In Google’s most recent earnings call, Google CEO Larry Page made a big deal out of the affordable tablets using the Android operating system. The ZTE Optik, carried exclusively by Sprint is one of those tablets except instead of the $250ish price tag most Android low-cost Android tablets are carrying, the ZTE Optik is only $99 with a new two year agreement.
We’ve been using the ZTE Optik for about three weeks now and are overall impressed at what you can get for $99. However we had a hurdle to get through and we spoke with Sprint’s Mark Elliott about that earlier on in the review. You see if you’re used to all of the bells and whistles of the latest greatest Android tablets this isn’t for you. If you’re looking for a quad-core super tablet, again this isn’t for you.
If you’re looking for a great media consumption device. Something to use in a pinch that’s connected to the internet, and something that’s got a dual core processor, BINGO this is for you.
More after the break
The 7″ ZTE Optik would be a perfect entry level tablet. It would also make a great transitional tablet for someone coming from an e-reader device and wanting to experience Android. Let’s be clear though, we aren’t talking about knock off MID junk here. The tablet is well made and one of the first things I noticed about it is that it has some weight behind it. If you’ve ever read any of our tablet reviews I like tablets with a little weight it makes me feel like the device was made better and that it’s a little more durable. I hate fragile feeling tablets, especially because I’m looking for a tablet to be productive.
In the hardware department you have a 7″ capacitive multi-touch display. Under the hood you have a 1.2ghz dual core processor with 16gb of flash memory and 1gb of RAM. It’ running Android 3.2 Honeycomb and has a 5mp rear shooter. There’s also a 2mp front facing camera and if you’re in good Sprint 3G coverage you can actually have a video chat with minimal lag. There is a microSD slot for expandable memory and a 4000mah battery that gives you plenty of power.
One thing I used the Optik for was GPS in the car. While at night I couldn’t get the brightness down quite enough, during the day the 7″ display was a lot easier to read than the GPS on a smaller device like a phone. The other thing to consider is that in some cases 3G is actually a blessing, there’s no fighting towers for data as long as you’re in 3g Sprint coverage, which is just about everywhere in the U.S., your tablet is connected. There is no 4G/Wimax on this device.
Movie playback was crisp and clear as was NetFlix. The speakers were plenty loud enough to comfortably watch a movie.
The keyboard layout was perfect and I actually penned a post or two to thedroidguy.com while on a road trip using the Optik. Also, for the business person a 7″ tablet is often times better than a 10″ tablet. The Optik (like other tablets it’s size) easily fits in your back pocket of most jeans, a suit coat inside or outside pocket and the inside pocket of most jackets. Of course you can easily throw it in your laptop bag.
Of course your looking for a quad-core mega Android tablet with Ice Cream Sandwich this isn’t it. But if you’re looking for a very solid entry level tablet, and a great media consumption device it’s perfect. It would also make a great secondary tablet for a household with kids that constantly borrow your tablet to watch movies and play games.
The Optik is available today at Sprint stores and wherever Sprint devices are sold and it’s $99 on a new two year agreement.