Come 2014, and Milagrow is back with the M8 Pro 3G. The company again calls this the worlds first TabTop PC, so this has to be the successor to their own original TabTop. But I am not sure how this sobriquet is relevant now when most Windows 8 tablets do effective, though underpowered, computing from a tab. It must because this tablet too packs as many ports as possible, a bit too many if you ask me. But is there more to this machine
What I like
Design: The M8 Pro 3G has a very slick design. It reminds me a lot of the Sony Tablet S, but is a bit thinner even in the thicker parts of the device. It is also very light at just 530 grams. The power button is on the side of the thicker side. This side also houses the bouquet of portsthe charging slot, mini-HDMI, two micro-USB ports, SD-card slot and SIM slot.
Display: This tablet has a 9.4-inch 1280 x 800p IPS display which is very sharp and clear. In fact, you will mistake this for Full HD till you run 1080p files on it. The viewing angles are good too and it helps that the screen has a slight gradient event when the tablet is laid flat.
Performance: You dont need the benchmark tests to tell you this is a very powerful device. The transitions are smooth, the apps open in a jiffy and the overall experience is very smooth. It is powered by a quad-core 1.6 GHz RK3188 Rockchip processor that is really up to the task, especially with 2 GB RAM. One of the unique features of the tablet is the USB host which lets you hook this device to any storage device using an adapter. I could explore and run apps, videos and other files from anything from an USB flash drive to a 1TB external storage device using this feature. There is also a very Windows 8 inspired launcher that gives you a tile-based user interface to play around with. It is different and works better for those who might want to use this tablet for work. Plus, the battery life of the device is very decent and game me over 12 hours with regular usage. Would have been surprised if a 6500 mAh battery did not do that.
Connectivity options: Having a 3G slot is definitely an added advantage at this price point. Plus, you can connect this tablet to the rest of your ecosystem easily, even though this mean a lot of holes on the sides.
What I dont like
Touchscreen: At times the touchscreen feels a bit hypersensitive and opens link that you are just browsing through. Imagine how irritating it would have been trying to use the YouTube app with a screen that opened everything you touched.
Camera: A camera is not a big deal for a tablet. But it has to be usable at least. This camera is quite bad if you are not shooting under the bright sun. Even the flash cannot redeem this one.
Audio: I said this screen was good. But then the speaker that goes with it is temperamental. It kept emanating weird creaking sounds when I was playing some YouTube videos. It is a good thing that this tablet can link up with a larger screen that has better audio capabilities.
Problem of plenty: The two micro-USB and charging slot could all have been rolled into one, like most other Android devices these days. I just dont understand why you need a unique pin for charging, after all who wants another charger to carry around. Also, there is a menu/esc button which could have been all been added to the power button.
Should you buy it
If you are looking for an affordable, large Android tablet that does not lack in power then the M8 Pro 3G is a good choice. At the week-long offer price of R19,990 this was a good tablet to buy. But at the present R24,990, I wont recommend it for all users. Still a good option to have for people who need extra features like connectivity with storage devices and 3G.
Estimated street price: Rs 24,990