Music on this device is a real treat. The sound that emits from the speaker is nothing to brag about, but putting a good set of headphones on it will really make you happy. It has a rich sound, much like your Zune or iPod, with good bass and treble. The two players I use most are Nitrogen and GSPlayer. Nitrogen even supports resume, which can be very handy when listening to audio books. The great battery life and clear music make this a very enjoyable device for reading or browsing while listening to music.
The device arrived with Windows Media Player and an application called â€œWMPlayer inch by WitsTech. I’ve tested AVI, MPEG4, and WMV files to good effect. It seems the best framerate came from the AVI file. The MKV file I tested did not function, and I was told that MKV support would be coming soon. Still, this device is great for watching video, and the power of the Cortex A8 shines through here. We finally have a MID that can read, watch movies, and listen to music. Unfortunately, the internet isn’t perfect. Read-on!
Using MangaMeeyaCE English to view comics on this device is pretty much just like the SmartQ7 or the JE-100, with one noticeable difference. It is very fast to change pages. The bright and clear screen makes it easy to see the small text you usually find with a comic book. I’ve found the best way to view comics is in full screen portrait mode.
This is where I spent most of my time with this device. Unfortunately, it was because this is where I had problems. I expected this device to perform very well for web browsing, as that is one of the claims of the Cortex A8 (hence Archos 5 Android being one of the fastest there is right now) is known for. It was to my great surprise that IE ran sluggishly on the device. It is slower than my SmartQ7, and closer to my old Nokia N770 Internet Tablet. The W1010 4.3 Slider also runs considerably faster! Not only do the pages load slower than they should, but the interface doesn’t respond well even after the page is loaded. Tapping the scrollbar up or down causes the scroll to jog too far or lag behind taps. Clicking the address bar to show history reacts slowly.
To solve this I looked into many things. I adjusted the amount of RAM available vs. Storage. I loaded a memory resource watcher into the try to watch what would happen when I did certain things. Another test I did was open several browser windows all the the MobileRead website open. I was able to do this more times than were necessary on the SmartQ7. On the W1060, after two browser windows I was up to 80% memory being used. After the 4th window the device froze up. When I loaded a Youtube page with a single video on it the memory would go up over 90% used. I managed to get a youtube video to play once, but it was pixilated and the framerate was pretty bad. I had the same mixed results with flash. It seems to me there is a firmware issue with Internet Explorer, some type of memory leak or memory problem. Until this is fixed, it seems a little frustrating to use the web browser. If you are spending more time trying to get the device working with your current page by changing memory or closing tasks than you are actually browsing the web, then you might feel a little challenged with this device.
W1060 Web Screenshot – Left: Look at the resources in the tray, Right: Notice the resource jump when a YouTube video page is loaded
The Device’s Future
Now that I have reached this part of the review I can say that I’m still excited about the device. First of all, I’ve been told Android would be available by the end of the year. Next, they are working on fixing screen rotation right away. Since the device is firmware based, and it is very new, you can expect to see many improvements to the firmware. If they can fix the memory problems I encountered with Internet Explorer, bring MKV to the device, and adjust a few other things, this will be a very nice device in the future.
There are many great things about this device. For everything except web browsing, it is extremely fast and a pleasure to use. The form factor is just about perfect. Not too heavy and not too light. It feels good in your hands. The build quality is fantastic. On the other side, the lack of true screen rotation is a real problem. The issues with Internet Explorer and memory are frustrating. It doesn’t have USB Host mode, which many folks have come to expect in their multi-function devices these days.
I’ve heard that WitsTech are going to release a version of this device with a multi-touch capacitive screen in a few months. With that in mind, and considering some of the issues we are having right now, only the die-hard device enthusiasts should pick this device up before the firmware is updated or the capacitive version is released. I’ve been asked to hold on to this device and keep the community updated as the bugs are worked out. I’m happy to do so, and I hope they can fix these things soon, because it really is a beautiful machine.
Review Unit Information
The Review unit was supplied by E-lectio-divina, a United States distributor of several MID and PDA devices. They also specialize in some of the best Bible Software on eBook and multifunction devices. If you are interested in purchasing one of his devices, just contact him and tell him ColdSun (Heath Brown) sent you. He also asked that I include a link to his free bible reading software.
This review was also published at MobileRead. A great place to find out about Ereader-focused hardware and software.