Coby’s latest crop of Android tablets offer decent performance at rock-bottom prices. That’s been the company’s M.O. for years. The big news here is Google certification—a first for the company—which means the newest tablets have access to the Google Play app store. The MID1065 ($209.99 list) is one of the least expensive 10-inch tablets on the market, and aside from the predictably pedestrian performance, there’s actually a lot to like here. You get a clean, albeit increasingly dated, version of Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich,” microSD card expansion, mini HDMI out, and a relatively sharp IPS display. It’s not going to match some other high-end Androids on performance and features, but it’s a nice budget alternative to more-expensive tablets like the Amazon Kindle Fire 8.9and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (10.1).
Design and Features
The MID1065 closely resembles the aforementioned Galaxy Tab 2, but in a surprising twist, it outdoes Samsung’s tablet with a sturdy metal back rather than flex-prone plastic. At 10.2 by 7.1 by 0.4 inches (HWD) and 1.3 pounds, the MID1065 is on the thick and heavy side of 10-inch tablets. Along the bottom panel are the power connector, mini HDMI out, and micro USB port for syncing, but not charging. The Power and Volume buttons sit along the top left edge, with a microSD card slot along the bottom left edge. There’s a 3.5mm headphone jack along the top edge (opposite all the other ports), with dual speaker grilles and a rear-facing camera on the back of the tablet. It’s a healthy selection of ports and adds value to the already-affordable tablet.
The 1,280-by-800-pixel IPS LCD might not be full HD, but it’s reasonably sharp at 149 ppi and offers a very wide viewing angle, which you don’t always see on budget tablets, including Coby’s own MID7065 and MID8065. The display is bright, text looks crisp, and colors appear accurate.
The MID1065 is a Wi-Fi only tablet that connects to 802.11b/g/n networks on the 2.4GHz frequency only. There’s also Bluetooth 2.1, which is a nice bonus at this price. The MID1065 comes in a single 8GB-capacity model, but our 32 and 64GB SanDisk microSD cards worked fine.
Android and Performance
The MID1065 is powered by a dual-core 1.2GHz Amlogic Cortex A9 processor with 1GB RAM and a MALI 400 GPU. It’s not the fastest setup, but it bested the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (10.1) with its dual-core 1GHz Cortex A9 processor in all of our benchmarks and matches the performance of the 7-inch Amazon Kindle Fire HD. Unfortunately, benchmarks don’t tell the whole story for the MID1065. While the tablet has a sharp display and more than capable components to run Android 4.0 smoothly, I experienced some choppiness with certain actions in my testing. Swiping through home screens and scrolling on websites introduced some frustrating stutters. The problem seems to be the touch-screen digitizer. It feels like there are virtual click-stops built in, which turns a smooth swipe across the display into a stuttering mess. That said, apps open reasonably quickly, and switching between multiple apps didn’t cause much lag. Games that don’t require touch input, like Riptide GP, played smoothly and without issue. A game that requires a lot of swiping and touch input, like Temple Run 2, was a bit more frustrating as touch input seemed delayed as well. On top of that, I noticed a delay between when the Power button is pressed and when the display actually wakes up.
Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich” is now two versions behind the latest 4.2 “Jelly Bean” build, but Coby leaves the OS unskinned, which might make this tablet appealing to Android purists with tight budgets. Newcomers, however, might be better served by the more polished, easy-to-use custom Android skins like Samsung’s TouchWiz or the heavily modified version of Android featured on Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablets.
While previous Coby tablets were burdened with second-rate app stores like GetJar, the MID1065 offers up full access to Google Play with more than 800,000 apps and a healthy selection of books, videos, and music, as well as top-notch built-in Google apps like Gmail and Maps.
For media support, the MID1065 handles Xvid, DivX, MPEG4, H.264, and AVI videos at up to 1080p resolution. For audio, you get MP3, AAC, FLAC, OGG, WAV, and WMA support. Screen mirroring worked fine using a mini HDMI cable, and the tablet was able to output video at 720p or 1080p resolution. Like most tablets, the cameras are underwhelming: The 2-megapixel rear-facing camera takes dimly exposed, grainy pictures in low light, while good lighting conditions still produce waxy pictures that are sapped of fine detail. The front-facing 0.3-megapixel camera is suitable for Skype calls, but not much else. Video is limited to 640-by-480-pixel resolution and choppy frame rates that hover around 15 fps.
In our battery rundown test, which loops a video with screen brightness set to max and Wi-Fi on, the MID1065 lasted an unimpressive 4 hours, 37 minutes. To compare, the 10-inch Galaxy Tab 2 hit 6 hours, 17 minutes and the Asus Transformer Pad TF300 was able to last 7 hours and 53 minutes in the same test.
Coby’s latest line of MID tablets is a notable step forward for the company. The addition of Google certification and app store access brings the brand out of the cheap, generic drug-store tablet fray. And the MID1065 is the best of the bunch, with a surprisingly sturdy design, connections galore, and a sharp IPS display. Unfortunately, it’s hampered by an imprecise touch screen that leads to frequent choppiness. Still, for $200 it’s hard to beat the combination of features you get with the MID1065, and it’s worth checking out as an alternative to more-expensive mainstream options like the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (10.1) or even the Kindle Fire HD 8.9″, if you’re on a strict budget and need a tablet with a large screen.