December 29, 2010
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.
May 24, 2008
Given that Twitter has become more and more important to me and probably you, too, I think its current spate of downtime problems has become a bit of a pain for all of us. I’ve found a little Web application that works well with the iPhone/Touch, as well as PCs and Macs, and which allows me to quickly determine whether Twitter is up or down. It’s also a lot faster to use than just waiting for a Twitter client to time out. It’s called IsTwitterNotReallyDownDownJustAllF****dUpDown and it displays a text-based “happy face” or “sad face” to report Twitter status. The picture above shows what you’ll see when Twitter is up, and which is hopefully what we’ll all see most of the time!
May 18, 2008
Brightkite is an interesting new social media network. It has a great iPhone/Touch interface and integrates with Twitter. It is very location-centric (even integrating with the iPhone/Touch Maps application) and handles messaging, text posting, and photo uploads from a variety of devices. I’m testing it out right now and will have to see if I stick with it or not. It has definitely caught my interest, though.
March 18, 2008
Thanks to an invite from Matt Miller, I’ve been able to experiment with the new Evernote beta for the past couple of days.
Now I’ve been a user and fan of Evernote for quite a few years, and prefer it to OneNote for note taking, and information capture and storage. However, the new Evernote beta brings this product up to a whole new level and well beyond OneNote in many ways. This is because the information created and stored in Evernote is now available across multiple devices: computers, cell phones, PDAs, and even my iPod Touch. Evernote data can now be synced between the local computer application and the Web. The Web version of the data can then be accessed through another computer or mobile browser interfaces. This means that data can now be created, searched, and accessed from any where at any time from just about any device. Wow, what an experience!
So I suggest you find a friend with some available invitations to the beta or stop by the Evernote beta site and sign yourself up for an invitation.
By the way, this posting was initially created on my iPod Touch using Mobile Web Docs, and then copied and pasted via iCopy into WordPress. The Touch is now really quite a nice blogging tool!
October 31, 2007
Kevin Tofel has a review of the Vye S37 focusing on the inking experience with this device. I’ve used inking on my SH6 less than half a dozen times in the more than two months that I’ve owned it now. It’s pretty much a laptop replacement for me.
October 3, 2007
Last night I had dinner with Kevin Tofel. We had a chance to talk about Tablets and the UMPC space, as well as some very interesting discussions on life in general. I found Kevin to be extremely intelligent and articulate and the dinner was a real pleasure for me. Of course, we also showed off our gadgets to each other – Kevin his Samsung Q1 UMPC and iPhone, and I my Kohjinsha SH6. From Kevin’s posting today it looks like he’s pretty impressed with the SH6.
September 4, 2007
Well I’ve had my Kohjinsha SH6 for over a week now and here are some more thoughts on it:
- I’ve only found one problem with it – apparently the keyboard driver that Dynamism installed on it has a slight bug: if you hit the Caps Lock key it gets stuck in Caps Lock mode and you have to reboot to get out of it. I just sent email to Dynamism today and I’m anxious to see how they respond to this bug report.
- It’s definitely replaced my Electrovaya SC-3000 Tablet PC; in fact, I’ve given my Tablet to my wife!
- A bit of a surprise for me: it’s also replaced my Nokia N800. I haven’t even turned on my N800 for days now. When not being used, my SH6 sits on top of a book shelf in our living room where my N800 used to sit. The SH6 is normally in sleep mode with the screen closed over the keyboard. When I want to do something on the Web I just grab it, pull back the screen, and I’m surfing the Web in seconds. It’s just as convenient as the N800, but lots more powerful.
August 31, 2007
I’m using my SH6 in my home office today. It’s sharing keyboard, mouse, and monitor with my Dell Dimension PC. It’s still working out extremely well for me. I’m actually really surprised at just how seamless the transition has been from my 1.5 GhZ Electrovaya SC-3000 Tablet PC to the 600 MhZ Kohjinsha SH6. In just about any work activity I perform the SH6 seems to be just about as fast as the Electrovaya ever was. Only rarely do I encounter moments when it seems slower. I don’t really understand it, but I’m loving it!
August 29, 2007
This morning I “forced myself” to use the SH6 only as a Tablet. I used it that way throughout my morning routine of checking email, reading Web sites, and reading RSS feeds. Here is a brief summary of my impressions:
- The SH6 is very light, well balanced, and easy to hold when in Tablet mode. The battery even becomes a nice handle on the bottom of the unit.
- There’s a big difference in the handwriting experience with a passive screen (like the SH6 has) and an active screen (like my Electrovaya SC-3000 Tablet has) but Vista’s improved handwriting recognition seems to more than make up for those limitations. Handwriting recognition was excellent.
- Passive screens do have some real advantages – it’s wonderful to be able to “click” on the screen using your finger; I didn’t have to use a stylus at all.
- The included stylus is a joke – it looks like it belongs with some kind of very inexpensive PDA. It’s a good thing it’s really not needed! I used my Papermate PhD multi-pen as my stylus for handwriting.
- All of the buttons located around the SH6′s screen make using it in Tablet mode a real breeze. I used my finger, mouse pointer, left and right mouse buttons, scrolling buttons (really page up and page down), D-pad (for single-line up and down) and just flew through Web pages and RSS feeds. It was such a pleasure to use it this way that this is going to be the normal mode I will now use for my morning routine.
- The SH6 never got warm where my hands were while holding it, it was just a little warm by the fan outlet vent.
- The new Vista mouse-like Touch Pointer really sucks. I turned it off shortly after going through the training session on how to use it. It seems like a good idea badly implemented.
August 4, 2007
Well, after trying to surprise everyone on what I ordered as a replacement for my Electrovaya Tablet instead of the Everun, the very first person commenting guessed it!
Yes, I ordered a Kohjinsha SH-6 with 100 GB drive and 2 GB of memory, and running Vista Home Premium. I may upgrade it to Vista Business as I have a copy that Microsoft gave me. We’ll have to see how it performs after I do a little Vista tuning first before I leap off into the Business version.
Chippy, over at UMPCPortal (www.umpcportal.com), actually first peeked my interest in this device. Surprisingly enough, he really panned it because of its 2 hour battery life. Well battery life seems to be one of the very most important factors that he uses for judging a UMPC, but it’s not mine. As I mentioned in my previous posting here 2 to 3 hours is fine for me. If that ever becomes a limitation, I’ll just order the upcoming extended battery or even another standard battery. It’s simply not a big deal for me.
The big pluses that this unit has for me are it’s size, memory and disk capacity, the great screen, the nice keyboard, CF and SD slots, 2 USB slots, and even it’s Ethernet port(something the Everun didn’t have). Reading Chippy’s comments and editing out the battery life complaints, the SH-6 sounded near perfect for meeting my needs. I also did further research in other blogs and the online Kohjinsha group and the more I read the more this unit seemed like the perfect device for me.
It should be arriving in a week or two and as soon as it does I’ll let everyone know if it was a good choice or if I’ve made a horrible mistake. By the way, my short list included the OQO Model 02 and the Samsung Q1U (which uses the exact same screen as the SH-6 but would have needed an add-on keyboard), but the SH-6 won out in the end.