Bright display with HD resolution; Strong performance for price; microSD Card and mini HDMI; Very affordable
Small amount of onboard storage; Below-average battery life
A bright screen, powerful processor and a fantastic $149 price tag all combine in the Hisense Sero 7 Pro to make a gem among 7-inch tablets.
Known for its value-priced TVs, Hisense is getting in on the small tablet market with its new Sero 7 Pro. This $149 Android slate (sold exclusively at Walmart) boasts some impressive specs for the price, including a 1280 x 800-pixel display and a 1.3-GHz quad core Nvidia Tegra 3 processor. And Hisense does all this for $50 less than Google's Nexus 7 or Amazon's 7 Kindle Fire HD, as well as $20 less than HP's new Slate 7. That sounds like a darn good deal, and based on our testing, it is.
DesignASUS MeMO Pad, even though both slates are made of plastic.
The power button and a physical volume rocker sit on the top right side of the tablet, while the top edge houses the various ports. In addition to the standard microUSB port, a miniHDMI (not found on its competitors) and a flap-covered microSD card slot line the edge, next to the 3.5mm headphone jack and microphone. Two thin speaker grilles sit on the bottom side of the back and a 5-MP camera is toward the top.
At 12.7 ounces, the Hisense Sero 7 Pro weighs a bit more than the Google Nexus 7 and ASUS MeMO Pad's 12 ounces. But it's noticeably lighter than the 13.9-ounce Amazon Kindle Fire HD and 13.1-ounce HP Slate 7.
The Hisense measures 7.9 x 5 x 0.43 inches, making it easy to hold, as well as to slip into a purse. The Sero 7 Pro is slightly taller than (but otherwise similar to) both the Nexus 7 and the MeMO Pad (7.8 x 4.7 x 0.41 inches). The Kindle Fire HD (7.6 x 5.4 x 0.4 inches) and Slate 7 (7.8 x 4.6 x 0.42 inches) are also in the same ballpark.
While the Sero 7 Pro ships with just 8GB of internal storage, you can add more via microSD Card slot, a feature the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD lack. The HP and MeMO also include a microSD card slot.
With a resolution of 1280 x 800, the Hisense tablet has the same pixel count as the Nexus 7 and the Kindle Fire HD. The ASUS MeMO Pad and the HP Slate 7 have lower resolutions of 1024 x 600.
While watching "Cloud Atlas" through the Sero 7 Pro's preloaded Vudu service, the image looked so real that we could almost reach out and feel the wrinkles on Tom Hanks' forehead. We found the color representation very true to real life, but not overly saturated as you might find on other AMOLED displays.
We measured a brightness of 369 lux on the Sero 7 Pro, which is just a smidge above the tablet average of 367 lux. The Nexus 7, by comparison, hit 314 lux, the HP Slate 7's display was 313 lux and the ASUS MeMO Pad screen's was just 293. However, the Fire HD's display notched an impressive 436 lux.
User interface and keyboard
The onscreen keyboard features standard-looking square keys with white letters. While 7-inch screens can feel a bit cramped for serious typing, we found ourselves easily and accurately typing in portrait and landscape mode.
Among other preloaded apps on the Sero 7 Pro is Vudu for HD movies and TV, Walmart.com and Sams.com for shopping, Barnes & Noble Nook for reading and Kingsoft Office for creating and editing office docs. For social networking, Facebook is preloaded, as is Pandora for Internet radio.
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Google Chrome for Android serves as the default browser, and we love its ability to sync with other devices on the same account. We loaded Laptopmag.com, NYTimes.com and ESPN.com in 6, 6 and 7 seconds respectively over Wi-Fi.
Sadly, a picture of toys shot indoors was fuzzy and not well-focused, despite us adjusting the camera's settings for our office's fluorescent lighting. In panoramic mode, the stitching was not particularly noticeable, but we didn't see a lot of detail.
The front-facing 2-MP camera should do the trick for video chats, but don't expect a great deal of detail. Our selfies came out fuzzy.
It's worth noting that the neither Amazon Kindle Fire HD, ASUS MeMO Pad nor the Google Nexus 7 offer a rear camera, and those front-facing cameras are only 1.3-MP, 0.3-MP and 1.2-MP, respectively. The HP Slate 7 offers a 3-MP rear camera, however.
Similarly, the Sero 7 Pro achieved an AnTuTu score of 12,092, which far outstrips the 7,491 average. On Geekbench, the tablet registered 1,283, below the category average (2,416), but above the HP Slate 7's 937.
On the graphics-focused An3dBench, the Sero 7 Pro scored 7,636, which is just a hair shy of the Nexus 7 (7,782) and the Kindle Fire HD (7,783). All three slates outpace the 7,328 tablet average, the ASUS MeMO Pad (7,444), and the HP Slate 7 (7,365).
In addition to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support, the Hisense Sero 7 Pro offers NFC capability. We easily beamed a photo of ourselves to our Samsung Galaxy Note II by touching the phone to the lower right corner of the tablet. You can also use this feature to share playlists, Web pages and video clips.
While taking out zombies left and right in the first-person shooter "Dead Trigger," we enjoyed smooth movements and terrifying monster faces. We loved the little details, such as the rain that splattered our vision from time to time.
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Playing "Riptide GP" side-by-side with the ASUS MeMO Pad and its single-core CPU, it's easy to see the difference Tegra 3 makes. As our Jet Skiier jumped and splashed on the Sero 7 Pro, the water sprayed directly at us as we smoothly made our way around the track. On the ASUS, the splashes just appeared as a faded white wall around the Jet Ski that jerked on occasion.
VerdictKindle Fire HD is a better choice for families because of its Freetime parental controls, but it lacks access to the Google Play store, as well as a rear-facing camera and NFC. The Hisense also beats the pants off the $169 HP Slate 7, which has a lower-res screen. Overall, the Sero 7 Pro is the best value-priced Android tablet yet.
|CPU||1.3-GHz quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 T30|
|Storage Drive Size||8GB|
|Storage Drive Type||micro SD Card|
|Display Resolution||1280 x 800|
|Front-Facing Camera Resolution||2.0MP|
|Card Reader Size||32GB|
|Warranty / Support|
|Size||7.9 x 5 x 0.4 inches|