Tablets

Review: RAMOS MID W9 Android Tablet

Can an inexpensive Android tablet direct from Asia make the grade as a portable business device in the United States? Mark Kaelin finds out with this review of the RAMOS MID W9.

Earlier this year, I reviewed an inexpensive Android-based tablet PC (LY-706 Tablet Pad Netbook) for the 2011 Geek Gift Guide. If you read the review, you will see that I was not impressed by that device. Well a representative of the distributor (Focalprice) responsible for importing the device to the United States, suggested I try a more expensive and full-featured tablet PC.

He was kind enough to send us the RAMOS MID W9 Android Tablet.

Specifications

  • Distributor: Focalprice
  • Product: RAMOS MID W9 Android Tablet
  • Operating System: Google Android OS V2.1
  • Max RAM Support: 32GB, 8GB tested
  • Graphics: Integrated Graphics
  • Display: LCD at 800 X 480, resistive touch
  • Display Diagonal Size: 7 inches
  • Hard Drive Capacity: 2GB
  • Ports: USB2.0, microphone, HDMI
  • Networking: WiFi, 3G, Fast Ethernet
  • Cost: $180

Who is it for?

The RAMOS MID W9 Android Tablet is designed for anyone looking for an extremely portable device for reading email, doing light Web surfing, and/or reading reports or ebooks. It does not replace a desktop PC, but it would supplement a desktop PC for users on the move.

What problem does it solve?

The RAMOS MID W9 Android Tablet is an inexpensive tablet PC that sells for approximately 75 percent less than the Apple iPad, making it a potential alternative to more expensive devices.

Special features

  • Touch panel: The input method is via a resistive touch screen digitizer and is based on finger gestures and a virtual keyboard.
  • International: One of the more interesting aspects of the RAMOS MID W9 Android Tablet is its international orientation. The tablet can be configured is several different languages including English, Chinese, French, German, and Spanish.
  • Marketplace: The RAMOS MID W9 Android Tablet includes access to the Android Marketplace.
  • Construction: The tablet seems very sturdy and has a solid feel in your hand. This is important for travelers and commuters using these devices on the move.

What's wrong?

  • Resistive touch screen: The digitizer is resistive and not capacitive, which means the touch screen is often slow to respond to commands. Especially in the configuration settings, the tablet would load configuration sections that I was trying to scroll past.
  • Android version: The installed Android version is 2.1, but the most current version is 3.0, which means the RAMOS MID W9 Android Tablet is behind the curve when it comes to the operating system. There will be very little chance or reason to upgrade the device - you are stuck with what you get out of the package.
  • Slower processor: The processor seems very slow compared to the Apple iPad 2 and Motorola Xoom - another indication of being a few steps behind the technology curve.

Competition

Bottom line

The RAMOS MID W9 Android Tablet is a serviceable 7-inch screen tablet, but hardly cutting edge when it comes to technology. At around $180, you are sacrificing technology for the sake of a few hundred dollars (or more depending on the comparison). The tradeoff may be acceptable for some users, but the product life cycle of a tablet like this in a business environment will be very short. Still, if what you are looking for is an adequate portable device at low cost, and if cutting edge technology is not important, the RAMOS MID W9 Android Tablet is one to consider.

User rating

Have you encountered or used the RAMOS MID W9 Android Tablet? If so, what do you think? Rate your experience and compare the results to what other TechRepublic members think. Give your own personal review in the TechRepublic Community Forums or let us know if you think we left anything out in our review.

Read our field-tested reviews of hardware and software in TechRepublic's Product Spotlight newsletter, delivered each Thursday. We explain who would use the product and describe what problem the product is designed to solve.

About

Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

10 comments
lindazbn
lindazbn

The biggest drawback for the competing [Android tablet computers] ecosystem is that you don't have the critical mass, so people aren't going to develop on your platform. Apple has a year and a half advantage. And iOS runs pretty much flawlessly between the iPad and the iPhone. Whereas with Android, Google had to split off the code before the handset went Gingerbread. And then created Honeycomb. Basically, [Google and its partners] have to wait until [Android] Ice Cream Sandwich, where that code merges together.http://www.espow.com/wholesale-computers-networking-tablets.html

stybba
stybba

Interesting summary so far. I look forward to reading about the actual teardown.

kevin.abato
kevin.abato

What about the Archos 70 Tablet at just $250. It blows the doors of this device and is a REALLY nice tablet with Android 2.2 and a capacitive touch screen.

JoniFili
JoniFili

I have a similar MID tablet (no idea of model, no info what so ever in box), and it acts much the same. Howewer, I am very well impressed. With ES File Explorer and VNC for Android I can do much of the work that requiere a full pc before. And for 150??? delivered at home, a very goog value for money. Of course a lot coud be better and work better, bur for a first contact with the Andorid OS it has been great.

scott
scott

In your review, that is. OK, I get it. Paying $180 does not get you as cool of a tablet as paying $700. But what does it get you? How fast is it? You don't even give us a processor spec, let alone a real worl example. We expect it to be slower. But does it load an app in 10 seconds instead of 5? That might be acceptable. Does it take 2 minutes? That is probably not. Can it surf real internet sites, or does it crash on Flash and Javascripts? Does it run all of the major apps and games that people might want? If not, which ones can it not run? If it gets email and syncs with Exchange, great. If it just can't handle the latest 3D driving simulator, I can probably live with that. These are the details that your readers need in order to know if this will serve their business needs. Sure, it will have a shorter lifecycle than an Android 3 tablet or an iPad2. I know of a national pest control company that just bought hundreds of Sony flip phones last month because they were cheaper than Android phones. "Life cycle" was obviously not a big factor in their decision making progress. They just wanted cheap phones that do voice and text. Pardon me for being so disappointed with your review. But for those of us out here in the real world who are battling budgets and don't get free Tablet PC's dropped on our desks everyday, we need to know what the device CAN do, not just a list of the things that it doesn't do as well as an iPad. These guys were at least nice enough to give you a sample of their device. I think you owe it to them and to your readers to do a more complete review than this.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Are you getting more requests for tablet/mobile device support in your organization?

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

TechRepublic is going to be reviewing dozens of tablets in 2011, running the gamut from dirt cheap to way too expensive. Your suggestion sounds like a good inexpensive alternative - one we will certain want to get our hands on.

tkeller
tkeller

It it is a product spotlight, then OK, a quick summary of features would be adequate. But when the word "Review" is used, I would expect much more. A review should have depth, both objectively and subjectively.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Product Spotlight reviews on TechRepublic are more overviews of a product by design. The idea is to give you an starting point as you research the product in question. But to specifically address some of your questions: as I said, this tablet works. It runs any application that can run on Android 2.1, it just does it noticeably slower. I would have liked to give you specifications about the processor etc., only that information is not available. This device is shipped directly from Hong Kong, there is no manufacturer information written in English. If you are asking if I would recommend this for a business I was consulting for - no. Too many compromises and too much risk for too little benefit. By the way, Bill Detwiler is planning to crack open the MID W9 next week, so maybe then we can see what processor it is running.

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