Micromax Canvas Tab P690 Review

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Micromax Canvas Tab P690 Review

Low-cost Android tablets are fairly common, but with 5-inch and 5.5-inch smartphones becoming increasingly common, the case for having yet another device in your life has become somewhat less clear. Devices like this are great for reading and browsing the Web on if you have one lying around, but chances are if you have a smartphone, tablet and laptop, the tablet is the most likely to be left behind.

Micromax has a new offering, the Canvas Tab P690, which is trying to find a space in users’ lives. It has an 8-inch screen and offers cellular voice calling for those who might use such a feature. The cost is low enough to be tempting, and the company advertises loads of freebies in the form of physical accessories as well as software. Let’s see what you might have to gain by owning one of these.

The Canvas Tab P690 looks rather nice at first glance. It isn’t all that slim but it does have bold, distinctive lines including chiselled edges around the rear. The front is plain black apart from the silver earpiece, and there are no markings thanks to the use of on-screen buttons that rotate with the device so you can hold it any way. The sides and back have a thin metal outer layer with a very striking brushed pattern. The panel doesn’t appear to be removable, which means the battery is sealed inside.

The earpiece on the front suggests that this tablet is to be held upright, but the logos and regulatory text on the rear are all printed as if landscape is the ideal orientation. Held this way, there’s a large Intel logo in the lower left corner and a matching Micromax logo in the lower right. Another Canvas Tab logo is printed right in the middle for good measure, and there’s a sticker with a barcode and SAR information right beneath it – though slightly crooked on our review unit.

The Micro-USB charging and data port is on top, right next to the 3.5mm audio socket. Across from these two, you’ll find a small speaker grille. The power and volume buttons are just around the corner on the upper right. Beneath them, there are the slots for a Micro-SIM and a microSD card. Micromax could have left the microSD card exposed for easy access, but instead chose to protect it with the SIM tray. This is a nice touch, but it does mean you’ll have to eject the SIM if ever you want to swap microSD cards.

The left is entirely blank and there’s only a tiny dot on the bottom for the mic. The rear camera is in one corner, with no flash or secondary mic nearby. Grip is not too bad, though we would have preferred a more natural contour to fit in the hand. The Canvas Tab P690 is easy to use as a tablet, but as with all devices of its kind, it’s obviously not the most comfortable when held up to the ear like a phone.

Micromax supplies a fair number of accessories in the Canvas Tab P690’s distinctive wedge-shaped box. In addition to the standard USB cable and a 2000mAh charger, there’s a USB OTG adapter, a basic headset, an adhesive screen protector and a microfiber cleaning cloth. There are also coupons for several freebies.

Micromax also bundles a flip cover which it claims is worth Rs. 1,500, but the one we got was so ugly and crudely fashioned that we’d rather forget about it. It attaches to the tablet with – yes, seriously – a strip of double-sided tape. We don’t think it will stay attached for long, and you obviously won’t be able to attach and detach it at will. It’s meant to fold up to act as a stand, much like Apple’s iPad smart cover, but does a terrible job of it. We were better served leaning the tablet against the box it came in

Specifications and software
The 8-inch 800×1280-pixel screen is fairly commonplace as far as low-cost Android tablets go, but it’s still far too big for any device that you’d ever want to hold up to your ear. If calling is important to you, you’re better off with a much smaller screen. As far as quality goes, this display definitely falls within budget territory. It’s decent enough for casual Web browsing and watching videos, but not really for reading text. Colours are a bit dull and the tablet definitely suffers in daylight.

Intel’s familiar Atom Z3735G processor makes another appearance here. With four cores running at up to 1.83GHz plus basic Intel HD integrated graphics, it’s enough for most common tasks. There’s 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage space, though interestingly Windows reports only 3.8GB when it’s plugged in, and barely half of that is free at the outset. You’ll need a microSD card, but capacities of only up to 32GB are supported.

You do get USB-OTG along with Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth, and 3G data. The battery comes in at a fairly hefty 4000mAh. There’s a 5-megapixel rear camera and a secondary 2-megapixel unit in front. Video recording is limited to 720p on both.

Micromax ships the Canvas Tab with Android 4.4.4 for some reason, though it claims the device is “upgradable to Lollipop”, there’s no indication of when an update will be released and if there’ll be any support beyond that. There’s a tiled news feed to the left of the first homescreen, much like HTC’s BlinkFeed, though it doesn’t seem to be customisable at all and the content isn’t even local
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