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Good things, as they say, you get used to quickly. iPad for Internet and entertainment, B&N NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight for reading, and with the advent of iPad mini, it increasingly began to replace both a large tablet and a small reader (which I will write about in a separate article). But you don’t always have extra money to buy expensive “toys”, but you also want to read without going broke on paper books (and you can’t buy everything in paper), and watch videos on the road and play games. Well, for such cases, there are gadgets simpler, but cheaper. Are they able to please their owners? I will try to find out from personal experience and with the help of a couple of devices such as Prology Latitude T-720T and T-705T.

Actually a tablet

Although Prology positions the model Latitude T-720T as an e-book, in fact it is a full-fledged Android tablet with a very affordable price and a rich set. The device comes not only with a good case-book, which is a rarity in principle, but also with in-ear headphones, a separate micro-USB cable for synchronization, an adapter for it to recharge the tablet from USB, a charger with its own detachable cable and, suddenly, with USB host adapter. That is, if you wish, you can connect a flash drive to the tablet (an external HDD too, but only if it comes with its own power supply) and even a cellular USB modem. Declared compatibility with Beeline ZTE MF190 and Megafon Huawei E173 and E367. Of course, a tablet with a cable sticking out of it and a dangling modem is not very convenient to hold, but if you suddenly need a connection with the world, then you can organize it.

Everything is so good that it’s hard to believe, but miracles do not happen and the manufacturer saved on something. However, the average price $120 small even against the background of the tablet war and the attempts of Amazon, Google and Barnes & Noble to strangle competitors with the minimum cost of their own tablets. Typically, the most expensive components of a gadget are the display, processor, and flash memory. What do we have in the Latitude T-720T? Everything is very modest: a 7-inch display with a capacitive touch panel, but not the best TN-matrix and a resolution of 480×800 pixels, an A-13 chip based on a Cortex-A8 core with a frequency of 1.2 GHz (the same core with a lower frequency in 600 MHz is used in the iPhone 3GS), 512 MB of RAM (normal) and 4 GB of internal flash memory.

In general, the configuration is not bad, although there are not enough stars from the sky. For the average user, not a geek, this is enough for both reading and watching videos, surfing the web and even playing games. By the way, Android 4.0 is used as the OS, so the interface works smartly. In addition, there is a slot for microSD cards and the total amount of disk space is easily increased up to 36 GB, plus do not forget about the possibility of connecting a flash drive. The only claim to the display, and not even to the resolution, for the most part it is enough, plus system resources are saved, and to the matrix – its viewing angles are not the best, and the colors are somewhat faded. On the other hand, the problem appears only when watching a video, you have to hold the tablet exactly in front of your eyes so that the colors are not distorted. But when reading in the built-in application Cool Readerespecially with the standard color scheme, everything is fine:

But before moving on to the device’s functionality and user experience, let’s take a closer look at its appearance. The device is made of plastic and is partially black, except for the glossy overlay on the rear panel, which can also be black, plus there are cherry, emerald and, in my case, blue options:

Due to the color and pattern, fingerprints on the device are not particularly noticeable, although the same cannot be said about the display. Oleophobic coating? The Latitude T-720T doesn’t know about this, and the display protector is made of plastic, not glass, so you’ll need to stock up on a soft microfiber cloth if you don’t want to quickly scratch the screen. Like the iPad, jeans or a sweater, it is best not to wipe the device.

As for the cover, there are no complaints about it. It is made of high-quality leatherette, does not stink of “chemistry”, inside is trimmed with something soft like suede, well stitched and hard enough to protect the device from accidental shocks. True, it is rather rough in appearance, but it creates the effect of a real book in leather binding. The strap is held by a magnetic fastener, and the tablet itself is fixed in the accessory with four simple hooks. Everything is simple and reliable.

There are not many hardware controls on the tablet and they are all located on the bottom: a pair of volume buttons, a microSD slot underneath, a power connector, a micro-USB port, a 3.5mm audio jack and a lock key. The only question I have is the power connector – it would be better if it was implemented through the micro-USB port and the extra hole was removed. But it seems that this would make the device a little more expensive, I see no other explanation.

The tablet is plump and weighty (190x115x11 mm, 300 g without a case), but it fits well in the hand, it is convenient to read from it, and watch videos too. Although I preferred to remove the cover when reading, otherwise my hand would quickly get tired holding the device, I had to connect the second one.

The experience with the device is mostly positive, but of course I had to convince myself that I had never seen an iPad mini or Galaxy Tab 7.7 in my life and pretend that this was my first device of this kind. By the way, for $120, this is a great gift for a child of seven or ten years old. Children do not care what is inside and how the device looks, what matrix and resolution the display has, the main thing is that the games work, the video is spinning, the music is playing.

So, returning to the operating experience, I will immediately note that the reader from the Latitude T-720T turned out to be really excellent. The reason for this is the pre-installed application Cool Reader, which I considered and consider to be the best reader for Android. Most e-book formats are supported (FB2, DRM-free EPUB, TXT, DOC, RTF, HTML, CHM, TCR, PDB, PRC, DRM-free MOBI, PML), hyphenation, font kerning, hanging punctuation, themes, third-party fonts, and other goodies.

Throw a book in any format via USB to any place on the tablet, be it a memory card or its internal drive, and you can easily find and open it with Cool Reader. And you can download directly from the Web, since the Wi-Fi module is present.

The only caveat, I did not immediately understand how to get to the standard launcher and constantly downloaded Cool Reader, assuming at first that I was dealing with a regular LCD reader, in which all Android features were blocked, and there was only access to the program for reading. It’s all about this branded screensaver:

Clicking on the bookshelf will load Cool Reader immediately. But by clicking on the robot, we will get to the standard launcher with additional programs and Google Play.

Somehow it turned out that I always hit the bookshelf at first. Such a small tupnyachok came out, it happens.

Of the standard applications, there is everything you need to fully work with the tablet (audio and video player, browser, mobile office, YouTube …), excluding games, but they are easy to install from Google Play, whose client is also present. The media player that is called out of the box supports most audio and video formats. Moreover, according to the manufacturer, you can play videos in resolutions up to 1080p inclusive. But why this is necessary with a WVGA display resolution, I don’t know. There is, okay. Whatever it was, AVI and MKV files abandoned for viewing on the road played without problems.

The tablet does not shine with autonomy, but it is quite possible to watch a couple of films without recharging. In the video playback mode, the device works up to 4 hours, in the reading mode – up to 7 hours. I will add that there is no Bluetooth module or GPS in it.

In fact, the Prology Latitude T-720T turned out to be not just a reader, but a full-fledged universal tablet. Yes, the display leaves much to be desired, but the filling in the device is powerful enough for most typical use cases of this kind of gadget, and it is able to brighten up a long journey on a train or plane. In addition, this is a good budget option for a tablet for a child.

Of course, you can get something like a first-generation Kindle Fire with a better display and better stuffing for comparable money, but then get ready to read manuals for flashing and delve into the wisdom of this piquant action. If you want to get a working unit right out of the box and start using it, then the Latitude T-720T is quite good for its price.

A little more than a reader

Latitude T-705T, to be honest, I was somewhat disappointed, in contrast to the T-720T discussed above. Yes, I understand that this is just a reader, without any claims to universality, but then its main function as a device for reading electronic books should be on top. In general, the device performs it, but I would like a little more. I will not get ahead of myself, especially since the T-705T still has some nice features, including a price of $75.

For the most part, the device is made of practical matte plastic and I liked its design even more than that of its older brother. Beveled edges on the front panel make the reader visually a little thinner, although in fact the thickness of the brothers is the same (11 mm).

No inserts on the rear panel, as in the case of the Latitude T-720T – a monolithic matte plastic with a slight Soft Touch effect. I like this solution, and it is pleasant and convenient to hold the device in your hands:

True, the weight of the reader is larger than that of analogues based on electronic paper (310 g), and if you add the weight of the cover here, you get a very solid design. Accordingly, I preferred to use the device without a case, otherwise it was inconvenient to hold it in one hand while reading for a long time.

The case is identical to that of the Latitude T-720T, except for the fastening of the strap – instead of a magnetic clasp, a classic button is used. The location of the hardware controls and connectors is also similar:

As you can see, the device also has a slot for memory cards, even despite the presence of 4 GB of its own disk space, which is enough for a huge library. Nevertheless, additional memory will not be superfluous, since in addition to texts, the device is able to play popular video formats (AVI, WMV, MPG, 3GP, FLV, RMVB), audio (MP3, WMA, FLAC, WAV, OGG, LRC) and images (JPEG, PNG, BMP, GIF).

The 7-inch display of the reader is made using TFT technology, has a resolution of 480×800 pixels, plus there is a touch panel. Judging by her reaction to touch, she is a resistive type. In terms of picture quality, the screen is very similar to that of the older model. Not standard, but you can watch. Viewing angles are small, you have to get used to it. What do you want for that kind of money?

A pleasant discovery was the fact that the built-in file manager understands folders. Let me remind you that the Latitude T-705T is running some kind of its own OS, and you should not expect Android universality from it. Often, in such devices, you have to dump all the files into the root directory, otherwise the device will not see them. The reader in question has everything ok with this.

Now for my disappointment. The built-in reader, although it stretches the text across the width of the screen, does not support hyphenation, and it is not particularly happy with customization options: you can choose from several fonts and sizes, determine the text orientation (portrait or landscape), plus listen to music while reading – all.

On the other hand, do you checkered or go? After all, the main thing is an interesting book, and where you read it from is not so important anymore. Anyway, after a few minutes the screen disappears before your eyes, and you find yourself in the world woven by the author. The reader supports all the most popular e-book formats (PDF, FB2, HTML, TXT, RTF, DOC, EPUB), so in this regard, everything is in order. True, without recharging the capabilities of the built-in battery will last only five hours of reading.

But in addition to the function of the reader T-705T can play the role of video and audio player. The test AVI file played with a bang, there were no problems with music either, and you can use any headphones with a standard 3.5 mm plug.

Of the additional bonuses, I note simple toys, a calendar, a calculator and a radio:

Given the cost of the device, I won’t particularly scold him. Latitude T-705T normally plays the role of a reader, understands a lot of book formats and at the same time can also act as a media player. The only caveat is a strange device locking system, implemented only in automatic mode. That is, you can configure it only programmatically, specifying the time for turning off the backlight and locking the screen, but you cannot do this using the power button.

By holding the button for a few seconds, you will completely turn off the reader. Just clicking it will unlock the screen, but if you click on it while the device is running, nothing will happen. It would be logical to turn off the screen.

In addition, I did not like that after the device is completely turned off, its last position is not saved. That is, the book will have to be opened again. But all these are software flaws, which, I hope, the manufacturer will correct over time.

The reader performs its main role normally, at least considering its modest cost. Yes, and video analogues based on electronic paper are unable to reproduce. I would like the autonomy to be higher, after all, five hours by modern standards is not enough, but there is no need to choose.

If the budget is strictly limited and you want a more or less versatile gadget, then the Latitude T-705T is a good option. Have a little more money? Great, then take the Latitude T-720T. But for those who like to read, I would still recommend something based on electronic paper. Of the 7-inch tablets, I still consider the iPad mini to be the best, but it also costs a lot in comparison with its Android-based counterparts.

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All photos are clickable To good, as they say, you get used quickly. iPad for Internet and entertainment, B&N NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight for reading, and with the advent of iPad mini, it increasingly began to replace both a large tablet and a small reader (which I will write about in a separate article). But not always there is extra money …

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