Rockchip 2808 Dual Core “aPad” Android Tablet Review

My Rockchip 2808 Dual Core Android Tablet arrived almost over 3 weeks ago and I have been playing around with it for a enough time to have an opinion about the product. First off, I got the devices from amazon.co.uk for €170 which included delivery, and, like many of the Android tablets avaible these days, it’s one of those generic devices that are pouring out of China. From what I can tell from the information on the tablet it’s an “aPad”.

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First Thoughts

For those of you who don’t like reading (like me), I made a video showing off the tablet with most of this in it. The delivery of the tablet was good enough, not fast but it did arrive within the estimated time.  The tablet comes with the following paraphernalia:

  • Charger with Chinese/US plug
  • One micro USB for connecting the tablet to a computer
  • One micro USB to standard USB converter for using a keyboard or mouse
  • A decent pair of 3.5mm headphones
  • A faux-velvet carrier sleeve
  • 3 pin-plug

The last item on the list didn’t service its purpose, or maybe it did and I just got impatient wanting to play with my new android tablet. Either way, the 2 pin charger didn’t seem to fit into what seemed to be a 3 pin adapter, so I just got an adapter for about four euro. I charged up the tablet for less then 2 hours and couldn’t wait any longer so I turned it on, I was greeted by Tux (the Linux mascot) and then a pulsing android logo, see the video for boot time. It was my first time using an Android device and I must say its extremely easy to navigate. I connected to a wifi network with no problems, signed into my google account and the tablet came alive with notifications for my gmail, Google calendar, Google docs etc. It integrates seamlessly with Google services, but that’s what you’d expect considering Google make the OS.

Look and Feel

aPad Android TabletThe case is made with sturdy aluminium and has a nice heaviness about it without feeling like you’re holding a brick. The back face of the tablet has quite an iPad-esque look and feel. The buttons, switches, lights and ports are nicely finished and overall the aPad tablet looks very nice.

Android OS

The tablet comes with Android 1.5 on it which is a very old version of Android at this stage, though you will find it hard to get a device this cheap with anything higher then 1.7 and from what I can tell its upgradeable. I hope to get around to upgrading it soon, though I can install any app I find in the market with no problem.

Battery life and Wifi

The battery life isn’t great, with just over 3 hours battery life with Wifi on and full brightness on the screen and 5 hours without both, though sometimes the tablet almost seems to draw energy from the atmosphere, going from yellow to green on the charge indicator. The device does charge extremely quickly, too. The Wifi range isn’t that great but does the job, for example my computer registers a good signal where in the same position the tablet registers fair.

Touch Screen

The screen is a 7 inch 800×480 display. The touch screen can be somewhat sluggish and requires a little more pressure then usual for the tablet to register the input, but for the price its very good and once you get used to it, it’s fine.

Audio and Video

The audio playback on this Android tablet is good through the headphone jack as it uses an independent audio chipset. The built in speakers at the side of the device are not very powerful, which is to be expected.

Conclusion

Overall, I’m quite happy with my purchase. It’s cheap, so I don’t feel like I’m after spending loads of money on something I am not going to use 24/7. It’s a lovely device for reading PDFs, eBook, blogs, etc. I’m quite excited about developing apps for the Android platform (more specifically, games). Surprise surprise, a games development student wants to make games.

Spec

  • RK2808 Chipset (ARM9 @ 600 MHz + DSP @ 550 MHz dual-core)
  • Operating System: Android 1.5
  • Internal 2GB HD with expandable Micro SD slot up to 32GB
  • Networking: 802.11 Wireless G
  • Sensors: Accelerometer ( G-SENSOR )
  • 2 micro usb powers
  • 3.5mm standard headphone jack
  • micro SD card slot
  • 1.3mp webcam


Product Description (source amazon)

  • CPU uses the Rockchip RK2808 chipset. This is the only 65nm ARM9 plus DSP core currently made in China. The CPU runs at a frequency of 600 MHz, and supports hardware acceleated 720p playback in various formats. The ARM 9 with the right blend of applications and platform makes it comparable for use on any PC, even though ARM9 by itself is not that powerful. the dual core allows 720p video. Just as with multi-core CPUs, the RK2808 is not just any single-core processor.
  • Using an independent audio chipset, the audio quality is good, particularily through the 3.5 mm jack.
  • Uses a 7 inch 800×480 display. You can go online via wifi, read ebooks, go on instant messaging via MSN, play games, watch Youtube and much more. Uses a resistive single point screen (no multitouch).
  • Has a built-in accelerometer and TransFlash (micro-SD) memory expansion up to 16 GB. Typically 4 GB should be enough for most users. The memory expansion card is very important, as applications installs and other uses are through the memory card.
  • Internal wi-fi component, supporting connecting to the internet via wi-fi.
  • 3000mAh capacity battery. Current batch has about 3 hour battery life with wifi enabled, and around 5 hours with wifi disabled.
  • Last but not least, access to over 30000 both free and paid applications using the android market.
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About the Author

Ciarán McCann

Flax Project Founder - Ciarán McCann is an extremely passionate and motivated programmer who has been programming for about 4 years now. Currently attending Carlow I.T studying computer games development. He has experience in many different programming languages, markup languages and general technologies. His role in the Flax Project is as a blogger/Web Designer and Flax Engine programmer. Please excuse any bad grammar/spelling, I am a bit on the Dyslexic side. Follow me on Twitter for info on what I am working on.

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39 Comments

  1. Hey nice Video can you Change the Background Pic
    from the Apad?

  2. Thats great 🙂
    the old android 1.5 ver
    can you upgradet to 2.1 or later?
    Or is the Rockship to low for update?

  3. hey there
    i was going too buy a kindle for reading ebooks and pdf, whats this like to do that, would it burn the eyes out of ye after an hour or do you think the kindle would be better, i would go for this cause you can a little surfing as well as reading pdf and ebooks, anyway like the blog and good luck

    • Hey Tom
      My primary use for this device is reading PDFs and blogs off. I find it very easy to read off and for long periods of time. I would recommend this device over a kindle, as its got much more functionality for your money.

  4. Hey Ciáran you have start the App: Apad is cool app
    where can i downloadet the app?

  5. Hi got one and it came with this icom Apk with chinese text on it and when i click on it it opens this page with to bottons one is a installer other is a manager and the last one is a exit boton when you click the manager boton it opens this webpage anddroid123 but almost every thing in in chinese and also when you try to change the weather city it comes with a chinese text tat I don’t understand, can I change the language on it? Sorry about my english.
    regards.

  6. I have been looking at various Tablet PC on the net and your review and information is by far the best i have come across, great job

  7. Shaun Gallagher November 9, 2010 Reply

    A very informative review – well done. I was thinking of getting my wife a Kindle for christmas, but then she said that the wouldn’t mind a netbook, so I’m thinking that this would be the best of both worlds. Just one question though: would you be able to make video calls using Skype? Thanks

    • Thanks, ah good idea. Thats also a good question I would presume so, though I will check it out for you and get back to you asap.

    • Ok, just check it out there. Seems as if you need Android 2.1 for it to work. This device only has 1.5, though I will at some point be updating my tablet and posting a tutorial.

      Though to be safe I wouldn’t get this model. If you click on the link at the top, you should see some related products one of which has android 2.1 which Skype would work on.

  8. Good job on the review. I know that I’d be itching to get the tablet working ASAP too!

    Can you tell me if it’s possible to connect an external hard drive to a tablet such as this? I’d like to plug in an external drive and listen to music I’ve converted and stored as MP3 files.

  9. Hi 🙂

    I was just wondering whether it has the facebook, msn, and twitter type apps?

    Thanks 🙂

  10. So, if you were to upgrade to the latest version of Android how would this be done?
    thanks 🙂

    • Few people have been asking me that. I might get around to doing it and then doing a tutorial on it. It needs the firmware to be updated via the USB.

  11. Just came across your review and it’s definitely leaning me towards buying this tablet, but, as with many people here, I’d like to know if the OS be updated, that’s the only thing (for now) that’s putting me off.

    Great review. 🙂

    • Thanks for the comment.

      That what a lot of people are asking here and I have said I will do it and just not got around to it. Though its now on my white board on the to-do list so I will do it soon. I will post a tutorial how to do update the OS if I am successful in doing so.

  12. Hi,
    Is the Android games likes Chess or Puzzle have problem to play in this Apad? Are u satisfied with the CPU performance especially when playing any Android games like action game?

  13. just got me this unit from UK today. they sell for GBP 134,99 at amazon.co.uk I was lucky enough to buy a mint condition (with protective foil still on screen) for GBP 66 🙂 Wifi works good, I only had a little time to check it out. Please let me know if the OS is upgradeable from 1.6 mine runs on Android 1.6 cheers blaze

    • I really really need to do that upgrade. A lot of work on my plate atm, but I will get around to it.

      • alright, let me know how it goes. mine has android 1.6 installed. any nice apps recommendations from you?
        is SKYPE, MSN available or a standalone GMAIL client like for mobile? any tips are welcomed, I am fresh to this but like it so far 🙂 cheers, blaze

  14. Ed Caudwell February 27, 2011 Reply

    Hi

    just wondering how i can upgrade ?

  15. When you get around to upgrading the Andoid to at least 2.3.3, please let us know where you got it! Thanks

    • Author

      Hi Brian

      Thanks for your comment. I have tried upgrading this tablet, tho still not got it to work. I will try it again when I get more time. Though I can’t see it working.

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