Joojoo tablet: first look review

Tablets, or slates as we’re now supposed to call them, were the talk of the town at CES in January. It seemed every major laptop manufacturer was readying one for launch and, of course, we’ve just reviewed the main player –  Apple’s iPad.

Joojoo tablet: first look review

But, not having the privilege of sampling the delights of Las Vegas, I didn’t get the chance to play with one until Apple’s beauty turned up in the office. Well, now I’ve laid hands on my second slate in as many weeks – the joojoo.

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It looks and feels very similar to the Apple iPad, which is no bad thing. The highly glossy front panel boasts a bright, capacitive touchscreen. The rear is anodised metal, finished in matte silver and it’s slim too, at a mere 17.8mm at its thickest point. It’s a desirable object and feels well made.

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On paper, it looks a more capable device too. The screen, for a kick-off, is larger and has more pixels: it measures 12.1in, and boasts a resolution of 1,366 x 768. A side benefit of this is that it’s a 16:9 widescreen where the iPad is 4:3.

Under the hood is an Intel Atom N270 processor, complemented by 1GB of RAM, a 4GB SSD and, surprisingly, Nvidia’s ION chipset, which we’d hope will ensure smooth HD movie playback. The joojoo is currently Wi-Fi only, but a 3G version is in the pipeline.

Elsewhere, there’s a USB port for the connection of a standard keyboard and mouse (support for flash storage is on the way we’re told), 3.5mm audio sockets for mic and headphone attachment, and a front-facing camera for video conferencing.

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And the joojoo takes a much different approach to its UI. The device has just one main home page with a scrolling panel of shortcut icons on it, plus a pair of supplementary ones for bookmarks and browser history, each accessed with a quick swipe to the left or right.

This is a browser-only slate – no me-too App Store here – which sounds a little restrictive until you realise that it delivers the web in its entirety. The WebKit-based browser engine is accompanied, most enticingly, by support for full-fat Flash.

That means the joojoo can play everything from BBC iPlayer video to Flash games. We watched CEO and founder, Chandrasekar Rathakrishnan, demonstrate both types of content, plus YouTube HD,  and it all seemed to work well. It multitasks too: start playing video or audio on one web page and it will continue as you flick over to another page.

P1010023.ORF_thumb.jpg The trouble is, on this early showing, the joojoo just isn’t as responsive as the iPad. During the demo, buttons had to be pressed twice and, although panning seemed smooth enough, other items stuttered.

We hope that’s due to pre-launch software, because  the joojoo shows plenty of promise. It offers something different to the iPad with its Flash support and more open approach. It’s a well designed  piece of hardware. And, finally, the price isn’t bad either.

It’ll be available directly from the thejoojoo.com at £319 inc VAT from 12 May. Watch this space for the full review.

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