CSL Spice Mi700 Android 2.2 Tablet Review Pt1

Updated on 07 October 2010 by

Foreword. Many, many thanks to Er Lern out in Malaysia for sending us this review of the CSL Mi700 tablet before posting it on his own blog.  Er will be bringing part 2 of the review soon. Make sure you follow Er on Twitter.

Readers might notice that the Mi700 is the same as the Camangi FM600, the OlivePad and the Viewsonic Viewpad 7 that should be launching soon. (all product details here with links and videos) For a 7 inch tablet with 3G, voice, GPS, capacitive touchscreen and Android 2.2, this is shaping up to be a really nice product. The pricing should be competitive (we’re hearing 399 Euros for the Viewpad 7 with 3G included) so this is one review to read carefuly. Take it away Er Lern….

CSL was kind enough to lend me a review unit of their latest Android product (the Mi300 being their first): Mi700 DroidPad. Along with the review unit, I had some time chatting with both the CEO and Senior Manager of Marketing at CSL. The relevant details and observations from that discussion will be inserted in the review.

Unboxing:

Spice Mi700 (1) Spice Mi700

Full gallery here.

The product comes in a fairly large white box. In it, you get the tablet, along with (Please refer to the pictures below):

  • DroidPad
  • Hardcase Cover (with a small sleeve in the front and a elastic band, used in journals to keep the contents together). This cover is useful to prop the device at an angle, for display purposes. Note: They term this a pouch in their manual. I think not.
  • Screen Cloth Cleaner
  • Screen Protector (which I decided not to use since it was the reason why the screen looked washed out during my ‘quick review’)
  • Headphones/Handset (practically low quality and only good for receiving calls with – more on that later).
  • Earphone buds
  • Car Charger (great for car usage, especially when you use the DroidPad as a Garmin-replacement)
  • Mini USB Data Cable
  • Wall Charger
  • Quick Start Guide
  • MapKing Android 1 year Authorization Card
  • CSL Fun Club Instruction Booklet
  • CSL Warranty Card (1 year, which you can upgrade for another 0.5 years by registering online)

.

Spice Mi700 (4)

Spice Mi700 (3) Spice Mi700 (2)

Spice Mi700 (5) Spice Mi700 (6) Spice Mi700 (7)

It is a simple package, which I found quite attractive (you won’t want to throw the box away).

Hardware:

Spice Mi700 (12)

Take note, in this review, I will refer to the tablet in landscape position being its normal, at rest, position. This is how the company has designed it. Not like the Tab where it is displayed as a  “portrait” mode tablet. Honestly, I prefer to handle tablets in portrait position; I find landscape a bit too disconcerting  as it requires one to relearn habits acquired in using phone UI (User Interaction)s. That is just a pet peeve of mine. By the way, all the photos taken are from my HTC HD2 at 5MP. I will try to include a video in future posts.

This is a 7″ inch device, with the following dimensions: height of 179.4mm, 110mm width and 11.5mm length. It weighs at slightly less than 0.5kg. The DroidPad can definitely be carried using one hand, although not for long stretches; ideal for the short surfing and simple tasks. The best way to hold this device (from my experience) is to put it on any platform (could even be your belly) and leaning it back against your palm/fingers. The weight in that position is negligible.

Spice Mi700 (11)

The build itself is solid. There are no moving parts or rattling noises from the unit. This is not unexpected since it was mainly designed and manufactured by Foxconn (though CSL has input into the design through a subsidiary of Foxconn). The unit does not house a fan to dissipate heat. Frankly, it is not needed as I have not felt any heat coming from the unit, even when under heavy usage. When you turn the whole device around, you will notice that it is all sealed up nicely. The back is a polished, glossy matte (ala iPhone 3G) cover in black. I do not know what material it is made of, but it attracts finger prints on it. The side of the tablet is framed with an aluminium casing (it looks like aluminium to me). The thickness is evident (at 11.5mm), but good to see that the back and the front does not bulge out, but fits that length perfectly. Although everything looks nice, I have a bit of a complaint concerning the front bezel. I admit, I am bit picky at times, and like things to be symmetrical, and thus found the bezel around the display to be of different sizes. I measured the sides, and they are both 11mm. The top is 9mm while the bottom is 12mm. I just find that a bit odd and have no reason to justify their rationale in this (especially since the camera is located at the top left and not at the wider bottom bezel). Anyway, at the right side of the display are 4 touch sensitive buttons. One for ‘menu’, ‘home/voice search’, ‘search’ and ‘back’.

[continued on Page 2]

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22 Comments For This Post

  1. KL Loo says:

    I just got myself Mi700 2 days ago lol…

    I agree that the screen protector do somehow degrade the clarity of the screen, as with all matte surface screen protectors out there (only benefit is it does not attract much fingerprint).
    I requested for clear screen protector but they didn’t have any of that sort. I would definitely prefer clear screen protector over the matte ones.

    And yea, the resolution 800×480 is a bit pushing for 7″.
    If only this device is able to root, i would try to change the dpi to get the icons and text smaller, which may helps….

  2. Er Lern says:

    How would you change the dpi with root access? Is there a software app that allows for that? No one, at the moment, seems interested in the Mi700 among the developers. Sad… but I have been trying to get people interested in the XDA forums… to no avail. Alas!

  3. KL Loo says:

    Hi Er Lern, there is an app in the market which allows change the dpi. But only if you have root :(

  4. aludal says:

    Instead of XDA forums focused on phones, you might want to try Slatedroid.com, a community for tablet development. In other words, you can try me, lol, I’m active there at the Pandigital Novel section. Though if a solid, professional testing and review is needed, the review unit must be sent to US.

    And yes, I absolutely don’t know why people here trying to play DPI prank on you. In Android, theoretically you can go all the way to render subpixel and dithering, but with the standard autohint framework which is a compromise for both portrait and landscape orientations, the results are not good both for text and images. Loss of color depth in video is also not acceptable.

  5. chippy says:

    I do that with the Smart Q T7 as it allows DPI changes. It’s much better that way.

  6. Alslayer says:

    Good review so far. The Viewsonic version is my number 2 tablet I am waiting for. My list is Galaxy tab ,viewsonic, archos 70. I have a archos 7ht and I am not pleased. Probably cause I have a defective unit.

  7. Beatir says:

    wheres the video?!?!?!?!

  8. Er Lern says:

    Sorry, but I’ll upload the video much later. Have to redo some of it all over again. :)

  9. KL Loo says:

    I ended up buying ipad clear screen protector and manually cut into the size for this….improve clarity vs the supplied screen protector and some protection to the screen. lol

  10. 8 Bit Tree says:

    Nice review. I just thought I’d mention that WCDMA is another name for 3G GSM, and is not the same as CDMA.

  11. Er Lern says:

    Thanks a lot… hahahha… I am so noob at that… :(

  12. goatee says:

    Thanks for the initial review. As expected using a tablet in mobile situations isn’t very fun. You end up being forced into a situation (at a table) where a netbook/notebook would be better.

  13. helter says:

    I’m also having a hard time figuring out what situations a tablet would be more useful than a smart phone or laptop. All I know is that I want one anyway. Yeah, I fell for all the tablet hype going on right now.

  14. Er Lern says:

    I actually felt that the best thing at the moment is a 4.3″ pda phone. Many of my friends are saying that the 5″ form factor is the best compromise between the two though :)

  15. basil says:

    I agree, 4.3″ or 5″ is probably the largest I’d go for a “tablet” type device. After that, it gets a little to unwieldy to use.

  16. dave says:

    how much?

  17. LeafmeAlong says:

    I would rather have the Archos 70 than the Viewpad – the Archos has the OMAP3 (Cortex A8) processor, which is much more powerful than the Viewpad’s Qualcomm MSM7227 (ARM 11) processor. I hope that the Froyo on the Archos 70 will support full Flash 10.1

  18. CW says:

    Can you confirm that this unit does not have a HDMI output port?

  19. Me says:

    No HDMI port.
    BTW, the device has been rooted already… search for Mi700 rooted… :)

  20. merlot says:

    from singapore, someone bought it and within a day gave up by ready to sell immediate away in market resale forum at dirt price. So far no taken.
    Think carefully before you commit a mistake.

  21. keykeybod says:

    mapkin app can not use the spice mi700, never be open and operating … all that is mentioned about mapking navigator, just a lie and nonsense

  22. SecretName says:

    Why cant i get this in singapore? :(

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