Maylong's $99 M-150 Tablet Reviewed

Introduction, Specifications

About a month ago, we ran a story on how Walgreens was selling the Maylong M-150 tablet for $99, $30 below the regular price. While the M-150 is an obvious iPad knock-off that would never pass muster in the US, we were curious to see what sort of product $99 could buy.

This is the M-150's default program layout. The display is decent for a $99 product but the touchscreen capabilities leave much to be desired.
Maylong M-150 Table
Specifications & Features
 CPU  VIA VM8505+ ARM9
 Platform  Android 1.6 (Donut)
 Memory  256MB system memory, 2GB Internal Flash
 Dimensions  7.5 x 4.6 x 0.75 inches
 Weight  5.47 ounces
 Display  7" Resistive Touchscreen 800x480 Resolution
 Network  802.11 b/g Wireless
 Connectivity  802.11 b/g, RJ-45 via dongle, 2x USB (via dongle), 1x MicroSD Slot
 Cameras  0.3MP Front Camera
 Music  3.5mm headset jack, Music Player (WMA, WAV)
 Video  WMV, AVI, FLV
 Battery  Undisclosed Li-polymer
 Additional Features  None.

Virtually the only thing we know about the processor is that its a VIA VM8505+ ARM9 core that runs at 533MHz. The ARM9 architecture is still used in a number of products, including the Nintendo Wii, DS and DSi. It's not nearly as powerful as ARM's current lineup of Cortex processors, however, we weren't certain it would be enough for typical tablet tasks.

Our initial impression of the tablet was quite positive. The screen resolution of 800x480 suits the 7" screen quite well; we had no trouble reading text or navigating around the tablet's various functions and menus. The touchscreen is resistive rather than capacitive; the only way to accurately control the device was by using the included stylus. Even finger-typing was troublesome; the M-150 had a tendency to interpret keystrokes as though the keyboard was slightly off-center. Tap "H" on the left side of the button, and the system typically printed "G," tap to the right and you'd likely get "J". We tried running the M-150's screen calibration utility in an effort to have our inputs more accurately captured, but to no avail.

Android 1.6 worked well enough, but it seems odd to use a year-old build when later, faster versions of the OS are already available. It's reportedly possible to upgrade the M-150 to FroYo, but that's not a project we tackled here.

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