I purchased a Huawei S7 Android tablet a couple of weeks ago and wanted to share my experience with it. It’s the relatively low-cost Android tablet that’s carried by Best Buy. I bought it as an alternative to the Samsung Galaxy Tablet. It’s about half the price of an unlocked Galaxy, and I think it’s a reasonable alternative, especially if you root it. More on that later.
- It’s smaller and lighter than my iPad
- It’s quite fast in its performance, seemingly as fast or faster than my EVO 4G
- The screen is quite bright and readable outdoors
- It comes with a custom launcher interface that’s pleasing to the eye and easy to use
- It’s unlocked and offers the option of voice and 2G data service through AT&T or T-Mobile
- Unlike many other low-cost Android tablets, this tablet comes with full access to Google’s Android Market
- It works extremely well with the SwiftKey custom keyboard
- It has a nice stand that locks in two positions and is great for viewing videos
- It comes with Android 2.1, and Huawei apparently has no plans for an OS upgrade
- It has only a small amount of internal memory, meaning you are quite limited as to the number of applications that can be installed on it
- The resistive screen doesn’t support multi-touch and takes some getting used to
- A low screen resolution of 800 X 480, but see below on Rooting
- Battery life is around 4 hours, although it fully recharges in an hour
- The forward and rear-facing cameras are of extremely low quality
- The front-facing camera doesn’t appear to be supported by any Android web conferencing software
The Huawei is extremely easy to root using z4root, which allows it to use the following software:
- Titanium Backup – it’s worth rooting just to have this software for backing up the tablet’s applications and settings
- LCD Density Changer – this program allows the resolution of the LCD to be increased; I’ve got mine set to a density of 140 and the screen looks very nice at that setting!
- AutoKiller – this application keeps the tablet’s limited memory optimized for good performance
Other non-root required software that I’ve installed that I find very helpful include Juice Defender for increasing battery life, Executive Assistant Widget for easy access to Facebook, RSS, and my Got To Do task list, Pure Calendar Widget for displaying a unified Google / Exchange calender, and Rock Player for viewing videos in a wide variety of formats.
I personally feel that the Huawei S7 is a very usable Android tablet. It’s half the price of the Galaxy, but with a lot more than half of the capabilities of that tablet. I’m actually using it as something of a replacement for the work-oriented functions of my iPad. It’s so much smaller and easier for me to carry than the iPad. I’ve got Documents To Go, LogMeIn, Dropbox, GDocs, Touchdown (Exchange/ActiveSync), Evernote, Got To Do, OI Safe (password manager), Astro File Manager, Dolphin HD Browser, Rock Player (viewing videos while flying) and Thinking Space (mind mapping) installed on it and regularly use it for work tasks. I’d previously stopped taking my HP netbook with me on business trips, using a WiFi iPad instead, and have now replaced the iPad with S7. I haven’t had to get a SIM card for it as it works great with my EVO 4G’s hotspot function. I also use a Freedom Pro bluetooth keyboard with it. All-in-all it works great for me. So I’m going to hang onto it until I see what the next generation Honeycomb Android tablets looks like next year. In the meantime, I will be using it whenever I am traveling on business.