Tablet Express Dragon Touch S8 Android Tablet Review

The Tablet

Contents

We are all on the hunt for an affordable tablet that can do it all, and usually the 2 don’t go together, Affordable and the ability to do it all.  Working with the tablet manufacturers I have seen many different budget tablets and a few performers as well and today I will bring you a review on a budget tablet, but this one is a bit different.  Today I bring you my review of the Tablet Express Dragon Touch S8.

Let’s check out the specs and features

Specifications and Features

  • 8in 1280×800 HD IPS Display
  • 10 Point Multi-touch
  • Intel SOFIA 3G-R Quad Core at 1.04Ghz
  • Mali-450 MP4
  • 1Gig RAM
  • 16Gig NAND Flash
  • Android 5.1 (Lollipop)
  • Dual Camera 2.0MP Rear / 2.0MP Front
  • Wireless N (802.11 b/g/n)
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • G-Sensor
  • Ports: 3.5mm Headphone Jack, TF/MicroSD card slot and MicroUSB
  • Battery: 3,600mAH

Lots of information, but let’s check out the unboxing and overview

Aside from the tablet itself of course, the box brings a few other little goodies, just a few.

One of the most important things for a tablet is the charger and the USB cable, without them you a plastic board.

The charger, model number UBP-623-052000 is a 2000mA charger that rather than having the cable built in, actually allows you to use the USB cable that the package comes with.  May not be much to many, but it allows this to be a lot more versatile allowing you to use your own cable if you like, use another charger with the cable or plug that cable from the computer to the tablet.  One of the nice things is that it plugs in side ways, rather than from the bottom to make it easier to connect other devices and to charge too.

A standard USB port plus in here, the other side, a MicroUSB plug connects into the tablet

A simple USB cable, again USB A to Micro USB and the cable is 4 feet long.

This also comes with a nice user’s manual.  Comes with some nice information and even comes with glossy pictures.

Then there’s this little one sheeter.  Instead of just returning it because you can’t figure something out, they would prefer that you give them a call or should them an email and once side provides this information.  On the other, they give you a few little pointers to start you off.

OK, so now for the tablet itself.

ContinueThe Tablet

So as you saw in the picture, this looks like a basic little tablet and it is but there a few things to show you on it.

There is not much to speak off on the front; it has a 2 Mega Pixel camera at the top of the screen.  The buttons you have seen already in the screenshots are soft buttons, not actually silk screened on the display.

The display itself has a pixel density of 160 dpi and a refresh rate of 65Hz running at 1280×800.

Then we have the back of the tablet.

It might look like a plain white back, but it’s not.  Let’s look a little closer.

It’s actually textured, a cross hatching like design here.

We will work our way around the back from left to right showing you the features.

First off we find the power button and directly beneath it the Volume Up and Volume Down button.  The entire volume button comes down when you press it, but it is pressure sensitive.  The power button, like most Android devices, you will have to press down on it for a few seconds to start up the tablet.

Let’s move on.

To the right of the volume and power button on the top, we find the micro USB Port.  Here is where you would plug in the micro USB end of the cable to either charge the tablet or to transfer data to and from a computer to the tablet.  The USB port also allows you to connect an OTG cable (On-the-Go) so that you can insert a thumb drive, keyboard, mouse or just about any other USB device you can think of.

Just to make sure you know it’s a USB port; it comes silk screened with the USB logo as well.

The OTG cable is not included, but you can click this link if you want to check one out, they are very affordable CLICK HERE

Slightly to the right of the micro USB port and a little below it we have the 2.0 Megapixel camera.  Not much to speak about here, it is 2 Mega pixels.  I took the picture with the plastic film over it to remind you to take the plastic film off.

Off a bit more to the right and again on the top we find the 3.5mm headphone jack, silk screened as well.

Trailing our way to the opposite side of the tablet from where we started, we find the TF card reader.  This slot is for micro SD cards.

Push one in with your finger tip, and to remove it, just push the card in again and it will pop out.

And on the bottom right hand corner of the tablet is its single speaker.  It is sad that is only a single speaker, so yeah it is mono but it is a decent sounding speaker.  You will need to raise it to a little over half of the volume to hear a faint sound, but raised to the max it sounds very nice.

The center of the tablet, directly below the camera comes silk screened the Dragon Touch logo.

Below that, the big “Intel Inside” logo.  Oh you didn’t know, even though I mentioned it in the specs initially, this bad boy comes packed with an Intel SoFIA 3G-R ATOM based Quad Core processor with each core running at 1.04Ghz when in use and at idle 416Mhz.

Now that we have examined the outside of the tablet, let’s get into the performance and features.

ContinueFeatures, Specs and Performance

As I mentioned previously, it has an Intel SoFIA 3GR ATOM based processor, check how CPU-Z reports it.

That is all 4 cores running at 416 MHz on idle.

Now tapping the screen a few times we see the processor ramp up.

As I mentioned before, it does support 10 Point Multi-Touch, I verified using “multiTouch Tester” I downloaded off of the Google Play Store.

It does come with 1Gig of RAM and 16Gigs of FLASH storage space.  Though, there are a few things on that storage space as it is, but not much.

As it is you have almost 13Gigs free out of the box, so 3 gigs for the OS and basics.  Tablet Express does not fill the tablet with worthless OEM software, it’s a fresh install of Android.  The tablet also has 1Gig of RAM.

Like most tablets this one does come with a Wireless N adapter supporting b/g/n but it does not have a 5 GHz band.  It also sports a Bluetooth 4.0 adapter.

As a gamer, it is important to mention this tablet does come with a Mali-450 MP4 GPU, while not the highest end GPU it is a pretty decent GPU. So with the CPU, RAM and GPU, let’s see what this means for performance.

Let’s start off the performance with the staple of performance, FutureMarks 3DMark.  First up is 3DMark’s: Ice Storm

4668 is a decent score for a budget tablet.  Breaking the score down a bit, let’s see how it was calculated.

Let’s see what this tablet gets on Antutu, another staple on tablet performance.

Breaking that down a bit again

So gaming performance as per Antutu is mid-level on a budget tablet, that’s pretty awesome.  Though you will notice it states that the “3D ” test was unsupported, it plays games pretty well, but we will get into that a little later.

On its comparison chart, it performs half as well as the Meizu M3|Note3 which is a Quad Core tablet at 1.5Ghz, with 2GB of RAM and a 13 MegaPixel camera for more than double the price.  You can check it out here, CLICK HERE

One other thing to mention about the Meizu is that it is a phone with a tiny 5″ screen, and does not support an SD card  while the S8 has an 8″ screen and does support microSD cards.

The above was focused more on the GPU and CPU, now let’s check out how everything works together here for overall system performance.  For this, we will use FutureMark’s PCMark.

Like the rest of the scores, by far not the highest but nice performance for a budget tablet.

Benchmarks just show you raw numbers but they may not mean much to most without something to compare it to, so let’s check out some gaming and some features.

So in that video I show you how to use Screencast through Miracast and WIDI and projecting on the big screen, I play for you Asphalt 8, Clash of Clans, Crisis Action and Final Fantasy Brave Exvius.  Here are some more games.

In that video I show you some gameplay with Hearthstone, Order & Chaos II, Starwars Galaxy of Heroes and Vain Glory.  These games of course don’t just stress the CPU and GPU but I was also projecting the games on the big screen, that takes some performance.  Best of all, this was all done on battery.

Since that’s being mentioned, battery life is very important on tablets,… they are portable of course.  PCMark actually has a test that benchmarks the Battery life of tablets, check out my results.

When manufactures tell you how long their batteries last, they mean with the screen on sitting idle.  PCMark runs a barrage of real work scenario’s to give you a better idea of how long your battery will last.  These tests are web browsing, video play back, writing documents and video editing.  So with all that, the battery lasted 2 hours and 46 minutes and PCMark stops the test when there is 15% battery left, so it could have easily hit 3 hours.  The 3,600mAH battery kills it a bit.

During the test where I was using the projector, this was all done without charging the battery and I was working on the tablet for an hour or two trying to figure out an issue with Netflix.  It looks like Netflix will no longer allow screencasting from tablets.  It’s worked before, so there must have been some sort of update that broke that, it didn’t even work on my phone.  Aside from that, I ran a few other tests to show you some more features.

On that video I showed you how loud the speaker is, yes, it’s a mono speaker.  For a mono speaker it is not too bad, but I also show you how it connects to my HAVIT HV-SK466BT Bluetooth speaker system, sounds good doesn’t it?  One of the other features this tablet has is an FM Radio, a real FM Radio and the antenna is a 3.5mm connection, like that of a set of headphones or a cable like I used to connect the tablet to the Bluetooth speaker, you can even record from the FM Radio.

Half way though the video I play PokeMon XY and Young Justice through NetFlix to show you the video quality.  The display is 1280×800, so it’s not amazing but it is decent for what it’s worth.

Also, I wanted to show you the stand I used during the video’s, it’s a very affordable stand and pretty nice too.  It does not come with the tablet but I wanted to show it to you.

To show off the camera, I run Skype and have a chat with my son, Turns out I had the video on High, there is a low setting I found afterwards and it does video calling very smooth.

Talking about the camera’s, check out how the rear camera takes pics.

And this is how it looks like with the front camera, the one that usually faces you while you are using it.

Its winter, so I had no flowers blooming and I wanted something to show off some vibrant colors, had to stop into a Lowes to grab these pics, not bad for a 2Megapixel camera right?

In mentioning the camera, I was reminded of the case.

The Fintie Dragon Touch M8 Folio case and I know what you are thinking, the tablet is not an M8… but it has the same basic design as the M8.  At the moment Tablet Express does not have a case for the S8 but in the meantime this case does pretty well.  The downside though is the fact that the camera holes do not properly align, so if you wanted to take a picture you would need to remove the tablet, snap a pic and put it back.  Not an ideal situation, but a much better situation that having a broken tablet or scratching your screen.  To ease the pain a bit, the case also doubles as a stand.

It does not come with the case, but it is a good add on and it relatively inexpensive.  You can wait till Tablet Express, Fintie or the likes creates a case… just tread lightly with the tablet.

The tablet comes installed with Android 5.1.1 sadly not Marshmallow yet, but Tablet Express states that they will release the update soon and when that is released I will create another video showing you guys how to update this tablet.

While we are on the topic of Android 5.1, sadly as well KingoRoot, one of the easier rooting pieces of software will not root this tablet.  Looking on the website I also found that Android 5.1 is not supported though I was able to root the X10 with Android 5.1.

On the next page I will gather my thoughts on this tablet, see if you agree with me.

ContinueFinal Thoughts and Conclusions

Let’s check out the Pros and Cons to help me gather my thoughts on this.

  Pros

  • Amazingly affordable for all it includes
  • Intel processor on a budget tablet
  • Impressive storage at 16Gigs, with the ability to add more with the microSD slot.
    • Impressive because 16Gigs is a lot for a budget tablet
  • 8” display helps make it much more portable
  • FM Radio is a nice touch
  • Smoother operating OS than most Tablet Express tablets
  • Screencast is nice
  • Design does not make it look like a budget tablet
    • Does not feel like a budget tablet

Cons

  • 3 Hour battery life
  • Does not yet include Android Marshmallow (6.0)
  • 1GB RAM is just too low for higher end games
  • Mono Speaker
  • 2Mega Pixel camera

This has been the best budget tablet I have had the pleasure of reviewing.  The OS on this tablet operates so smooth comparing to any other tablet I have reviewed, no doubt due to the inclusion of the Intel processor, while only a Quad core, each core is used effectively.  I know Intel is just a name, but on a budget tablet it’s not something you would expect.

The downside is the battery life; the Dragon Touch X10 comes with an 8 core processor with a 10.6” display and it gets close to 6 hours of battery life while this only gets 3 hours with a  Quad core process and a smaller display.  This is due to the limited capacity of the 3,600mAh battery included on this tablet; I would have to say its major downfall.  If you have a trip you are going on, you can easily watch a movie or 2 with the battery or play a bunch of games to make your trip a little more manageable with the battery life, but not extended trips unless you have some way of charging it.

In this day and age when most tablets and phones are coming with Marshmallow, you would think this would also have it but it does not.  In speaking to Tablet Express they are actively working on it, QA’ing it but it doesn’t make the wait any easier.  Marshmallow on this tablet was slatted to be released this year (2016) but it does not look like that will happen and there is no OTA (Over the Air) update for it, so you will need to manually update it.  No worries though, when it is released I will release a video on how to update it for you.

Sound, it only comes with a single speaker, no stereo here.  While it is a single speaker, once you pass the 50% mark raising the volume you can begin to hear the audio and if you raise it to the max the volume is impressive for that single speaker.  I would recommend using a pair of headphones either 3.5mm or Bluetooth for audio.

Lastly and honestly not incredibly important is the fact that it has 2Mega Pixel cameras.  Most if not all phones today have at least a 10Mega Pixel camera, usually more but it seems like it costs too much to place anything higher than 2MP.  I will say though, if you have enough lighting, 2MP doesn’t look too bad if you saw the pictures I took above.

I wanted to give this tablet 5 stars, I really did because I do like it.  Due to the portability of it, it has replaced my use of the X10 but the battery life kills it for me but then there’s the price… it really is a great price.

This tablet would have been 4.5 stars if it had 2GB of RAM to make it more capable with the latest games and would have been 5 stars if it had better battery life.  Still this tablet is an excellent choice for the price.  I give the Tablet Express Dragon Touch S8 4 stars out of 5.

It does have some cons, but you have to remember that this is a budge friendly tablet.

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Iggy Castillo
I have spent many years in the PC boutique name space as Product Development Engineer for Alienware and later Dell through Alienware's acquisition and finally Velocity Micro. During these years I spent my time developing new configurations, products and technologies with companies such as AMD, Asus, Intel, Microsoft, NVIDIA and more. The Arts, Gaming, New & Old technologies drive my interests and passion. Now as my day job, I am an IT Manager but doing reviews on my time and my dime.
Iggy Castillo
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