my REVIEW of the LC-Power SINA-2 tablet
My review of the SINA-2
About a year ago I became the proud owner of the first LC-Power tablet, the MIRA-1.
For its price it was okay, I was sort of happy but in the end, it was a bit slow for me and I sold it for a faster one the first chance I got.
Which brought me to the LC-Power SINA-1 that I bought in 12/2012 for ~ 200EUR (Germany)
I was happy and kept it, although it was not really perfect. The speed was what I needed, problems were WiFi Range and battery life.
I wrote a review for the tablet and posted it on this site.
Not too long ago I ended up testing another SINA-1 tablet. I came away from it with a distinct feeling that some of my troubles were not existent with the newer tablet.
I started some research and came upon some hints that indeed there are a few issues with the SINA-1 that will be repaired if you sent in your tablet (via. trader/distributer).
I am assuming that newer versions are manufactured or at least sold with the fixes in places and this is why I noticed less trouble with the newer SINA-1
So I contacted LC-Power. Unfortunately, they did not confirm nor deny any problems with the (earlier) SINA-1 tablets. All they said was if a tablet is broken and within its warrenty, it will get repaired or exchanged if your dealer sends it to them.
Long story short I began to think...
Do I really want to send in my almost-good-as-new (no scratches, well handeled, batteries not stressed much) tablet that may (my point of view) or may not (probably their point of view) have a defect which may or may not be fixed or get the whole device swapped out wich a much more used one.
No, and chances are, you wont too... especially when there is the SINA-2 available.
So I did some research and decided to just get a new tablet and then maybe send in the SINA-1.
So I became the proud owner of the new SINA-2
Specs / Comparison
The SINA-2 is the successor of the SINA-1. They are quite similar in hardware:
HARDWARE SINA-1 SINA-2
CPU ARM Cortex A9 DualCore 1,5GHz ARM Cortex A9 DualCore 1,6GHz
GPU Mali 400 QuadCore 250MHz Mali 400 QuadCore 250MHz
Display 10.1" IPS 1280x800 10.1" IPS 1280x800
Touch 5 Point Touchscreen 5 Point Touchscreen
RAM 1GB 1GB
Memory 16GB NAND Flash 16GB NAND Flash
CardReader MicroSD up to 32GB MicroSD up to 32GB
OS Android 4.1 Android 4.1
Networking 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4
Camera Front 0.3MP, Back 2MP Front 0.3MP, Back 2MP
Connectors: USB 2.0, HDMI (micro) USB 2.0 host only, HDMI (micro)
Battery: 5200mAh 6000mAh
Size: 10.8 x 258 x 176 mm 10.5 x 263 x 173 mm
Weight: 0.603kg 0.601kg
I got the SINA-2 for 170EUR (eBay Germany, 15th september 2013)
Please note, the SINA-1 is still being sold and costs about as much as the SINA-2
The product name for both (!) is LC10TAB-A9-DUAL
The box is very similar to the SINA-1... White, a picture, some text...
Inside, the tablet is safely lying inside a plastic bag and fit snuggly to the 4 walls with a rubbery foam.
Under the tablet you will find the accessoires:
a small micro-usb host cable, a normal micro-usb cable, the power adapter, and a piece of paper some might dare call a manual
Again, the tablet feels solid but is not too heavy. It is lying well in the hand, is not too heavy and not too slippery.
Some other owners have commented on the "huge" gaps between the different materials on the SINA-1
The SINA-2 does not improve in that regard. There are still noticeable gaps between the sides, the front and back.
If this matters or not is I believe a point of personal preference, I feel these little gaps give a certain grip at the edges, others may feel a certain lack of elegance and lacking of strict manufacturing tolerances...
There are however, no hard/sharp edges noticeable.
Compared to the SINA-1 the SINA-2 is a bit longer but not as high. On paper, it is thinner too. The corners are a little bit rounder too.
However, I doubt that the differences will be noticed without direct compairing them.
The 1280x800 resolution suits the tablet well. Text from websites looks sharp, picures look vivid, videos are great too.
The viewing angle is what you would expect from an IPS panel.
The further you move from the center field of view to the sides and increase the viewing angle, the worse the picture will get.
However, I dont feel tablets are made to watch one small screen with a group of people... Occasional sharing with 2-3 people will work fine if you stick your heads together but this is not.
The brightness (350cd/mē) is good, in fact, in a very dark environment you may want to lower the brightness a bit.
Contrast is ok.
The glossy display, again, could be problematic in very bright environments.
The background lightning is adquate transform. There are again, slight bright spots (especially on the left side) at the edge of the screen.
Reacts well, no extensive lag noticeable.
The display is, just like the SINA-1, not too bad.
Yes, there are many better displays out there...
But are they out there for a similar price or for more than double?
For the below 200EUR price range a 10" tablet with 1280x800 is just fine.
CPU / GPU Performance
I did not run any tablet/mobile/arm benchmarks, all this is based on pure subjective feelings...
The tablet performs well. The SINA-2 is a bit faster then its predecessor, but nothing really noticeable.
For most operations the DualCore 1.6GHz ARM CPU will do just fine (and so did the 1.5GHz).
Browsing the web, running JAVA or FlashPlayer works well. Just like the SINA-1, this tablet can take firefox+addons+hackers keyboard without freezes.
Full HD videos work well, even over HDMI (1920x1080) and jumping around the timeline.
I have not tested the GPU performance extensively. So far, every game/app I tried worked well
(not complete) list:
Obviously, this tablet will not be as fast as your new PC or the QuadCore mobiles and tablets...
Like the SINA-1, the SINA-2 has only two buttons, power on/off and volume up/down.
This time the buttons have been put on the top left (I feel the SINA-1 placement top right has been slightly better).
The buttons themselves feel just like they should. They dont wiggle and have a distinct pressure point.
The connectors are placed on the left side.
There is only one microUSB port, working as both, USB host so you can plug in USB devices (sticks, mobile phones, 3G dongles) as well as normal USB
so you can plug the tablet into your pc.
Again, the HDMI out is mini-HDMI. The adapter does not come with the tablet.
The headphone jack is nothing special (3.5mm)
The power-in is the same size as before with the SINA-1.
However, the power adapter (looks the same) is a different kind.
Where the SINA-1 took 5V 2.5A, the SINA-2 now takes 9.5V at 2A !
The change from 5V to 9.5V is a bit surprising and might not have been a smart idea. True enough, even the SINA-1 could not be charged over USB anymore, but many power banks have adapters to supply power to different plugs. However, they all supply 5V.
With the new 9.5V DC in, the tablet may charge its battery more quickly, however, you may have lost the ability to load the tablet up with your power banks...
The jack itself got a much needed improvement. Where the SINA-1 plug fell out with the slightest of pull, the SINA-2 plug fits really well and needs much more force to be pulled out.
The microSD TF card reader is on the left side too. Some attention needs to be payed when ejecting microSD cards, the spring can throw the cards quite a few feet
The speaker on the back is okay. Nothing extra ordinary, just like the SINA-1. Quality is okay and loudness is okay too. It could be better but it works...
Android 4.1 is preinstalled and works quite well.
No real crapware is preinstalled.
Google Play is installed and working fine. The device gets shown as "Rockchip SINA-2"
I have not run into any problems with the shop and/or apps so far.
Note: if you own both the SINA-1 and SINA-2, the shop may actually get confused and show only one of the devices.
Both will be able to access the play store and download apps but if you log in the shop via your PC, only one of both devices will be visible.
To make the other tablet visible you will have to re-sign up (reenter email/password) to the play store from the device...
The rechargeable battery got a bit of a much needed beef up compared to the SINA-1 (5200mAh to 6000mAh)
I have only tested a bit so far.
Playing video from a NAS via WiFi the battery will last 5-6 hrs.
To reacharge the battery from 0 to 100% will take ~3 hrs
The SINA-1 would have run out of juice way before that after 3-4hrs.
Almost doubling the run time with only adding ~20% more capacity to the battery leads me to believe that there is another factor at work.
I suspect the SINA-1 WiFi taking much more power than the SINA-2 ...
Wireless LAN b/g/n is working well. The range and signal strength has been vastly improved upon the SINA-1 (and is back to the level of the MIRA-1).
Do not expect 300+ MBit with the n
Bluetooth 4.0: what can I say again. Its there, its working...
Ethernet: Support for USB to Ethernet dongles. Untested
Mobile (3G) Internet: Support for USB 3G dongles. A list with working dongles is available from LC-Power support. (might post it later)
Tried with mine, works...
LC-Power is usually quick in answering normal support emails, but they will not exactly fall over each other trying to resolve any exotic issue that might come up. Maybe if you speak mandarin and mail them directly at tech and dev headquarters in probably china you might have some luck, but I doubt that the LC-Power people in Germany, USA or UK or ... had much to say about developing the device and customizing the android (except of course, maybe some translation)
Also, do not expect regular android updates or any long time support and new android versions.
(this has been copy and pasted from my SINA-1 review)
There is no active modding community for the LC-Power devices.
I had hoped this will change over time but apparently, not much happened in the last year.
Maybe it still will happen if enough LC-Power tablets are sold and used...
Of course, you still can do it all yourself. But do not expect a huge community or custom ROMs
Apparently, there is no good source (download link) for the stock ROM...
So if you are going to start modding, tread lightly. Make a backup and so on...
The SINA-2 does not come pre-rooted.
I expect the SINA-2 can be rooted just like the SINA-1
I will test it and post the manual later...
Summary and Conclusion:
When I tested the SINA-1 I wrote that I liked it (a lot). Unfortunately, due to the short run time, bad WiFi range and cardreader trouble (probably my device only) the enthusiasm did not last too long...
However, it was still better than the MIRA-1 and well usable with a competetive price...
Now to the SINA-2
It is just like the SINA-1 only better.
They fixed the run time, the wifi range and my card reader is working...
The dimensions of the tablet got changed but they are almost not noticeable.
The connector and button placement got changed, to the better or worse should/can not be judged objectively...
So all in all, the SINA-2 is what the SINA-1 should and could have been.
Now, should you get it?
This is not as easy as it used to be... When the MIRA-1 and later the SINA-1 were released, the LC-Power devices were "fast" and "cheap"...
However, in the last year or so, many other similar tablets in a similar price range have been released and you have more choices...
Still, I'll attempt to give some hints:
- If you need your tablet to be 3G, you may want to look for something else. Sure, the 3G dongle works, but why not chose one with built in 3G
- If you dont have a tablet and want one for browsing websites, watching videos and playing games at home on your couch as well as occasional taking it with you, you absolutely could get the SINA-2
- If you have the SINA-1 and it works for you, you do not need the SINA-2
- If you have the SINA-1 and it does not work for for the mentioned reasons, you may consider getting the SINA-2 and selling the SINA-1...
- If you need a fast, high quality tablet, and or need it to do work, or if you have more cash than you can spend... you may want to go for the high-quality tablets (nexus 10, samsung, ipad (shudder!), ...)
- If you want, ney, need a big modding community you need to look for something else
I am very happy with it and will sell my SINA-1 ...