The budget tablet segment keeps growing, and generally they are also improving in quality. In the beginning these products had pretty terrible displays, but nowadays you can find decent screens on these affordable tablets. A fairly recent addition to the entry-level segment is the brand dServe, that is using three new tablets to enter the budget tablet market. Hardware.Info tested all three, the DSRV 7015C, de DSRV 9703C and the DSRV 1005C. All three were recently launched in the UK via Selfridges department stores.
You probably guessed already by their names, these three tablets have three different sizes, specifically 7 inches, 9.7 inches and 10.1 inches. The three models also have different resolutions and aspect ratios. The 7-inch 7015C has 800x480 pixels (5:3 or 15:9), the 9703C is 1024x768 (4:3) and the 1005C is 1024x600 (16:9). Something for everyone, in other words. Prices are around £119 (7015C), £196 (9703C) and £188 (1005C). They weigh 360 grams, 534 grams and 718 grams, respectively.
The three dServe tablets look a lot like two Point of View devices, the recently-reviewed ProTab 2 9.7 inches, and the ProTab 2 XXL. The similarities between the two brands go further than just looks.
dServe used different panel technology in one of the three tablets. The 7- and 10-inch tablets have a TN panel, while the 9.7-inch dServe has an IPS display, making it the next "budget iPad" in a long line of these. The already mentioned ProTab 2 9.7" from Point of View and Yarvik tablets are other examples of IPS displays with an iPad hint.
The quality of the display varies a lot. The IPS panel in the 9703C has the best viewing angles and colour rendering, but the TN panels in the other two models are less impressive. The screen of the 1005C is outright poor. The brightness barely exceeds 100 candela per square meter. Even the smallest amount of light on the screen makes the display barely legible.
Aside from the difference in the quality and size of the three screens, there isn't much else that set the three tablets apart. The three dServe tablets all run on the same SoC, the Allwinner A10. We've seen this chip in the Point of View ProTab 2 9.7" and the ProTab 2 XXL. This SoC has a single 1.2 GHz Cortex A8 core, while the GPU consists of a relatively powerful Mali-400. Android 4.0 does require a reasonably powerful GPU to run smoothly. The hardware-based acceleration in Ice Cream Sandwich needs it. All in all this is not an extremely poor SoC, but don't expect any miracles in terms of performance.
dServe did vary the amount of RAM a bit. The DSRV 7015C and the DSRV 1005C have 512 MB of RAM, while the model with IPS panel, the DSRV 9703C has twice that. The storage capacity is the same for all three, a meagre 4 GB.
The three tablets have a microSD slot, so you can add another 32 GB. On the 7-inch 7015C you also have Mini USB, Mini HDMI and a headphone jack. The 9.7-inch 9703C has the same connectors as well, while the 10-inch 1005C has an additional USB 2.0 port. No complaints in terms of available connectors.
To find out how well these three budget tablets perform, and how they compare to other similar products, read the full review on Hardware.Info.