Until recently Hannspree has mainly been associated with producing televisions and PC monitors. But following the success of the Apple iPad and the resurgence of tablet technology, it entered the tablet market with the original Hannspree Hannspad.
While it didn’t set the world alight, the first Hannspree Hannspad provided a functional and affordable alternative to the flood of rival Android tablets that hit the market in the wake of the iPad. And it has now been updated with a few new tweaks and a bump up to Google’s Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich OS.
The first thing you notice about the Hannspree Hannspad is how small and portable it is. Built around a 7-inch screen, it weighs just 330g and is a very comfortable device to carry with you when working on the move.
Hannspree quotes a maximum battery life of 4.7-hours when browsing the internet via Wi-Fi. We found this to be accurate as we were able to get as much as five hours use out of the Hannspree Hannspad before we ran out of power.
At this low price corners have inevitably been cut and the Hannspree Hannspad’s build quality shows the first hint of this. For example, the faux-leather plastic rear panel and overall build lack the quality of more expensive rivals such as Google’s Nexus 7.
It’s far from the worst quality tablet we’ve seen, however. Despite the somewhat cheap materials, it feels well put together, with no obvious signs of flex or loose panels – quite an achievement considering it costs half the price of the Nexus 7.
Unlike Google’s device, the Hannspree Hannspad is designed to be used in landscape mode. But once powered up its 3-axis accelerometer quickly adjusts the screen to portrait mode when you turn the device, letting you easily switch orientations.
The transition from landscape to portrait isn’t as smooth as we’d have liked, with a slow and jerky animation which again shows the budget roots of this device, but this impacts only slightly on the Hannspree Hannspad’s usability.
What is slightly less pleasing is the poor quality of the 7-inch screen. While the low 480 x 800 pixel resolution is to be expected for a tablet of this size and price, images appear grainy and pixelated, with none of the sharpness or detail of the Nexus 7.
Thankfully, colours are rendered brightly and vividly, so photos and videos display well. We noticed some areas of the screen appear brighter than others, however, so images can appear washed out at times.
We were pleased to find that the display uses LED-backlighting, which makes it easier to use the Hannspree Hannspad in bright conditions, so this is a good tablet for use outdoors. The glossy screen is inevitably reflective, but the backlighting compensates well.
The use of a capacitive touchscreen is a nice touch at this price and we were expecting a resistive screen on such a low-priced device. The screen responds well and makes it easy to navigate around the interface with a swipe of your fingers.
It only shows its limits when zooming into or out of photos, as the motion isn’t as smooth as on more expensive tablets. Usability is acceptable when compared to similarly priced rivals, though, so it would be unreasonable to expect much more.
The 0.3-Megapixel front-facing camera is basic and again highlights the screen’s low resolution. Images are fuzzy and pixelated, so it is only suitable for basic snaps. Many users are likely to forgo using it at all, as the picture quality is so obviously poor.
One area that Hannspree has bettered its rivals, though, is by equipping the Hannspad with the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system right out of the box. With many entry-level mobile devices coming equipped with Android 2.3 Gingerbread, this is a great selling-point for this device.
Even though the Google Nexus 7 uses the cutting-edge Android 4.1 Jelly Bean OS, it is the only device to do so at present. Android 4.0 is an excellent choice for first-time users and experts alike, so its presence here is very welcome.
Usability is helped further by the decent performance. A 1GHz ARM Cortex-A8 processor and 512MB of RAM runs the show and the Hannspree Hannspad responds well. Apps open quickly and there are no obvious signs of lag, even when multi-tasking with several apps simultaneously.
Predictably, storage is one area that has been cut to hit this price point. A meagre 4GB is provided, which will be quickly filled by even small collections of music, movies, photos, games and apps. Again, this is very common for a device at this price, though.
If you need more space you can add up to 32GB of extra storage via MicroSD card. The card slot is conveniently located on the chassis’ bottom edge, so you don’t need to gain access to the inside of the device to add or remove cards on the fly.
We weren’t surprised that the Hannspree Hannspad offers no 3G connectivity at this price, but we were pleased to find it so well-equipped for Wi-Fi internet access. Fitted with high-speed 802.11n Wi-Fi, you can easily connect to local Wi-Fi hotspots and browse the web at impressive speeds.
That’s where the extra features end, though. There is no Bluetooth, no rear-facing camera and no NFC, so all you get is a 3.5mm audio jack for connecting headphones and a Mini USB 2.0 port for synchronising with your laptop or PC – all fairly standard features at this price.
And it is this that sums up the Hannspree Hannspad. It is a low-cost, no-frills device that eschews fancy extras in favour of a low price. In that sense it succeeds well, packing all the basics in a well-made chassis, for a price that has few rivals.
While it can’t come close to the sheer quality and value offered by the Google Nexus 7, it costs half the price, making it unbeatably affordable. As long as your expectations aren’t high, the Hannspree Hannspad is worth a look for anyone that wants a basic tablet that won’t hurt the wallet.