The Micromax Funbook is one big thing, with a small price, in a market which craves for devices with low cost and good specs. Micromax brought in the Funbook with both that the users exactly needed and we are pretty impressed so far. The first question a critic would have in mind is “whether the Funbook would be able to deliver what is expected from it”. The users should keep their expectation level low, because the Funbook doesn’t quality to compete in the league of Samsung Galaxy Tab and the devices of such price range. Keep the dreams of the Aakash Tablet aside, as it would take months for you to have it in hands, and give you a lot of disappointment but for you to get the touch on a tablet device and at the same time, the latest Android OS, then the Micromax Funbook is the one you should have. Micromax itself believes that the device would be giving a compelling experience of a tablet device but won’t be able to compete with the high-end tablet devices.
The prime target here could be the students, who were expecting a lot from the Aakash tablet on the education front, but Micromax Funbook could fill the purpose while many are waiting for the low-cost devices to get a hand on them. Read on to check out the entire review of the Micromax Funbook:
Design, Form Factor and the Display
The Micromax Funbook is a sleek tablet device with a 7-inch capacitive touchscreen, and is pretty thin and light in weight. That’s what a basic user would need, not so bulky and looking decent enough, easily carryable in the hand. The curvy borders, the silverish back side and the front having nothing else than the two physical keys makes the Funbook look a lot sleeker. The body is plastic from all the sides, but the aluminum-like coat on the back is what would make the tablet look a bit sturdy and strong, which in fact isn’t true because it is very much prone to scratches. Micromax should have excluded the physical keys because the Ice Cream Sandwich OS have those as virtual keys on the left bottom side, but these keys do add to the functionality. The tablet would not make much of a difference when used either in the normal or landscape mode because you would need the landscape mode mostly when you are using the front camera which is located on the top center in the landscape view, and the widescreen games would want you to hold the device horizontally. The keys are located at a place which would make it comfortable to press in both the ways.
The sides are neat, with Micromax giving all the connectivity slots only at one side, beside the top physical keys, indicating that they have given some importance to the looks than functioning, because you won’t be able to plug in the Mini-USB and the Mini-HDMI ports at the same time, thanks to the small gap between them. The bottom side has the socket for charger pin, the Mini USB port, the HDMI port, the TF card slot and the 3.5mm headset jack. With the recent low cost tablet we have seen, there has been a trend of the direct USB slots which are wide and gives an unnecessary bulge on the sides but Micromax made sure that a cable would do the same and the Mici USB port is enough to conect to a normal USB wire.
The back side is neat and has got a vertical speaker slot near the top right, and the center has got the neat Funbook logo. The bottom side has a few certification logos and the new Micromax logo that they recently unveiled. The top pane when seen on the landscape mode has got a couple physical keys, for the volume control and the power/lock function.
Overall, the Micromax Funbook is designed pretty well with a simple body, the neat colors and placement of the keys and the tablet doesn’t weigh much, thanks to the thin body of its. We of course are expecting an additional camera, on the rear side if Micromax is planning for a successor for the Funbook in the coming future.
Operating System, Interface and Apps
The Funbook ports the Android 4.0 ICS operating system, the latest one and that’s what would attract the users who want to have an experience of the latest OS version. It is not the speedest out there, although the 1GHz of processor should be enough. Hitting the Power/Lock key takes a few seconds before one would see the lock screen activated. The lock screen is pretty neat, with the Clock, date and the lock-within-a-circle which has to be dragged either to the right for unlocking the screen or left for the camera.
There are five home screens, most of them filled with the widgets and app shortcuts by default, but we couldn’t make out the number as there is no shortcut to bring all the homescreens together. You would need to drag the screens to left or right for the count check. Clicking on either the physical home key, or the virtual home button on the bottom left, would give you an indication that there are the other home screens apart from the one you are on.
The left bottom has got the four shortcut keys which we have as the physical keys too, though its more handy to have both the options. The keys are Back, Home, Recent Apps and Menu. The right bottom side has the Notification area that takes you to almost everything you wanted on the go.
Someone who used even the Honeycomb OS in any previous tablet devices would not see anything new in the Ice Cream Sandwich version, as the same notification area, the same left bottom shortcuts, the app lists, Google text and voice search. But everything is on the front, and that’s what we have always liked about the Android OS in the tablet devices.
The applications that have come pre-loaded are very much enough for someone to do all the basic stuff, includes the web browsing, social networking and entertainment. Some of the best that we could find a use of, includes Adobe Reader, Android Browser, Mail, Google talk, Youtube, Gmail, Google maps etc.
And to answer many of our readers, yes there is a Play Store (previously Android Market) in the Micromax Funbook so you could download any number of applications. There is even a Micromax Store which would separately provide applications and services that users can take advantage of, and make the productivity better on the Funbook.
Performance, Touch Response and Battery
Performance wise, the Funbook is below-par at many levels. I already mentioned one of the issues, with the lock screen getting activated few seconds after pressing the Lock key. Then the browser didn’t respond well when multiple tabs were opened at the same time. Video playback was neat though, if people are thinking to have the Funbook solely for entertainment. The Funbook supports multiple video formats which include MPEG2, MPEG 4, AVI, WMV, MOV and many more.
The touch response of the Funbook is neat, and you don’t need to give a lot of sensitivity but a little touch is enough to get the response. We usually notice a lot of discomfort in long drags on the homescreens but this screen of the Funbook is smooth and won’t attract any fingerprint marks.
Battery that comes in the Funbook is of 2800 mAh and that gives around 5 hours of normal usage, which is not much when you compare it with the high-end tablet devices but that’s quite a lot and good enough for the 1GHz processor of the Funbook. We didn’t test the heavy performance and battery test together, so won’t conclude with a particular result already, but when using the Funbook for the normal web browsing, emailing stuff it works for at least a good 3-4 hours and the stand-by time was great where we had kept the Wi-Fi, Background Data turned on but the battery lasted for more than a day.
We would still do a perfect battery test on the continuous video and audio playback very soon.
Camera – Not that good, but still decent for the purpose
One of the reasons why we appreciate the Micromax Funbook is the camera availability, as many other tablet of almost the same or higher range lack a camera. The presence of 0.3MP camera still fills the purpose of video chatting either using the 3G USB dongle or through Wi-Fi. The best app for the video chatting using the front camera in the landscape more would be the Skype app.
The pictures captured are not any good, but when the company says its of a low quality we won’t expect much. Still appreciate the fact that the Camera app has got the feature of recording a video apart from taking pics using the front camera.
One thing that we didn’t mention in the review, but is more than just mentioning is the ‘Vriti platform’ in the Funbook which provides educational content to the Indian students, and the company claims that it took them months to get all the content. The Funbook has all the educational textbook content for the students of school age to learn more about the subjects.
The Funbook has a lot packed in itself. We won’t end the review here, as there are many things to explain which we would anyways do in the various tips and test articles of the Funbook in the coming days. But certainly, the Micromax Funbook has got something that can compete even the tablets that cost double than this.
Connectivity review and tips coming up soon.