Saturday, April 13, 2013
We’ll get the specs out of the way first. The Engage is running the same 1.2GHz Cortex A8 processor that is single core rather than dual core, and is backed by 1GB of DDR3 RAM. The GPU is a Mali-400, which offers an acceptable – if workmanlike – level of performance.
In terms of everyday usage, the Engage offers very much the same experience as its bigger brother. Particularly strenuous tasks will result in a spot of slowdown, but on the whole the tablet is adequate for casual users. Of course, when placed side-by-side with the quad core Nexus 7, the difference in speed and smoothness is like night and day. The Engage is totally and utterly outclassed.
As you would expect from such a cheap product, there are caveats all over the place. The LCD screen has pretty average viewing angles and isn’t very bright, even when on the full setting. It also possesses a bluish tint.
However, while Engage has a smaller screen than the Extreme, it has the same resolution of 1024×768 pixels – the same as the Apple iPad 2, no less.
The same issue regarding the Google Play market that impacted the Extreme exists here, too. At first glance, it looks as if the Engage doesn’t have the Google Play app installed. However, by dropping the Google Play widget onto your home screen, you can forcibly gain access.
It’s an odd situation that is apparently a consequence of Google’s often obtuse licensing arrangements with manufacturers, but at least it’s easily resolvable as things stand.
Camera and video
We were also disappointed to discover the camera is the same as the one used on the Extreme. It takes fuzzy and washed-out images, meaning you won’t find yourself taking many family snaps with this slab of tech. Its positioning is also a little bizarre – when holding the Engage in portrait mode, your hand entirely covers the camera lens.
A front-facing snapper offers similarly low-grade results, but this is less of an issue as it’s used primarily for video calling, where image quality isn’t as much of an issue.
There are areas where Storage Options’ device actually beats the Nexus 7. Firstly, it has expandable memory, so you can add in additional space using microSD cards – something that Google’s tablet can’t do, much to the chagrin of those who purchased the cheaper 8GB version.
Secondly, the Engage can also be connected to your TV using a HDMI lead – another feature that its high profile rival can’t boast.
Storage Options have even been kind enough to include an adapter in the box which permits the use of USB peripherals such as joypads and flash drives – the latter of which offers yet another way of increasing the amount of storage available.
While the Scroll range may feel increased pressure from the arrival of the Nexus 7 to the low-cost Android tablet party, the Engage still offers a competitive solution. The 4:3 ratio screen will find favour with those coveting the iPad experience, and the ability to add in more storage is a massive, massive plus – 8GB Nexus 7 owners are already finding that their shiny new tablet just doesn’t offer enough on-board memory.
It’s also worth remembering that the Engage is £40 cheaper than the cheapest version of the Nexus 7.
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