After a range of generic Fusion5 and Xtra’s it was time for me to take a step up to their premium range and this new 9.7″. Slate which will go through the rigors of being owned by me. There will be no professional benchmarking, stress testing and super-power finding. I'll though be putting it through its paces in the same way that I work hard, play Temple Run 2 and Candy Crush Saga and write for InfoBarrel and other web portals.
Let’s start with the most important thing to remember. This is a cheap Android tablet computer. it's no iPad or Amazon Kindle Fire and it's not going to be built in 24ct gold.
Processor: Cortex A9 Quad Core
These quad-core CPU’s run at up to 1.6Ghz on an ARM chip. They're supported by a Mali GPU at 600Mhz which is enough to run a dual monitor if you're really inclined to do so –. Personally I wouldn’t although the HDMI output is a great additional feature as well as something called “wireless display”.
ARM, who make these core, have basically dominated the market since tablet computers became popular and are reliable. They're also central to the dual-core processor tech behind the Apple iPhone 4S and iPad2
Display: Retina IPS Capacitive Touch Screen (10 point)
At a maximum resolution of 2048*1535. The Fusion5 Premium+ is packing a sharp picture on a 9.7 inch screen. The good lady wife, who's the earlier Fusion5 Xtra V3 says that she can notice the difference immediately.
RAM: 2GB DDR3
This is pretty much standard on new tablets at the moment. I started to struggle on my Fusion5 Xtra that'd 1GB of RAM, it'd not handle 2 or 3 programs loaded as well as I'd hoped.
Bog Standard Extras
you've your usual compliment of extras that either should be. Generally are normal for tablet computers these days.
- Front and rear cameras are in place offering 2MP which is okay if you're not going to be using it for more than family snaps.
- Wireless connections through bluetooth and wi-fi as well as outputs via HDMI
- Expandable memory through a micro-SD card (up to 32GB)
So I broke my vow of temptation and did the un-boxing. I'm sorry, there are no pictures of that because lets be honest. There was only a tablet a charger and a very small and basic start-up guide in there. The first thing to remember is that you should give it a good charge before first use, F5CS recommend that you charge it for 7 hours before first use but I went for 12 just to be sure.
I've gone ahead and installed some apps from the Google Play Store. The great thing if you're planning to upgrade a tablet. Indeed even have an Android phone, is that you can check your list of apps previously installed so that you can easily find Candy Crush Saga or WordPress.
I've had problems with running the Android WordPress app on other devices, notably my BlackBerry Z10. It seems that there are very few, if any issues with it on here.
I'm not usually the fan of the stock installation browsers. I've long been parted ways with Internet Explorer, having installed Chrome and more recently Firefox. I never did like the BlackBerry (legacy OS6) browser and installed Opera Mini and even on the previous incarnations of the Fusion5 tablets the wife and I've used we'd tried to install Chrome for Android.
The bump in the hardware specs tough seem to have something good with the responsiveness of the Android stock browser on the Premium+. Indeed I'm writing right now on my Premium+ using the stock browser which on previous models made using InfoBarrel difficult.
So far I've tested the browser with the likes of YouTube (mobile interface) and for the authors among you on Bubblews as well. I've not been tempted to install any of the third-party offerings at all yet.
Alternative Browser: FireFox
After a long time of recommending Google Chrome to friends and colleagues, I've now settled on Mozilla Firefox as my browser of choice right across my digital estate. Chrome appears to increasingly have issues with crashing which from what I can tell is because each new Chrome tab in it’s browsers creates a whole new process in windows.
One of the first problems that I've had with my new Premium+ tablet is that it'd great difficulty in making some of the wireless connections that I take for granted.
Wireless Networks (wi-fi)
One of the issues that I'd with my earlier A1CS Fusion5 Xtra tablet was that it didn't come with any Bluetooth technology installed and I think that you'll probably agree with me that typing out at any length on a touchscreen tablet does have its problems. Least of all that you've to keep looking down at the screen instead of relying on those many years of touch-tpying that many of us have personalised and honed in on.
So when I started to connect my F5CS Premium+ to my home computer network (which for the balance of doubt was Virgin Media cable internet using their SuperHub) it was great. I'd a perfectly maintained connection and I was installing everything I need from my earlier Fusion5 Xtra thanks to Google Play Store remembering what I've installed.
When I went out of the house though and tried to connect my tablet to my mobile phones portable wireless hotspot though it was a different story and it'd see the connection but the phone wouldn't allocate it an IP address. After about 48 hours of cursing and resetting connections and the like I finally succumbed to doing a factory reset of the tablet computer, something I'd rather not have done….. it did work though.
Not only did I've issues with my wireless networking. I also had issues with my Bluetooth keyboard. Like the wireless it'd apparently connected my input device of choice straight away and I did manage to write a few sentences on it before it stopped working without any obvious reason why.
Since doing the I've written a sizeable section of this review on my new F5CS Premium+ tablet computer using a keyboard because as I've said before. Any considerable work being done on a touchscreen keyboard is simply wrong.
As part of the testing for this I've connected the keyboard to other devices as well. Indeed I'm writing this part of the article right now using my Bluetooth keyboard connected to a BlackBerry Z10 and there have been none of the issues that we've seen with the Fusion5 Premium+. I've also checked the charge of the batteries (I'm using premium branded batteries with a built-in power tester) and there is no issue there either.
Update: It appears that in fact this is an issue with changes that Android have made to the Bluetooth component of it’s operating system. If you've Android 4.2 or above then you're using the new BlueZ Bluetooth Kernal which has flaws that there is little obvious intention to address.
Factory Resets –. Remember Your Settings
or learn Chinese
Talking about the factory reset of the F5CS tablet has led me nicely onto another flaw which frustrates me about a good device for the price you pay. The default settings for this east Asian import is that when you factory wipe the device it defaults to it’s original programming which inevitably is China-based.
The first thing that you'll notice when you first load your new tablet from F5CS is that there will be an element of testing that's happened to your device before it's got to you. This appears to usually be that it was connected to the companies wi-fi network so that they could install any updates or additional apps to your tablet prior to despatch.
Obviously there is a simple way that you can make sure that you find the language setting on your Android tablet and return them to English. Firstly you could learn Chinese, it's a great reason to start learning and if you learn enough that you can use your tablet in Chinese then it might actually confuse anyone who steals it while you're asleep on the train.
The more likely thing to do though is to go into your settings pages and work out where the language and input options are. Once you're in them then each language is written in its native tounge, which makes things easier.
One thing that I like to do when I get a new tablet is to test the battery. Inside the F5CS Premium+ it's an 8000mA offering. The size of the battery doesn't matter if the rest of the tablet components hungrily feast on it like it's going out of fashion.
Now so far I've not had a chance to spend all day with the tablet to put it through it’s paces but I can tell you something already. As I'm writing this I've looked across and seen that I've used exactly 40% of the battery over two or three separate ‘sessions':
- Installing a few apps via Play Store on my home wireless network
- Playing around with Spotify for 15 minutes –. Streaming via my home network
- Watched a few music videos on YouTube
- About 90 minutes of writing on Bubblews and InfoBarrel using a wi-fi hotspot and a Bluetooth keyboard.
Right now it's charging up and I intend to give it a thorough battery test over the coming days.
So far I've found that the new F5CS Fusion5 Premium+ tablet is a great budget Android device that you'd get on well with for surfing, watching video and being generally productive.
Issues with the tablet though means that I'd advise caution with any Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean) to 4.4 (Kit Kat) device which you want to easily connect to your personal wireless connection when out and about and use as a replacement computer. Once you've got it set-up to your liking though this tablet computer is great at what it does.
If you're in the UK then you can buy the at Amazon in the UK –. Regretfully they don't offer this tablet in the US although they might despatch if you ask them nicely.