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When it comes to budget Android tablets, no one seems to be putting them out faster than Axtrom. It seems that every month or so I’m inundated with press releases or a new review unit of some kind of Android tablet from the company. And true to form, this week I’m looking at another one from them, in the shape of the Axpad 9E01.

Build quality & design

Since these are mostly budget Android tablets, Axtrom have long favored using basic building materials for their tablets, in an effort to keep the cost of the device down. Surprisingly, the Axpad 9E01 swaps out the usual glossy black plastic backing in favor of a brushed metal design. This not only gives the tablet a much more different look and feel, but it does away with having to constantly wipe off the million fingerprints the previous models used to attract. The metal backing also means that the 9E01 doesn’t flex or bend if slight pressure is applied to it.

Apart from the rear panel, not much has changed. You’ll still find the usual ports found on most Axtrom tablets, such as mini-HDMI, microUSB, microSD, and GSM.

Benchmarks and Performance

Performance on the Axpad 9E01 is fairly average; again this is a budget lineup of tablets, so you’re not going to get anything earth-shattering. Browsing the web and watching YouTube videos were adequate, with some flash-enabled sites performing a bit sluggishly. Bundled games like Temple Run and Fruit Slice ran fairly smoothly, though at times Fruit Slice did have a bit of a delay in responding to my frantic swipes.

The Axpad 9E01 comes with apps for weather, ebooks, and OfficeSuite for productivity on the go, and of course you have access to the thousands of apps in the Google Play store.

Screen, Camera, and Sound

The 9” screen on the Axpad 9E01 is comfortable enough for viewing webpages and reading, but its almost impossible to use when outdoors or when near light sources. The screen is just overly reflective; even with the brightness set at maximum, I had to squint to try and make out any of the text on screen.

I’m not a big advocate of taking photos with a tablet, and the cameras on the 9E01 weren’t really designed for that anyway. The rear 5-megapixel camera takes some very average photos, and images often appear very dark and noisy. The front 0.3 megapixel camera is adequate for Skype, but I wish Axtrom had bumped up the quality on this camera as well.

The 9E01 features speakers on both sides of the tablet, but this doesn’t make for necessarily better sound. The speakers offer very poor bass level, and while they may be loud, they aren’t always that clear. Watching movies or video with dialogue in it should be fine, but playing back music videos gave a very shrilly volume level.

Heat levels & Battery Life

One thing that surprised me about the 9E01 was it got warm after just an hour of basic usage, which included watching some videos and playing a few basic games. It’s certainly not warm enough to be uncomfortable to hold, but it seems like the new metal backing makes for an excellent conductor of heat, so even slight increases in temperature on the inside can be felt on the outside case.

Battery life here isn’t spectacular, and the 4500mAh battery can make it through about half of the day with constant use before it needs a bit of a juice boost.

Conclusion

The Axpad 9E01 is a visually better tablet than what we’ve seen before, but its average screen and poor audio quality will work against it. But as a cheap Android tablet it does cover the bare minimum – just don’t expect to use it to read at the beach.

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