It looks as though tablets are going to be big in 2011, and the ball has started rolling already. The Apple iPad started things off, of course – but there’s greater variety to be had from tablets running Google’s Android operating system. Tablets such as Samsung’s Galaxy Tab pack some very impressive specs – but they can be expensive. That’s where the Disgo Tablet 6000 comes in. At £149.99, it certainly looks attractive. But can it really offer enough to be a viable alternative to the iPad?
The news isn’t good. The Disgo’s 7-inch screen has a resolution of just 480×800 pixels, where the Samsung Galaxy Tab boasts a much higher 600×1024. In fact, the Disgo Tablet 6000′s screen resolution is on a par with many much smaller screened smartphones.
Then there is the version of Android used by the tablet. Version 2.1 (code-named ‘Eclair’) is a little behind the curve. Version 2.2 (‘Froyo’) is widely available, and 2.3 (‘Gingerbread’) is just around the corner. Probably the most important thing missing from Android 2.1 from a tablet user’s point of view is support for Adobe’s Flash technology. That means streaming video from web pages is often impossible.
Then there’s the issue of usability. The screen is resistive rather than capacitive, which means it lacks support for ‘pinch to zoom’ – something we find really useful when using a tablet device. But even more annoying is the fact that the screen doesn’t seem very keen to respond to finger presses. We found using the keyboard rather frustrating, as we had to slow down a lot to get our presses recognised.
The Disgo also comes with a stylus that you can to tap the screen – and this did prove a whole lot more productive than using a fingertip in our testing, but using a stylus feels very old-fashioned.
One of the biggest selling points of any Android-based device is access to Google’s Android market. This allows users to install a range of third-party applications, many of them free, with which to customise their devices. But you don’t get access to it with the Disgo Tablet 6000. Instead, you get a substitute called the Slide Market, which offers a subset of apps that doesn’t match the Android Market for sheer volume and diversity.
There is no accelerometer, either, so the Disgo Tablet 6000 can’t do that clever trick of turning its screen round as you turn the device in your hand. It will function in both portrait and landscape modes, but you need to tap an on-screen button to make the screen change orientation.
With all these irritations, the solid build of the Disgo Tablet 6000, with its 1GHz processor, HDMI port, 2GB of onboard storage, 2GB microSD card and built-in Wi-Fi don’t seem sufficient to allow us to really recommend it.