March 25, 2017

Review of SkyTex Skypad Alpha2 7″ Android Tablet

Skypad Alpha2 Available on Amazon: http://amzn.to/xmNtaY

I recently purchased this Skytex Skypad Alpha2 as sort of an experiment. I’ve got an iPhone but have always wanted to explore Android OS so I decided to take the plunge and get an Android tablet as well just to learn more about Android and have an alternative to Apple in my hands.

So far, I’ve been reasonably happy with this tablet. The construction of the tablet is solid. It does not feel like a toy at all. I’ve picked up some small tablets that just feel like plastic…not this one. It has an aluminum body.

The placement of the front-facing camera is odd since I usually expect a front-facing camera to be at the top of the device. But I also expect the home buttons to be at the bottom of the device, so I’m not quite sure what constitutes “top” or “left” on this tablet because the camera is at the bottom right of the screen if you have the tablet oriented so that the home button as at the bottom. In this case, the volume rocker and on/off button are on one side of the tablet while the adjacent edge of the tablet has the mono speaker, microSD slot, DC power in, USB, HDMI and headphone jack. The layout of ports, buttons and camera are not in optimal positions but they work where they are, it just seems a little odd and when holding the tablet I am always accidentally hitting the power button.

The tablet starts up briskly and the responsiveness of the screen was actually better than I was expecting. I have not yet noticed-with my limited use so far- any sluggishness whatsoever. Screen sliding is smooth and quick. I have watched several YouTube videos and they were glitch-free. Not the same experience with Netflix however. I experienced really bad pixelation and gradient issues with Netflix as well as some seriously bad sound syncing issues.

The tablet easily and quickly connected to my home network and surfing was very snappy. It seemed on par with my MacBook Pro quite honestly.

I’ve installed a handful of apps so far:YouTube, Kindle, eBay, Google+, Wired, Twitter and so far everything has gone smoothly. The touchscreen is responsive. Sometimes the screen doesn’t reorient when I flip the orientation of the tablet, but that may be due to the fact that some apps don’t change orientation and I’m not exactly sure how to figure out whether it should reorient all the time or not. Yet, sometimes when it is supposed to reorient, it does not.

The camera resolution is dismal but at least there is a camera. Don’t expect much from it though as it’s only 0.3 megapixels.

Obviously, with a tiny, mono speaker, sound quality is not spectacular nor very loud. I’d call the speaker barely adequate. Of course, headphones are going to give you a tremendously better listening experience.

The microphone quality was a big disappointment. Everything I recorded sounded kind of muffled and scratchy. This would not make a very good lecture recording device, for instance.

I do wish this had bluetooth, but I guess you can’t expect everything at the price point. I do miss not having bluetooth built in though.

I can’t say too much more at this point since I’ve not had the tablet very long. Buy my initial impressions are moderately positive and I eagerly await the release of the next version of Android which I will install on the Skypad as soon as I get it and will report back here with my impressions.

This seems to be a great value in a sub-$200 Android tablet worthy of your consideration.

Sylvania Light Flute – LED task light

Sylvania light fluteOsram Sylvania Products Inc 72261 Led Light Flute – SilverWhile strolling the aisles of BJ’s the other day, I discovered this great LED task light called the Light Flute. It’s made by Sylvania and it is just one of the coolest LED lights I”ve seen. What makes it so great is its overall design and functionality.

The case of the light is made of anodized aluminum which is light and strong. It feels very sturdy and the end-cap unscrews to reveal the 3-AAA batteries that power 4-white LED lights. The innovative mounting base allows for several different mounting options… magnetic, adhesive and screw mounting.

The slender light is 8.5″ long and about the diameter of your little finger. It can be mounted just about anywhere and is great for mounting under your desk when trying to re-route cables. It could also be used as emergency lighting, as an under-counter light, closet lighting… the list could go on and on.

The Light Flutes were sold as packs of 2 for about $17 at BJ’s and are also available from Amazon.com.

I haven’t had them long enough to comment on how long the batteries will last, but LED lights are generally pretty efficient so I would expect a minimum of 10-12 hours of continuous light and perhaps much more. I’ll update this post once I have a better idea of battery life.