Haier has finally taken a step into the tablet market with a new 9 inch Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean tablet. The premier tablet flaunts a new, attention-grabbing design that will set this model apart from other tablets available. While the unit is branded Haier, when we looked up specifications and other details, we were directed to the Le Pan website, another tablet manufacturer who seems to be handling the model in addition to their own line of tablets.
The tablet measures in at 9.4 x 5.7 x 0.4 inches and just less than 1.17 lbs, and features a 9 inch screen (16:9). While the larger 9 inch screen size does make watching videos and playing games a better experience, the tablet thickness is a little more unwieldy than we would have liked. Compared to the D2 model that we recently reviewed, this model came in a bit heavy and awkward in thickness. For its screen size, we would have liked the tablet to be either a bit thinner, or a bit lighter, if not both.
This model does have a different design than most tablets seen on the market presently. It comes in 4 different colors (blue, purple, silver, and gold), but these colors are only featured on the aluminum plate on the back of the unit. Around the edges, however, is a white plastic casing. Combining the white plastic and closer to pastel colored aluminum plating to create the casing of the tablet is a very interesting design concept, one that certainly stands apart from other tablets seen in stores currently. While we weren’t completely sold on this innovative take on combining aluminum and plastic, there were a couple benefits to having the aluminum backing. The tablet sits completely level when set onto a flat surface, and stands or speakers that suction to the back of the tablet stick very well. But with these benefits, there are also drawbacks. Mainly, this tablet is uncomfortable to hold because the sharper edge where the aluminum and plastic connect is not seamless.
With a resolution of 800 x 480, the screen is not the highest resolution available. Watching video and looking at images looked decent, straight on. But if the tablet is at an angle, colors – especially blacks – wash out. This does make it slightly inconvenient for watching video, because finding the correct angle, and balancing the tablet, can be annoying. The tablet performs much better with brighter video and games, but darker media could easily get lost. Once the tablet is at the correct angle, however, it is an enjoyable experience to watch videos and play games.
The 9041 weighs in with a 0.3MP front facing webcam. To say the least, this is not the most impressive feature of the tablet. While the quality is low, it is sufficient for video chatting, but we wouldn’t suggest trying to document a family trip with this camera, especially because there is no back facing camera.
Running Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, the tablet does have a newer OS, along with Google Certification, which means access and compatibility with the Google Play Store and its apps. After running graphics intensive games, watching movies, listening to music, and browsing the web, the tablet performed moderately well. We did notice, though, that it is still a bit slow to unlock and respond at times.
After using the tablet for some games, media, and web browsing for about 5 hours, the battery was completely drained, and charging was needed. This seems accurate to the specifications provided on the website, but lighter use, dimmer screen, and less web activity would significantly extend that time. In addition to the normal steps to extend battery life, the tablet does also feature performance, on demand, and interactive settings that change the tablet power usage to better suit the user’s needs at the time.
The tablet did perform the basic functions well, and is definitely a physically sturdy unit designed for heavy use, but is also, unfortunately, heavy in weight. Running an updated Android OS certainly improved the experience of using the tablet, and its compatibility with the Google Play Store increases the available apps and games. However, the screen quality and overall design did cause the tablet to fall a bit short of our expectations. For Haier’s first step into the tablet market, the unit is decent, and a good standard unit for basic tablet uses. We hope that the next tablet released will be a step up, and can’t wait to see how Haier adapts to the new territory of tablets.
PROS: Aluminum allows suction stands and speakers stick well; Battery saver settings allow for longer use without manually maintaining battery use; Runs Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean OS
CONS: Heavy, thick and uncomfortable to hold for a long time; Lower resolution makes graphics fuzzy; Unimpressive camera