(Updated) Unpacking Astro's 8 inch Funbook

By Perseverance Tavagwisa

Astro, a company owned by Bethel communications  officially unveiled their brand products in Harare, all running on Android OS, at a function well attended by both senior  government officials and high dignitaries from the private sector.

Amongst the gadgets they unveiled was their tablet they coined the funbook, a tablet designed and made specifically for the Zimbabwean market with a local market place too  installed called the Astro  market.

What’s in the box?

 inside astro

Other accessories.

·         Earphones

·         Usb charger (head with micro Usb connector)

·         Usb extension cable

·         8’ inch Funbook tablet

Specs

The full Specifications for the Astro  Funbook are all prescribed in the above image powered by a cortex A9 quad core processor at 1,9 Ghz, with a 1g Ram chip and total internal storage of 24g, this basically makes a cool tablet trending well withing the market competition against other international household brands.Screenshot_2014-01-04-16-21-55

Like all of their brands, the Funbook tablet comes with Adnroid 4.1.2 pre installed and many other generic, useful applications.

The Tab:

The Funbook has sleek aluminium furnish with curved edges which gives it that cool feel. With only three buttons at its disposal, the tablet banks most of its operations on the huge 7’inch touch screen. The power on button is precariously placed to the top right adjacent to it is tiny reset hole and the top left has the slot for headsets.

To complete the buttons list are the volume buttons on the right panel (volume and down), with the micro sim card slot also located further down. There are dual powerful speakers on the bottom panel, which also hosts the micro Usb hub and the mic. The front panel hosts mainly the huge touch 7’inch touch responsive screen, also Incorporated is the 2.0 Mp camera , light sensor, and ear piece. The back hosts only the 5.0 Mp camera.

Screenshot_2014-01-04-16-15-46

The screen shot above showing the instruction on how to plug in the micro sim

Graphics

With the updated ice cream sandwich operating system (Android 4.1.2), PowerVR SGX531 Ultra Graphic Processing Unit (GPU) and the MTK6577 Cortex-A9, Dual core, 1 GHz Central Processing Unit (CPU) , the  Funbook has a crispy  crystal display which can be mistaken for the retina display on most IOs based devices.

Screenshot_2014-01-04-20-01-45

The screen shot above showing the Funbook’s crispy display

Gaming is another experience on the Funbook, as most third party licensed games are supported. The tablet also allows the use of its gyroscope for games that require it like most car racing games. 3D gaming experience is awesome as most 3D games run without hiccups.

Core gamers will be impressed by its ability to multi-task as applications can be suspended to be resumed at a convenient time!

Screenshot_2014-01-07-07-08-15

The screen shot above showing naruto fight game

Connectivity & Local Internet Settings

Probably one of the greatest initiatives they made here is to prescribe plain and easily accessible  manual settings for all networks.

 With internet connectivity requiring APN for devices to connect, the Funbook through its Astros help app has made it easier for Zimbabweans to connect, as it has provided APN for three major mobile operators namely Econet, Telecel and Netone.

Screenshot_2014-01-04-16-17-14

The screen shot above showing Astros help app displaying internet settings

With the exception of 4G LTE , the Funbook supports all networks. It can also act as a Wi-Fi portable hotspot and tethering device. The device can also connect using Bluetooth and file transfers are possible through it, with advanced connections for internet sharing.

Battery

The battery is sealed internally. Replacement is done only by Astros technicians at their support store. However it has a rating of 3.7V and produces a current of 4300mah. For recharge, the unit requires a 5V charger which produces a current of 2000mah.

The rating of the battery affects the recharge time and also the longetivity of the battery. Using other chargers besides the provided one for the unit greatly compromises the battery as most may not meet the requirement ratings.

Standby time with only phone calls without any data or power hungry applications will give upto one week to get to critical levels for recharging (20%). If wifi is turned on, the device will give a maximum of four hrs online.

With mobile data services on the battery will give upto 72hrs. Having tune ups and Battery apps will also prolong the standby time.

Overal Analysis & Market Comparison

Comparing the funbook  with other international brands mainly the most popular ones  in Zimnanwe, ie Samsing an Apple.

The tablet falls below the Galaxy 10.1 class, and also trends slightly below the Galaxy 8.1 as it has these specs

Android OS, v4.2.2 (Jelly Bean)
Chipset Intel Atom Z2560
CPU Dual-core 1.6 GHz
GPU PowerVR SGX544MP2

Astro Tab`s  back camera proves to bring better still picture quality over the Galaxy tab

It also beats the iPad 1 but floats below the iPad 2 in terms of processor speed but it heavily competes well above on camera and better picture quality way above the ipad2

The storage at 16g internal Flash plus 5g HDD beats the iPad 2 at 16g though the same iPads have 32gtrending devices.

Stability is another very important aspect as the tablet fairs very well without consistent freezing and crushing compared to other low end gadgets but it succumbs after strenuous tests.

At $399 its a fair price though slightly higher compared to other international prices, but the fact is these prices are not local, the same tablet ranges are also hiked above $399 once they are imported in Zimbabwe.

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