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5.06.2011

Sylvania Mini Tablet - Express... my experiences so far...



Ella on the gtablet
Just about one week ago, I believe it was Sunday May 1 to be exact, I decided that I would purchase a small el-cheap-o Android tablet. Initially the purchase was made for my three year old daughter, Ella. She's a smart little girl who LOVES gadgets almost as much as I do.


I take my Viewsonic gtablet to work with me every day, and every single time I get home Ella is at the door asking me "Daddy? Can I play da Angry Birds or your toy now?" (By "toy" she's referring to my gtablet. That stems from the first day I have it. I brought it home and told her "That's Daddy's new toy. You don't touch it." ... Obviously over time I've let her begin to play games and read books on it.) Video link of Ella playing on the gtablet.


Sylvania SYTABEX7
Anyway, enough rambling. I bought the Sylvania Mini Tablet Express for Ella so she wouldn't keep getting sticky little finger prints on my expensive tablet. I played with it for a while in it's original stock state and was actually pretty pleased with the feel of the device. It is a sturdy tablet and the 7" screen actually has a good, bright, easy to read screen. I'll admit it was a kick in the teeth to work on a resistive screen but after a little while I was surfing around like I would on any Android device. 


The coolest thing, in my opinion, that I've seen that comes stock is the ability to snap screen captures. It appears to be a native application as it was available in the OS that it came loaded with (DG2.01, or Android 2.1) and was still there after I manually updated to DG2.20 (or Android 2.2 Froyo).
LauncherPro Plus 0.8.5
After I got tired of the stock OS I did some Google searching and found that people are actually developing various fixes and things for this tablet. The main site I've personally been using is called "AndroidTablets.net". The forums on that site seem to have the most information. That being said, there are others out there that a quick Google search will dig up for you.


I was able to install most of my usual apps, including LauncherPro Plus, some Angry Birds and Opera Mobile (which needs tweaks yet).
I believe I was able to get Flash working too. All I did (after root and update) was rip the apk from my gtablet, remove the stock flash apk, and replaced it. In Opera Mobile I'm able to play some internet videos, however using KidsMode (which requires Flash) I have yet to succeed.


In closing, for $105 (with sales tax) and with manually updating the OS to DG2.20, it's actually a fairly solid piece to add to your Android device collection. I thought it was worth the gamble, and I'm glad I took that bet.


Now if we could just get some ROM love from the devs (and some releases from the manufacturer) I'd say this could be a great little everyday device. Some GApps would be awesome too. Still no access to the Android Market and I have yet to find a solid alternative.