As a former impeccable college student who also happened to be impeccably broke during my journey through higher education, I am a big supporter of great value. That includes gadgets that help make new technology more accessible to budget-conscious consumers. This made eMatic’s eGlide XL Pro 2 tablet sound like an attractive proposition at first glance. Did you say a 10-inch Android tablet with Google’s Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) operating system for $219.99? That certainly sounds like a good deal.
Although the tablet sounds good on paper, however, there’s still the matter about its real world performance. Unfortunately, this is where the eGlide XL Pro 2 falls short. For example, while the tablet sports a 10-inch capacitive multi-touch screen, the image quality isn’t quite up to par. Maybe I’m just spoiled by the excellent display on the third-generation Apple iPad but the pixels are definitely much more noticeable on the eGlide XL Pro 2. This makes videos, including the stereoscopic anaglyph 3D movies supported by the device, look not quite as good. Still, that’s a drawback I’m willing to give eMatic a pass on given the price of the device. At just a little over 200 bucks, it’s understandable for the eGlide XL Pro 2 to use a lower-resolution display.
This brings me to my next issue with the tablet, it’s user interface. Usually, I’m a big fan of Ice Cream Sandwich given the great improvements Google has made in improving speed and responsiveness via this UI. Unfortunately for the eGlide XL Pro 2, however, the user experience can be quite laggy. The bootup itself takes quite a long time, which means you’ll be staring at the pixellated opening animation for a while. In addition to its slow startup and lag, the UI can also be choppy. I’m not sure if the dual-core 1GHz processor and 512GB DDR3 RAM isn’t quite up to snuff but either way, the lag severely hampers the overall user experience.
Another drawback, is the lack of Google Play on the device. Instead, the eGlide XL Pro 2 uses eMatic's own e-store — which does not allow you to download Google Play. This means that longtime Android users will have to re-buy all their apps on this tablet. Making things worse is the fact that the eMatic store app is very buggy. There were many times when a download would fail or the app would either freeze, hang or simply close on me. This bugginess is also present in other aspects of the device. A few times, for example, the tablet failed to connect to my home network to establish a Wi-Fi connection and coughed up a parsing package error.
Designwise, the eGlide XL Pro 2 sports a stealth-fighter look marked by sharp angles in the rear cover. But while I applaud eMatic for trying to be different, the design also has some strange niggles, including an uneven bezel and non-centered front-facing camera. The super glossy surface is also an oil and fingerprint magnet.
Overall, the tablet is a device that looks good on paper but, unfortunately, comes up short in actual use. It's too bad since I really wanted to like this device. Given how dealing with the user interface can be a struggle, however, it makes recommending the eGlide XL Pro 2 a tough proposition. Add the fact that Google just announced a $200 tablet that runs Android's Jellybean OS and provides a much smoother user experience and the eGlide XL Pro 2 faces an even more uphill battle.
Final rating: 2 stars out of 5
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