Strong specs and performance for price; Expandable memory via microSD; Competent game performance; Very affordable
Puny onboard storage; Below-average battery life; Inconsistent app performance
The Hisense Sero 7 LT is an Android tablet that offers fairly good performance, a higher-resolution screen than its competitors' and expandable memory, all for just $99.
Hisense is making quite a splash with its $149 Sero 7 Pro, offering Nexus 7-like performance and a microSD slot, for $50 less than Google's tablet. Now, here comes the $99.99 Sero 7 LT. This Wal-Mart exclusive boasts better specs than pricier entrants from ASUS and HP, making it one of the few sub-$100 slates we recommend.
DesignD2 Pad 712, the LT has a more premium feel. Both beat the glossy back of the $79 Ematic Genesis Prime, which was a fingerprint magnet.
The LT's display is flush with the bezel, a feature that should be standard on all tablets, regardless of price. Unfortunately, the Coby Kyros didn't get the memo.
Just like the Kyros, D2 and Ematic tablets, the Sero 7 LT has 4GB of onboard storage, and can accept microSD cards up to 32GB. In comparison, the ASUS MeMO Pad offers no card reader, but more onboard storage at 16GB, while the HP Slate 7 houses 8GB of onboard memory that's expandable to 40GB via microSD.
This budget slate measures 7.6 x 4.7 x 0.4 inches and weighs 12.6 ounces. The Genesis Prime, Kyros and D2 Pad are all lighter, however, at 9.6 ounces, 10.2 ounces and 11.2 ounces, respectively, despite having similar dimensions as those on the Sero 7 LT. The MeMO Pad is almost identical in terms of size and weight (7.7 x 4.6 x 0.4 inches, 12.5 ounces), while the metal-framed Slate 7 is slightly taller, thicker and heavier, at 7.8 x 4.6 x 0.42 inches and 13.1 ounces.
With a brightness reading of 204 lux, the Sero 7 LT falls behind the category average of 367 lux, but trounces the Kyros (174 lux) and the Genesis Prime (166 lux). However, it was bested by the D2 Pad (253 lux), as well as the MeMO Pad (293 lux), Slate 7 (313 lux) and Sero 7 Pro (369 lux).
When watching the latest "Man of Steel" trailer on the LT, we thought the blazing explosions as Krypton fell looked washed-out. From the red in Superman's cape to the varying blues in the Fortress of Solitude, colors were muted. Still, the LT offers a higher-quality viewing experience than other sub-$100 tablets.
The Sero 7 LT's screen wasn't as responsive as we would have liked. Within apps like YouTube, we sometimes had to touch the display more than once for our taps to register.
The single stereo speaker on the Sero 7 LT is nothing to write home about, but it does manage to best the audio on other $99 tablets. Though it can produce sound about as loud as the Sero 7 Pro can, the audio wasn't nearly as full. When listening to Daft Punk's new single, "Get Lucky," we thought Pharrell's vocals were drowned out at times by bass notes.
The Kyros and Genesis Prime couldn't even produce comparable volume, much less provide acceptable definition. The slightly larger speaker on the MeMO Pad 7 has the same issue, but it's much less pronounced.
Interface and keyboard
The Sero 7 LT comes with a standard Android keyboard, which we'd replace immediately with Google's new downloadable keyboard. You'll get trace typing and next-word prediction. Generally, we found typing in portrait mode faster with our thumbs than in landscape mode. Note that this tablet doesn't include haptic feedback.
In addition to Facebook and Pandora, Hisense preloaded the Sero 7 LT with the Wal-Mart-owned Vudu for downloading movies and apps for, of course, Sam's Club and Wal-Mart. Hisense's Smart Remote app allows the device to interact with Hisense Smart TVs, and Kingsoft Office lets users edit and create Office documents.
MORE: 25 Best Android Apps
The Sero 7 LT more than held its own in our benchmark tests. In AnTuTu, a general benchmark, this tablet scored 8,765. That bests the category average of 8,357 and blows away the Kyros (3,362), Genesis Prime (2,684), D2 Pad (3,378) and the ASUS MeMO Pad 7's score of 3,992. As expected, pricier slates -- such as the $149 Sero 7 Pro (12,092) and $169 HP Slate 7 (11,547) -- fared better.
With a score of 7,827 in An3DBench, the LT actually beat the category average (7,329), the D2 Pad (6,429), the MeMO Pad (7,444) and the pricier Sero 7 Pro (7,636) and Slate 7 (7,365). In 3DMark Extreme, the LT's score of 2,172 beat its beefier brother, Sero 7 Pro (1,942) -- which packs an Nvidia Tegra 3 chip -- and nearly matched the Slate 7 (2,198).
Then again, at least this tablet has a webcam. That's more than the comparably priced Kyros can say for itself. You'll find either identical or similar front-facing webcams in other competing budget slates. However, both the Sero 7 Pro and the Slate 7 sport rear-facing cameras that come in at 5-MP and 3-MP, respectively.
More expensive tablets fared better. The Sero 7 Pro lasted 6:09, the MeMO Pad 7 went for 6:32 and the Slate 7 clocked in at 6:38.
That said, the Sero 7 LT is far from perfect. The screen could be more responsive, and the battery life isn't great. Those with a little more cash would be better off getting $149 Hisense Sero 7 Pro, which offers a higher-res screen and longer endurance. Overall, though, the Hisense Sero 7 LT is a budget tablet that won't make you feel cheap.
|CPU||1.6-GHz dual-core Rockchip|
|Storage Drive Size||4GB|
|Storage Drive Type||Flash Memory|
|Front-Facing Camera Resolution||0.3|
|Card Reader Size||32GB|
|Warranty / Support|
|Size||7.6 x 4.7 x 0.4 inches|