Aldi Lifetab S10346 review
You won’t find this tablet on sale in Aldi supermarkets anymore. It was for sale under the company’s “Special Buys” scheme and was only available for a short period of a few weeks. However, if the review below still tempts you to take the plunge, it is possible to buy a tablet with identical specification – but a slightly different appearance and model name – direct from the Medion website. Now that the Tesco Hudl 2 has been removed from sale, it represents a tempting deal at £139 but at this price, we’d recommend you consider the 10.1in Amazon Fire HD 10 first. It isn’t a fantastic tablet, but it’s better than this one.
Tesco made a big splash last year with its Hudl tablet, and followed it up this year with the bigger, better Hudl 2. Now Aldi is following its example, and pushing things further in the size stakes. See also: what’s the best tablet of 2014?
Manufactured by Medion, the Android-based Aldi Lifetab S10346 costs a bit more than the Hudl 2, but the extra £21 nets you a much larger, 1,920 x 1,200 10.1in IPS display. So the question is, if you’re looking to buy a budget tablet, should you get the big-screen Aldi device, or stick with the cheaper £129 Hudl 2?
Design and build
The Aldi tablet makes a reasonable first impression: it doesn’t look or feel particularly cheap. The rear is coated in a sparkly matte-silver finish with a white strip along the top; the white plastic edges are slightly angled back from the screen at the front, and there’s a broad white bezel surrounding the screen.
It’s not a patch on the Hudl 2’s rounded, rubberised finish, but we’ve no serious cause for complaint. The build quality is sturdy – it hardly flexes at all when you twist it – and feels like it could take a bit of a beating. There’s also a healthy selection of ports on the right-hand edge: not only do you get the standard micro-USB port for charging and file transfer, there’s also a mini-HDMI output, and a microSD slot for expanding the already generous 32GB of storage. An infrared transmitter embedded in the volume and power buttons means you can even use the tablet to control your TV.
So far so good, and a sweep around the Aldi tab’s chassis reveals both front- and rear-facing cameras, providing image capture at 2 and 5 megapixels respectively. Stereo speakers are mounted sensibly on either side of the front of the screen.
Switch it on, and you’ll seen a bunch of branded apps preinstalled and arrayed across the main homescreen. Most of these are Medion-focused, with shopping, movie-streaming and remote-control apps, along with the obligatory Aldi shopping app thrown in. Thankfully, the tablet’s installation of Android 4.4 has been left alone, and these apps can be removed if need be.
Performance and screen
The Lifetab S10346 is well specified, with a 1.8GHz quad-core Intel Atom Z3735F, 2GB of RAM and an Intel HD Graphics GPU. This delivers if not sparkling then at least respectable benchmark results. In the GeekBench CPU tests, single- and multi-core results of 804 and 2,072 place the Aldi tablet roughly level with the Hudl 2, and gaming performance isn’t too shabby, as a result of 17fps in the GFXBench shows.
Display quality isn’t bad either. The Full HD resolution keeps text and graphics looking sharp, and brightness peaks at 320 cd/m2, with contrast hitting 818:1. Those digits won’t frighten Sony, Apple or Samsung, but the overall impression is far from terrible. Audio from the stereo speakers is loud and clear, and it doesn’t distort at top volume. Battery life doesn’t look too bad, either: a result of 4hrs 11mins in the GFXBench battery test is decent, and for less demanding tasks, claimed stamina is pegged at 13 hours.
The proof of the pudding, however, is always in the eating, and sadly the Aldi Lifetab leaves a bitter taste in the mouth, owing to awful touchscreen sensitivity and a noticeable input lag, both of which have a major impact on usability.
This is most obvious when typing on the onscreen keyboard. Go too fast and you’ll end up wit wrds msing ltrs al ovr t plce, as key taps are misregistered and rapid presses are missed altogether.
But it isn’t only text entry that suffers. When browsing the web, it often takes a few goes before the tablet decides to a tapped button or link, and when you perform swipe and pinch gestures, there’s a clearly discernible delay before the tablet doing what it’s told.
If you think you might be able to put up with this, don’t kid yourself. While it’s just about bearable when scrolling around web pages and menus, when you need to carry out a web search, type an email or play any type of game that requires quick reactions, you’ll become frustrated in double-quick time.
Aldi Lifetab S10346 review: verdict
All of which is a huge shame, because if it weren’t for this problem, we’d be encouraging readers to rush out and grab one before stocks run out (it’s one of Aldi’s “Specialbuys”, so when it’s gone, the supermarket won’t replenish its shelves). It is possible that a software update might fix its shortcomings at some point in the future – but we wouldn’t want to bet £150 on it. The Lifetab S10346 could have been a real contender for the best buy of this Christmas, but as the hardware stands, it’s barely usable and should be avoided at all costs.
Aldi Lifetab S10346 specifications
|Processor||Quad-core 1.8GHz Intel Atom Z3735F|
|Screen resolution||1,920 x 1,200|
|Memory card slot (max capacity)||MicroSD (up to 128GB)|
|Size||263 x 8.5 x 174mm (WDH)|
|Operating system||Anroid 4.4 (KitKat)|
|Battery size||Not stated|