The Coby Kyros MID7047-4 gives a whole new meaning to the term "budget tablet." At $92, the Kyros MID7047-4 is less than half the price of the $199 Amazon Kindle Fire HD and Google Nexus 7, and is one of the cheapest Android tablets on the market. Aimed at those who want the basic functions of a tablet or a child-friendly device, Coby touts its Kyros MID7047-4 as a device perfect for Web surfing, streaming video and playing basic games. But does a half-priced tablet mean you're getting half the performance and features? Read on to find out.
Click to EnlargeThe Coby Kyros MID7047-4 is a 7-inch tablet in its most basic form. Its 7-inch touch-screen display is surrounded by a smooth, matte black plastic frame with no buttons. The most evident design setback is that the bezel isn't flush with the display, creating a dip that becomes noticeable when pressing the device's on-screen buttons.
The back of the device switches out this smooth texture for a rugged, coarse grip. Right smack in the middle of the back plate, there's a miniature argyle pattern along with Coby's logo and the name of the device.
The power button and volume keys are located on the right side when holding the tablet in landscape mode, but those are the only physical buttons you'll find on the entire device. The top houses a microUSB port, a headphone jack and a port for the power cord, while the upper left-hand side features a memory card slot. Note that the Kyros doesn't feature a front or back camera, so video chatting is off limits for this slate.
Measuring 7.5 x 4.4 x 0.5 inches, the Coby Kyros 7 is about the same size as the 7.6 x 5.4 x 0.4-inch Amazon Kindle Fire HD and the 7.7 x 4.6 x 0.4-inch Asus MeMO Pad. At 10.2 ounces, the Coby Kyros 7 is also a little lighter than Amazon (13.9 ounces) and Asus' (12.5 ounces) tablets.
Click to EnlargeThe Kyros is as budget-friendly as a tablet could get, and it especially shows in its 7-inch touch screen. The resolution is just 800 x 480 pixels, which isn't even HD. By comparison, the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD sport 1280 x 800-pixel displays.
The Kyros MID7047 registered 174 lux on our light meter, which is less than half as bright as the 436 lux Amazon Kindle Fire HD. The Asus MeMO Pad's screen also sports a brighter display at 293 lux, which comes much closer to the 376 lux category average than the Coby Kyros.
When we were watching the trailer for "The Avengers," tilting the display ever-so-slightly made the screen look dim and produced a sharp glare. We also found that colors appeared a bit muted while watching the trailer. During dark indoor scenes, Mark Ruffalo seemed to disappear into the background. Brighter scenes were more vibrant and showed sharper detail, although the poor viewing angles still made it difficult to enjoy the clip.
Not only were the viewing angles poor, but text and app icons appeared blurry on the Kyros' dim 7-inch screen.
The Coby Kyros 7's stereo speakers play music and audio clearly, but don't expect this tablet to get loud. During our testing, we blasted Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" at full capacity, and the sound still felt soft and wasn't enough to fill our testing room. This isn't surprising considering the size of the tiny zigzag-shaped speaker, which is subtly placed near on the back of the device near the top.
Interface and keyboard
The Coby Kyros 7 runs Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich, which is a few generations behind the current 4.2.2 Jelly Bean flavor of Android. Coby essentially offers the stock version of Android on its Kyros 7 tablet, unlike brands such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Samsung, which layer their own customized skin over the OS.
Similar to its design, the Kyros 7's interface is bare-bones. The home screen comes outfitted with a clock and basic apps such as Email, the SlideMe app store, Settings, with the option to add more shortcuts by dragging and dropping from your app drawer.
Like the rest of its interface, the Coby Kyros 7 comes with the stock Android keyboard, which features a black backdrop with gray keys. The keys were fairly responsive, but we noticed a little lag when typing an email. The keyboard felt a little cramped when in portrait mode, and the number of keys in each row is slightly uneven. The middle row has one less key than the other two, which makes the keyboard look like it's shifted to the right.
Coby described Web browsing as one of the Kyros 7's core functions, but don't expect anything more than the standard Android Web browser. Near the top of the screen, you'll find "Back" and "Forward" keys on the left side of the URL box, with "Favorite," "Bookmark" and "Search" buttons on the other side.
We found the browser to be rather sluggish when loading websites, and text and images looked blurry on the screen. Text looked better when using pinch-to-zoom to hone in headlines while reading CNN.com, but it took a moment for the device to refocus on text after zooming.
Although this is an Android tablet, the Kyros 7 isn't compatible with the Google Play Store. Instead, you'll have to use the preloaded SlideMe app store, which only has approximately 20,000 apps, compared with Google Play's selection of more than 800,000 apps.
The SlideMe app store may be small, but it comes with an attractive design that's easy to navigate. The Featured Apps page displays apps in a tiled layout with images, and also breaks down apps into featured sections such as Apps for Kids and Indie Apps.
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If you want to browse another section of the app store, you can swipe to the left or right to view Top Paid, Top Free or Categories. The Categories section breaks down apps by genre in a column on the left-hand side of the screen, and tells you how many apps are in each section. Fun and Games is the largest section with more than 7,000 apps, while Sports and News are the smallest sections with 20 and 28 apps to choose from, respectively.
The SlideMe app store comes with essential apps such as Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, "Angry Birds," "Temple Run," Instagram, Skype (although there's no webcam), "Cut the Rope" and Amazon Kindle, but you won't find YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, Pandora or any Google apps.
Coby tries to compensate for this with a video app titled Watch YouTube Videos, but this just takes you to YouTube's website in the device's browser. The same is the case for the eMusic app, which takes you to the service's website rather than a stand-alone app.
Even though your choices are limited compared with other Android tablets, the Coby Kyros 7 comes with a few useful apps to get you started. You'll find AccuWeather, Aldiko Reader, OfficeSuite and ES File Explorer out of the box.
The Kyros 7 comes with its own music app, which is a bare-bones music player that organizes songs by artist, album and song title. You'll have to drag and drop files from your computer to the device after connecting it via micro USB.
Coby also loaded its tablet with the Toon Goggles app, which is a children's channel that streams full-length cartoons and individual clips. These aren't cartoons you'll find on network or cable television, but rather Toon Goggles' own shows aimed at educating and entertaining kids.
Click to EnlargeDesigned for casual users and budget shoppers, Coby packed its Kyros MID7047-4 with a 1GHz Cortex-A5 CPU with 512MB of RAM. It comes with 4GB of onboard storage that is expandable up to 32GB via its microSD card slot.
We experienced noticeable lag during everyday use, although the tablet switched between portrait and landscape mode relatively quickly. "Cut the Rope" ran smoothly with no delays, but it took 5 seconds to load the start screen after clicking the icon in our app drawer. Other apps, such as Aldiko Reader and Office Suite, opened in a reasonable three seconds. There was also a noticeable 2-second pause when launching the Settings menu.
The SlideMe app store showed the most noticeable lag throughout our testing, taking 11 seconds to load after pressing the icon. In two instances, we couldn't get the store to load at all and had to exit the store completely.
Synthetic benchmark tests reflected our real-world experience when using the Coby Kyros 7047-4. On the graphics-focused An3DBench test, the Kyros 7 MID7047 scored 7,109, which is lower than the 7,364 category average and falls under the Kindle Fire HD 7 and Asus MeMO Pad's respective scores of 7,783 and 7,444.
The Kyros notched a score of 1,724 during the Benchmark CPU test, which tests the overall speed of a device's processor. This is well below the 3,150 category average and is also slower than the Asus MeMO Pad (2,526) and Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7 (3,418).
During the Linpack benchmark, which tests a system's floating computer power, the Kyros notched a single-threaded score of 25 and a multithreaded score of 20. This is way below the Kindle Fire HD 7's results (37 single-thread and 52 multithread) and the Asus MeMO Pad's score (28 single-thread and 30 multithread).
The Kyros 7 offers decent battery life for the price, lasting 6 hours and 41 minutes in the LAPTOP Battery Test (continuous Web surfing on 40 percent brightness). This runtime is shorter than the tablet category average (7:05), but slightly longer than the ASUS MeMo Pad (6:32). Both the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD last about 7.5 hours on a charge.
Click to EnlargeAt $92, the Coby Kyros MID7047-4 costs significantly less than competing 7-inch tablets, and it certainly shows. The lack of Google Play support is undoubtedly the biggest drawback, but the low-resolution display with narrow viewing angles doesn't help either. The Kyros 7 can handle basic tasks such as Web browsing, social networking and playing casual games, but we'd recommend spending the extra $100 on something like the Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7 or Nexus 7. While it's not a speed demon, the $150 Asus MeMO Pad will get you Google Play access and better performance.