Coby Kyros: An Android tablet PC that fits the budget

By Alexander Villafania

MAKATI CITY, METRO MANILA – The proliferation of China-made mobile Internet devices (MID) has made many people more aware about tablet PCs and Google's Android operating system. It has also pushed the demand for MIDs in a market where good, cheap devices are always welcome.

Amid the growing China-made MIDs market a few, relatively unknown brands recently started introducing their own MIDs. Coby, a US brand best known for LCD TVs and mobile DVD players, came out with the Kyros, a 7-inch tablet PC that runs Android 2.1.

The Coby Kyros nearly has the same look and feel as other China-made MIDs though this one is slightly heavier due to the use of a heavier type of plastic. The screen is a 7-inch resistive touchscreen with 800x400 resolution, which is surprisingly low for a device that can claim to support videos at full 1080p.

It has one button at the front, which serves as a multiple-use controller. Behind it is a slit for a speaker and a microphone is at the top of the face of the screen. The bottom edge has a microSD card slot, a 3.5 mm earphone jack, a mini-HDMI type-C port to connect to widescreen TVs, mini-USB slot, and its power button and 5 volt power port.

The Kyros box doesn't include some of the technical details that is found underneath the hood, but a quick look at Coby's website shows that this particular model (MID7015) is powered by an ARM1176 processor that runs at 800 megahertz, which makes it a bit faster than most China-made MIDs. It has Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g) but no Bluetooth. It also has a built-in 4 gigabyte flash drive though it can be expanded to just 16 Gb via the microSD slot.

Upon powerup, the Kyros does look a lot better than the regular China-made MIDs that run only Android 1.6. Despite the resistive touchscreen, it is still more responsive but not at the same level as tablet PCs with capacitive touchscreens.

It comes with several applications like the Aldiko e-book reader, a YouTube player, and an antivirus. There seems to be no Android Market applet though perhaps this can be downloaded via the embedded browser.

The battery is only a 3200 mAh lithium-polymer battery, which could run out within 6 to 8 hours depending on use. It could even go lower if Wi-Fi is active and if playing videos. That still suites most people who would use it as more of a home-based Internet device to connect to social networks, reading e-books, or playing one or two movies.

The Coby Kyros is priced at P6,999, a tad more expensive than China-made devices. The absence of a camera, even a basic VGA one, could undermine its sellability to users who might fancy having a camera despite not having any use for it at all.

Still, it seems to be a much better option than most cheap MIDs given that it has an HDMI that can connect it to a widescreen TV for viewing movies. Its bigger 4 Gb flash drive is better than those that sell MIDs that only have 512 MB and the better responsiveness of the Android 2.1 makes it a fair choice over the others.

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