Review Prestigio MultiPad PMP5080B Tablet/MID
In the meantime, cheap Android tablets from the Far East for up to 250€ are found dimes a dozen. The low-cost tablets hardly differ at first glance in both technical data and looks. Recently, devices with a dual core processor, such as the Tegra 2, are causing even more confusion on the entry-level tablet market. However, as proven time and again in tests, low-end price range tablets with a dual core SoC aren't a guarantee for comfortable working with the slim devices. It's becoming increasingly difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff in the vast range of low budget tablets.
Apart from the known, big manufacturers, only few brands like Archos or the branch Arnova, who has specialized in very low-priced devices, have accomplished building up a large fan community with a series of solid devices and good service, including regular firmware updates until now. Now, the electronic brand, Prestigio, still rather unknown in Germany, makes an attempt at conquering the hearts of customers. In contrast, the brand Prestigio is a big-wig in Eastern Europe. For example, Prestigio is the market leader in navigation systems in Russia.
The company Prestigio launches a very price attractive 8 inch tablet based on Android 2.3 Gingerbread with a weight of about 510 grams called Multipad PMP5080B for under 200€ onto the market. We also snatched the interesting Prestigio Tablet Multipad PMP5080B because it has the ARM Cortex A8 based system-on-a-chip (SoC) RK2918 from the company Rockchip.
The Rockchip RK2918 is a single-core processor, but the ARM fan base almost ascribes magical abilities to the fingernail-sized application processor in terms of Full HD video playback. Thus, the Rockchip RK2918 can allegedly decode HD videos up to 1080p with 60 frames/s from the hardware-side and is thus also to be apt as a Full HD player for the HD TV set. That sounds exciting and that's why we snatched the Prestige Multipad PMP5080B and tested it extensively.
Already the first contact with the Prestigio Tablet feels good. The fingers feel a soft and rubberized surface when holding the 203.1 x 153.4 x 11.2 millimeter and approx. 490 gram Prestigio Multipad PMP5080B. That feels good and the tablet doesn't slip out of the hand very quickly. Overall, the tablet PC, Prestigio Multipad PMP5080B, makes a very solid-manufactured impression and is well-balanced in the hand in both landscape and profile mode.
Our 8 inch tablet test candidate doesn't show any manufacturing flaws. The gaps on the front, between the virtually frame-less screen and case, are narrow all over. The tablet's flipside looks like it's been made from one piece. Apart from the openings for "reset", both loudspeakers and the microSD card slot, there are no further maintenance covers or flaps here.
When the Prestigio Multipad PMP5080B is held in landscape mode, then the buttons for volume "Vol+" and "Vol-" are found on the left. The buttons regulate or disable the internal speakers located on the flipside's top and bottom. The power button, for turning the Multipad PMP5080B tablet PC on and off, is located above both volume buttons.
The Multipad PMP5080B's right has quite a few more interfaces on the right. Thus, the 4 sensor buttons for "ESC - return to previous page", "menu - show menu options", "start - home screen" and "search - go to Google search homepage" are on the front. The keys aren't illuminated and therefore the occasional typo can happen in dimmed rooms until the user has accommodated. The built-in 2 megapixel camera is hidden in the right upper corner on the tablet's front.
The socket for the power adapter, a mini HDMI video out, the opening for the built-in microphone, the miniUSB 2.0 port (host) and a jack for head or microphone is on the Multipad PMP5080B tablet's right side. The interfaces are unprotected, the Multipad PMP5080B from Prestigio doesn't have any covers or caps for the ports.
Prestigio's Multipad PMP5080B has the mandatory "reset" hole that restores the tablet to state of delivery when nothing is working properly or when the screen freezes on the flipside's bottom right. The user can also use the slot for microSD cards with a capacity of up to 32 GB in its vicinity. The card reader's cover can easily be pushed back and forth without much fiddling.
In addition to USB and HDMI connections, the Prestigio Multipad PMP5080B bids wireless communication via WLAN 802.11 b/g/n for connecting to peripherals and the world, as well as data sharing. The wifi connection worked very well with WPA2 and AES and without delay in the test in the editorial offices. After entering the required data, the WLAN network was available within seconds. The data connection was stable and excelled with a very good reception. Wifi accessed public hotspots perfectly even on the go in various cities.
On the other hand, the Multipad PMP5080B doesn't have Bluetooth and fast mobile radio via UMTS/HSDPA for Internet access on the go. In return, Prestigio's PMP5080B has a basic webcam with 2 megapixels (1600x1200 pixels) for video chats and telephony. The camera's picture quality is rather modest though.
Prestigio has not set up access via SMB network shares and UPnP media server for the Multipad PMP5080B ex-factory. For example, the Archos tablets only need a tap of a finger on the file icon to access external memories/UPnP and other computers or to share streams, pictures, music and videos in the network (SMB) fast and directly via WLAN. But the user either has to remedy this with a USB cable or set up the functionality accordingly in the Multipad PMP5080B.
A mini HDMI adapter or a corresponding HDMI cable (mini HDMI C-connector to HDMI socket) is required for using the Prestigio Multipad PMP5080B as a video player for the TV. Once it's plugged in, the resolution of up to 1920x1080p (50 or 60 Hz) can be selected in the tablet's control menu under "HDMI mode". Our Full HD TV detected the HDMI connection to the tablet without delay and the Multipad PMP5080B's menu appeared on the TV right away. The tablet screen is however turned off in TV mode. Inputs on the dark touchscreen become a guessing game.
The Prestigio Multipad PMP5080B is delivered in an attractive packaging. The device's box is supposed to imply fast insides with its red bottom part and the box lid in carbon design. The first thing that is noticed during unboxing is the black leather cover for the tablet. It has a soft and high-quality feel. The red stitching and the slightly roughened inner lining as well as the Prestigio coat of arms look more like a special edition from a designer device than a low-cost, 200€ tablet.
Apart from that, the Prestigio Multipad PMP5080B is naturally found inside the intricate box as well as the usual supplies such as a quick start manual, the mandatory safety advisories, a USB cable and a 5 volt power supply with 2 amperes. The manufacturers usually don't include a HDMI cable for the tablet in this price range and it doesn't belong to the Prestigio Multipad PMP5080B's scope of delivery either. A digital user's manual is installed on the tablet. Prestigio grants a 2 year warranty on its Multipad PMP5080B.
The Prestigio Multipad PMP5080B accepts inputs, such as rotate, zoom in and out, browse via the capacitive and quick responding 8" multi-touchscreen. Elements on the user interface, like files and apps and the corresponding icons and symbols can be opened or moved with a finger tap. Writing on the Multipad PMP5080B tablet is accomplished over a virtual QWERTY keyboard.
The virtual keyboard fades in automatically in browser, email or office document text fields. A pressure point, respectively haptical feedback by means of vibration for example, is hardly found in tablets until now. The PMP5080B isn't an exception. Nevertheless, we manage quite well after a short accommodation period in the test and even typing somewhat longer texts is comparatively easy.
The positive overall impression of the keyboard is especially due to the very agile working touchscreen of the PMP5080B. It responds very fast to all kinds of finger acrobatics. Inputs like browsing, scrolling and zooming are implemented quickly and without noticeable delay. We were often surprised that the PMP5080B really responded very fast in our tests and that it was possible to work comfortably and smoothly with the Gingerbread tablet.
The PMP5080B uses the Freescale MMA8451Q (accelerometer, G sensor) and the Asahi Kasei AK8973 as an electronic compass (3 axes) as sensors. Thus, the tablet, respectively the user is always in control even when the crash barrier comes dangerously close in a curve drift during a game of Raging Thunder. Moreover, the Multipad PMP5080B quickly detects the direction of the tablet. No matter if in profile or landscape mode, the Multipad rotates the content accordingly and swiftly into the right display position.
Prestigio's Multipad PMP5080B incorporates a glossy 8 inch display with a native resolution of 800x600 pixels in the still popular because compact 4:3 format. Even Apple's tablet, iPad, still uses the 4:3 aspect ratio. Although this conjures a thicker black bar on the screen when looking at multimedia contents, such as new HD movies in wide screen format (16:9), many users find the "picture frame format" for looking at and reading e-books, e-papers and documents more comfortable.
The Prestigio Multipad PMP5080B has to show how bright its screen is on the precision measuring unit and professional luminance measuring system, Mavo Monitor USB in the measuring lab. We determine a maximum rate of 200 cd/m2 in the lower left and 181.2 cd/m2 in the center screen with our 9 zone luminance measurement. The Multipad PMP5080B's brightness was turned up to full. We measure a black value of 0.35 cd/m2 in the lower center. The LCD's center shows 0.43 cd/m2. This results in a contrast of 421:1 in the crucial screen center for the Multipad PMP5080B - a very good rate for this price-performance range. The PMP5080B need not hide behind higher-priced tablets.
In terms of maximum screen brightness, the Prestigio Multipad PMP5080B is in the midfield of entry level tablets. While the upper range radiate strongly with the iPad 2 and a maximum of 368 cd/m2 and the Motorola Xoom with 304 cd/m2, the PMP5080B has to accept about 100 cd/m2 less. The brightness difference between the Motorola Xoom and the PMP5080B is very obvious in a direct view comparison indoors. This difference lessens outdoors because both tablets are simply extremely reflective. The Xoom again becomes more comfortable to read in the shade.
The Multipad PMP5080B doesn't manage any miracles in terms of viewing angles either. While expensive IPS screens with wide viewing angles can be read well up to very well from every position, the low-end TN screens quickly fade and only little can be recognized remote from the ideal position. When looking directly onto the PMP5080B's display, crisp colors and a good contrast make it fun to look at pictures and videos.
So, it's basically possible to easily accept the PMP5080B's screen in view of this price-performance range. Nothing better can be found among the competition in this device category either. The Prestigio Multipad PMP5080B easily pockets previously tested tablets, such as the Archos 101 IT and Viewsonic ViewPad 10s, with a contrast of 421:1, for example.
The Multipad PMP5080B calculates with a very interesting application processor or so-called system-on-a-chip (SoC) from the Chinese manufacturer, Fuzhou Rockchip Electronics Co. Ltd. The PMP5080B is based on a single core RK2918 from Rockchip instead of one of the popular dual core SoCs, OMAP4 from TI or Tegra 2 from Nvidia. In keeping with the motto: It doesn't always have to be a dual core, the RK2918 exploits the potential of the Android Gingerbread 2.3 in the test. The tablet runs very stably and quickly in the test. Here are the details:
The Rockchip RK 2918 is manufactured by TSMC in a 55 nm process. It incorporates a Vivante graphics processor IP, model GC800, as a 3D/2D GPU in addition to an ARM Cortex A8 CPU core with a NEON SIMD engine and a clock rate of up to 1.2 GHz (PMP5080B 1 GHz), 512 KB L2 cache. The graphics unit also bids hardware acceleration for Adobe Flash Player 10.1. The Rockchip RK 2918 however integrates hardware based 1080p HD decoding from Google's Open Source VP8 Videocodec as a feature. The codec VP8 is used by the open WebM video format. WebM Projects is also the provider of the G Series 1 Video Decoder IP Design that Rockchip uses in its RK2918.
That sounds exciting because WebM Projects' Video Decoder Hardware IP G Series 1 allegedly manages with a clock frequency of less than 100 MHz and is nevertheless able to decode a 1080p video with 30 frames/s. The G Series 1 manages a maximum of up to 60 frames/s according to WebM Projects. The G Series 1 also supports unlimited multi channel decoding, which should enable a simultaneous playback of up to 10 SD video streams on one chip. And all that at a very low power consumption of less than 50 milliwatts in HD video decoding and less than 10 milliwatts in SD videos. We'd like to take a closer look at that.
The Multipad only has an internal memory capacity of 512 MB RAM and a very tight 4 GB internal flash memory. High definition pictures of the last vacation, the MP3 music collection and video clips and movies let the Multipad PMP5080B's memory capacity dwindle very quickly. The memory configuration of the PMP5080B is scanty, but manufacturers have to save somewhere in this category. At least it's possible to expand the memory up to 32 GB with a microSD / microSDHC card, which is now available at a very affordable price.
Synthetic benchmarks are a tricky thing. And even more so for Android. The current situation among the benchmarks for Android allows everything but reliable and actually reproducible results among the various devices and OS versions. This is because of the partly very high dispersion of results, different optimizations, etc. Nevertheless, we sent the Multipad PMP5080B from Prestigio through the "standard" test programs that are also currently used by other publishers. However, we ran every test several times and considered the dispersion.
It quickly becomes obvious: The Rockchip RK2918 can't keep up with Tegra 2 tablets in the standard benchmarks in terms of overall performance. Tablets with a dual core SoC, such as the Tegra 2, however are also usually in a different price range. There are only few exceptions. The Prestigio Multipad PMP5080B still managed to reach 30410 points in Rightware Browsermark and, for example, leaves the Creative Ziio with a ZMS-08 behind. It nevertheless lags behind the Tegras. The PMP5080B with the RK2918 from Rockchip achieves 181 points in Google's V8 Benchmark Suite Version 6 and manages to put Ziio and Archos 101 IT, with OMAP3630 in the shade.
The PMP5080B counters the Creative Ziio and the Archos 101 IT with 14600 MFLOPs in Linpack for Android. According to the Quadrant Bench scores, the Multipad has to let the ZMS-08 pass by due to 1562 points but the Archos stays in the back with 1464 points. The Smartbench 2011 result is interesting. While the Multipad PMP5080B can keep up with the Archos 101 IT (745) and Creative Ziio (661) in the Productivity Index, the RK 2918 is clearly defeated in the Game Index with 598 points. Both other tablets accomplish 1143 with OMAP3630, respectively 643 with ZMS-08. Apparently, the Vivante GPU GC800 of the RK2918 doesn't compute as good as the PowerVR SGX 530 of the TI.
Thus, the Rockchip RK2918 presented a solid performance on a par with comparable SoCs like the OMAP3630 from TI in the benchmarks - but not more. In return, the RK2918 occasionally is even defeated in 3D and 2D performance.
Operating system (OS) and Apps
Unlike many other tablets in this price range, the Prestigio Multipad PMP5080B doesn't use Google's OS, Android version 2.1 or 2.2. It rather more already uses the Android Gingerbread version 2.3.1, including access to Google's Android market where now more than 500000 apps are available for Android devices.
Android 2.3 Gingerbread supports the WebM video container format and integrates a SIP client for VoIP, among other things. The Multipad PMP5080B noticeably benefits from this when playing Full HD videos, for example, because the Prestigio tablet computes with the RK2918 application processor from Rockchip. More about that in the section "Performance" in the course of the review. Flash contents: The PMP5080B also supports Adobe Flash 10.1.
Prestigio has developed its own, well-designed user interface (UI) for the apps and desktop of the 8 inch Android Multipad PMP5080B tablet. What may appear to be an old hat for hardcore Android geeks, enables Windows newcomers to immediately find their way around on the tablet intuitively. Thus, 20 icons are arranged in the Prestigio logo design on the tablet's home screen and allow the user to access and execute everything that may be needed quickly, in a clearly arranged 2 level navigation.
Thanks to the simple navigation with grouping in main categories, e.g. "Life", "Business" and "Entertainment", even the inexperienced user will easily find the digital "guide", the email program, the calendar, the camera menu or just the game section. Moreover, the user stays informed about all status updates, such as the latest news, weather and time via Prestigio's RSS widget.
In addition to the native apps for Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, our PMP5080B also has apps for conveniently downloading and reading e-books, apps for e-shopping, financial experts, Google Finance, Mail and Maps, contact management and personal organizers, games like Raging Thunder Lite and Angry Birds, a translator, and a weather app, but also a player for music and video on the tablet memory. Documents from Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, as well as PDF files can be edited with the installed version of OfficeSuite Professional Edition 3.0 from Mobile Systems.
Actually, this should be the Rockchip RK2918's big moment and consequently also that of the Prestigio Multipad PMP5080B. The PMP5080B can allegedly manage AVI, 3GP, MP4, RM, RMVB, FLV, MKV, MOV up to 1080p and also render Full HD movies smoothly. And the PMP5080B is also supposed to be able to play flash contents in HD and YouTube clips without stuttering. We will check that.
We start our practical video performance test with the websites of ARD and ZDF. They are stuffed with animated elements and therefore we first torture the Multipad PMP5080B with the websites of the German broadcasters. The websites need a bit of time to boot, but the PMP5080B doesn't have any visible problems with displaying and rendering all web elements. The PMP5080B deals with both ard.de and zdf.de unhesitatingly. The next visit is made to the ARD media library, where we consume "Wildes Deutschland" (wild Germany) for a short while. No trace of video stuttering here. The PMP5080B also plays the clips smoothly in the ZDF media library - great.
Next stop: YouTube. Even YouTube clips in HD resolution aren't a problem for the PMP5080B in the test. It slowly dawns on us that the PMP5080B, and the Rockchip RK2918 inside, can now show its strengths. We dare a try with the HD clips in 1080p. Unfortunately, the Internet connection, respectively T-Online, upsets our plan because the tablet repeatedly has to wait for the data. Then, late in the night, we can record that the PMP5080B can also play 1080p clips from YouTube smoothly.
Subsequently, we fed the Prestigio Multipad PMP5080B with all kinds of movies in various resolutions and bit rates. This includes Nvidia's HD trailer for PureVideo with about 20 MB/s and a 1080p video (60 Hz) from the video camera with 25 MB/s. We didn't notice any video jerking or even stuttering during its playback on both the tablet as well as via HDMI to an external Full HD TV. Our PMP5080B did an excellent job with video playback. Merely the tablet screen's deactivation during external TV rendering via HDMI is annoying.
The Prestigio Multipad PMP5080B doesn't prove to be a full-fledged game board in the benchmarks. However, a few nice games, which should provide a pleasant pastime on trips, are included ex-factory. The pre-installed race game, Raging Thunder Lite (demo version) can be played smoothly on the Prestigio Multipad PMP5080B. However, the game belongs to the more undemanding games in terms of quality. The cult game Angry Birds, a Solitaire card collection and Free Chess are also included. But also games from Google's Android Market, such as the sci-fi shooter Star Legends or Lane Splitter, where the user races over a partly heavily frequented highway, are fun to play on the PMP5080B.
Even sensitive user ears won't be bothered while working with the Prestigio Multipad PMP5080B. No noisy and annoying fan and no hard disk noise - simply heavenly peace. The Android tablet works without a fan and therefore remains absolutely unobtrusive even in quiet surroundings.
We measure a maximum temperature of 32.9 degrees on the screen's lower right corner after one hour of full load operation in a climatic chamber kept at a constant room temperature of 23 degrees Celsius (device's front side). The average of all 9 measuring fields is only lukewarm 29.4 degrees Celsius. The maximum measured temperature on the flipside (in the according temperature field to the front with the highest temperature) is 38.2 degrees Celsius. The tablet's processor is also located here and the increased temperature is normal because of the construction. The average temperature is an inconspicuous 30.6 degrees Celsius.
Basically, it's possible to comfortably read an e-book on the Prestigio Multipad PMP5080B without scorching the fingers or the lap even on longer train rides. The tablet doesn't show any abnormalities or even negative outliers while determining emissions in the test laboratory. The power supply's temperature also is absolutely acceptable with a maximum of 35 degrees - very good.
(+) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 32.9 °C / 91 F, compared to the average of 34.6 °C / 94 F, ranging from 22.2 to 53.2 °C for the class Tablet.
(+) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 38.2 °C / 101 F, compared to the average of 34.1 °C / 93 F
Prestigio builds in two little speakers on the flipside of the Multipad PMP5080B for listening to music. As common in this device category, the built-in transducers aren't able to supply more than a solid, basic sound without differentiation. Hardly any mids, slightly tinny and without any real bass - the PMP5080B doesn't sound better than the tablets from the competition located in this price range. The user should use a headphone, which can be connected to the side via a 3.5 mm audio jack. The music from the headphone jack sounds good with our high-quality in-ear headphone from the company Bose in our ears.
Prestigio states a maximum battery life of 4 hours for video playback with the lithium polymer battery with a capacity of 5400 mAh used in its Multipad PMP5080B. The tablet is to last for about 6 hours when the user uses the PMP5080B as a music player to listen to favorite tracks. As we found out in several test runs, Prestigio makes pretty exaggerated understatements in terms of the PMP5080B's battery life. The PMP5080B runs a lot longer in battery mode than Prestigio's specifications would indicate in the test. But one thing after the other.
In the performance measurements, we determine the Rockchip RK2918's maximum power consumption to be about 400 mW under full load in the synthetic benchmarks. In return, the Rockchip RK2918 SoC settles to about 200 mW in more realistic operating load, such as video playback. But, depending on the used video codec and frame rate, this can also vary strongly in either direction (see screenshots).
|Off / Standby||0 / 0.1 Watt|
|Idle|| 0 / 0 / 0 Watt|
Key: min: , med: , max: Energycheck 3000
The Multipad PMP5080B's screen consumes between approx. 500 and 900 mW depending on the brightness level. The tablet screen's power consumption is about 730 mW in medium brightness. However, the measured rates have to be taken with a pinch of salt as the other practical battery life tests show. None of the single results can be seen as an effective value. The representation in the chart is fairly "rough" excerpts with quite long intervals.
Measuring results: The Multipad PMP5080B always needs about 6 hours to charge the big 5400 mAh battery. The Multipad PMP5080B lasted for an average of 9 hours and 30 minutes in three runs in idle mode and active (!) WLAN connection (about 568 mW). The PMP5080B achieves 9 hours and 15 minutes when rendering an SD video clip. The PMP5080B can play a video loop from the ARD media library for almost 6 hours (5:55).
Prestigio delivers a solid presentation in the low-cost Internet and multimedia range with its Gingerbread tablet PC, Multipad PMP5080B. With a battery life of up to 9.5 hours, a throughout smooth operation, a smooth playback of Full HD videos and crisp colors with high contrast, the Multipad PMP5080B is recommendable as a multimedia all-round tablet at an attractive price-performance ratio.
The Multipad PMP5080B quickly finds fans in the test. The tablet is comfortable to hold, working with the UI designed by Prestigio is easy thanks to a responsive touchscreen and simple navigation. Accessing Google's Android market and the pre-installed apps are a delight - the Multipad PMP5080B is a welcome computing companion.
However, the user will always have to find an alternative for checking emails or social networking news, for example, via a hotspot / WLAN access, smartphone tethering or a portable WLAN hotspot router, because the tablet doesn't support UMTS. The low basic brightness and the extreme viewing angle dependency, the RK2918 processor's meager 3D performance in games and the tablet's low memory configuration are things that we find disagreeable in the PMP5080B.
If the tablet-optimized Android 3.x Honeycomb, a dual core processor, fast Internet access via 3G/UMTS and the latest Honeycomb apps aren't a must-have, the Multipad PMP5080B is an affordable entry model at a current price of 199€.