Dropad A8 Review – Android Tablet from Dealextreme

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For those who want to buy a good Android tablet, the Dropad A8 is a good one (also know as A8i) and can be purchased at DealExtreme. It comes with Android 2.2, but it possible to update it to Android 2.3 (and possibly to 3.0 in future).

Regarding the hardware, it has the fast Samsung S5PV210 Cortex A8 1 Ghz as CPU (processor), 512 MB of RAM memory, a built-in 4 GB NAND FLASH to store data (~2 GB are being used by Android), 7 inch capacitive multi-touch screen (some revisions allows 3 points multi-touch), dimensions 19.5 cm x 12.3cm x 1.3 cm (7.67 in x 4.84 in x 0.51 in), 300K pixels (low quality) front camera (downside) and 802.11b/g WiFi connection (also able to use an external 3G adapter), but does not has built-in Bluetooth or GPS (continue reading this Dropad A8 review to know a workaround).

About the slots, it has:

  • 1x Micro SD/TF card slot (support up to 16GB)
  • 1x mini HDMI (output to connect it in TV's or monitors)
  • 1x mini USB OTG (for instance to connect it to computer)
  • 1x mini USB HOST (for example to plug-in an USB Bluetooth dongle, a flash drive or a keyboard)
  • 1x 3.5mm Stereo Audio output
  • 1x Power Supply (to recharge)

Besides the Android tablet Dropad A8 itself, the following items are also included in the package:

  • 1x AC power adapter (100/240V
  • US plug)
  • 1x mini USB male to USB female cable (13.5 cm or 5.31 in)
  • 1x mini USB male to USB male cable (77 cm or 30.31 in)
  • 1x earphone
  • 1x user guide

Continue reading this Dropad A8 review to know more information about this product.

Ease of Use

Like almost every Android device, the Dropad A8 has the buttons POWER, MENU, BACK (on the top) and HOME (front) to help the user to navigate through Android OS and applications (see images of them on the top of this Dropad A8 review).

Case typing messages with a screen keyboard (touch) is not practical, you can plug in the mini USB tablet slot (labeled USB Host) a regular USB keyboard (use the mini USB to USB cable). We tested an USB Hub (sku.48 - our is 1.0 when plugged in PC's) together with an USB keyboard and mouse. It works. For Bluetooth mouse, use the application "BlueInput".

On the side, at the middle of the slots, there is a lock switch that, when switched towards the TF slot, does not allow the user to turn on the tablet. Otherwise, it allows.

Some Dropad A8 owners report that the Market, the application through users can download and install another applications, does not list some applications, but you can download APK files from websites like 4Shared and install yourself.

As we already told in this review, this Android device does not has build-in Bluetooth nor GPS, but you can use Bluetooth if you plug in an USB Bluetooth dongle (like sku.6678) and use an external Bluetooth GPS (like sku.26337) with the application "Bluetooth GPS Provider" (free in the Market). However, be aware that Bluetooth dongle only works on Android 2.3 (obviously does not work Android 2.2). For more details, watch the videos on the Infinity Reviews YouTube channel (link below in this review).


For about $185, the Dropad A8 is a cheap product sold at Dealextreme (free shipping), but is a good Android tablet. Comparing it with the Samsung Galaxy Tab, both have a Cortex A8 as CPU (processor) and 7 inch of screen, two important aspects. However, regarding the price, and considering the current economy (Brazil), the Samsung Galaxy Tab is 4 (four) times more expensive than the Dropad A8. That difference probably will be different in other locations.

Anyway, if you don't want to spend much money acquiring a good Android tablet, the Dropad A8 is a great candidate.

Build Quality

Besides the front camera, another downside of the Dropad A8 is that it is a little heavy (570 grams or 20.11 oz), which might be a little uncomfortable if you intend to use it for several hours. Maybe a stand holder (like sku.70974) can help in some occasions. Other bad thing is that the Dropad A8 gets a little warm, so do not overdo it.

The tablet has a good capacitive screen and comes with a screen protector, but we recommend that you buy a soft protective pouch like sku.31519 to avoid scratches and dust. It is not cool, but it is useful.

Regarding the software, specifically about the Android OS, there are some bugs in the factory default Android 2.2 and also in some others official firmwares. To know what are the bugs, we recommend that you read the topics on the product page at Dealextreme. Some users share their experiences with some firmwares, including how to upgrade the device (currently we are using the firmware 20110531). If your tablet stopped working after an unsuccessful attempt to update firmware, read this topic explaining how to revive a "dead" Dropad A8.

In the product page, there is an user (Elmarg) saying that after three months his tablet stopped working properly and he got a RMA (send back the defective and receive it repaired or a new one). According to that page, the manufacturer offers one year warranty (read about the coverage) and the Dealextreme's office may help forwarding the defective item to the manufacturer. So, if you experience some serious problem with your tablet, request a RMA to Dealextreme.


As you probably know, there are a lot of applications you can install and use in your Dropad A8 tablet. Just for curiosity, below are some information about some useful applications (that we tested) grouped by profiles (general purpose of use).

I. For Gamers

- 2D and 3D Android games are working great without lags (Dropad A8 has a fast CPU).

- There are a lot of video game emulators in the Market (and Internet) such as Nintendo 64, Super Nintendo, Mega Drive, GBA and Nes. As we tested too little games, we don't know which ones are working properly (without bugs), but we recommend that you search such information on the product forum (link below in this review).

- If you are planing to play more seriously you might want to use a real Wiimote on the video game emulators (see our YouTube channel for more detail).

- Some firmwares have a bug in the gravity sensor that makes some games unplayable, like Doodle Jump. Stay tuned the new official firmwares.

- This Android tablet doesn't have the Nvidia Tegra II chip (GPU), which means games needing it (Samurai Vengeance II for instance) won't work. Maybe the application Chainfire3D can be a workaround (we didn't tested it, so be careful!).

II. For Internet Browsing

- For Internet browsing, there are two goods free applications in the Market, "Miren Browser" and "Dolphin Browser HD".

- Flash Player 10.3 is working well for video playback (for example YouTube) and flash gaming (for instance Kongregate).

III. For Social Networking

- A good audio and video calls application is "Fring", but do not expect too much of the Dropad A8's bad camera. Skype also works (tested version, but it doesn't have video calls yet.

- Facebook, Twitter and Talk are working well on this tablet.

IV. For Video Playback

- A great video player that we recommend is the mVideoPlayer (tested version 2.9.1). It has a good playback performance (AVI/MP4/FLV/RMVB/MKV) and supports external subtitles, including files with accented characters (auto detect ANSI and UTF-8).

- We tested a 720p video (MP4 file extension, AVC/H264 codec and variable bitrate 5.7-12.6 Mbps) on mVideoPlayer and it ran smoothly (without lags).

- We tested two 1080p videos:

  • a MP4 extension (AVC/H264 codec, 23.976 fps, 1920x816 and variable bitrate 8-22.4 Mbps)
  • a MKV extension (V_MPEG4/ISO/AVC codec, 23.976 fps, 1920x1080 and bitrate 12.1 Mbps)

The MP4 file ran with few lags and the MKV file ran with many lags. If you intend to play 1080p videos on the Dropad A8, which may be a waste of battery because there isn't too much difference between 720p and 1080p running at 800x480, then pay attention to the codec and bitrate of your video file (use FormatFactory to see such information).

V. For Navigation

- Before using a navigation application, remember that, to use GPS on the Dropad A8, you need Android 2.3, an USB Bluetooth dongle, an external Bluetooth GPS (like sku.26337) and the application "Bluetooth GPS Provider". We didn't know if USB GPS's are working with Dropad A8.

- A good GPS navigation application that is working with Dropad A8 is the "iGO" (tested version Other applications that are working with external Bluetooth GPS's, however with less features than "iGO" are "Google Maps" and "Locus" (there is a free version in the Market).

VI. For Developers

- Instead of debug applications on Android emulator, developers can debug them directly on the Dropad A8. That can be very useful, for example, if you are developing an application that requires good performance of the system, otherwise the user's usability will be compromised (such as games). The "Device ID" ("ADK Manager" on Eclipse) value is "0123456789ABCDEF".

- This device has 200 dpi of screen density (hdpi) and a "large" screen (according to Android developer guide).

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Dropad A8 AnTuTu Benchmark score 3040
Report generated by the Android application "AnTuTu Benchmark" (version 2.1) - Dropad A8 score is 3040

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1 comment:

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