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Old 06-22-2011, 07:24 PM   #1
AlfonsVH
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Thumbs up BeBook Live review

Hi all,

I received my very own BeBook Live yesterday, so here's my review for you to see what the device is all about.

Note that this is the first tablet device I have ever owned or even worked with, so my judgement may be a bit off!


General information and specifications

The BeBook Live has a 7" (18cm) TFT-LCD capacitive multi-touch screen with 600x800 resolution. It measures about 200*145*9 mm. Weight is around 430 grams. It features a Samsung Cortex A8 CPU at 1.0 GHz, 512MB SDRAM and about 4GB of internal memory. The GPU is a PowerVR SGX 540.
Expansion with a Micro-SD card up to 32GB is possible.

Other features include: Mini-HDMI-out, accelerometer (BMA 150), microphone, 2 MP camera, 2 speakers, Bluetooth, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n.
No 3G-support, unfortunately.

After flashing the most recent firmware, the device runs on Android 2.2.1 (Froyo).

The tablet comes with a USB cable and charger, but no cover. Charging over USB is not possible, you need to use the supplied charger.
UPDATE: apparently charging over USB does work.


Look and feel: hardware

The device feels sturdy enough, but some of the buttons feel a bit flimsy, especially the ones on top of the device. They feel like the buttons on a typical Chinese MP3-player. They do work fine, but to me it seems like they might not last for long. The buttons on the device front are more like slits in the bezel itself and feel much sturdier. The tablet feels like it should be able to resist some rough handling.





The backside of the BeBook Live consists of some kind of slightly textured black plastic that is nice to the touch (especially in comparison to the BeBook Neo/Club ). The print quality of the logo on the backside isn't great and there's a paper sticker with serial number (see photos) which makes the device less esthetically pleasing than it could have been.







The screen is bright with vivid colors and the material is easy for fingers to slide on. It's quite fingerprint-prone, but the finger smudges don't impair the image quality, so for me that's a none-issue, really. The viewing angle is not that great, as you would expect from a TFT-LCD, but certainly useable. (in reality, the screen looks better than the picture)




Look and feel: software

The BeBook Live is my first device with Android, so I was curious how the OS and software would work.
People who already use Android probably know most of the things I'm about to tell.

At first I ran into some problems (not being able to access the Android Marketplace et cetera) but it turned out that I was running an older version of the firmware that still had some glitches. After contacting the company's support team, they sent me the new firmware straight away. After flashing (which consisted simply of dragging a folder to a micro-SD, putting it into the slot, rebooting and waiting a bit) everything worked fine.

The interface consists of 5 virtual desktops. You can switch from one to another by dragging your finger across the screen. Customization of the application shortcuts, wallpaper, widgets and the likes is very straightforward.




A couple of applications come pre-loaded, such as the games Angry Birds and Tank Hero as well as Aldiko, AndAppStore, ES File Explorer and some others.
Installing new applications with the Market or AndAppStore and removing them with the Android Settings panel is very straightforward.

The built-in browser and keyboard are very useable, but people who want support for gestures or thumb-typing will want to install some other applications such as Thumb Keyboard and Dolphin HD.

Viewing Office documents and viewing and annotating PDF files requires some extra software. I use Documents to Go and RepliGo Reader, respectively.
There are numerous other options out there, though, so I suggest you experiment a bit to see what apps you like best.

One thing I don't like about Android are the ads: some (mostly free) applications show advertisements from within the app. It should be possible to turn these off if your device is rooted, but that seems a bit too risky to try to me because it voids the warranty.


Performance

As mentioned before, this is my first tablet so I have nothing to compare to...

The tablet needs about 25 seconds to start up and about 10s to shut down.

To get some kind of comparison, I benchmarked the device using AnTutu System Benchmark. The BeBook Live scores 1847. Not exactly an impressive score, but it's comparable to the scores of the Samsung i9000 and the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10i, both devices with very similar CPU and GPU specifications.



Regardless of the benchmark score, reaction time to me seems very good. The tablet reacts almost instantly to anything you do such as dragging, tapping or sliding. Starting applications and opening files is fast and typically takes less than a second. Turning pages in PDF documents can take a bit more time (using the RepliGo Reader) but is still fast enough not to become irritated.

The camera is on the front, facing the user of the device, so it's only useful for video calls. At 2 MP the image quality leaves something to be desired, but you probably won't be taking many pictures anyway.


Various thoughts and remarks
  • Because the BeBook Live has no 3G support, I was hoping to use the 3G connection on my Symbian smartphone by tethering it with my tablet. However, I was not able to figure out how to do it. Android does not support connecting to Ad Hoc networks, so JoikuSpot is not an option. I think it should be possible to use the phone as a bluetooth modem, but cannot figure out how to get the tablet to use it as such.
  • Using it as a reading device is very comfortable because of the low weight and easy touch navigation. However, reading in sunlight is not ideal because of glare and contrast issues. An e-ink screen would be better for such purpose.
  • I'm not sure about the battery life yet, since I've only owned the device for about a day and a half. However I used it for about 5 hours after charging and it still had about 40% battery capacity, according to the battery indicator.
    I'll post an update in a couple of days or weeks.
  • The version of Android is somewhat outdated since Honeycomb hit the market, but updates may arrive in a future firmware upgrade.

Conclusion

Despite its shortcomings, at 279 EUR I think the BeBook Live is a great tablet device for readers and gadget-lovers alike!


P.S.: If you want me to test something or if you have any additional questions, don't hesitate to ask!!

Last edited by AlfonsVH; 06-23-2011 at 12:16 PM. Reason: Added information.
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Old 06-22-2011, 07:47 PM   #2
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Hi Alfons.

You have a PM on the Bebook forum. :-)
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Old 06-22-2011, 08:01 PM   #3
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You have a PM on the Bebook forum. :-)
I've sent you an email!
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Old 06-22-2011, 10:28 PM   #4
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I've dabbled a little with these small tablets.

Does this one have a hard reset?

Why is there no usb charging? Another wall-wart to drag around.

I'll sent my tablet back because certain apps would crash it and there was no way to recover. But I could plug a keyboard in that one.
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Old 06-23-2011, 04:45 AM   #5
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Does this one have a hard reset?
I think that the small button on the top is a reset button. Most likely it's a soft reset though.


However, flashing the new firmware deleted everything on the device. That counts as a hard reset IMO.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AZdave View Post
Why is there no usb charging? Another wall-wart to drag around.
The adapter puts out 5.25V @ 2A so the device probably draws too much current for a standard USB port to provide. Update: charging over USB does work.



Quote:
Originally Posted by AZdave View Post
But I could plug a keyboard in that one.
I don't know if that's possible with this device. Might try it later if I have the time

Last edited by AlfonsVH; 06-23-2011 at 12:15 PM.
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Old 06-23-2011, 08:32 AM   #6
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That is a soft reset(recovers the machine to start up) as I found out last night (don't let eager wives steal it off you). Once I applied the update (thanks Alfons) this machine came to life. I am so very impressed. I also want to try a USB keyboard later when I can stop playing with the app stores :-). There are still lots of things to figure out as I am also an Android Noob but I am having great fun doing so. So far, a massive thumbs up from me and the wife (who is itching to get her hands on it again).
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Old 06-23-2011, 03:48 PM   #7
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Good luck with the keyboard. The unit I had (Kaser Net'sGo) had two usb ports. A goesinto and a comesoutof. The keyboard pluged into the goesinto usb port.

I'll have to look more at the specs on this one...
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Old 06-26-2011, 03:39 PM   #8
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Well I thought I would add an update (using the Live). Fot the last two days it has had a hammering. Three young grandsons, 2 daughters, my wife and me have had this going almost constantly. The result? Not a byte out of place. Absolutely flawless performance. To say I am impressed is an understatement and one daughter is already planning how to afford one. I really did not think I would like a slate but I have had a complete change of heart.

Last edited by Stormchild; 06-26-2011 at 05:52 PM.
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