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My review of the Skypad Alpha 7"

Discussion in 'Android Devices' started by Rabid1, Sep 2, 2011.

  1. Rabid1

    Rabid1 Android Enthusiast
    Thread Starter

    I apologize for no original pics but my current camera blows hard unless actually using the light on the surface of the sun.

    First the basics.

    The Skytex Skypad Alpha comes in your standard MID type box. You can tell the revision of your pad, A or B, by the image on the top of the box. If you have the green cloudy field you have an A, if your have the amber sunset field it is a B.

    The Skypad comes with a soft cloth case, felt screen swipe, earphones with their own volume control., USB cable, stand for horizontal or vertical use, charger, and in my opinion the greatest pad accessory in the world, a stylus with a screw on cap that plugs into the headphone jack of your pad. Why don't all pads?

    The style of the Skypad is sleek and simple. I mentioned previously it feesl kind of strange but pleasant in your hand when compared to other pads. Like an e-reader on steroids. It's slender with a nice solid feel, on the ends it has a brushed metallic trim, the back has a black coating that has a nice no slip feel to it. You have the Menu, Home, and Back button on the right front side of the face and the Skytex logo on the bottom. The bottom right side has you Mini USB and power adapter ports, the top right side has the headphone jack and power button. On the back you have your speaker and the reset pinhole.

    The specs are as follows: Screen
    Type: 7

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  2. drnshaw

    drnshaw Lurker

    Unlike the earlier review, mine is less glowing. My wife bought a Skypad Alpha for work because her company is expanding their software to Android. We received it two days ago. Since then I have written to tech support twice (and I'm a Linux bigot).

    Using the keyboard whether by finger tip or by stylus is hit or miss, i.e. pressing the return might get you a 'l', 'k', and pressing the shift key might get you the 'a', etc. Pressing the key close to the bottom of the key provides better results. There should be an alignment capability such as what exists on the Nokia N900 and other devices.

    I give the user guide (UG) *. I sent in this morning a lengthy email to Skytex on the issues with the UG. If you don't mind trying things out and searching then you'll get through most of the issues; however, if you want to do something simple like changing the location of the weather you'll most likely end up sending in a request to support as it isn't in the UG or the FAQ. And it is not intuitive. The UG describes actions that either don't exist or don't function as described for the device. Nor does the FAQ cover very much. The UG describes the various icons at the top of the screen but there are no pictures to go along with those icons. One example of what is missing are download notifications. Nothing states that what I was looking at were notifications of what I was or had just downloaded.

    Going through the panels is easy enough for getting to the applications screen, settings, and the various 'Home' panels. You can add widgets and applications to the home panel easily enough; however, the UG discusses the ability to add and/or remove home panels but again the UG's instructions do not match the device and it appears that there are different types of panels which are not discussed in the UG or FAQ.

    The number of available applications is very limited. Keep in mind that while there might be hundreds or even thousands of apps available for Android, they will only run if they've been compiled for the processor. In this case, there are very few and at least two of those didn't work and one is outdated and can't seem to be updated.

    When you start the device, it is by default locked. You use your finger or stylus to slide the lock upwards to unlock the screen. I wanted the system to just come on and be ready so searched for an option to do that. Under 'settings', 'location/security', there is an option under 'Screen unlock security' called 'None' that states this will disable screen unlock security. Nope, that doesn't get rid of that stupid lock. Selecting this will take you to setting up security so there doesn't appear to be a means to rid yourself of this auto lock mechanism. BTW, this 'lock' feature occurs every time you boot or return from display time out.

    The stylus is a necessity with this pad. My wife has an Apple iPad 2 and I have an HP TouchPad and neither needs or requires a stylus but this most definitely does. And it is nice that it connects to the headphone jack unless you want to use the headphone jack. In that case, you may very well lose it as there is no other place to put it. Another negative.

    The battery doesn't last very long. I fully charged it up last night and it's about 50% gone, i.e. less than 12 hours since it was charged and less than 3 hours of actual use. According to the UG, it will notify me when it gets low; however, mine died at approximately 30% yesterday with no notification; it just died.

    Finger scrolling on this device (or using the finger at all) is not recommended. A light touch (such as placing your finger on the device to scroll up or down) can easily activate an app or something else. There doesn't appear to be a mechanism for adjusting scrolling sensitivity and there is no scroll bar (a scroll bar does appear briefly but doesn't appear to be functional nor does there appear to be a means of activating a scroll bar).

    PROS: MicroSD card, size, hmmm - that's about it.
    CONS: Keyboard, user interface, user guide, layout, available apps, general experience.

    In short, I give the Skypad Alpha *** out of 10 and that is being kind.

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