OlivePad VT1000 is a seven inch Android 2.2 Tablet computer from India based Olive Telecom.
OlivePad has been selling for a few months now, but it has not been able to create the interest Notion Ink has been able to generate on its yet to be released Adam tablet. I had been on a hunt for a decent Android Tablet for many weeks and never came across the OlivePad until one day saw one on eBay India. This led me to Olive Telecom’s website where I found out that OlivePad is available on retail at Croma stores across India. I picked up my OlivePad from the new Croma Store on the Outer Ring Road in Bangalore for INR 23999 (cheaper than the online prices at eBay.in).
This review is based on my hands on experience of using the OlivePad in the last three weeks. My familiarity with Android devices which includes a Samsung Galaxy S phone running Android 2.2, a Samsung Galaxy 3 that my wife owns. In between I also used a ten inch Chinese Apad ZT180 tablet running Android 2.1.
Lets begin the review with the Quick Specs of the Olive Pad VT1000.[table “1” not found /]
Hardware and Build
The Olive Tab is rectangular with glass in front with a shiny black plastic in the rear. The sides are aluminum. The sides are not tapered like the Galaxy Tab which makes it look thicker. Nevertheless it’s comfortable to hold. The key here is the 7 inch form factor that is small enough to hold with hone hand. At 380 gm it’s not comfortable holding it for long duration. However, its much comfortable using the OlivePad tablet with the leather diary styled jacket.
Processor Speed and Responsiveness
OlivePad comes with a 600 MHz ARM11 processor. The Tablet is very responsive and I do not find any perceptible real world difference between the Galaxy S and the OlivePad in terms of responsiveness. However, ARM11 on paper appears slower compared to Cortex A8 chips being used in most recent Android Tablet, and not to mention the upcoming dual core Cortex A9 chips like the Nvidia Tegra2. Bottom line, the ARM11 chip in the OlivePd is adequate to give a very good user experience.
Storage and Memory
The SIM card and the SD card slots can be accessed from the side.OlivePad came bundles with a 16 GB microSD card. The internal flash is just 512 MB, which just leaves 173 MB for user applications. I wish OlivePad had at least 1 or 2 GH internal flash storage. With Froyo apps can be moved to the SD card, but still a lot of junk accumulates in the internal flash storage. The RAM is 512 MB is adequate and at par with most of the high end Android tablets or phones.
The screen at best can be called average. It looks nice and vibrant when looking straight, but at the slightest angle the colours start getting weird. It indicates a cheap TN panel. I am not saying that it is not usable, but this no iPAD IPS panel or the Galaxy S Super AMOLED display. Fonts look good and crisp providing a good web browsing experience and reading eBooks is a good experience. I would suggest giving the bundled Aldiko reader the skip and installing FBReader or Cool Reader from the market.
Two speakers have been places on the top and the bottom side of OlivePad. The speaks are excellent for the form factor. These are clear and loader than the average tablet speaker and better than some Netbook speaker. a +1 to Olive Telecom fro this. This is a great when playing games and I can even dare to watch YouTube videos without a headphone.
The touch screen is good and sensitive. It supports multitouch gesture like pinch and zoom. By default OlivePad bundles the Touch Pal keyboard, which is by itself excellent. My only gripe is that this keyboard is not designed for Tablets and occupies nearly half the screen real estate (see image gallery). You could look for a alternate keyboard like SwiftKey in the market, at least SwiftKey occupies much less real estate and typing experience is brilliant. Even better go for the SWYPE Beta, on the large screen of the OlivePad I am finding SWYPE is even better than on my Samsung Galaxy S.
In addition to the standard set of Android Apps, OlivePad bundles – Aldiko eBook Reader, MapMyIndia (lifetime free upgrades), Zenga TV.
I have not specifically measured the end to end battery life. I have charged the device only far and between. I would expect it to last at least 6 hours with Wi-Fi. Since I don’t have a SIM card installed, my only network connectivity is the Wi-Fi. One interesting observation is that even when there is no SIM installed, the mobile radio is running and consuming power – the Battery use menu shows it uses as much battery as the the Wi-Fi. It would be nice to have this turned off by default if there is no SIM card. I found the following work around for this –
- Turn the phone to Airplane Mode, hold the off button and select Air-plane mode in the pop up dialog on the screen.
- Now go to settings, Wireless & networks and enable Wi-Fi.
This keeps the Wi-Fi on and the mobile radio disabled saving power.
My Purchase Decision
Having used the Galaxy S phone for some time and the cheap ePad tablet I knew what to expect on this tablet. Nevertheless I wanted to be sure that this is the one I wanted to buy. The cheaper tables available on eBay.in were mostly Chinese unbranded models. They were cheaper, but none of them had a capacitive screen, even though there were a few models with Cortex A8 chips, but a capacitive screen was a must. At that time I had not use the SWYPE keyboard much, on a hindsight looking for a capacitive screen was a good one.
At Chroma, I had two choices Samsung Galaxy Tab or the OlivePad. I spent lot of time evaluating the two. I even popped in my SIM card to try out both the tablets with network connectivity. The Galaxy Tab actually is sightly heavier than then OlivePad, but felt smaller and lighter; while the OlivePad felt much more solid. Comparing the Galaxy Tab with the OlivePad – for me the only tangible advantage was that Galaxy Tab had a much better screen. The faster 1 GHz A8 Hummingbird processor on the Galaxy Tab did not seem much different in responsiveness compared to the ARM11 600 MHz chip on the OlivePad. No doubt there was be use case where the Hummingbird chip will come handy – but my primary use case was light web browsing and mostly reading eBooks.
Finally the OlivePad was good INR 13,000 less in price. After spending close to 60 minutes playing with both the Galaxy Tab and OlivePad I made the decision to buy the OlivePad. Bottom-line, the Galaxy Tab did not offer really much in real world compared to the OlivePad to ask such a high price.
Good Product / Poor Marketing / Future ?
Olive Telecom has a pretty good story with the OlivePad. I am kind of perplexed at Olive Telecom’s marketing effort –
- There is hardly any buzz in the Internet about this, there are similar tablets from Archos that are better known than OlivePad
- While OlivePad is being sold in Chroma, there is not one on display. Only if you ask the folks at Chroma will pull a demo unit out from a drawer. Tablets area new category, some shelf space in the stores can help. Unless I knew what I was buying, I would never have found out about OlivePad.
- Hardly any online retailer list OlivePad, only in the last week or so I am seeing a few listing on eBay.in
Olive Telecom needs to understand that the this is a fast moving market, a product like OlivePad can be obsolete in a short time. A good sales backed up a commitment to future Android upgrades like Gingerbread (Android 2.3) or Honeycomb (Android 3.0 ?) is the only way to keep the product relevant.
If Olive Telecom wants to establish itself as a prominent player in this market – it needs to demonstrate to its commitment to its customers. Are you willing to invest in providing newer and better software upgrades and other value adds ? Lear from Apple who have kept older iPhones and iPod Touches relevant for long with software upgrades. Please don’t be a Nokia. A distributed antenna system is a way to deal with isolated spots of poor coverage inside a large building.
When I purchased the salesman at Chroma told me that I could bring the OlivePad to Chroma if I needed support. The Olive Telecom does not provide a phone support number on their website. On their website they have a Contact Us form. I posted a question there if they have any plans to provide a Android 2.3 Gingerbread ROM. I often post such questions on company’s website, either I never get a response back or get one weeks later.
The next afternoon when a rep from Olive Telecom called me, I was pleasantly surprised. I am very happy to find the company very responsive. When I asked him if Olive Telecom had any plans for a Gingerbread upgrade, he told me that Olive Pad was a new product they just launched and they did not have any plans to provide a Gingerbread upgrade.
OlivePad VT1000 is a very capable tablet – excellent form factor, good set of bundled apps, Android 2.2 by default, available at retail stores. Considering the quality of the display, the price could have been a notch lower.
Overall, this is a good buy when compared to the uber expensive set of Tablets available – Galaxy Tab, iPad. I would recommend that you try one out in a store before buying.
Tags: 3G, android, arm, chroma, computer, croma, croma store, froyo, gadget, galaxy 3, galaxy s, gingerbread, gsm, india, linux, phone, review, smasung, tablet, technology, touch
I have had my hands on the olivepad and today its available at around 17k INR at Croma.
Have you tried 3G on this? I havent been able to experience 3G, rest my reqts it fits well and I intend to buy it in a day or two itself.
Just wanted your opinion on the followings:
1) how good was ur 3G experience
2) Upgrade to future Android OSes (Gingerbread or watever)
3) Swiftkey – can you buy this app and replace ur default software keypad on the olivepad?
I have Never used any android device. Also can other default apps be disabled and replaced with better ones?
4) Flash Memory is way too less you mentioned above. With Froyo I understand you can install your apps in external SD Card (16GB comes bundled with olivepad). Does this make any difference in the apps performance as compared to running it on default flash memory?
Please reply to me on email@example.com
Look forward to your positive reply.
Thanks for the review.
Thank for appreciating the review. Please find my response below.
I have not tried 3G on the olive pad. I mostly use it with wifi.
There is no new ROM available from Olive Telecom. However I have found one custom ROM in xda-developers. This is based on the latest ROM for the Viewsonic ViewPad 7 ( same h/w as the Olive PAD). I very much doubt there will be Gingerbread update, but even with Froyo the user experience is pretty good. The 600 MHz CPU is deceptively fast, this one has a floating point unit making it faster than most 600 MHz droid devices in market. I have compared this with a Galaxy 3 ( 600 MHz ARM11) and found olive pad much more responsive.
Go for SWYPE, beta available for free. I use SWYPE only now a days both on the Galaxy S and the Olive Pad. Root the OlivePad , you will be able to uninstall other default apps.
Use Apps2SD on Froyo, this will free up much of the Internal flash. If you root the device ( it can be done pretty easily) you will be able to free up more space by uninstalling some default apps that you wont use.
Hope it help. Let me know if you have more questions.
I am using this vt 1000 but am not able to use the video call plus smm10 is not working on my pad.. please help
First of, thanks, your above comments were very descriptive. Manas, I needed a little help though:
1) I need to know where exactly can I find details on how to root the Olivepad.
2) Where exactly can I find the 2.3 rom for olivepad? Sure viewsonic will do?
3) I know this is not s/w related, but where can I get a screen guard for this.
SMM10 is a part and parcel of the 16GB mem card. If you have somehow formatted it, do not worry, olivetelecom.in will give you a downloadable SMM10 rar that you should unpack and reload onto the SD card. I do not know about the videocall though. Hope that helps.
Use Superoneclick – http://shortfuse.org/?page_id=2 to root Olivepad. Superoneclick can be troublesome at times, be persistent and use google you will be able to root the Olivepad. It too me good part of a evening to root it. You will typically get find superoneclick hung at “waiting for device” or “running psneuter”. be persistent you will get it to root the olivepad 🙂
I have not found any 2.3 gingerbread rom ( at least not a stable one yet). I recently moved to a viewsonice custom rom ( 2.2 android). If you find a stable gingerbread rom , please post back here.
I have not come across one in any local stores in Bangalore.
I am using 3.5 G and it is phenomenal, but there is a lot of drain on the battery. As for the screen guard. There is not a special one available for this but you may go for the one for samsung galaxy tab or the Ipad and then cut it to shape.
Some of the mobile stores where samsung tab is sold will be able to even install it for you.
Found one at Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Skinomi-TechSkin-Protector-Viewsonic-Viewpad/dp/B004LE2DB0/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1315146456&sr=8-5
It’s kind of expensive, but from all the reviews I have read it’s quite good.
can u tell me what to do when it hangs
My olivepad has hung .
It does not go beyond opening screen.the machine is getting booted again and again. feeling totally help less.
Mail on support is useless. i have not received any response from support team.
Croma has disowned it”We are only responsible for sale and NOT service” this was the reply at croma.
Can anyone help?