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Freelander PD 800 Android Retina Tablet – boom!…quad core, retina display quality goes budget at $259 [Review]


freelanderpd800 1 Freelander PD 800 Android Retina Tablet   boom!...quad core, retina display quality goes budget at $259 [Review]

Make it stop Ma, we’re getting dizzy. It’s like a serious case of the neverendings – as prices keep plummeting while specs keep getting better. When will it stop? Will it stop? Can we expect Moore’s Law to turn into some manic perpetual motion machine, feeding our lust for techno until we all explode from the pressure of more, better, faster?

The Freelander PD 800 Android Tablet is the latest proof that the tablet arms race continues, and doesn’t look like stopping any time soon. This 9.7 inch computer, comes with a 3rd gen IPS HD Retina screen with a resolution of 2048×1536, with 264 PPI and 3.1 million – count ‘em – pixels. This is the exact same spec as the current iPad Retina model. It’s coupled with a 1.6 GHz quad core processor, 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of internal storage which can be expanded by microSD up to an extra 32GB.

freelander2 small Freelander PD 800 Android Retina Tablet   boom!...quad core, retina display quality goes budget at $259 [Review]

Throw in some HMDI out (up to 1080p), Android 4.1.1, WiFi, Bluetooth and a form factor that is just 1.6 mm thicker than an iPad 4 and 30 grams lighter, and you have a very interesting budget tablet indeed. Very interesting. To put things into perspective, the iPad 4 only features a dual core processor, which suggests that the processing war is about to start in earnest.

freelanderpack small Freelander PD 800 Android Retina Tablet   boom!...quad core, retina display quality goes budget at $259 [Review]

First impressions
The Freelander PD 800 comes in a very sparse package, which includes a set of earphones, a microUSB to USB adapter, a USB cable and a power brick. The Getting Started guide is a single photocopied sheet of A4 paper, so the company is not going to win an awards for documentation, that’s fer sure. We’re not sure if that’s just because we got a very early unit from the factory, but it’s possible.

In use
However once you get past the initial surprise, what you find is a very capable product, which really does manage to deliver solid performance and a beautiful screen at an incredibly low price. The screen is silky smooth, there’s full support for all the apps on the Google Play store, and the 2GB of RAM and ample internal storage means that everything zips along very nicely, with little stutter or lag.

freelandercompare1

And yes there is a difference in the quality of the screen, between a typical budget tablet and the retina version on the Freelander. We’re not sure that Joe Public is going to be totally wowed by the extra clarity and crispness of the screen, but it’s one of those things that we’re sure is subliminal, rather like watching TV without flicker and ending up with more relaxed eyes.

As you can see from the video above, the tablet performs really well under most conditions. The WiFi is a pleasant surprise as it offers a definite jump up from the typical lackluster range of budget tablets, and works well from longer distances from the router.

freelanderports

freelandercamera

We’re not so sure about the camera however, which at a lowly 5 megapixels seems rather out of place in amongst these kinds of specifications. The images are exactly what you’d expect from a camera like this, which is to say average. The front camera at 2MP is however perfectly adequate for the kind of Skype calls it’s designed for.

freelanderrear

We’ll also reserve judgment on the 4000 mAh battery, which seems a little under-specced for this kind of quad-core beast, but it should at least give the same kind of general operation time as other budget models. Just don’t expect anything spectacular and you’ll be fine. Likewise we can see where costs have been cut by incorporating a basic speaker system, but hey it works, and you can always boost the sound with an external speaker for not much money.

freelanderpd800

Conclusion
Well what’s to say about a tablet at this price which offers such a solid set of specs? From our tests the device works surprisingly well, with above average benchmarks (Antutu at around 15800) and definitely a lovely clear screen experience. It feels solidly built, and while there are definitely cost cutting decisions implemented in various places like the camera and speakers, the core operation seems more than enough to justify the amazing price tag.

If you’re in the market for a new budget tablet computer, this should definitely be on your list, as it combines some great features with compromises that you can live with or work around quite easily.

IMG 20130624 124827 IMG 20130624 125103

Manufacturer Specifications

OS Version: Android 4.1
CPU: RK3188 Quad-core ARM Cortex-A9
Processor Speed (max): 1.6GHz
RAM: 2GB
Wi-Fi: 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth
Portable Wi-Fi Hotspot (3G Tethering)
Google Play
Adobe Flash
5 Megapixel Rear Camera + 0.3 Megapixel Front-Facing Camera
Mic and Speaker
Battery Size: 4000mAh
Usage Time: 6 Hours
Battery Standby: 72 Hours

Display
Display Size: 9.7 Inch 3rd Gen IPS
Display Resolution: 2048×1536, 264ppi
10 Point Capacitive Multi Touch Display

Sensors
Accelerometer Sensor
Gravity Sensor

Dimensions
Main product dimensions: 242x190x11mm (L x W x D)
Main product weight: 620g

Price: $259.99 / £160.44

Nigel is the managing editor of the Red Ferret, as well as a freelance columnist for the Sunday Times newspaper in London. Loves tech and fancies himself as a bit of a futurist, but then don’t we all?

Nigel – who has written posts on The Red Ferret Journal.



  • Al

    Great article guys! I’m almost sold on the PD 800 (but the PD 800 HD is coming out soon with Samsung processors) but with regards to the front facing camera, is it 2mp or 0.3mp as listed in the specs?

    Cheers!

    • http://www.redferret.net/ Nigel Powell

      Hmm…good question. We have to go with the written specs which say 0.3, but of course it may be a misprint. For what it’s worth, the results look more like 2mp, but I’m not expert enough to tell for definite.

      • Dmass73

        a lot of the chinese tablets say 0.3mp and other nonsense in the spec sheets. I’ve seen it numerous times on machines that clearly have better cameras them 0.3. At that resolution you wouldn’t be recognizable for even a skype call…yuck.

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