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Updated: January 6, 2013 23:53 IST

Tablet that gives a unique horizontal experience at a relatively cheap price

Anuj Srivas
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At Rs.16,999, D90T comes with glossy black-bezeled display

Tablets entering the Indian market, and indeed locally manufactured ones as well, can no longer pride themselves on being Ice Cream Sandwich-enabled (ICS) commercially available ones. The entry of the Google Nexus 7, which runs on the latest version of Android (Jelly Bean), has seen to that.

The Bangalore-based EAFT Technologies’ D90T model doesn’t bank on the ICS but seeks to deliver a 9.7-inch cornucopia of hardware with an almost budget-like price tag of Rs.16,999.

In the case of indigenous manufacturers one is never sure what stock experience to expect. Like most tablets, D90T comes with a glossy black bezel display but it is ringed by a dull grey band, made up of rigid plastic. In the back, the device is covered with a white-grey plastic chassis that feels inexpensively made — but does not flex when one holds it.

The tablet itself is horizontally built, with the camera and power button on the top ridge and longer edge respectively. On the right edge, there are the volume buttons and connectors for its charger, HDMI, micro-SD and headphones.

This dizzying orientation confuses initially and becomes frustrating when snapping pictures but could be passed off as a differentiating factor. The D90T weighs a hefty 609 gm (compared with Samsung Galaxy Tab’s 565 gm.) and comes with a 9.7’’ IPS (In-Plane Switching) glass screen.

While the IPS technology keeps touch-reaction times short and the sun glare away, there are a few minor build issues. The display can give a little, causing the screen to ripple if one presses it hard.

Active downloaders will be happy

Inside D90T, you will find a dual-core Cortex A9 CPU clocked to 1.6 Ghz when running on one core, 1GB of RAM and 8GB of onboard storage. The good news for active downloaders, however, is that the device comes with a microSD slot which supports up to 32 GB of expandable memory. It also packs in Bluetooth 4.0 and Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n/.

D90T also comes with a 2 megapixel front-facing and rear-facing camera and also a speaker embedded on the lower right ridge. The camera isn’t really useful for anything but Google+ Hangouts and the like but it certainly gets the job done. Photography enthusiasts should probably stay away — but who buys a tablet for its camera?

There is a 3G service aboard, but only through external USB dongles.

The device boasts a 1024 X 768 IPS display. While the screen clearly isn’t 216 ppi, text and images look clear and crisp on the 9.7’’ screen. Not Retina display quality, but not too far off. Performance, however, isn’t exactly zippy.

While the Cortex processor is no slouch, there are a few notable delays while switching from the home screen to the gallery and back. This problem is only compounded when one takes into account the performance of Android’s ICS, compared with the ‘buttery’ Jellybean which vastly improved the touch response and smoothness of the general Android system.

Apps. open quickly

Most applications, however, open smoothly and quickly and 3D gaming in particular seems optimised for the tablet’s chipset — steady frame rates held throughout testing. The device’s specifications boast good battery life, eight hours of continuous video playback, which is more like six hours if the brightness is turned up to 75 per cent or more.

In general though, the amount of power drain relatively predictable, users will not find themselves continuously reaching for the charger!

D90T isn’t just a decent, nearly 10’’ tablet, it is great when one considers the price tag (the limited launch offer comes at Rs. 14,999). Its competitors in the 10’’ space are all in the Rs. 25,000-Rs. 40,000 category, and it has enough bells and whistles on the hardware level to make it feel that it should be more expensive than it is.

If the Ice Cream Sandwich operating system puts you off, however, this isn’t for you. At this point, D90T delivers functionality and a unique ‘horizontal’ experience.

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