E-Ceros entered the tablet market last year and the company has released a series of tablets, including a 9.7 inch iPad look-alike and 3G budget 7 inch tablet with dual-sim card slots. That was last year. In the intervening months E-Ceros has been busily working on new products, one of which is the E-Ceros Vision, a 10.1 inch, widescreen device which redefines E-Ceros’ design language.
Although the other devices in the E-Ceros range serve their purpose – they are cheap, but yet powerful – the design of their tablets was at best functional. Functional designs aren’t a problem, they get the job done, but they don’t leave you inspired. The Ceros Vision is different, its goals are different, its style is different.
Lots of Android tablet makers are building tablets around the 10 inch or 10.1 inch form factor. Bigger than the iPad, these devices try to offer more by adding bigger screens. It is a tactic that seems to work, however for me I never truly felt comfortable using a some of these devices, they always seemed too big. However I can’t say that about the E-Ceros Vision.
The device includes a 10.1 inch 1920 x 1200 display, but it is at least 2cm shorter than devices like the iPad 2 and the Asus Transformer Pad TF300T. This is thanks to its widescreen design. In landscape orientation it is 25.9cm wide and 16.2cm high, in fact I can grip the device, from top to bottom between my thumb and middle finger, something I can’t do with more square devices like the iPad or the E-Ceros Revolution.
The first thing you notice about the Vision is its widescreen dimensions, the second thing you notice is that this tablet is all about straight lines and edges. Gone are the curved edges of previous E-Ceros tablets. They are replaced with a completely flat back and sharper corners and chamfered edges. Although the device is made of plastic, it mimics the metal look and feel of unibody designs. This gives the tablet a more expensive look while keeping the costs down.
Down one edge are the various ports including the power button, the micro USB port, the mic, the micro HDMI port and the micro SD card slot. Unlike the E-Ceros Revolution, this tablet is charged via the micro USB port, a positive change. If you are holding the tablet in a landscape orientation with these ports down the left hand side then on the top edge, towards the ports, is the volume rocker and a physical home key. You don’t actually need to use the physical keys as the device has on-screen soft keys for navigation including volume buttons.
With a resolution of 1920 x 1200 the WUXGA display offers greater than HD resolution. The picture is clear and crisp and the viewing angles are excellent. The display has a 16:10 aspect ratio and packs in some 2.3 million pixels. Remembering that 1080p is 1920 x 1080, the display on this device will easily handle HD videos.
Besides the high resolution display the Ceros Vision also features a quad-core CPU, 16GB of internal storage, 2GB of RAM, a 5 megapixel rear camera and an 7000mAh battery!
The full specs are as follows:
- Android 4.2
- 10.1 inch display with a resolution of 1920 x 1200
- 1.6GHz RK3188 Quad Core ARM Cortex-A9 CPU with a Mali-400 MP Quad Core GPU.
- 2GB RAM
- 16GB internal storage, divided into 2GB and 12GB
- WiFi: 802.11 b/g/n
- 5 Megapixel Rear Camera + 2 Megapixel Front-Facing Camera
- Google Play support
- 7000mAh battery
- Micro SD Card up to 32GB
- Dimensions: 259x162x9mm (L x W x D).
- Weight: 548g
Except for some minor changes the Vision uses a fairly vanilla version of Android 4.2.2. Among the differences are a section in the settings for controlling the HDMI port and a section for configuring the screenshot button. The HDMI section allows the port to be activated/deactivated and the TV screen resolution set. The Screenshot section allows you to activate the screenshot soft key which is placed on the system bar along with the volume, back, home and recent buttons. Even though this is Android 4.2, one missing feature is the ability to create separate user accounts. Other than that everything looks standard.
Android 4.2.2 is getting a bit long in the tooth and if you are into rooting, custom firmware, or long term Android upgrades then this tablet probably isn’t for you. However Android 4.2.2 is a very capable version of Google’s mobile OS and at the time of writing it is used on about 18 percent of Android devices. In fact the only version of Android 4.x which is used more widely than Android 4.2 is Android 4.1!
I installed various different apps from the Play Store and found no compatibility issues (something that does sometimes happen with Chinese OEM tablets). Games like Asphalt 8 installed without any problems and ran well on the high-res display. Most of the standard Google apps are available including Gmail, YouTube, and the Google keyboard.
The 7000mAh battery is more than adequate and battery life shouldn’t be an issue with this device. During my testing I ran Epic Citadel for a long soak test. This showed that the E-Ceros Vision will handle over 5 hours of intense 3D gaming. For other activities like watching movies the battery will give over 7 hours of usage. Streaming YouTube videos will work for around 6 hours. That means on average you should get about 8 hours usage out of this device before it needs to be recharged, depending on how you use it.
As well as Wi-Fi b/g/n, the tablet also supports Bluetooth. A quick test with some Bluetooth speakers shows that this subsystem functions perfectly, however the same can not be said for the Wi-Fi. Although the Wi-Fi functions in terms of detecting and connecting to Wi-Fi access points, the working wireless range on this tablet is a little limited. All is well when you are in the same room as the Wi-Fi access point (AP). But move out of that room and the Wi-Fi starts to suffer. The way my house is designed means I exit from the room with the AP into a hallway. In the hallway I can still use the Internet without any problems. However if I move down the hall and into the adjoining room the Wi-Fi becomes unusable. Other devices in my possession don’t suffer from the same problem. In fact, I can use a ThL W200 several rooms away from the AP and the Internet connection remains strong.
The RockChip RK3188 at the heart of the E-Ceros Vision is a quad-core processor based on ARM’s Cortex A9 design. The chip is manufactured using a 28 nm process and runs at 1.6GHz. During my testing the device has proven to be smooth and fluid. Performance wise the RK3188 isn’t going to break any world records, but at the same time neither is it a bad performer. The Vision tablet managed 18999 on AnTuTu. This makes the device faster than a Samsung Galaxy S3 but slower than a Samsung Galaxy Note 2.
For Epic Citadel the results were surprisingly good. In High Performance mode the tablet managed a solid 44.2 frames per second and in High Quality mode 43.1 FPS. In both cases this is more than sufficient for smooth 3D gaming on the better than full HD display.
The tablet has a 5MP rear camera and a 2MP front-facing camera. With tablets the most useful camera is probably the front facing one for video chats and having something better than VGA is nice. You are unlikely to be using a tablet as your main camera, but when something unexpected happens the best camera is the one you have with you. In general the pictures are OK, but can suffer from a lack of vibrancy. Thankfully the built-in camera app has an edit feature which allows you to tweak the colors and the lighting. Other than the built-in editing, the camera app itself is basic and does little beside allowing the white balance to be set. Having said that, the auto-focus is reasonably quick and overall, for a tablet, the camera is sufficient.
Here are a couple test shots!
The Ceros Vision is available directly from Chinavasion, who ship worldwide, for $209.99 or 150 Euros. That is an excellent price for a 10.1 inch tablet with a quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM. Overall the styling of the Vision is superior to previous tablets by E-Ceros and the inclusion of the 1920 x 1200 display is a bonus. However it must be noted that the Wi-Fi performance isn’t great.