Pros Big Screen. Borders and Amazon Book Readers on One Platform. Android 2.0 OS. Touch Screen
Cons A little heavy. Limited Memory. Battery Life
Summary I'll caveat this review by saying I've only had it for two days. However, in that two days I've come to realize that if people would realize it was designed to be a reader first, Android tablet second, it might sit better with some folks. With that, I'll begin...UPDATE 1/28/2011 - I've been working with this little device for the past three weeks and I have some interesting updates:
First off, Velocity Micro makes no bones about the fact that this is an Android 2.0 machine and will never be moreso. Know that going in. Second, this is a resistive touch screen so you actually have to press the screen to get it to do something. Third, get over the fact that there's no direct access to the Android Marketplace. That's a bit overhyped to begin with. If you know wher to look, you can find just about anything you need. I've already updated the system with a different launcher (Launcher Pro), put a RAM booster on it, and it runs remakably smoothly.
Should you purchase this system, do yourself a favor and go directly to the VM web site, update the firmware, and run the calibration. The steps are very straight forward and I had done so within 10 minutes of pulling the Cruz out of the box. The firmware update will SIGNIFICANTLY improve the touch screen responsiveness.
The reader comes witih the Borders reader installed and you can download the Kindle reader from the Cruz store. I've downloaded sample books from both via Wi-Fi and it's has worked flawlessly (two separate locations mind you, work and home). The one thing I found is that when the device wakes up from sleep, it takes a few seconds before the Wi-Fi reconnects. Probably a symptom of Android 2.0, but I've not had any issues with Wi-Fi not working as it should.
Battery life is pretty crummy for now. I'm trying to run a few tests to see what's causing so much drain when the device appears to be off, but I think the best thing I've seen is the advice that says turn it off when you're done reading it. It is a reader after all, not a phone, so leaving it on all the time is a bit of a waste.
Since Best Buy is giving me 30 days to wring this thing out before I have to return it, I plan on doing so and will update my review accordingly. However, so far my experience has been pleasant with the device and I look forward to finding out other surprises as I use it.
Updated on Jan 28, 2011
- I found a forum on SlateDroid where some intrepid folks have come up with a root for this device. I'm running the device using their 3.1 version with the CPU running at 533 MHz. This root provides the much needed apps2sd functionality so I can install many other applications now. Rooted version also allows for true Android Market access and update. This machine now runs very smoothly as a mini-tablet. I've also downloaded and am running the Miren Browser which allows you to run it as a Chrome browser. Great. Still not good for games like Angry Birds, but it definitely is speedier now and gives me much better performance over the original ROM.
Not sure if the guys on the SlateDrooid forum will upgrade to a different version of the Android OS, but for now the work they've done has opened up this tablet and made it a verry worthwhile purchase.
Pros lots of connections, ports, excellent hardware, fit and finish, sharp display, good color, tilt response.
Cons slow to medium cpu,
Summary only $120 new on sale, rooting is simple, even overclocking is a breeze, and very beneficial. This is not an ipad, but a solid smaller pad to play with and experiment with. There is a lot of help for this unit available online.
Pros Portability, price, potential. Easy to read screen, pretty good battery life, very easy wifi connection.
Cons Lack of access to app markets, difficulty setting up standard functions like printing. Lack of upgrade path for OS. Hard to install hot apps like Angry Birds, for Pete's sake! Power button is too easy to bump, then you find it dead when you need it.
Summary I like the Cruz, I think it'll be very handy once I get it tweaked the way I want. I started by replacing both the internal memory with an 8 gig chip, and the external slot got a 16 gig chip. Plenty of storage now, but still the 256M onboard ram limitation. That's a tough limitation, especially since it's not very intuitive moving things around the memory cards, and you can't uninstall the preinstalled apps. I'm not going to give up though, there's just nothing else that touches it for price/value in an e-reader. I got mine on sale at Best Buy for $99, and used a $30 gift card to knock it down under $70 bucks. Take that Kindle/Kobo/Nook!!!
Pros This is a great muti tasker. It is an internet surfer, mp3 player, and ereader all in one for only $119.00. I was not familar with apps before I got the Cruz, but if you have a day off and some patience you can set it up just how you like it.
Cons No andriod app store capability; however, you can find other places for apps if you just take the time to look around. Also the internet is not super fast, but I did not expect it to be as fast as my laptop or home PC.
Summary I highly recommend you charge this everyday. I put mine on the charger every night and it works all day just fine. I also recommend you buy some Nintendo DS stylis's to use with it - they work really well and I have not had any problems with the screen since I got them. I also recommend you buy an external SD card for it. I think this product is best for people who take the time to learn tricks on how to use things and can figure things out on their own. I also think people need to be reasonable about the product they are getting for the price they pay for it. There is no such thing as a free lunch, if you want an Ipad then buy one. If you want a fun little ereader and more, check this out.
Pros It looks nice, great concept, however VERY poor product.
Cons The touch screen has a VERY poor response - battery life is poor, downloading books would be great if the system allowed you to sign in properly. Calling customer service is wonderful if you don't mind waiting for 30 minutes plus for help.
Summary Don't waste your money on this product - we bought two for Christmas this year - two days of working on them we still can't get them working properly. If customer service would answer the phone we could see if the product even works. Two thumbs way down.