The Alldocube iPlay 20.
Image: Jack Wallen/TechRepublic

For many, the Android tablet has been an anomaly. While the Android operating system is one of the most widely used in the world, the tablet form factor and Google platform combination really never hit home for a lot of users.

Unlike what Apple has managed to do with the iPad. Apple has, without a doubt, dominated the tablet market. Where Apple is producing high-end, powerful tablets that can put many a laptop to shame, companies attempting to make a mark with the Android tablet have really struggled.

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Why? That’s a good question. The answers are as varied as are Android smartphones, but it can be boiled down to a few very simple points:

  • Many Android apps were never optimized for tablets, so they either don’t function properly or look horrible on the larger screens.
  • Most Android tablets were of mid-range specs, so they weren’t appealing to users who needed more power.
  • Many Android tablets suffered from poor build quality.

Plenty of companies have tried to find the sweet spot, where the Android OS and the tablet came together for the perfect amalgam of function and form. Unfortunately, most of them failed.

That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t keep trying. One company is doing just that: Alldocube. In 2019, I wrote a piece called The best tablet you’ve never heard of: Alldocube X. That tablet was really pretty good. Yes, it suffered under the weight of non-optimized Android apps and it was very much a mid-range tablet. The build quality, however, was quite good. In fact, that Alldocube X is still in use (serving as the screen for my teleprompter). Battery life is, to this day, pretty good, and it performs that one function flawlessly–actually better than the iPad it replaced.

When Alldocube reached out to me to see if I wanted to review one of its newer offerings, I couldn’t help but agree. My curiosity wanted to know: Could this company help make the Android table relevant?

Let me share my experience with this tablet.

Alldocube iPlay 20 specs

I’ll say this up front, the Alldocube iPlay 20 is priced between $140-$168, so you know what you’re getting. Although it’s a sharp looking tablet, this is very much a mid-range (lower mid-range, in fact) piece of hardware. With this device, you’ll not be crunching numbers or multitasking as you might on more powerful hardware.

  • 8 Core SC9863A Cortex-A55 CPU
  • 4GB RAM
  • 64GB internal storage
  • Dual 4G and VoLTE support
  • 10.1″ IPS FHD display at 1920 x 1200 Gorilla Glass display
  • 6000 mAh battery
  • Full metal chassis with dual speakers using independent power amps
  • 2MP front and 5MP rear cameras with autofocus support
  • FM radio
  • Android 10

Clearly, this tablet isn’t going to usurp your trusty laptop or smartphone as your daily driver. For most, that’s not an expected option for Android tablets. The more important question I have is if the iPlay 20 can help return the Android tablet to relevance.

That’s a big ask for a company producing mid-range tablets.

The thing is, tablets like the Alldocube iPlay 20 might be exactly what the Android tablet space needs.

It’s all about price point

The truth of the matter is, you’re not going to want to drop $300+ USD for a tablet that’s going to be used to stream video content, play the occasional game, send email when your phone or desktop aren’t handy, browse the web, and maybe edit a spreadsheet. What if you’re looking to set up small screen information kiosks around your company? Do you really want to employ an iPad Pro for that task? No. You want to get those up and running as cheaply as possible. Android makes for a great solution, not just because of cost, but because the platform is highly flexible.

The Android tablet could be of use to you–especially when you’re looking at dropping half the coin as you would for Apple’s hardware. Tablets like the Alldocube iPlay 20 are the perfect match for such a use case. It has a screen that punches well above its weight, it performs admirably (for basic tasks), and it’s a great size for a tablet.

Thing is, the high end tablet market was never where Android would shine, especially given how certain apps still don’t look right or function well on the larger screens. You don’t want to drop $500+ USD on a device wherein applications are a grab bag of success. Because of that, the mid-range is the best friend to the Android tablet.

The Alldocube iPlay 20 is perfectly suited to fit that bill. It offers decent battery life, a beautiful display (for the price range), and performance that’ll do for most average tasks.

Once again, we’re at average. That is the perfect descriptor for this piece of hardware.

The big caveat for the iPlay 20: Video conferencing

Given our current climate, and the fact that so many people are having to use video conferencing, I made a point to put Google Duo through the motions on the iPlay 20. I used Google Duo in the same environment, calling the same person I’ve held numerous video chats with during the past six months. At first, it seemed the iPlay 20 would perform as well as a mid-range tablet could. Although the video wasn’t crystal clear, the video call was sans buffering issues and seemed mostly smooth.

However, about two minutes into the call, both video and audio began to buffer and get choppy. Instead of immediately assuming it was the tablet, I ended the call and connected with my phone. Same person, same networks. No problem.

In the end, the Alldocube iPlay 20 would clearly not be a reliable device for video conferencing. Want to stream a YouTube video? No problem, the Alldocube can do that–just don’t expect the same clarity of content as you would find on an iPad Pro. However, for important video calls, don’t bother.

The conclusion

As far as Android tablets are concerned, the Alldocube iPlay 20 is about at average as you can get and that’s not exactly a bad thing. The device is inexpensive but doesn’t feel like it, and its specs are in the lower mid-range, but it punches a bit above its weight. In the end, if you’re looking for a simple tablet to serve a specific (but not too challenging) task, this might be the tablet for you.

Will the iPlay 20 set the Android tablet space on fire? No, not even close. But this 10″ tablet knows what it is and what market it serves, so if you’re looking for a tablet that won’t break the bank, you could do much worse than the iPlay 20.

If you’re interested in purchasing an iPlay 20, you can find it at Aliexpress.