Android tablet all-rounder let down by an overweight body that's good enough to appease Saturday shoppers but more discerning punters might look elsewhere
With the sudden demise of the HP TouchPad and the uncertainty surrounding the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 there is a good opportunity for another tablet device to stake its claim as the best tablet on the market. The Packard Liberty Tab G100 unveiled at IFA 2011, is laden with features, but is it enough to be considered the best Android tablet out there, let alone an iPad killer?
Packard Bell Liberty Tab G100 Build
At 760g, the Liberty Tab is considerably heavier than the iPad 2 (613g) and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 (545g) while it’s almost double the thickness of the Apple tablet, so those hoping for a slender form factor, will be bitterly disappointed. The weight issue is certainly a problem when holding the device in one hand as the strain is quite noticeable after only a few minutes.
Design-wise USB, mini USB, HDMI, headphone jack and micro SD ports are well positioned around the outside edges of the device, however the latch protecting the micro SD slot feels a little flimsy. You can choose from a glossy red wine, black or white chassis (we had the red wine variety) while the Liberty Tab also features two metallic strips which like go faster stripes on a car, doesn’t too much for it in the sexiness department.
Packard Bell Liberty Tab G100 OS
Running on Android Honeycomb 3.0, it’s much as we’ve seen on previous Android 3.0 tablets like the Xoom and Transformer, which means you can expect the five homescreen interface, taskbar launcher and the ability to add widgets and Android apps. The Liberty Tab will be upgradeable to Android 3.1 and 3.2 versions of the tablet-optimised OS which should bring features such as customizable widgets and faster page zooming amongst the new additions.
Packard Bell Liberty Tab G100 Screen
One of the standout features is the 10.1-inch HD resolution screen which delivers excellent viewing from all angles. While it may lack the vibrancy of the screen on the Apple iPad 2, it does make up for it with a screen that boasts great clarity and contrast which makes it ideal for web browsing, HD gaming and HD video playback.
Packard Bell Liberty Tab G100 Features
Accompanying the gorgeous HD screen, there is also Dolby Mobile sound technology on board which boosts the Liberty Tab’s multimedia prowess significantly. When we tested out the Google Music beta application, the audio was not only loud, but rich in clarity making it ideal as an audio device to hook up to a multimedia speaker system. Powering the G100 is a Tegra 2 dual core processor and Cortex A9 CPU which gives the device a real zip when swiping through screens as well as running demanding applications like HD gaming or browsing the web, which somehow felt slicker than our time with similarly powered Motorola Xoom Android tablet.
The Liberty Tab hosts a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera with Autofocus and LED flash which delivers decent snaps in the right lighting conditions. A 2-megapixel seems to be the tablet standard for video chat with Google Talk already installed to support the feature. You can capture 720p HD video which delivers warm, saturated footage which again can offer good results in the right conditions, and let’s you shoot in YouTube quality to make it easier to upload online.
It’s much the same in the way of Honeycomb apps in the sense that there still doesn’t seem to be that many optimized for tablet surroundings, which is concerning when there is almost 100,000 native iPad apps on the App Store. The Tegra Zone is a nice addition offering up some decent HD games but it doesn’t make up for the serious lack of depth in the Android Market for tablet apps.
Packard Bell Liberty Tab G100 Battery
Acer suggests you should get around 10 hours of tablet time from the rechargeable Li-polymer battery and we found that to be accurate having used the Liberty Tab G100 comfortably over a couple of days without having to charge. We did notice a slightly sluggish performance when web browsing and navigating through the device when the battery was on its last legs, but this is perhaps understandable considering the circumstances.
Packard Bell Liberty Tab G100 Verdict
It’s packed to the rafters with great features that make the Liberty Tab a great tablet all-rounder. The HD screen and Dolby Mobile speaker system really impress, and It’s one of the quickest tablets around with the Tegra 2 Dual Core technology nestled inside. However, it’s by no means a slender tablet offering and doesn’t feel as sexy as the iPad 2 or the Tab 10.1. We think the heavy build lets down what is essentially a good Android tablet that is not really going to uproot any iPad-shaped trees.
Packard Bell Liberty Tab G100 release date: Available now
Packard Bell Liberty Tab G100 price: Starts at £350 for 16GB model