Most people go for budget tablets because they just need a bigger workspace at a good price, and they prefer to let their smartphone take care of performance and extended functionality. Incidentally, we’re going to introduce you to a new affordable option, courtesy of one less popular manufacturer called Energy Sistem – the Tablet Neo 2.
This device is not meant to compete with the established brands in the industry. It is targeted at people who want to take advantage of the tablet’s big screen, without paying too much. In addition to being affordable, the device is up to date, software-wise – It runs Android 5.0 Lollipop.
We’ll start the review with a short Energy Sistem promotional video.
Neo 2 comes with a charger, a USB cable, an OTG cable, a cleaning cloth, some stickers, and some books with tutorials and ads.
Design and construction
Each available port and button is positioned on the top side of the tablet, near the front camera. There is a built-in microphone, the Power button, an audio jack, a microUSB port, and the volume control buttons, accompanied by the microSD slot, which is actually placed on the edge of the device. Each of the listed components is labeled. Everything being gathered on one side of the tablet gives you the advantage of not having to look around for ports. All other sides are clean.
Although the back of the device is matte, it will suck out your fingerprints if your hands are even slightly wet. On the rear panel you’ll find the main 2MP camera, the speaker, which is on the same level but on the other side, the mirror logo of Energy Sistem, which is centered, an “Energy Sistem Neo 2” inscription and some product labels. You can spot another built-in microphone in the lower corner.
The front panel looks much cleaner. There is nothing but the front camera and an “Energy Neo” inscription. The side frames of the screen aren’t too thick. All of these components are combined with a 7-inch screen. We can say that one-hand grip is comfortable and sufficiently stable. The profile is 11mm thick and the weight is 265 grams – typical parameters for this price range.
Display and sound
Neo 2 has a 7-inch display with aspect 16:9 ratio and resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels, which is nothing out of the ordinary given the device class. The pixel density is nearly 170ppi (pixels per inch). A a TFT panel is used for the display, which doesn’t offer particularly good viewing angles. When you’re holding the tablet horizontally, or looking at it from the left or right at a small angle, you won’t notice a change in colors. However, when you tilt the screen up or down, the change will become apparent. It might be a good idea to avoid using the tablet outdoors, where the reflected sunlight will make the screen difficult to see.
The sound of the device can’t be considered one of its strong features. Distortions are clearly audible at maximum volume. If you lower it down a bit, the quality gets much better.
|OS||Android 5.0 (Lollipop)|
|CPU||Allwinner A23 (4-core, 1.50GHz, Cortex-A7)|
|Display||7-inch TFT capacitive multitouch screen with resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11 b/g/n, USB 2.0|
|Camera||2MP (rear), 0.3MP (front)|
|Dimensions||191 x 110 x 11 mm|
The tablet features a 2800 mAh battery, which has to deal with the needs of the 7-inch screen and the quad-core processor with the economical Cortex-A7 cores. On the other hand, the optimized Android 5.0 Lollipop should help with achieving better scores. Unfortunately, “good” isn’t the right word to describe the results from our tests (Wi-Fi Surfing, video playback, and 3D gaming). The conditions are as usual – 120cd/m2 brightness and only Wi-Fi module on. The graph below indicates the results of Neo 2 (in minutes), compared to some other models from the same price range .
When we initially booted up the tablet, we received a notification saying that there is an available update for the Android 5.0 Lollipop, so we installed it. Despite the fact that we have a budget device, we can enjoy the latest mobile platform with all of the well-known Lollipop menus and options.
Don’t expect to find many additional functionality or pre-installed applications. The only unusual section in the settings menu is Energy Updates, where new software updates will appear. Along with the standard Google applications available on every Android device, you’ll find a convenient file manager and Office Suite 8, which is used for creating, reading and editing Word, Excel, PowerPoint and PDF documents.
The performance is provided by an Allwinner A23 CPU that features 4 Cortex-A7 cores. In spite of their low energy consumption levels, they didn’t help much in achieving better scores in our battery durability tests. The clock frequency of the processor is 1.34 GHz, so we expect smooth operation from the device, but performance records are unlikely. Our expectations were met, mainly because of the Android 5.0 Lollipop. The mobile chip is accompanied by the popular Mali-400 GPU and 1GB of memory. We ran our usual benchmark tests again and compared the results with those of other competitor models even though most of them are more expensive.
As far as storage is concerned, there’s only 8GB of internal memory, and a microSD slot for up to 64GB of additional memory.
Geekbench 3.0 is Primate Labs’ cross-platform processor benchmark which simulates real-world scenarios and gives a combined score based on the results of integer, floating point and memory performance.
Vellamo 2 Metal measures the CPU subsystem performance of mobile processors.
Surprisingly, we were able to play demanding games like Asphalt 8: Airborne and Dead Trigger 2. Gameplay wasn’t the smoothest, but we didn’t experience any serious lag either.
Temperatures and comfort
In addition to the performance of the SoC, we measured the temperatures on the surface of the tablet after intensive 3D gaming. It was simulated with the Epic Citadel app. After two hours we got 50.8 degrees near the camera, where the mobile chip is placed (this was the hottest point). As for the temperature in the mid-section, our electronic thermometer showed a significantly lower 38.2 degrees. There was no indication of heat near the speaker – the most we got there was 34.8 degrees.
There is not much to mention in this sector besides the presence of two cameras (front and rear). As you can tell, the quality of the photos is far from impressive. Put simply, if you know what you’re shooting, you’ll know what’s in the photos. The camera settings menu is also simplified, offering a camera switch and self-timer. The very presence of a front camera is a good thing. It will allow you to video chat on Skype or take a selfie, although your phone will most likely do a better job.
A lot of editing options are available as we ll.
If you’re ready to cope with the low battery life and the overheating near the camera, Neo 2 might come in handy for work (thanks to the Office Suite 8 app) and even some gaming. We were able to run some of the most demanding games on Google Play – Asphalt 8 Airborne and Dead Trigger 2. Furthermore, we will add the compact size, which makes the device easy to carry – as any tablet should be. Yet, price remains the biggest advantage of this device.
- Generously-sized package
- Runs some of the most demanding games on Google Play
- MicroSD slot (up to 64 GB)
- Compact body that offers comfortable one-hand grip
- Android 5.0 Lollipop
- Battery is not very durable
- Low visibility under direct sunlight
- High temperatures near the camera area