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Android tablets Reviews
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GoClever Tab A73 review

£90 inc VAT

Manufacturer: GoClever

Our Rating: We rate this 2.5 out of 5

A 7in Android tablet running Ice Cream Sandwich for £90 sounds tasty. We try out the GoClever Tab A73.

GoClever is new name in Android tablets and, like many companies, manufactures them in China. Oddly enough, the Tab A73 is the spitting image of the Kurio 7, albeit in a more demure grey livery and without the rubber bumper. See also Group test: what's the best cheap tablet PC?

In fact, it's the same tablet with the same 7in, 840x400 screen, the same mini USB and mini HDMI ports and the same 4GB of internal storage. One difference is the processor: it runs at 1GHz instead of 1.2GHz in the Kurio. There's also just 512MB of RAM, rather than the 1GB found in just about every other tablet today.

GoClever Tab A73: Performance

This corner cutting is understandable given the low price, but it does have a significant impact on performance. Although the A73 manages to scroll between the Android home screens smoothly, it's a different story when browsing the web. As with the Kurio 7, it's a frustrating experience waiting several seconds for Google Maps to redraw every time you scroll or zoom. The BBC website took an unacceptable 20 seconds to load.

The SunSpider JavaScript test reveals just how slow the A73 is: it took a foot-tapping 13,528ms to complete the benchmark, when Google's Nexus 7 is done in just 1,665ms. The Kurio 7 was considerably quicker with a result of 3,913ms, but was still very sluggish for browsing Google Maps.

Gaming performance is better, thanks to the Mali 400 graphics chip. This had no problems running Angry Birds, so it's fine for casual gaming.

GoClever Tab A73: Design and build

Build quality is decent, although it's all too easy to press the power button when you're holding the A73 as it's near the top-right corner. Similarly, the speaker is in the wrong place. At the bottom of the right-hand edge, your hand covers it when holding the tablet in landscape mode.

As well as 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth is built in, but there's no GPS receiver. Optionally, you can use the mini USB port for a 3G dongle. There's no rear camera, and the front-facing VGA camera is good only for video calls.

The screen suffers from the same narrow viewing angles as the Kurio's in portrait mode, and the low resolution is noticeable, with text appearing blocky or blurry next to the Nexus 7. Again, it's slightly more acceptable at this price, but in absolute terms, it's a poor screen.

GoClever Tab A73: Video and battery life

Videos, however, play flawlessly and look pretty good on the A73. Given that it weighs only 350g, it's comfortable to hold while watching a TV show on the train, for example. The only problem is the relatively dim and reflective screen. The tablet had no problems playing our 1080p H.264 video, and was happy to output this via HDMI to our full HD TV.

Battery life from the small-capacity 3200mAh battery was unsurprisingly short. It did, however, live up the GoClever's claims, lasting just over four hours when playing our looped 1080p video.

GoClever hasn't messed around with Android much, so you get a vanilla Ice Cream Sandwich interface and, importantly, access to the Google Play store. Google Maps, Gmail and Latitude are pre-installed.

GoClever Tab A73 review Expert Verdict »

7in capacitive multitouch screen (800x480)
Android 4.0.3 (Ice Cream Sandwich)
1GHz Allwinner A10 CPU
512MB RAM
4GB storage
Micro SD (Up to 32GB)
802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi
3G via optional USB dongle
Cameras: 0.3Mp (front)
1080p video playback
Ports: Mini USB, Mini HDMI, 3.5mm headphone
195x122x11mm
350g
  • Build Quality: We give this item 5 of 10 for build quality
  • Features: We give this item 5 of 10 for features
  • Value for Money: We give this item 4 of 10 for value for money
  • Performance: We give this item 7 of 10 for performance
  • Overall: We give this item 5 of 10 overall

If you have a really tight budget for a 7in tablet, the Tab A73 is bound to look tempting. It's best at playing videos and games, and worst at web browsing due to the poor screen and terrible performance. It's wise to spend more on a better-performing tablet.

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