South African technology distributor Mustek holds one of South Africa’s oldest PC brands in its stable. Mecer has been a fixture in local computing since 1987 and chances are good you’ve used or even owned a Mecer-branded PC.
More recently, the company has started to venture into tablet computing and already has a number of such devices in its line-up, including a number of Windows 8 tablets. Mecer’s latest device, however, the Xpress Smartlife M785, runs Android.
At first glance, you could be forgiven for thinking the M785 is an iPad mini. The machine features a neat white bezel around the front of its LCD, while the back has a brushed metal finish not dissimilar to Apple’s tablet. The only thing missing from the picture is the round home button that features prominently on the front of the iPad.
Similarities to the iPad mini end there.
The M785 has a 7,85-inch display (hence its name) and runs an older version of Android, version 4.2, or “Jelly Bean”. Good news is Mustek has not added its own skin, themes or bloatware to the operating system.
The M785 tablet is surprisingly thin and light. At just 7,7mm thick and weighing just 400g, it will find favour with those looking for a small tablet that fits into a bag or even a large jacket pocket.
The performance of the M785 is not bad either considering that it retails for under R2 000. Applications load quickly and the responsiveness of the operating system is good. Power users will notice performance spikes as the M785 is loaded with more processor-hungry applications, however. That’s because the tablet has only 1GB of RAM.
Processing is managed by a 1,2GHz quad-core “brain” and there is 8GB of storage space. This can be expanded by up to 32GB using a microSD card.
There is also a non-removable 4 400mAh battery that delivers up to six hours of use.
Screen resolution is 1 024×768 pixels for a pixel density of only 162ppi. Although this resolution is low compared to many other, more expensive tablets on the market, its perfectly adequate for an entry-level audience. Connectivity on the device is supported by both both 3G and Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n) connectivity. The M785 accommodates a micro-Sim card and offers voice and data functionality, a handy feature but one that is best used with the bundled hands-free kit. Nobody looks good holding an eight-inch tablet to their ear.
As can be expected from an entry-level device such as this, the cameras in the M785 are as basic as they come. The front-facing camera can take selfies at 0,3 megapixels, while the rear camera is only rated at two megapixels. Unsurprisingly, the photos it takes are not impressive. For best results, apply a number of Instagram filters to mask the flat colour and dull saturation.
Mustek includes a white carry case with the tablet, which can be used to prop it up for a comfortable viewing position.
The company has done a great job with the M785. It is a good-looking and affordable Android tablet. There are, of course, a large number of other tablets available in this size and in this price bracket. If the look of the M758 doesn’t appeal, you are not short on options.
The Mecer Xpress Smartlife M785 is available at Takealot.com for R1 884. — © 2014 NewsCentral Media