Though it may be several months old, Google's Nexus 7 still sets the standard for an excellent and inexpensive 7-inch tablet. So much so that every similar device that has followed it cannot escape its shadow.
The Hisense Sero 7 Pro is no exception. In and of itself, it has a fast quad-core processor and a respectable touch screen. And priced at $149 at Walmart stores, it won't break the bank (and you won't have to, either).
Yet, the Nexus 7 is still the more desirable option given its more compact build, superior performance, and value. True, you won't be able to purchase the 8GB version any longer and it doesn't come with a camera, but for an extra $50, you can get double the internal storage space, and you'll still benefit from the fact that Google Edition products receive updates sooner than other Android devices.
Though the Hisense Sero 7 Pro is a solidly constructed device, its design isn't anything to write home about. It has an all-black look in front with a slate-gray back and edges, and softly rounded corners. Its dimpled, rubbery backing is reminiscent of the Nexus 7's, and despite my small hands, it was comfortable typing with just my two thumbs while holding it in landscape.
The top edge houses all of the tablet's ports, which are (from left to right) a 3.5mm headphone jack, a microSD card slot (up to 32GB expandable memory) with a small plastic cover, a Micro-USB port, and a Mini-HDMI port. On the right edge, you'll get a small sleep/power button and a volume rocker.
Above the display in the top-right corner is a 2-megapixel camera. You'll find the 5-megapixel camera with flash in the back, in the upper-left corner. Below that are two narrow slits on either side of the back panel for the audio speaker.
|Hisense Sero 7 Pro||HP Slate 7||Google Nexus 7|
|Weight in pounds||0.82||0.8||0.74|
|Width in inches (landscape)||7.87||7.7||7.8|
|Height in inches||4.95||4.6||4.7|
|Depth in inches||0.43||0.42||0.4|
|Side bezel width in inches (landscape/portrait)||0.93/0.63||0.87/0.56||0.8/0.49|
In general, while the tablet is sturdy, and the durable feel of its rubber backing makes it a respectably built device, it doesn't score high marks for design. It doesn't look or feel as expensive as the HP Slate 7, and it's notably larger and heavier than the Nexus 7.
The Sero 7 Pro runs the skinless version of Android 4.2.1 Jelly Bean, so you won't get any third-party look overlaid on top of the user interface. However, you will see a small screenshot hot key at the bottom of your screen (next to the hot keys for back, home, and recent apps), which is a bit uncommon. In addition, you'll get all your standard Google apps, such as Chrome, Gmail, Messenger, Google Play, and YouTube.
A few extra goodies include two retail apps for Walmart and Sam's Club; the music-streaming and radio app Pandora; Kingsoft Office, a mobile suite and productivity app; a gaming portal called TegraZone, which lets you purchase games that are optimized for the device's Nvidia processor; and TV Remote, which transforms your tablet into a remote when linked to a TV.
Lastly, you'll get an app called Vudu Movies and TV. Hisense makes a point of emphasizing this app (it's on the box, and you'll see a big widget for it on your home screen after initial setup), but it looks like any other media portal. With Vudu, you can rent HD movies, watch TV shows, and view trailers without a monthly subscription fee.
Powering the Hisense Sero 7 Pro are a 1.3GHz quad-core Tegra 3 processor from Nvidia and a 4,000mAh battery. You get 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0 EDR, 8GB of internal storage, and 1GB of RAM. The tablet also features NFC and Android Beam, GPS capabilities, and both a gyroscope and an accelerometer.
The device's screen has a 1,280-800-pixel resolution, which is slightly higher than the Slate 7's 1,024x600 resolution. It is, however, on par with the Nexus 7's. Yet, even with the same specs on paper, the Nexus 7's display is better, especially in terms of color accuracy. For example, the screen on the Sero 7 appears warmer. You can see this most obviously with white hues. With the Nexus 7 whites are purer and brighter, whereas on the Sero 7, whites have a more yellow, sepia tone. And while this isn't wholly distracting or negative, when compared side by side with the Nexus, it's very obvious.
Furthermore, though viewing both tablets outside in direct sunlight is difficult, I had an easier time reading on the Nexus 7 than the Sero 7. In terms of viewing angles in outdoor and indoor lighting, however, the two seemed to be fairly comparable.