Bush MyTablet full review
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It was only a couple of years ago that the Nexus 7 took the tablet world by storm, offering top-notch hardware at a budget price. Now, though, the Nexus 7's £159 price sounds expensive when you can head to Amazon and buy a tablet for less than £40. Prices have crashed to the point where you can even get a tablet running Windows for under £100, but should you? Read our Bush MyTablet review to find out.
At first glance, you wouldn't think that the MyTablet costs £99. It has a similar design and level of build quality to a Nexus, with no obvious corner cutting. It has an 8in IPS screen, 32GB of storage and a quad-core Intel Atom processor.
One of the reasons for the low price is that this tablet runs Windows 8.1 with Bing. This is a free version of Windows, which means there's no cost for a manufacturer to install it on its tablet. To all intents and purposes, this is a normal 32-bit version of Windows, so you can do almost everything you can do on your laptop or PC with it.
We say almost because the MyTablet doesn't have a mouse or physical keyboard, nor a standard USB port to connect a printer. However, the micro USB port which is used for charging also works with OTG gadgets, such as flash drives, but you can also connect a keyboard and other devices.
Next to the USB port is a micro HDMI connector which means it's easy to hook up the tablet to a big screen and just behind it, sunk into the top of the rear cover is a microSD slot which can be used to add storage up to 32GB. Inside is single-band 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4, but no GPS or NFC.
Most buyers will be unphased by those last two absentees, and more welcoming of the free year's access to Office 365 and the generous 1TB of online storage in OneDrive.
Bush MyTablet review: screen
The 8in screen has a resolution of 1280x800 - the norm for budget tablets - and it's a reasonable example. Colours are generally accurate and the touchscreen is responsive, but it isn't the brightest, nor does it have the best viewing angles. It's a huge step up from the worst screens we've seen on tablets which use TN panels, though.
Bush MyTablet review: performance
The Intel BayTrail processor makes the MyTablet quicker than you should reasonably expect for £99. Windows runs surprinsingly well with no stuttering or annoying delays as you go about your business in either the Modern UI (more on that in a minute) or the traditional desktop.
It completed the browser-based SunSpider test in dead on 500ms. Geekbench 3 revealed scores of 711 and 2078 in the single- and multicore tests respectively. These aren't too far behind more expensive tablets: the iPad mini 3 scored 2484 in the multicore test (even if it roundly beat the MyTablet in the single-core test with 1374).
Intel HD Graphics are integrated into the Atom, and they're also more powerful than you might think. GFXBench returned scores of 19fps in the T-Rex test and 11fps in Manhattan. So while these are by no means the highest we've seen, they're still good at this price.
Battery life is pretty much what Bush claims: our HD video looped for 6 hours and 8 minutes over Wi-Fi. That's not quite as long as the more expensive Tesco Hudl 2 (which also has an 8in screen) and is one of the main weak points of the Bush MyTablet.
Bush MyTablet review: software
As we've said, you get full Windows 8.1, albeit the 32-bit version rather than 64-bit. You can install and run any Windows 32-bit software you like, although trying to use Excel with only your fingers is quite frustrating.
Really, though, this isn't meant to be a mini Windows PC but a tablet. The fact that you have access to the old Windows desktop is almost irrelevant. Instead, you're supposed to use the Modern UI and install apps from the Windows Store.
This is where the cracks really begin to show. We've never really liked the 'Metro' interface and things are worse when you get down to an 8in screen. Buttons and icons aren't scaled up to make them easier to use: everything is just smaller. The only bonus is live tiles. Plenty of people dislike them because they're distracting, but we think some are genuinely useful, such as the News app which scrolls through the headlines.
But compared to Windows Phone 8, which was designed to be used on small screens, Windows 8 is a poor alternative to Android or iOS on a tablet.
Worse still, the choice of apps is very limited. Yes, the big names are largely present and correct, but you won't find an official app for Amazon Prime Video, for example. There are no official Google Apps - a limitation shared with Amazon devices - and while there are Xbox Video and Music apps, but there's no Spotify app.
Essentially, you'll have to rely on a web browser for a lot of the time - a sub-par experience compared to the well-designed apps you'd find on Android and iOS.
Finally, remember that you can't connect a Windows tablet to your PC or laptop and transfer files with a standard USB cable. You either have to buy a special OTG cable or share files over a home network using Windows file sharing (Homegroup) or a cloud service such as OneDrive.
Bush MyTablet review: Cameras
There are front and rear cameras, but they're poor quality. The 0.3Mp front camera is really a webcam for Skype use, and the rear one (2Mp) is best left unused except in emergencies as the photo quality is utterly dire as you can see below. This is the full size, unedited photo directly from the tablet:
Bush MyTablet review: Bottom line
If you want to choose a tablet based on specs and benchmarks, the MyTablet scores highly. You get quite a lot for your money, save in the battery life stakes, and it doesn't look half bad.
However, given the choice of a similarly priced Android tablet the choice is all too easy. So unless you really need Windows to run a specific application, there's no compelling reason to buy the MyTablet.
See also: Best budget tablets you can buy in 2015
Bush MyTablet: Specs
- 8in (1280x800) 189 ppi IPS glossy touchscreen
- 1.83GHz Intel Atom Z3735G
- Intel HD Graphics
- 1GB RAM
- 32GB internal storage
- 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi
- Bluetooth 4.0
- 1x micro USB 3.0 port
- Micro HDMI
- microSD card slot (up to 32GB)
- mono speaker
- 0.3 Mp webcam, 2Mp main camera
- built-in mic
- 3.5mm headset jack
- Windows 8.1 with Bing (32-bit)
- USB mains charger included
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