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Hipstreet Equinox 2 – Tablet Hands On Review [video]

Unfortunately the screenshot doesn’t work, so you’ll have to live with just the youtube clip I have.

Thanks to the gang at Hipstreet for the chance to try out the device.  I was legitimately excited to try something new out.

It came in on a Friday and it gave me all of the long weekend to play with it.  I didn’t want to discount it automatically because it didn’t match spec for spec with the Galaxy Note 10.1 or any of the Asus models, this would be something in the power range of what my parents needed, and my dad’s been looking for a tablet for a while now, but doesn’t want to pay too much.

Plus, getting to review more tablets allows me to fill out the “Tablets in Canada” database I have.  If it’s one thing I believe in, it’s that you should have options, and that’s where Android shines.  You don’t just have one tablet, with the only option being how much storage you want.  You have size differences, brand choices, UI skins, etc…

So what is this device?  Well, you can go to Hipstreet’s page to see more about it, or just read on for my review (that’s why you’re here right?).

Specifications:

  • Android 4.0.4
  • 4GB storage
  • 1.2GHz processor, 1GB RAM
  • 10.1″ screen @ 1024×600

On the outside

  • Volume rocker and a physical ‘back button’ on top
  • speakers on the back (and they’re pretty loud)
  • note: only a front facing camera
  • along the side we have a power button
  • HDMI connection
  • 2 microUSB ports (and you get an adapter)
  • a charging port (for the rapid charger, otherwise you can still use the microUSB to charge)
  • a microSD slot

Turning it on you see what looks exactly to be ICS 4.0.4.  And that’s what it says in the ‘about system’.  Even the easter egg works!

But that’s about where the similarity ends.  Unfortunately it’s doesn’t have any of the associated Android/Google apps.  It has Gmail, but that’s about it.  Instead it relies on Getjar for the end user to download their apps.  Luckily, it still also allows for side-loading apps.  I tried putting on the Play Store, but it just kept crashing.

So, by now you’re thinking… it’s a lower resolution, not a dual core and doesn’t have my Android ecosystem… what good is it?

Actually, it’s not bad.  There’s some lag in the homescreen (especially turning it on to the lockscreen), and a little overall, but it handles quite well for being what it is.

It has Dolphin Browser installed.  People like that.  CX (labelled as Hipstreet Cloud) for 10GB free online storage.  Remember, I reviewed your options for storage some time back, and more recently when I talked about SkyDrive.  Even the lock screen has a neat feature where it gives you quick access to your recently used apps. Those are cool options.

The coolest feature of all is that it comes with a microUSB -> USB adapter.  So, you can plug in a mouse / keyboard / USB stick / SD reader / etc… and it works.  Pretty cool.  Couple that with the HDMI connection and you have yourself a device that could rival the Logitech Revue.

That is it’s biggest plus in my books!

The downside is the build is a little cheap, the LCD panel is a little delicate and you can see it ‘ripple’ if you grip it in the wrong spot or too tightly.  You also have some poor viewing angles.

This isn’t a device for someone to alternate from their Galaxy S3 or the new Note 2.  This is a nice device to give to your teenager to take to school and use, or your parents to use as a nice eReader that can do other things.

The majority of people who want a ‘tablet’ are not looking for the latest and greatest features, nor are they willing to shell out the bigger bucks for it.  This is the niche market where this will do nicely!

Video

Follow Ryan on G+ I no longer write for AiC, but you can follow me on over to Android Coliseum Oh, and here's my shameless plug for more space! Minus (I've maxed out!) | DropBox | SugarSync | CX

  • ferda

    just got started with one, how do i get rid of the icons collection on home page?
    thanks!

  • Elisabeth

    Thanks for the review. I’ve just seen it on futureshop.ca and was wondering is it was worth it. I’m looking for a tablet where I could just read books and magazines. I have the 9″7 Kindle DX and it is excellent for reading ordinary books. Unfortunately reading books on photography and magazines is not really handy. Would you recommend it fot my needs?

    • http://about.me/ryanmmoore ryanmmoore

      depends on how much you want to spend… I’ll always recommend a nexus.

      the nexus 7 is like 210 – 260
      the nexus 10 is like 500 (but an AMAZING resolution)

  • mouse

    how do you side load apps. i just got this and am considering giving it to on of my younger brothers.

  • Rick

    The Brick Winnipeg had these on sale for $98 BUT it was the Equinox 2 @8GB Internal. Awesome deal, we bought two and they’ve sold a pile of them during the past week of Boxing Day Sales. Good enough for our first foray into tablets and we’ll spend more $$ on better ones next time but for now, these are great. Microsoft’s Silverlight won’t install.work on these so of course Netflix won’t work either but Flash does and even my stinking iPhones don’t get Flash. I bought the Hipstreet so once in awhile I can check out tv stations online that offer Flash video content. Lastly, a few quirky things and one for example is when playing a game and the screen reverts to long version and you might have it plugged into the power supply, the stands we have don’t allow us to park them on the things so I’m going to build some contraptions out of wood to raise up the stands and have a hole in the middle where the charging plug can fit through. Most of us have other devices for many things-laptops, netbooks, media players and personal computers as well as smartphones so this just adds some more variety to our collection and increases our options for cool toys. HS has done well with these things and we like the deals we just got!

    • http://about.me/ryanmmoore ryanmmoore

      just use the netflix app… hmm… right you can’t get the play store to wokr… may have to ensure you root it.