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Budget tablets have been doing everything in their power to prove their worth as value for money devices. It is only in the past 12 months that we have seen tablets launch with some great USPs that make them worthy as your first budget tablet devices.
These devices run on Google’s Android OS, provide some great power under the hood and give you access to a plethora of apps.
Today we have with us the HCL Me Y2 Tab in the 15K price range and boasts of some impressive hardware, but staying true to the HCL tradition has given up on the Google Play store. Is it a wise decision or has HCL shot itself in the foot yet again?
Design and BuildOne look at the HCL Me Y2 Tab and it doesn't seem like a budget tablet. It has a premium finish to it and the screen has a wider aspect ratio making it ideal for watching videos. The rear of the device has a black matte rubberized finish making giving it a good grip in ones hands. Even though the rear is matte, it still manages to attract fingerprints but not as badly as a glossy product.
The HCL Me Y2 Tab isn’t the slimmest 7-inch tablet in the market and this is quite evident from the minute you hold the device. It is 13mm thick making it about 2.5mm thicker than the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (read our review). This isn’t a deal breaker as the device is still comfortable to hold, but it does make a difference if you are into the slim gadgets trend.
The Me Y2 Tab is also a little heavier than other 7-inch tablets, weighing in at 368 grams. This too isn’t a deal breaker as the device was comfortable to use for prolonged hours of movie watching and web surfing.
In terms of its ports and connectivity, the HCL Me Y2 Tab has the power button and the volume rocker on top (when held in landscape mode). The right of the device houses the microSD card slot, headphones jack, DC in, mini USB port, Mini HDMI out, and the SIM Card slot. On the face of the device you have the back, home and menu buttons all of which are touch sensitive. The rear of the device has a 2MP camera and the front has a 0.3MP camera for video chatting.
The ports and connectivity options on the HCL Me Y2 Tab are standard with what we have come to expect from budget 7-inch devices. The overall build of the device is good and it feels sturdy in ones hands.
Features & Specifications
The HCL Me Tab Y2 runs on Google Android 4.0.3 ICS straight out-of-the-box. It’s nice that the device isn’t heavily skinned making it easy for newcomers to navigate the device. It comes preloaded with a bunch of apps and games such as an app installer, BigFix, Bollywood Hungama, Hungama.com, Ninja Rush, Panzer Panic, Saavan, Sweet n Spicy and ThinkFree Office.
The app installer is a very handy app as the HCL Me Y2 Tab compromises on the Google Play store and in turn adds its own HCL Me app store on the device. It would have been great if the HCL Me App store was added in addition to the Google Play Store and its absence is dearly missed. Nonetheless, the advantage of the Me App store is that you don't need to have a Google account or register to access its app library. The interface of the Me App store isn’t as flashy as the Play store but it is loaded with a plethora of apps nonetheless.
Even thought the app library is large, it doesn't house many popular apps such as Amazing Alex, Angry Birds Space and more. You can download the APK file of apps that are not there on the HCL Me App store and install them on the device via the App installer but honestly, it would have been easier if HCL just included the Google Play store. The reason for its absence is still a mystery to us.
Under the hood, the device is powered by a 1GHz Cortex A9 processor, has 1GB of RAM and comes with 8GB internal storage expandable up to 32GB via a microSD card. Other specifications include 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, A-GPS and an accelerometer.
The display on the HCL Me Y2 Tab is really good and probably the best we have seen on a budget tablet. The display is 7-inch IPS display with a resolution of 1024 x 600. We do wish that the resolution was a bit better but we are just nit-picking. The display is very vibrant and the colours look sharp. It has fantastic viewing angles as well. Even under direct sunlight, you can see the contents on the display.
PerformanceStarting with the display, it is vibrant and the viewing angles are very good, probably one of the best in its price bracket. The same however cannot be said about the HCL Me Y2 Tab’s audio output. It is soft, flat and gives a very lacklustre performance. The device ran all formats of video that we threw at it – MOV, MKV, MP4 and AVI with absolute ease. There was no lag even in the 1080p videos. Navigating on the timeline of the videos too was smooth.
The HCL Me Y2 Tab’s touchscreen is smooth and responsive showing the capabilities of the power under the hood. The power under the hood of the device is good enough to run any of the apps you throw at it very smoothly. Multitasking on the device too was a good experience.
The keyboard on the HCL Me Y2 Tab is stock Android. In landscape more it may be difficult to type with two figures. In portrait mode however, the typing experience is quite good. In either case, the keyboard is quite nice and responsive, similar to the ones we have seen on the Zync and iberry tablets.
Transferring data from your Mac or PC to the device is as simple as plug, copy and paste.
Another feature of the HCL Me Tab Y2 is that you can insert your SIM card and use the device as a phone. Using it as a phone is quite inconvenient ergonomically. Add to it the fact that the speakerphone acts as the earpiece and you will be holding the device backwards in public making you look like a complete fool. Not an ideal option.
Games on the other hand ran very well and looked great on the HCL Me Tab Y2. It was fun playing the Angry Birds Rio, Cut the Rope and more. The load times of the games were quite swift.
The rear of the HCL Me Tab Y2 houses has a 2MP camera and we wouldn't be surprised if you never used it. The front has a 0.3MP camera that gets the job done for video chatting.
As mentioned earlier, the device lacks the Google Play store so we didn't have direct access to download the original benchmarks. The only benchmark available on the HCL Me app store was Quadrant. In Quadrant, the device scored 1632 which is at par with competing tablets that boast of a 1GHz processor and 1GB RAM.
The inbuilt Android browser isn’t the best as pages took time to load and navigation could get pretty laggy at times. Scrolling and zooming was cumbersome and quite frustrating.
The most important question, how long will the device’s battery last? We played a 720p HD MP4 movie on loop on the device. We set the brightness to full and volume to 80 percent. The HCL Me Tab Y2 lasted for 4 hours of continuous video playback, which is quite good.
Overall, the HCL Me Tab Y2’s performance is a mixed bag. It has one of the best displays on a budget Android tablet and played all the apps and videos we threw at it with absolute ease. On the downside, it compromises on the Google Play store, which is a big deal breaker. If you are one who is interested in loading your devices with the latest apps, we suggest you look elsewhere. But if a fantastic display and overall good multimedia performance is what you are looking for then you can definitely consider this device.