HCL ME Y3: dual-SIM budget 3G tablet [Hands On]

HCL has finally introduced a range of tablets that boasts of access to the Google Play store. The HCL ME Y3 is one of these devices. There is one more unique feature of this Android 4.0 ICS-based device: it boasts of dual-SIM capabilities.

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HCL ME Y3: dual-SIM budget 3G tablet [Hands On]

We had a chance to take a close look at the HCL ME Y3 tablet, which was launched at an event in New Delhi yesterday, priced at Rs. 11,999. Straight out-of-the-box, the device runs on Android 4.0 ICS. This is a tad disappointing as in the same price range you have the iberry Auxus CoreX2 3G tablet as well as the Spice Stellar Pad Mi-1010 that boast of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean straight out of the box. In terms of power under the hood, the device has a 1GHz Cortex A9 CPU and 1GB of RAM.

The unique thing about the HCL ME Y3 tablet is that it boasts of dual-SIM capabilities (GSM GSM). One SIM slot supports 2G whereas the other supports 3G. When one SIM is active however the other can’t be used. That is to say that the device has single SIM active, but dual-SIM on standby.

The HCL ME Y3 supports voice-calling over 2G networks, as well as video calling over the 3G. The device however lacks an earpiece like its sibling, the ME V1 which means that you will have to rely on a headset or the loudspeaker on the device.

The HCL ME Y3 has a 7-inch display with a 1024x600 pixel resolution. This too feels slightly underwhelming as the iberry Auxus CoreX2 3G tablet has a 1280x800 pixel resolution 7-inch display. The response of the HCL ME Y3’s touchscreen felt good and fluid. The pages loaded fast and the only time we saw a lag was when we went back to the home screen from an app or while changing orientation. This is a problem we have faced on many budget devices.

The front of the HCL ME Y3 has a 0.3MP video calling camera whereas the rear has a 3.2MP camera without a flash. It has 4GB built-in storage expandable up to 32GB via a microSD card slot.

Apart from 3G connectivity, the device can also be used as a Wi-Fi hotspot which is a very good thing. You can use you 3G data through the ME Y3 to provide online access to up to five devices. The ME Y3 also has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0. It has a mini HDMI out port, miniUSB port, and a 3100mAh battery.

The slots for the two SIM cards along with the microSD card slot rests on the top of the HCL ME Y3 when held in landscape mode. The same strip houses the volume rocker as well as the power button. The device seems fairly well built and comfortable to hold in one hand. The front has no physical buttons. The device also has a mini USB port, something of a rarity, since most other budget tablets have a microUSB port. It also supports HDMI out and a headphones jack.

The HCL ME Y3’s rear has a single tone grey finish giving a premium look. The device feels slightly heavy in one’s hands. Like all other HTC tablets, the Y3 is skinned with the same light skin that is found on other HTC devices. Apart from the Google Play store, the device also has the HCL ME app store.

Some of the apps that comes pre-loaded with the HCL ME Y3 are Big-Flix, Cleartrip, LinkedIn, NimBuzz, Twitter and Facebook. Also as an introductory offer HCL Infosystems offers MyEduWorld 1 1(Buy 1 Year Content & get next year content free; MyEduWorld will be available in the new range of ME Tablets from April 2013 onwards), Cleartrip Travel Voucher—worth Rs. 2500 and Magzter-Digital Magazine Store-One Month Subscription to Digital Magazine’s such as India Today, Filmfare, Cricket Today and much more.

The HCL ME Y3 is priced at Rs. 11,999 and at this price it is in for some serious competition from devices that not only have some serious power under the hood, but also offer Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.

You will have to wait for our detailed review to know if the HCL ME Y3 has enough power and dual-SIM performance to put some points in its favour when compared to the competition. In the meanwhile, check out some more images of the HCL ME Y3, below:

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