 2010, Velocity Micro announced that it was going to release an Android eReader and tablet in August.  We were looking forward to the Cruz Tablet as it was competitively priced ($299), to have decent specs and would be the second tablet to be launched by a US-based company this year. 
     Things have certainly changed in the 4 months since then.  First, the release date was pushed to November (the eReader launched in September).  Second, a couple of the initial specs that the tablet was to have changed.  Initially, the Cruz Tablet was to have 4GB of internal memory and Android 2.1.  One area of concern we had was the Velocity Micro was very secretive about its processor.  No mention of it was made on its website nor when we contacted the company.  We are not sure if the processor that it finally ended up using (Ingenic JZ4760 MIPS) was a last minute change.  Running Android 2.0 is a negative especially when other Android tablets hitting the market will have at least 2.1 but more likely 2.2 or higher.

Exterior
Tablets will appear to fall into two main sizes: 7” and 9+” screens.  After using the  ZenPad 4/Zenithink ZT-180 for a while, the 7” Cruz Tablet (T104) looked tiny when we first opened the package.  There is debate as to whether a 7” or 9+” screen is ideal on a tablet.  Both have their advantages and disadvantages.  We are neutral on this so its really a matter of personal preference.   However, the smaller size makes it easier to type in portrait mode (like typing on a giant smartphone).  The smaller size also makes it ideal for commuters where personal space is limited.  The Cruz Tablet is similar in size to the Samsung Galaxy Tab.  The Cruz Tablet's dimensions are 7.5” (l) x 5.6” (w) x .7” (h) compared to the Samsung Galaxy Tab which has dimensions of  7.5” x 4.7” x .5”.  While the Galaxy Tab weighs .838 lbs, the Cruz Tablet weighs 1.15 lbs. 
     The Cruz Tablet has a strong feel and overall is high quality.  One can tell that the casing is not made up of plastic.  The back of the tablet has a rubber-like material to prevent scratches which is a nice touch.  In addition, it provides better gripping.  Last thing you want to do is drop one of these on a hard floor.  The screen appears to be made of glass.  The Cruz Tablet has a micro-USB (OTG) port, headphone jack, SD slot, and Dock Connection port in addition to DC In port.  The external speakers are pretty decent.  We played music and watched videos on a very high volume with minimal to little distortion.  On another note, there is no camera on this tablet. Overall, the exterior quality is excellent although we wish for a LED light to show that it is charging and when it is done.
     There are three touch sensitive buttons on the side of the screen: Home; Menu; and Back.  Unfortunately, they are not back-lit unless you press them which makes them difficult to find in dim light.  There is a power button on the side and a Volume Up & Down button on top (if viewing landscape mode) along with a reset button that one would need a paper clip for.  
     Included accessories are USB cable, DC power adapter/charger, soft protective case and two 8 GB SD cards (which is a nice touch).

Internal
Under the hood, the Cruz Tablet runs an Ingenic JZ4760 MIPS processor which is an interesting choice of processor.  Most higher quality tablets use an ARM-based processor.  Actually, most current Android phones are using a higher-end Cortex A8 ARM chip or similar processor. Only Cortex A8 & higher are Flash capable.  The Cruz Tablet has 512MB of RAM which is what a tablet should have at a minimum.  The Samsung Galaxy Tab also has 512MB of RAM.  A SD is definitely required not only for storage but also many apps need it to operate correctly.  The Cruz Tablet does have a built-in accelerometer (auto-rotates the screen) which works well.  It does work well with games that require the accelerometer.  Better than the ZenPad 4/Zenithink ZT-180.

     The Wi-Fi (802.11n ) performed without any issues.  We tested the connection at 2 different distances: 1) approximately 56 feet between the router (located indoors) and the tablet with a wall (standard house wall separating inside & out) in between; and 2) distance of approximately 36 feet between the router (located on the first floor) and the tablet (tested in second floor).  Connection never dropped and no significant slow down in connection. 
    Having a full USB port would have been nice as one would have been able to use a USB flash drive or USB keyboard. 
    The battery is user replaceable which is another plus.

Screen

The screen is the second, if not, the most important hardware of a tablet.  It can make or break the experience.  As mentioned before, the screen is 7” with a resolution of 800x480.  The screen is capacitive but disappointingly not responsive as one would expect from a capacitive screen.  In addition, it is multi-touch so you can pinch zoom assuming the app supports it (Skyfire browser does).  When typing on the standard keyboard, it responds well.  Scrolling is a disappointment.  As you scroll, the tablet does not pick up the touches.  The screen is also difficult to see in bright daylight due to the very glossy screen.  However, this is very common with most tablets.  Fingerprints also continues to be a common problem among all screens.  Nonetheless, we were disappointed as we expected more from a capacitive screen.  This could be specific to our unit as we have not heard complaints from others.

Multimedia
As our video demonstrates, the Cruz Tablet works well with all multimedia (pictures, music & videos) types.  We tested these 3 types using the included apps.  There are other better apps to use but our focus is only on the apps included.  For the pictures, the quality of the images was good.  The colors were not as bright or lively as the original file.  For videos, we tested using MP4 format with 1250 & 1500 bit videos plus two 720p HD files (in MOV & MP4 format).  Both non-HD files played very well with no stuttering.  The Cruz Tablet had no trouble processing the 1500 bit video.  We used an animated movie to show the “fullness” of the video (colors, brightness, contrast, etc.).  We also tested using a live action film as shown in our video.  For the HD videos, the tablet had trouble processing the MOV file although it had no problem with MP4 format.  The tablet did have problems rendering YouTube videos which I get into details below.  However, the multimedia experience was overall good.

Applications (Apps)
The Cruz Tablet did not include certain apps that one would expect such as Android Market, Gmail, YouTube, FaceBook, etc.  Of course, you can add these (including the Market with a hack) on your own.  Non-standard Apps that were included are: Dr. Eye (Oxford Dictionary); Astro File Manager; Cruz Market (app store); Borders/Kobo; OfficeSuite Viewer; Twidroyd (Twitter app); CruzSync (similar to Dropbox); eBuddy Mobile Messenger plus the typical Alarm Clock, Calculator, etc.  The Cruz Market has limited amounts of apps including links to websites (Best Buy, Newegg).  Not what I would expect from an “app store”.  Just a note: the Cruz Market works with the stock browser not Skyfire.  If you use Skyfire, it will direct you to the Cruz Market website with no access to any apps.  Navigating through the Internet on both the standard browser and SkyFire worked fine.  Our preference is SkyFire although there are other good browsers available.  It’s a matter of preference.  We did install the YouTube app.  Initially, we tested the YouTube app (version 1.3) which it could not play certain videos.  We had to download the YouTube apk (same version)available from Velocity Micro in order to view videos.  However, video quality is poor.  As you can see from our video, the YouTube videos are pretty bad.  We did not experience this on our ZenPad/ePad but then again that tablet had a 1GHz ARM11 v6 processor.  Unfortunately, the video processor on the Cruz Tablet is not powerful enough to process the videos correctly.  We did test reading a PDF file using Repligo (our preferred PDF reader).  Using a complex PDF file (37 pages with multiple pictures, images and fonts), it took approximately 10 secs to fully load the first page of the document.  This is about a second slower than the ZenPad/ePad.
     We also tested the Cruz Tablet using a basic 3D game (Light Racer 3D Basic) and again the processor failed to render the graphics correctly.  There does not appear to be any 3D acceleration here.  The game was unplayable.  We tried another game (Droidkoban) which also failed.  We tried to install other 3D games but the tablet just refused to install them.
     Boot up time averaged about 51 seconds about 14 seconds longer than the ZenPad 4/ePad which has a stock Android 2.1 rather than the Velocity Micro-tweaked Android 2.0.

Benchmarks
At this time, we have not chosen a tablet to use as a benchmark for others to be compared against.  In the future, we will pick a particular tablet whose performance is very good and use it as baseline.  For the moment, we will be benchmarking tablets against three different and powerful Android smartphones (HTC Evo; Droid Incredible; and Droid X) plus our previously reviewed ZenPad4/ePad/Zenithink ZT-180.  In addition, we has some benchmarking scores for the Galaxy Tab.  Below are the benchmarking scores of the Cruz Tablet versus the Android phones, ePad and Galaxy Tab:


Unfortunately, we had trouble installing Neocore which we use to benchmark higher graphic performance.  No matter how we tried to install it (via SD card or downloading directly from multiple app stores), the installation failed.  We would guess that it would score less than the ZenPad/ePad.
     One will see that the Cruz Tablet's GPU score is lower than the ZenPad/ePad but higher than the Android phones in Softweg's Benchmark app.   Softweg measures graphic performance in 2D.  As for the CPU, the scores are for informational purposes.  Based on the Linpack and Softweg's CPU score, the Cruz Tablet disappoints with its MIPS processor.  Regarding the BenchmarkPi, the Cruz Tablet's score was significantly higher.   We have said this before but consider the BenchmarkPi score as a very rough indicator of performance. 
   (Different benchmarking apps may test  different aspects of the CPU and GPU which would account for variance.  One cannot look simply at one set of benchmark scores.  One should view all in an aggregate.)

Battery Life
In order to standardize testing, we conducted two battery tests:  1) played a movie that repeated until the unit shut off (with Wi-Fi turned on); and 2) played a movie that repeated until the unit shut off (with Wi-Fi turned off).  Both tests had the brightness at 50%.  Surprisingly, the battery lasted an average of 9:20 hours whether the Wi-Fi was on or off.  We are aware that most individuals will not have the Wi-Fi turned on while watching a movie.  However, this testing method is designed to see how long the battery life is under the most intensive processes.  You can rest assure that using the Internet will last significantly longer than the results posted here.  This is the tablet's greatest strength plus its user replaceable.

Conclusion
Overall, we were disappointed with the Cruz Tablet.  Our expectations were that the device would be better than the ZenPad/ePad which is $100 cheaper.  The capacitive screen along with the processor are the two major weaknesses.  The screen was not as responsive as we would expect from being capacitive.  Maybe it was our specific unit.  Nonetheless, tablet manufacturers need to understand that these two pieces of hardware are the most important factors in the performance of a tablet.  If they want to cut corners, cut it elsewhere but choose the best screen and processor even if the cost will be higher.  Most consumers are smart enough to know this.  We also experience problems with video playback (mostly downstreaming videos online).  The tablet also appears not to be equipped to play 3D games.  Having Android 2.0 does not help either.  On this website, Velocity Micro has confirmed there will be NO updates to 2.1 or 2.2.  We have asked for confirmation but have not heard back.  We will post an update if and when they do respond.  As for the positives, the Wi-Fi worked fine, the quality of unit is excellent, external speakers were fine (although we wish they were louder) and Internet browsing was very good.  Battery life exceeded our expectations.  For $300, its half the price of the Galaxy Tab but we would not say that the better processor and screen on the Tab is worth an extra $300.  The Cruz Tablet is acceptable but we would hold off until better tablets are introduced.  Perhaps Velocity Micro will release a firmware update to correct some of these issues.  We know that they have released firmware updates on the Cruz Reader so if you own a Cruz Tablet, check their website for updates.  Overall, we give the Cruz Tablet a 2.82 stars out of 5.

 *Note: Overall score is based on a weighted average of 9 different factors. Only four of these nine factors are shown here.




80 comments:

  1. A laggy piece of crap for $300. Linpack of 3 is equivalent of a first gen Android device. MIPS means no Adobe Flash ever.

    Anything that requires NDK (has .so) files wont run because they would be built for ARM, not MIPS.

    This is as good as putting a capacitive touchscreen on a VIA WM8505.

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  2. I think it's a nice unit for $299. I want it to read books and watch fantasy football, and occasionally check email. It's great for those things.

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  3. BBuy just put in on sale for $249.99
    If you are looking for a reader, watch videos do some web surfing and play basic games,this is a good choice. Certainly is not a full tablet

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  4. This is very confusing. While you're entire site pretends to be dedicated to tablets, everywhere I look I just see slate computers. This is particularly confusing to me because the site describes itself as focusing on "information exclusively on Tablet PCs".

    First and foremost, the devices that you're profiling are not PCs. Please don't confuse this distinction with something pertaining to Microsoft or Intel. It's not. Being a PC means being a Personal Computer. Even an unreliable resource like Wikipedia gets this definition right. It's a computer that can function without intervening operators or external resources. As soon as a device comes loaded with Android, it's not a PC. It's not a self-sufficient or personal device. It's intended to be always connected, and relies on website and other Internet services to provide its functionality. That definitely does not fit the criteria of freedom from operator intervention, as your Android device without access to the Internet of its services it provides is a fairly underwhelming and non-conformant experience. Beyond that, while these devices do have the slate form factor that many tablets have, they do not share the same tablet functionality. Without tablet functionality, these aren't tablets. It would be adequate to refer to a class of devices by their usage scenario (like tablet) if the device actually reflects that scenario, but otherwise you might want to revert to these devices by their form factor (slate). Tablet computing is a very special tool-based type of interaction and input that goes beyond the finger swiping of Android device. In fact, almost any computer can be turned into a tablet just by adding a graphics tablet peripheral from a company like Wacom, who also happens to provide the digitizers to most slate, convertible, and clamshell tablets. These are terms that have existed within the computer industry for over 10 years, and they're not as flexible as you may hope or as the careless usage of others might otherwise imply. If you're interested in real tablet computing, then you might want to start at Pen Computing magazine or its sister publication Rugged PC Review. These are well regarded journalistic outlets that have been carefully following tablets and slates since the beginning, and you could learn a lot. Good luck on your site and your slates.

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  5. Although you cannot tell by the videos, I compared YouTube videos between the Cruz Tablet and an 1.0Ghz ARM11 processor ePad. Same video but the quality is very different. Probably most people will not notice it but the quality is poorer on the underpowered Cruz Tablet.

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  6. You can buy a no-name generic Android with those specs off of eBay for $100...

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  7. @Not Confused: Thanks for your comment. We had an article on this very topic: http://tabletconnect.blogspot.com/2010/08/tablets-slates-which-is-correct.html
    First, you are correct that these devices are really slates not true "tablets." However, the media and the manufacturers themselves have blurred the distinction. Everywhere you check, the word "tablet" is used not "slates." It is what it is. We will continue to use the term "tablet" because that is what the consumers have been force fed to think of. Second, a PC is another termed that no longer applies to just a Windows/Intel computer. Not sure what you are saying about Wiki. Here is their quote: "A personal computer may be a desktop computer, a laptop, a tablet PC, or a handheld PC (also called a palmtop)." Clearly, a tablet or slate can be considered a PC. Anyway, we can go on but we will not.

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  8. don't make the mistake I made and spend *any* money for a cruz tablet. There are 14 apps in the Cruz Market, all of which are crap. You can get *limited* access to the Android Market, but certain apps, like a terminal app, are blocked and won't install. No wonder Borders is selling this piece of shit on a "no refunds" basis...

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  9. oh, and it's dead slow, and apps crash all over the place, and the touch screen is a disaster, and on and on. Avoid this piece of junk like the plague.

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  10. I purchased the cruz tablet so I could do a little more that read books; Well I cannot even do that with it --- it doesn't support epub and the only android app I could find for epub drm material was txtr; and the velocity cruz online support states that it is not compatable with the cruz tablet. And mine died after having it for two days

    garyg007

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  11. If you have problems with it, return it. I would argue if the retailer wants to charge you a restocking fee. If the product is defective, they should not charge you a restocking fee.

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  12. Been trying to order book from borders using borders app; keep getting error "unable to process order. Try again" --No indication what the error is. Phone number given to call customer service -- error message from phone company that number not set up to accept calls.
    As far as returning it to borders, I believe that will not accept a return of a cruz tablet.
    Buyer beware when purchasing tablet from borders.

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  13. My statement above about the phone number is in error - I transposed two digits

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  14. I have been doing a lot of reading about tablets and e-readers. I have been looking for information regarding if it is possible to plug in a keyboard. If I get a mini to USB converter for a keyboard, do you think it will work?

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  15. I have no idea what everyone is complaining about. I own an iPad and am very happy with that. I bought the Cruz tablet knowing it's not even close to an iPad. I got it for the small size, good battery, ability to go online and watch .avi videos. this thing does it well. A lot of the tablets at this cheap price range don't have capacitive touch screens. This one does. It is not as responsive as the iPad, but that was a given at the price. No matter which version of android you use at this moment, none of them are truly good for a tablet, they are for phones. Basically know your needs before purchasing. Don't expect too much at this price.

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  16. @Andrea: It should work as long as you are using a true USB keyboard and not a PS/2 with a USB adapter.
    @Mike: If it works for you, that is great. However, we do expect the device to perform reasonably well which Cruz Tablet failed to do. We are currently testing the Archos 70 which for $275 significantly outperforms the Cruz Tablet. Even the $250 Nook Color outperforms the Cruz Tablet.

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  17. my wifi does not allow me to connect to the internet. When it finally works it wont let me click on anything without it saying that it got diconnected.

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  18. @Anonymous: Is the Wifi on in settings? If so and you selected your network, do you have a secure network? Make sure the security key was correctly typed into it. It should state it is obtaining IP address. Once connected, it will say connected. If not, it could be your router. Try a public WiFi like McDonalds or Starbucks to see if it works.

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  19. I got mine to read books. it does that. I have the Borders app (it came with it) and the kindle app. I am not an app junky. I am reading on it mostly and surfing the web. I don't log into my home PC much anymore. I check e-mail from this. i facebook from this. I check the weather from this. It does simple stuff. I am still working on youtube app. I am a bit of a nerd and I am enjoying the challange of getting everything working. If you want an IPAD... go buy one. If you want something that is much cheaper and does quite a few things this tablet will do it. It is a little slow. Expectations are everything.

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  20. I'm surprised at all of the complaints - I found this to be a far better device for books than the Nook Color (which I also bought).
    If you want to read ePub books (free from your library), simply search for and install Overdrive - you can then operate the Cruz in concert with your PC or all by itself. It shows text edge to edge, black or white background, any brightness - it's a fantastic book reader!
    My only concern is that it has a hard time finding wireless networks. It does fine with e-mail and web browsing when connected - but you have to be close to the wireless router in order to connect.

    In all, this is a surprisingly useful and usable device, and the battery life is best best in the market.

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  21. Thanks to everyone for your CRUZ comments. They are featuring it on QVC now - for $189 - 5 payments of $45.00.

    I was tempted - until I read the capacitive touch is a joke, also no apps available.

    I will continue to wait for the Samsung Galaxy or Ipad. I see Motorola will roll out a new VZ product.

    I will absolutely pass on CRUZ.

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  22. I have had the Cruz T103 for 1 day. When I first turned it on I realized that the touch screen was as many of the reviews said, very slow to respond.

    HOWEVER, I went to the Cruz website and I downloaded an update for the device. I installed the update and NOW, its like a different device. The screen is VERY responsive, like on my EVO, and I no longer have any of the slowness issues. Everyone should upgrade their T103.

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  23. Thanks webkrawlerr. We always recommend to upgrade the firmware as manufacturers do release updates to improve the software. Glad it is working better. Our review did not include the latest firmware.

    As for Anonymous posted on 1/8/11, try the Archos 70. Much better tablet. Price is $275 for the 8GB although some places are selling more than that.

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  24. My wife got this for me as a present. I mostly want to read books and I thought I could use it on our upcoming vaction to England.
    What a piece of junk!
    I have plenty of free books on my computer and I thought I would be able to "drag and drop" them into this device. Not even close!
    The only way to read a text file is to add them to an SD card then open them in the microsoft word emulator. This opens it for editing and the only way I can read them is to scroll back and forth!
    Then I tried to watch videos online. It doesn't support flashplayer!!!!! Are you kidding me? How can you release any device for internet that doesn't?
    You should be able to return these under "Implied Warranty of Merchantability" which basically says if you buy something for a purpose that the manufacturer advertised and it doesn't work for that purpose then you get to have it fixed or replaced.
    Bottom line is "DON"T BUY IT."

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  25. DO NOT BUY....absolute piece of garbage. Very buggy... Apps store is a joke with only 14 apps. Can't even access internet reliably without telling you "Website unavailable" when every other device I have works just fine. Bottom line: AVOID AT ALL COSTS!!

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  26. FYI, Fry's has these for $169 this weekend. As an music/video playback device with replaceable battery and user controlled storage options this seems like a good deal at THAT price. The nearly ten hours of video life is a godsend for car trips with my kids. If this allows email, Facebook, low yield surfing, music and video for $169, I'm headed to Fry's. One question. Though it's bundled with Border's store, can it also load Kindle books? Thanks webkrawlerr for the firmware tip!

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  27. Tiger Direct has these for $119.99 todya 1/18/2011. Rob

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  28. iPad doesn't support Flash either, does it? I guess it is a piece of crap too.

    Tim

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  29. Any suggestions? - I looked at this at Best Buy and Fry's and at the time it was $169. Neither place had a working demo model and nobody could answer my questions. I already have an iPad and would just like something even more portable mainly for video. I have several models of helmet 'action' cameras that I use snowboarding, mountain biking etc. I want to be able to pull the SD or micro SD cards (depending on which camera I am using) and just plunk it into a small tablet and watch the footage. Is this possible with this or any other inexpensive tablet? I need to have it read video in AVI, MP4, H264, and MOV formats. I don't want to go through having to compress the video first. Will any tablet allow me to just watch the video straight from the SD card? I don't really care so much about apps or gaming ability, I mainly want to watch the videos. If I can get online here and there, that would be nice. Any suggestions?
    Thanks -- Peter

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  30. As the review stated, it had trouble reading MOV but not MP4. You should be able to watch the videos on this or any tablet as long as it is a supported format. If you use mostly MOV format, then this tablet will probably not be able to read it.

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  31. thanks a lot for this great information I like to read such a nice article....

    Smith Alan

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  32. Part 1:
    I've had my Cruz Tablet for 2.5 weeks now. I did a lot of research on ereaders b-4 buying & I knew this device had limitations. I was not looking for a iPad or similar device. I just wanted an ereader with a few extras. And that is what I got. I would not pay $250 for this device. But I am happy with the $170 sale price that I grabbed it for @ Best Buy. (Note: This device can be returned within 30 days to Best Buy without paying a restocking fee, in case anyone wants to give it a try.)

    This device is not for someone with little to no computer knowledge. But with a slight clue & a bit of persistence this device can be figured out. Overall now that I have my device all set up & running mostly smoothly I am pretty happy with the device. With 2 exceptions. (See Below.)

    I thought I would pass on some of my experiences with various apps & whatnot in hopes of helping new users of this device. Here is some of what I found--

    The first thing you should do after charging the battery the 1st time is download the update.zip file from Cruz & update the firmware. This will improve your device significantly. And if you wait to do it you will just have to reinstall any 3rd party apps that you have added to your device.

    Ereading apps: I didn't particularly like the Borders app. (Occasionally, it hangs itself & requires access to the internet to open any books that are already in it's library. Since I don't always have access to wifi that is not convenient. So I installed the Kindle app. I definitely prefer it to the Borders app. However, I have found that 2 different books (1 actually purchased from Amazon & the other converted with Calibre software) would hang up the Kindle app & cause it to crash the app. But I have had no problems reading several other books in the Kindle app since, (some from Kindle others converted with Calibre).

    I have found that the best reading software for this particular device is the Overdrive software from the public library. Frankly, it's the ONLY reading app that has not crashed on my. And it's the only 1 I have found that will read epubs. Note: I don't believe it can read epubs not obtained from the library. (I wish Adobe Digital Editions would create an android app. I would love to have that software on this device.)

    Has anyone else gotten any other epub app to work on this device???
    Nook, Txtr, FBreader, Aldiko (& several others) do not work on this device so don't bother with those 4. Aldiko did install & I was able to read a portion of a book, but when I tried going back into that same book later that day the app crashed repeatedly. (Rebooting did not help.) I deleted the book, uninstalled & reinstalled the app, but ended up having the very same problem with the next book that I tried read with that app. I deleted the app.

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  33. Part 2:
    Skyfire & the youtube app from the cruz website work for playing youtube videos. Although Skyfire seems to have some other issues.

    I have found that adding a shortcut to Processes to my homescreen & going in frequently to "kill all" unnecessary apps helps dramatically with prolonging battery life. Many apps continue to run in the background otherwise, & they eat up the battery & slow the device down!

    Downloading the Fast Reboot app has been convenient for when an app crashes. I have found rebooting without having to powerdown the device to help considerably in getting a crashed program back up & running.

    Which brings me to my 2nd significant issue with the device. If your devices battery isn't dead, but your device won't start & appears DEAD try pushing the reset button. Yesterday while in the Kindle app I put my device down for about 5 minutes without turning it off. When I picked it up again & touched the screen the program/device was frozen. The soft touch buttons did not work at all so I couldn't pop out of Kindle & I could not power the device down to reboot it. After pushing & holding the power button several times the device finally turned off without powering down. But then it would NOT turn back on. Just as I was about to box it up & take it back to the store I decided to push the reset button next to the volume control. Fortunately, it sprang back to life, & has been working fine since.

    If I knew for certain the Kindle app would continue to work properly on this device without crashing again I would be very happy with my $170 tablet.

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  34. I bought the device for $179 so my girl can read books, surf the web, watch TV shows and log onto Facebook. The Cruz T103 Package came with a 4GB and 8GB SD card, not bad for $179.

    I updated the firmware and it functions really good compared to when you first buy the device which responds slowly. (Update a must) The Wi-Fi works fine with my 2wire SBC modem. Go to homeportal and switch your power settings to 8.

    I own the Ipad and I use that specifically for iTunes, apple TV, etc, however, I got what I paid for when I purchased both devices. Ipad costs a lot of money even after you purchase it.

    Ipad Total including Itunes (ETC) = $2,600
    Cruz Tablet T103 = $179

    I remember purchasing my G1 android (cell phone) for $399.99 which had complaints for the first 6 months until enough users got together and started hacking into it to help unlock more features.

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  35. I have had two cruz tablets simply stop working on me. The first I got for Christmas, it refused to turn on after about two or three days. I returned it, they sent me a new one, and not even a month and a half later I am having the same problem. KEEP YOUR MONEY PEOPLE THESE THINGS ARE PIECES OF SH*T.

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  36. I ordered my cruz tablet about a month ago and I really have enjoyed it. It does basically everything I wanted. I can lay in bed and surf the net and I can download and read books from Kindle and Kobo. I took the advice from several different forums (including this one) and installed the Dolphin browser (love it), Overdrive media console, and a few video games. I admit that the video isn't always the best, but I have experienced good quality sometimes -so I will examine more closely how I achieved the better quality. I do not need this to be a music player - I have an MP3 player. Those who have given this tablet vehement negative reviews have the right to do so - but I think that a little more research would have solved some of their problems. My only complaint is that I spend too much time surfing the net and reading since I bought this tablet.

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  37. I like mine it does everything that I want it to

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  38. I own a T103. I bought it on sale in TigerDirect to test my webapp on Android, to use it in travelling as a browser, comm device and as a eReader. I'm very confused about the lack of features/hardware information. In the manual it says that it comes with a mic. In the pics of the product the mic is not shown. Tigerdirect (where I bought it from) says in the features that has a mic:
    --------
    Features:

    * Full color TFT display
    * 7” diagonal 16:9 800x480 screen
    * Capacitive touch screen – ultra responsive!
    * Android 2.0
    * 512MB RAM
    * 4GB AND 8GB bundled SD cards
    * Supports PDF, TXT, HTML reader files
    * MP3, WMA, AAC, WAV audio support
    * MPEG-4, H.264, H.263, MOV, AVI video support
    * JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP image support
    * 802.11n wifi
    * Built in speakers
    * Microphone
    * Headphone jack
    * Mini USB
    * Li-Ion battery - up to 10+ hours of life, 24+ standby
    * Dimensions: 7.5"x 4.75"x .6"
    --------------

    I think now that there is no mic in it..but the small hole is there...

    As a comm device, I bought it hoping that there is an integrated mic..

    The lack of apps is not a real problem for me, but I would like to have more system and comm apps.

    Let's see!


    P.S.) Can anybody tell me if there is an app to view the hardware specs ??? (something like lshw in linux...)

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  39. Not sure about the mic. We use Android System Info by ElecticSheep to "peak" into the hardware specs. since there is no Google Marketplace on the Cruz, you will need to find it and sideload it.

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  40. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  41. Ok, the $64 question ????

    Is it possible to upgrade to 2.1?

    Just wondering?

    Rob

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  42. @Rob there was an upgrade to Android 2.2 for the T301 model only which is different than the one we tested. However because Velocity Micro used a weak processor, it will not support Adobe Flash.

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  43. Where are you able to watch shows and movies from? I've downloaded some youtube videos and they will not play.

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  44. @ not confused

    Dictionary.com definition of "Computer" (AKA Processor by their standards)
    an electronic device designed to accept data, perform prescribed mathematical and logical operations at high speed, and display the results of these operations.

    Safe to say Tablets fit the bill.

    Definition of PC (Personal computer)
    a microcomputer designed for individual use, as by a person in an office or at home or school, for such applications as word processing, data management, financial analysis, or computer games. Abbreviation: PC

    TABLETS fit the definition of a PC perfectly with Android or Windows.

    People will call them what ever they want to call them. A Tablet is a PC as it performs all the same functions by the definition. Which fits fine to the title Tablet PC.

    Myself I call them tablets or slates. I do refer to devices such as the Toshiba M4 as a tablet PC, but these where named way before slate PCs where invented and introduced to consumers. A name is just a name, even a smartphone can be called a PC as its a Personal Device that can handle logical and mathmatical operations.

    Great review. Glad I checked it out and not going to purchase this tablet. Flash is a key component nowadays.

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  45. Not a bad tablet for the price, this can be picked up for $149 now.

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  46. "In addition we has"... lol.

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  47. ExSophus said...

    Velocity Cruz T103 (T-ONE-zero-three) for $100 came preloaded with Android 2.2.1

    The touchscreen is now VERY responsive and accurate. No problems with mis-keys (e.g. the earlier reported "L" key issue), etc on keyboard. (still new, however, will have to see over time)

    Major disappointment re apps for reading documents...the built-in "Office Suite", html, and pdf readers=ONLY navigation appears to be SCROLLing through a document. You don't have "search" or bookmark capabilities, nor "page-forward" and "page-back" virtual buttons. And, when display auto-rotates (can be turned-off), it reloads the document and starts back at beginning. You have to manually SCROLL to your prior place in the document. Also, when I resize font in a .doc document to a larger size, the text goes off-screen to the right, so you end-up having to scroll left-right as well as up-down. Reading the SAME document converted to .html didn't have that problem...it auto-inserted linefeeds to keep text lines to width of screen.

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  48. ExSophus said...

    Sorry, I didn't mean to include the .pdf as a reader without "page-forward" and "page-back" virtual buttons. The bundled .pdf reader DOES have those two virtual buttons which take you to the next page or prior page...however, that's because the .pdf reader has to LOAD each page one at a time, unlike the .doc or .html document readers which load in the entire document at once. Each time you press the "back" or "forward" button in the.pdf reader it takes about 5-10 seconds to load each .pdf page from the T100 series "Getting Started" pdf file (depends on complexity of the page).

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  49. ExSophus said...

    Re: downloading and using 3rd party apps...
    I had no trouble downloading and using Kindle, Aldiko, YouTube for Android, and in general loading and playing music and videos. In general, while the 3rd party eBook readers are a major improvement over the bundled readers, I wish the eBook readers would provide fonts larger than setting "30". I'm vision-impaired and a font twice the size of "30" would be very helpful at times.

    Re: the Android 2.2.1 update...
    The upgrade to Android 2.2.1 (20110812 release) was apparently a major improvement in virtually all aspects of the T103. By the way, the 2.2.1 update.zip file is available on the cruzsupport website and it should be easy to update your T103.

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  50. I own a T103 and after the 2.2.1 upgrade, it's much faster and responsive. I'm still curious about the mic...I will try the screwdriver method after the warranty expires...I'm pretty sure there is a mic (or it's almost there!). The MIPS has a pin for audio in, so there shouldn't be a hardware problem. Using adb and audialyzer, I noticed there is a missing audio library too.

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  51. This would be a good tablet if Velocity Micro would release the kernel source code and stop Violating the GPL.

    http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-violation.html

    Violating the GPL is the same as stealing, this company agreed to comply to the GPL to sell their tablets, then after they sell them they refuse to honor the GPL. This Company is a thief plain and simple.

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  52. Got my T103 from Amazon yesterday for $99 with free shipping. Upgraded to 2.2.1 Froyo (from VM website) which included the Amazon app store. Added the Kindle app and found the Yahoo mail app to install. Then I rooted it, installed DALVIK turbo, got rid of the bloatware, added Google Market Place, maps and uTube. Really not a bad device as an advanced "reader" for $99. Feel sorry for the people that paid $200-$300 for it though....

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  53. Dead as a door nail in 24 hours.

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  54. Wow - what a lot of negative comments. I picked one of these up today and did the update to android 2.2. Then installed applanet and amazon's app markets. Then installed the programs that my mom wanted (pandora, epocrates, facebook, kindle) - all of which are installed & running. Added some epub books that ARE supported in the kobo reader...

    I am amazed that this is offered at the price it is. Tomorrow sears has a sale - new cruz tablets for 89$. I picked this one up for 69$ (open box). Can't beat the price and it does everything my mom was hoping it would do.

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  55. The T408 version is much better. Review should be posted later by tomorrow.

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  56. i have a cruz tablet r100, i want to know if it will be a good idea to update it to the android 2.2, i went into the companies web site and they have the update. is it gonna work fine?

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  57. @anonymous We would always recommend to update to the latest version of Android 2.2.

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  58. I think its a great tablet and you can find it at oneproductoneweek.com
    its really cool...

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  59. what about the usb cord, mine didn't come with one, where do u get it

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  60. fyi...had trouble getting ebooks as well...loaded an apk called moonreader..it was fantastic and practically runs itself..didnt like kobo or the others. try it.

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  61. I got my son a cruz tablet for christmas and found out that it does not work and I need help finding out how to have it replaced.

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  62. @anonymous re: gift for son. I would just go back to the store or where you bought it and exchange it. They should not give you any problems.

    @Anonymous re: USB cord. The USB cord is the one that attaches to the AC Adapter. If you did not give the cord, go back to the store.

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  63. we bought a cruz tablet at sears this week in the usa and brought it back to the uk with us. after a long charging time we still can not get the unit to turn on. get flashing white lights when we run our hands down the side of the tablet but nothing else. are we doing something wrong or is this unit faulty? ( nightmare returning it if it is !)

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  64. @anonymous, did you charge it in the US? I know the AC adapter is different in other countries. It could be defective. Are you pressing the power button and holding for a few seconds?

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  65. press the reset botoon ao side or unplug and plug the cruz in

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  66. Your archos android tablet opens up for any wide variety involving shell out and also free of charge programs located in the Google android assortment. The particular downer is the fact that in spite of the 900 80 display screen resolution, insufficient Residence as well as Again equipment applies that away from list of compatible gadgets for that Android mobile phone (One.Your five)

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  67. I bought this over a year ago, and wish I'd done more research on it. I've had to reset it 6 times and replace the battery 3 times. I use it for the Bible app and a paperweight. It also makes a wonderful doorstop. This has been the biggest waste of time, money and resources I've come across in quite a while. Of the apps available on the Cruz Market, many have little to no useful purpose. For the few that I can get from Android Market (after downloading to my PC and transferring by sd card) I find the unit can't run them. Screen response is horrible even after running the updates. This is another example of "let's rush a piece of crap to market so we can something available until we can produce something better." Kinda like Windows Me and Vista.

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    Replies
    1. To continue: It also does not natively run .avi, .mp3, .pdf or .ePub as promised.

      Delete
  68. Great job here. I really enjoyed what you had to say. Keep going because you definitely bring a new voice to this subject.

    ReplyDelete
  69. i got a used velocity micro t301 cruz tablet from a friend of mine. it was working great until i accidently factory reset it one day. now i cannot get it to enable to wifi. every time i try to enable wifi it says error. how do i fix this???

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  70. The Cruz Tablet has a major ace in its sleeve in the form of pricing that can undercut its competition by half.
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  71. You can decide that which device you want to buy:
    Smartphone, laptop or tablet. But I think Tablet device is best for the businessman because of many reason. Many branded company sell their tablet but you should take a look on some tablet review site before you buy it so that it will help you to have some knowledge about its feature, its benefit, U can compare them for justifying that which of them is best.

    http://whattabletisthebest.com/ is a same liked site where many people said their experience, review and comments about using tablets. You also can take a look on there.

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  72. I haven't use it now, that's why i don't know anything about this. But i will try to use it to find either it has any problems while using or not. tablet pc

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  73. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  74. Hi I bought a Cruz Tablet model #R102 about three years ago and I had forgotten my pattern can you please help me thank you.

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  75. we purchased a cruz tablet at singes this week in the usa and brought it once again to the uk with us. after a long charging time regardless we can not get the unit to turn on. get glimmering white lights when we run our surely the side of the tablet yet nothing else. is it accurate to say that we are finishing something wrong or is this unit flawed?

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  76. Thank you so much for sharing this youtube app. I was looking for it.

    buy twitter followers

    ReplyDelete