Joojoo Internet Tablet
The Joojoo Internet Tablet is a widescreen window onto the web but its lack of offline functionality makes it seem like a bit of a poor-man's iPad.
+ An iPad-style device that’s 25 per cent cheaper
+ Bigger screen more satisfying to use
- Not as classy as an iPad
- Unimpressive battery life
- Widescreen ratio actually not great for websites
The internet tablet is a strange concept. If it hadn't been for Apple's iPad (look out for a full review next issue) selling millions of units, we might still be thinking of it as nothing more than a quirky gizmo. As it is, the combined might of Apple's software, hardware and marketing has created a tempting and potentially lucrative me-too category for manufacturers.
Fusion Garage is a new company in this market. Having spent time researching and manufacturing an internet tablet, it now seems ready for the limelight, with a tablet computer that claims to embrace the web to an even greater extent than Apple's device.
The Joojoo Tablet offers a widescreen window onto the web and, to its credit, it's embraced the whole of the web, no holds barred, which is great news for anyone who thought Apple's blanking of Flash sites was a bit rum. On the down side, the widescreen format doesn't actually do the web much justice. In landscape mode, the high-resolution 12in screen (about 25 per cent wider than Apple's) simply brings up centered sites with blank space down the sides.
Moreover, without a web connection, the Joojoo Tablet is little more than a blank slab. Fusion Garage has suggested that a media-player software update may be in the offing, which will at least add some offline functionality to the device but, at the time of writing, it's useless without a Wi-Fi internet connection.
Battery life was a big disappointment. We charged our device mid-morning and were up and running on the battery just before lunch. Although the tablet hadn't been in constant use, we did keep it powered up and connected to the internet. However, by 4pm the battery was already down to 7 per cent and showing red. It's pretty much what's quoted in the spec - five hours of use - though intense web-browsing would probably reduce that down even further. Ideally, we'd want to get more than half a day out of a device before having to recharge it.
Ease of use
There's something about the iPad interface design that has you doing things on it straightaway. The Joojoo is less immediate - you have to sit through the introductory video or you'll quickly get stuck. It's not difficult to use but it isn't very intuitive either. Needing a two-fingered swipe to scroll through a web page, for example, would keep most people guessing, especially as you can scroll through everything else with a single finger.
You get a bunch of icons on the main screen but, as yet, you can't change, move or replace them, which is a bit of a pain. Again, this is something that's been promised for a future update. You can, however, access your own bookmarks by swiping across the screen from the right.
Value for money
The bottom-line assessment should perhaps rely on price. The Joojoo's £319 is significantly cheaper than Apple's cheapest iPad (£429) but it's impossible to make a direct comparison because this feels more like a portable browser than a fully functioning computer. However, if you're simply looking for something with a touchscreen that looks pretty, gives you access to the web and is 25 per cent cheaper than an iPad, then the benefits are in abundance. Then again, if you want to do anything more than surf, particularly while you're away from Wi-Fi, or need a more substantial keyboard, you're better off spending the money on something else - an iPad for its apps and offline entertainment or a netbook for doing work.