CnM TouchPad II review

Ultra-low cost Android tablet
Photo of CnM TouchPad II
£99.99

Not everyone wants an iPad 2. But if you’re one of those who’d prefer to go for a rival using Google’s Android OS, why pay nearly £600 for the HTC Flyer 7in tablet, when you can pay under £400 for the Samsung Galaxy Tab? Then again, if you’d rather save some further cash, why not go for the CnM Touchpad – a snip at £99.99?

Cheap as chips
If your answer to that question is that it’s all about quality… well, you’re right – up to a point. The Flyer has been criticised for being over-priced, but does the CnM TouchPad’s low price suggest your expectations should be equally low?

Pros and cons
The TouchPad II’s build quality isn’t great, though the shiny black front and rubbery black back are certainly liveable with. There’s no camera, but there is HDMI out. Android 2.1 is the chosen operating system, but there’s no Flash support. There’s Wi-Fi, but no SIM support. That said, the USB host slot means that in theory 3G dongles are supported, though it didn’t like ours at all. The 600MHz processor means that things run a bit slow.

You can’t win ‘em all
The 7in screen is not as bright as we’d have liked, but it does deliver reasonably well. There’s pinch-to-zoom support, but the screen isn’t particularly responsive to the touch – you have to press rather hard to get it to register. A little stylus nestles in the chassis for fine work, but almost all of the time a fingertip is all you need.

The tablet has 4GB of storage built in, and a microSD card slot on one edge for you to add more. You have full access to the Android Market, so you can boost the basics that come pre-installed with your own selections. Among the basics, incidentally, is an e-book reader – but no books. It does link in to a couple of book resources online, but they’re rather uninspiring and one of them is in Chinese!

Company: CnM

Website: http://www.expansys.com/

Contact: Expansys on 0845 467 7000

Positives
  • Decent enough features for a basic device.
Negative
  • Lacklustre build quality; lacks the polish of pricier models.

Verdict

As a very basic Android tablet, the CnM Touchpad does its job. But the trouble with low-cost tablets like this is obvious enough: they can't do the great things their better-featured, more expensive alternatives can - which means that while they work, they don't fly the Android flag very well.