The End Of 4:3 Chinese Tablets Is Coming

Via PadNews are four reports from the Hong Kong Electronics Fair (HKEF) [Google Translate, Google Translate, Google Translate, Google Translate].

And there’s not a single tablet shown that interests me.

99.9% of them are widescreen and the typical seven, eight, and ten inches that have dominated Android tablets.

The Intel/Rockchip SOFIA stuff puts me to sleep. That’s more about Intel trying to save itself than creating something I’d want. Besides, they’ve brought a 3G knife to a 4G gunfight. Here in America, 4G is now available even via pre-pay services such as Metro PCS. So who’d want to get 3G?

With China seemingly ending production of iPad-like tablets, my interest in what goes on over there will quickly diminish.

As it is, I’ve already made a tentative decision about what tablet I want to buy: One of the new high-end 4:3 tablets Samsung is rumored to be releasing soon. I can’t resist their gorgeous Super-AMOLED screen.

iPad? I don’t like what iOS 8 looks like and the more I read of Android — and the more I fondle it in stores — the more I like the flexibility it offers over iOS. Apple’s tablet thinking is becoming fossilized.

Anyway, those of you who bought a 4:3 tablet from China — you’d better enjoy it because there likely won’t be any replacement by the end of this year if the HKEF trend holds.

13 Comments

Filed under Android

13 responses to “The End Of 4:3 Chinese Tablets Is Coming

  1. Robert Jasiek

    It does not matter so much that 4:3 Chinese tablets “end” because their WLAN has been unreliable, their battery life too short, their production quality too much of a lottery and their distribution outside China too bad. I am only worried that too few non-Chinese companies will produce 4:3 tablets.

    Basically, there is only one decisive factor preventing me from buying an iPad Air 2: it is too expensive for not having a file manager and file transfer manager to non-Apple operating systems.

    Currently, we seem to get these other options for a 4:3 or (worse) 3:2 tablet: Surface 3, Samsung S2, (hopefully a) Samsung Note with QXGA, HP Pro Slate 8, an HTC 9″ tablet, iPad Air 3, iPad Mini 4.

    The Surface 3 appears to have these disadvantages: not designed as a real tablet, more designed like a detachable ultrabook (a bit big, heavy and unfriendly to hold); mirroring display making outdoor use / use with a window or lights in the background unpleasant or maybe impossible; a too fast Atom x7 8700 resulting in too short surfing over WLAN battery duration of apparently ca. 6.5h, while an Atom x5 8300 would allegedly be the more tablet-friendly choice for longer battery life.

    The Samsung S2 might have these disadvantages: the usual Android drawbacks of data theft, not as office-friendly as Windows, presumably no digitizer, still a bit of permanent crapware, presumably somewhat mirroring display (need to await tests), still unknown battery life for PDF with white background considering the AMOLED technology prefers black background for long battery life.

    A Samsung Note has this major disadvantage: there is not even a rumour yet whether we will ever see such a 4:3 device with digitzer.

    The HP Pro Slate 8 has these disadvantages: only <8" (which is too small for my taste especially when viewing PDFs), mirroring display apparently unsuitable outdoors, outdated Android 4.4, thanks to the on-real-paper-pen, digitizer and "unnecessary" business security features the tablet will be expensive (ca. $540, not to mention prices in EUR with VAT). (The Pro Slate 12 is too big and has a too low resolution.)

    An HTC 9" tablet appears to have a mirroring display. Otherwise, almost nothing is known, except that it seems to look like an HP Pro Slate 8. 9" is bigger and surely the HTC would be less expensive, so we need to keep an eye on it. In contrast to the Nexus 9, I hope that the back camera is flat inside the device.

    Suppose we see an iPad Air 3 in October. What will be its differences to the Air 2? My guess: few differences, maybe A9 processor and iOS 9 (multi-tasking?!). The really interesting questions (apart from my never fulfilled dream of a file manager) are: IGZO with even less mirroring? USB-C instead of lightning? The iPad "Pro" would be too big and expensive, but MAYBE have the advantage of a file manager because of using OS X; if it is an edge-to-edge display, then maybe the iPad Pro would not be too big and heavy and the file manager alone might justify the expected high price. But.. you know Apple prices… an iPad Pro would have a pro price far beyond $1000… so I guess we can as well forget about iPad Pro dreams.

    If Apple makes any sense out of it, the iPad Mini 4 ought to have laminated IGZO and therefore even smaller mirroring than the Air 2. If one can live with the small display and missing file manager, it might become an interesting option.

    I did not mention the Surface Pro 4 because it would still have a fan, be too heavy and have a mirroring display.

    So what is the current conclusion for a 4:3 tablet that actually is a tablet and at least somehow can be used outdoors? There will be Samsung S2, maybe HTC 9", some time a sufficient price reduction for the iPad Air 2 to comensate for the missing file manager and USB, maybe a decent iPad Air 3 or Mini 4 if we are prepared to wait long enough.

    Any other reliable companies producing a great Atom x5 8300 tablet with a 4:3 display? I do not expect any (and HP's low end crap tablets do not count). Surely, they all do not know anything else than 16:9 and 16:10 with mirroring display.

    So, yes, currently I agree that the Samsung S2 is our most likely choice, provided the rumour is right that indeed it will have a QXGA display. Realistically, we know that initial Samsung prices are overpriced. The other important aspect is the CPU: will it be a last year's model or a fast, new model? Oh, did I forget to mention the danger of TouchWIZ?

    If we are lucky, 2015 is our year. It could, however, be a continued failure.

    • The HTC is rumored to be China-only and will use an Allwinner CPU. Idiots who are showing a “leaked photo” of it don’t know it’s the Ramos K1 they’re really showing.

      I think China is moving away from 4:3 because of Windows. Any dual-OS tablets they do can do Android just fine on such a screen — and this despite Google moving to 4:3. Go figure.

    • giouncino

      Have you ever tried recent product from Cube, Teclast or iFive?
      Probabliy no, this is why you say “unrelable WLAN” “poor quality” and so on.
      Quality of the brand I indicated is equal to the very best products you can find in your country, believe me!

      • Robert Jasiek

        For QXGA tablets from Cube, Teclast or iFive, please mention which products, reliable WLAN for which maximal distance and how many walls, how many hours of surfing over WLAN at which brightness and how you get these values or at which source we can read them!

      • giouncino

        Cube talk 9x: over 10 hours of use with brigthness on 30% within a house of 100 square meters without issue (you can increase distance there is no problem too).

        Cube T9: over 10 hours of use with brightness on 40% with even greater coverage on WLAN: one of the best in terms of WLAN coverage at the moment (thanks to its plastic back cover). It has 4G LTE support

        Teclast T98: one of the best latest device, 8-10 hours of battery life (it has less mAh wrt Cube devices) with medium brightness and good coverage in house (I haven’t had the possibility to test it personally)

        iFive Air: known as a good product but I have no info about battery life or wifi coverage though. I didn’t test it personally

        all have QXGA “retina” class display.
        Build quality of these devices is simply outstanding.

  2. I’ve got a Sony Xperia Tab Z, 2 Google Nexus 7s, a Toshiba WT10-A64 Windows Tablet, a Lenovo Yoga Tab 8, and an iPad Mini 2 w/Retina. My favorite? The iPad two by a long shot. I never thought I would say that. The Windows tablet is pretty awesome for its flexibility with standard Windows apps, but this iPad Mini 2 just feels perfect when holding, runs everything really smooth, and has some of the best tablet applications I’ve used. My only complaint is that I have to jailbreak it to put Kodi media center on. Oh and the Airplay stuff just works. Perfectly.

  3. jonas

    Nokia N 1 is a cheaper, updated Ipad mini clone. I think the Kickstarter tablet Jolla has also 4:3. All only wifi though. I’m also checking daily about Samsung s2. About glare issue. Matte display protection by tech armor seems good.

  4. jonas

    There is another quite overlooked 4:3 tablet with decent spec. Pocketbook Surfpad 4. Pocketbook is a Swiss brand ereader company. Their products seem quite reliable, ofc all made in China. They got 3 versions, a 7, 7.85 and a 9.7 inch. Retina displays, 2gb ram, and all with 3g. It’s very affordable too. Biggest version only 250 euros.

    Only drawback, 32bit and the design doesn’t look special. Well, this year seems like the switch to the 64 bit chips, so I’m not sold on it.
    Samsung s2 Amoled display and the design is very tempting, don’t care much about the ui. Touchwiz seems to get better, if not I would just root it and put Cygenomod. Dealbreaker for me would be the price and batterie performance. I’ll wait for the reviews, if the reduced batterie spec for the lighter weight does make a difference. 4900 to 3500mAh seems a lot:>

    • giouncino

      Pocketbook Surfpad 4 L is almost equal to cube talk 9x.
      Cube talk 9x has bigger battery (with only 30gr more in weight) and a 3G rated of 42Mbit/s download speed!

      In any case this Pocketbook Surfpad 4seems not bad at all

  5. Robert Jasiek

    giouncino, thank you. How would you describe the mirroring of the Cube T9? Slight (like iPad Air 2), intermediate, strong (unfriendly during every second) mirroring? Is the mirroring sufficiently decent and the brightness / contrast great enough for good outdoor use? Google translation says: “the use of anti-glare design also allowed have some greasy, and its maximum brightness is not very bright”, So I would conclude: indoors use is ok, outdoors use very restricted.

    Since March 22, the Cube T9 (Android 4.4.2, 2GB / 32GB, MT8752, IPS 9,7″, 2048 x 1563, LTE (if it works outside China, not for phone talk), 8.9mm, 520g (different source says 610g), Bluetooth, SIM) is available from a 95% (which is, IMO, slightly risky) German subseller (therefore German law applies) of German Amazon for EUR 349. The on-paper specifications are nice, except that Android 5 would be nicer and I’d prefer Windows. An Amazon UK subseller with only 2 rankings (risky!) offers it for GBP 230 plus postage (dream import price!) but only to UK customers. I think one should inquire about power supply adapters if one considers ordering. An Amazon COM subseller without rankings (very risky) imports from China and offers to US customers for USD 384, Some sellers offer the tablet rooted (nice, but not for the noobs). See also earlier articles on the Cube T9 on this blog.

    If Samsung and iPad will not be good enough or too expensive, the Cube T9 might indeed be an option for those being prepared to accept some risk,

    • giouncino

      anti glare surface make it good for indoor use, but not exceptional under direct sunlight (not bright enough).
      About T9 is extremely fast, It’s a good device with 4G support and exceptional Wifi/4G ranges.
      I suggest you to buy directly from Aliexpress.

      I bought various tablets from there without any issue.

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