A review on Pipo Smart-S2 (Pipo S2) (Pipo Max-S2 on its back cover)
Update (April 2, 2013): Battery problem (charging stops at 99% and drains very fast) occurs when battery level reaches around 10% or below before charging the unit. So I think it would be much better to charge Pipo S2 before its battery level reaches 15%.
Another thing is about the external SD Storage. The moment I unmount my External SD Storage, all apps installed in internal NAND storage are also not usable. It seems that my NAND storage was also unmounted, even though its not. So, I have to reboot my Pipo tablet so that all applications installed in my internal NAND storage is loaded again. Better, turn off your Pipo S2 before removing your SD Card rather than unmounting it in settings.
PS: these issues are my observations only on my Pipo S2, I’m not sure if its applicable on all Pipo S2 tablets.
*****End Update *****
(Full Pipo S2 Specs on the bottom)
I’ve been hunting for a “cheap” tablet on the market that is capable in handling my daily needs (browsing the net, facebook, reading and sending emails, gaming, and of course reading e-books, reviewing PowerPoint presentations, reading and editing documents and spreadsheets — wew, ok I’ll stop here 😆 ) ..
Wait, why “cheap” tablet?
Technology changes so fast. What is new today, is quite old next month, or even ancient next year 🙂 .. So to avoid spending so much on gadgets (I’m poor), I have decided to try the cheap ones, since as soon as this cheap gadget dies, well, I can buy a new one with much higher specs than my first cheap gadget, rather than having an expensive one that stays with me for 5 years and watching its hardware and software becoming antiques 😆
My first choice was the Cherry Mobile Fusion Ice I found in Lazada Philippines, a 7 inch tablet with a very unique shape 😕 its almost square! and well, I like it 😉 .. Unfortunately it doesn’t have Bluetooth, and that’s one of my requirement in a tablet. So after days of research, I stumbled upon a tablet that I’ve never heard of, but with excellent hardware + software! The Pipo Tablets. There are lots of different models of Pipo Tablets, for 7 inch they have Pipo S1 & S3. For 8 inch they have the Pipo S2, and Pipo M5, for 9.7 inch the Pipo M1 and many more, they even have 10.1 inch tablets. Well to make this story short, I end up choosing Pipo S2, an 8 inch dual core tablet which theoretically has everything that I need in a tab (it doesn’t have a SIM slot, so no built-in 3G connectivity).
I have received my Pipo S2 last February 23, 2013 and today as of this writing, is March
21 27, 2013. So this is a review of Pipo Smart-S2 after a month of use.
Please note that my Pipo S2 is NOT rooted, and uses a stock firmware (until now).
Pipo S2 is thick! yes, its thicker than the other tablets. Back cover is made up of plastic, which is OK for me. And having all of its ports on the right side, including the power button.
On top of the Pipo S2 Tablet are the volume buttons, menu and back button.
Pipo S2 front camera is badly located at the edge of the right-side-corner of the tablet. Grrr.. why did they put it there! Its just not practical! when you have a portrait only application, your front camera is in the bottom! And when your video calling, you need to align yourself on the side of your tablet to be seen. And if your using “Face Unlock”, it would be difficult to align your face on the camera 🙁 …
The speaker of Pipo S2 is located on the back, which I don’t like also. It would be better if its on the front.
Pipo S2 has 2 Megapixel back camera and a 0.3 megapixel front camera. If you’ll ask about its quality, they are awful 😈 But it doesn’t really matter for me since I am more comfortable in using my phone (my old Samsung Galaxy Ace) in taking pictures or I would rather use my digital camera.
Sound quality and loudness of Pipo S2 is OK, as I have said above, it would have been better if the speaker is in front for better sound clarity. I tried using my Philips In-ear headphone and well, the sound quality is awesome, it sounded even better than my Samsung Galaxy Ace!
In terms of Wi-fi connectivity, Pipo S2 is above average. It can pick up distant wi-fi hot spot. I didn’t encounter much problem about it. Except when the SSID of the AP (access point) is hidden/not broadcasting, Pipo S2 connects but you should wait a little loooongeeerrr (that is why I changed my AP’s SSID from hidden to broadcasting). Another instance that I experience a problem is when I was in a very weak wi-fi signal where in the tablet prevent itself from connecting due to poor signal (Cherry Mobile Flare and Rave established a connection during this time, my Galaxy Ace failed to connect too).
Pipo S2 is packed with dual-core 1.6 GHz (Cortex A9) processor and Mali 400 Quad-core GPU (Rockchip RK3066). In short 😎 , this Pipo S2 is capable in handling graphic intensive games (3D games) and would open applications without a sweat!
I have tried the game Dead Trigger in my Pipo S2 and its flawless, Real Racing 3 (a very huge and graphic intensive game — its more than 1 GB in size! wew) and its working fine with a little bit of lag (didn’t experience annoying lags during races though). Well in summary, these are the different games I have installed and they all work flawlessly in Pipo S2: Beach Buggy, Battle for Rebirth, Fruit Ninja, Fruit Slice, Jetpack Joyride, Temple Run 2, Raging Thunder, Hill Climb Racing, Angry Gran Run, Arcane Legends, Candy Crush, Angry Birds – Star Wars, Lane Splitter, CrashFighter2 and Death Moto. For Office Application, I am using Kingsoft Office and it works perfect.
Although Pipo S2 performs very well in opening application, performing multiple tasks (watching video while browsing the net, thanks to its floating video), playing games, etc, I have noticed an occasional freeze when I am in Settings, specifically in “Apps” (also when browsing using Google Chrome with around 7+ tabs opened, I know its too much 😈 ). Sometimes I perform forced reboot (by pressing and holding the power button until the tablet reboots) in these occasions. I think the problem is with its slow read and write speed in its internal storage. But anyways, that is very seldom, most of the time, if it hangs-up, I just leave it be and after few seconds or minutes its back to normal and everything is smooth again.
It has a 5000 mah battery which in theory would last at around 6-7 hours of use. In my experience, the Pipo S2 battery life is OK, not perfect, not awesome, just OK :). If your playing a graphic and cpu intensive game I think it would only last for around 3-4 hours. With occasional browsing and watching videos in YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, reading e-books (moderate use) it would last for a day.(I’m charging mine every night). Charging time is around 4-5 hours.
At first charge, my tablet reaches 100% at around 6 hours. On my second charge, I was shocked since, it won’t charge up to 100% after around 9 hours of charging. So I thought it was defective. So I read some info bout Pipo tablets problems, and wow, so many complaints about Pipo’s battery. Although there are lots of people saying that the solution is to root the device and perform battery calibration, I have never done that. Since in my opinion, battery calibration by erasing a certain file doesn’t make any sense. (I know rooting will give you freedom with your device, but I think I don’t need that yet). Ok, so what I did is let it charge up to 5-6 hours, if it doesn’t reach up to 100% I simply remove it on the charger.
In the event where the battery stays at 99% during charging, as soon as I use it, battery level will suddenly go down in just minutes. (Example from 99%, down to 60% in just around 5 minutes of use.) During this time, I simply put back my tablet on its charger and let it charge again up to 99% (well, as I have said, it won’t go beyond 99%).
By the way, I have installed “Battery Mix” and “Better Battery Stats” to monitor my battery from charging to discharging. Those bad experiences in battery charging and sudden discharge, simply disappears after around 3-4 charging cycles. It only happened again when I accidentally discharged fully my tablet, but fortunately the next day, charging was back to normal.
I would suggest having “Battery Full Alarm” app to make sure not to overcharge your battery. Just remember not to discharge your battery completely and never overcharge it. (to calibrate your battery, discharge it once a month ***Note: use it until your tablet turns off, do not completely discharge your battery by turning it on after battery low shutdown).
So to continue, as of this writing, my Pipo S2 is running for 20 hours on battery with 36% remaining battery.
What I like about Pipo S2
- First, its price, for Php 6,200.00 (I bought my Pipo S2 in Cellpower Sales, I’ve asked my brother to buy it in their physical store, you can also find them in sulit.com.ph or multiply.com) this is really a “bang for the buck” tablet, a tablet with a performance more than its expensive competitors!
- Next is, Pipo S2 has a standard size USB port, yep its not mini nor micro. In short, you can directly plugged-in a USB flash drive, mouse, keyboard and broadband dongle in Pipo S2 without using an OTG USB cable. I tried them all and well, they all work! (Please note that not all broadband stick will work on this tablet, but my old smart and globe broadband stick works!).
- Another is its 8 inch 5-point capacitive touch screen. I know IPS is much better, but Pipo S2 (although not IPS) still delivers an awesome quality in terms of image and video appearance. Its size is perfect for reading, its not very small so reading ebooks, browsing websites, etc. is simply perfect. Its not that big like 9.7 or 10.1 inch tablets so carrying is not a problem too.
- A powerful GPU (Graphics Processing Unit), Pipo S2 is packed with Mali 400 GPU, thanks to its RK3066 series SoC. There are lots of “cheap” tablet out there with a very weak GPU. Since many people tend to look only on the CPU speed without considering its GPU. Having a fast CPU (Quad-core) tablet but with a very weak GPU will still make your gaming experience a bit sad. If you are with gaming, then this Quad Core Mali 400 GPU is OK!
- Another is Storage: it has a 16GB Internal storage capacity, 1 GB for its system partition –acts as its internal storage (although I hate this 1GB system partition — why only 1GB, 2GB is much better, but anyways smaller system partition means faster start-up time), and around 13GB usable which acts as SD card storage – and that’s not all, its storage is expandable up to 32GB using MicroSD card, I tried my 2GB MicroSD card and it works well. Lastly, its Android Jellybean (4.1.1) OS, although its not the latest (4.2) but still this is far more better that those ICS tablets on the market.
What I don’t like about Pipo S2
- Thickness – again its thick (13mm) 😥 !
- Next is the location of its front camera and speaker
- The Slow read/write speed in Internal Storage (based on my benchmark –maybe its not accurate)
- No temperature gauge, you will never know how hot its internal components gets when your playing games. (By the way, tablet produces a lot of heat when playing graphic intensive games like Real Racing 3).
- And lastly, its charger (not USB), and you can’t charge it via USB.
In general, although there are things that I don’t like with this tablet, it is still the best “bang for the buck” tablet that I can find. It is not an imitation, and has a powerful hardware inside combined with android 4.1.1 (jellybean). It can perform all my daily tasks without problems. And so far, after
almost a month of use, and after almost a month of install and uninstall of different applications (I have a total of 83 downloaded and installed apps), my Stock Pipo Smart-S2 or commonly known as Pipo S2 stays strong and fast.
Well I recommend it? Yep! perfect for those who don’t like huge tablets. And of course for those people who don’t want to spend much on gadgets like this. (like me — I can’t afford the expensive one 🙂 )
Full Pipo S2 Specs
- Model: PIPO S2 Dual Core Tablet PC
- CPU: Rockchip RK3066, Dual-core Cortex-A9 processor (ARMv7 architecture) clocked up to 1.6 GHz
- GPU (Graphics Processing Unit): Quad core Mali 400, clocked at 250 MHz
- VPU: (Video Processing Unit): Multi-Media Processor supporting 1080p image and video decoding
- Operating System: Android 4.1.1 (Jelly Bean)
- RAM: 1GB (DDR 3)
- Internal Storage: 16GB NAND Flash (divided into 2, 1GB internal storage, 13 GB usable as NAND Flash (acts as SD Storage)
- Shell Material: Plastic
- Screen Size: 8 inch
- Screen Type: LED Capacitive Screen (NOT IPS)
- Screen Resolution: 1024 x 768px (4:3)
- Multi-touch: Yes, 5 point-touch
- External SD Card Support: Yes, up to 32 GB
- Camera: Dual camera, front is 0.3 megapixel, back is 2.0 megapixel
- Gravity sensor: Yes
- Flash Player: Yes, pre-installed
- Android Market: Yes, pre-installed
- Bluetooth: Yes Bluetooth v2.0
- Video: up to 1080P, with pre-installed floating video player
- Music: MP3/WMA/WAV.APE/AAC …, stock music player and google music pre installed
- Mic: Yes
- HDMI out: Yes, mini-HDMI
- Ebook Reader: Yes, pre-installed
- Email and Browser: Gmail, stock browser and Google Chrome pre-installed
- Wi-Fi: Yes, 802.11 b/g/n
- 3G: Not built-in, supports external USB 3G dongle (E1916, ZTE AC2736, HUAWEI E1750, HUAWEI EC122, HUAWEI EM770W)
- Earphone/Headphone jack: 3.5mm
- Work time: up to 7 hours
- Battery: 5000MAh, 3.7v
- Size/Dimension: 263.5 x 160 x 13mm
- Weight: 486g
- Card slot: Yes, MicroSD
- USB Port: 1 micro USB Port and 1 USB Port (standard size)
Please note that my Pipo S2 is NOT rooted, and uses a stock firmware (until now).