The AM7-A1 is a compact tablet with a 7.0 -inch screen and a cool while coloured body. It has a slightly curved look with the middle part being stouter than the sides.
There is a chrome coloured strip running around the screen that adds a classy dimension to an otherwise plain look. The bezel around the screen is pretty thick and we would have been happy with a thinner one, as that would have led to better optimization of space. There are three hardware buttons below the screen in the portrait mode, two on either side have four functions of Home, Menu, Back and Task Manager.In between these two lies a circular key that takes you to the App Tray in home mode and to Home in case you are accessing an application. The SIM and microSD card slots are conveniently covered with a sliding
There is a volume rocker and accelerometer lock along with a 3.5 mm jack and power button and all these are placed on the spines of the device. There is only one camera - a 2.0-megapixel camera at the front. The back has a nice shiny shimmer effect that adds class to the overall look of the tablet.
The HCL ME runs on Android 2.2, or Froyo as it is better known. Considering that it is competing with the likes of the HTC Flyer, we would have expected it to be at least on 2.3 (Gingerbread). We hope HCL will provide an over the air (OTA) update to its customers in this regard. The interface remains more or less the same as in most Android devices. There are five homescreen panels that you can customise by adding shortcuts, folders, widgets, etc.
There are three touch buttons at the bottom of the screen in the portrait mode for Browser, App Tray and E-mail. The notification bar remains at the top but it is plain and doesn’t provide any extra accessibility as seen in other devices. The main menu of the tablet is in a scrollable grid style with the Home key at the bottom.
Surprisingly, there is no Android Market on the tablet, but you can always download it. Instead you have two different app repositories from HCL. One is the HCL App Center, which is somewhat similar to the Android Market. And the second is HCL Smart Apps, which offers a number of applications relevant for the Indian audience. These app stores have been provided to enable better app discovery for the customer since finding an app among millions in the Android Market can be a tough task for some. The tablet has e-mail support for POP3, IMAP and Microsoft Exchange Activesync. Settingsfor Gmail, Yahoo!Mail and AOL come pre-loaded on the device. The browser of the AM-7 comes with multi-touch support along with text re-flow. The tab comes with ThinkFree office document editor too.
You can make calls and also send messages through the tab. Bluetooth allows you connectivity with wireless headphones. While a built in video calling option is not available in the dialer, you can always opt for a third party app for the same .
HCL seems to have figured out that a camera on a tab will be used regularly for one thing – and that is video calling or chats. With that taken care of, you can also use the camera to take self-portraits. The highest resolution that you can set is 1600 x 1200 and also regulate the picture quality. The pictures can be geo-tagged too. Videos can also be captured. As far as the video player goes, it is capable of playing full HD videos at 25 frames per second. We tried a few and it worked very nicely.
The music player of the device is plain vanilla but still the sound levels are good, although we did feel a mild distortion at full volume. The tablet comes with 8 GB internal memory that can be expanded further using a microSD card. We were not really impressed by the battery back-up of the device. Even in idle mode, a fully charged AM7-A1 ran out of juice in ten hours flat – a far cry from the ten-hour battery life (when working) of the likes of the iPad.
One can also connect a USB flash drive to the tablet and access its photos and videos through the gallery and the songs through the music client.
and comes with a USB adapter in the sales pack. You can opt for Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 inch available for Rs 27,000 and Galaxy Tab 8.9 comes at an MRP of Rs 33,900. HTC Flyer on the other hand comes for Rs 38,990 in the market today.