The Dragon Touch Notepad 102 is a well-rounded budget tablet that has proven to be a solid performer. We'll be diving into the unboxing experience along with its strengths and shortfalls.
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Key Technical Specifications
1.6 GHz Octa-Core
Up to 128 GB
10.1" HD (1280x800)
Unlike any flagship tablets, we're not seeing a Snapdragon or other branded processor. I still consider the technical specifications quite standard for a budget tablet. We're seeing mid-range specs along with a sufficiently large battery to deliver all day usage. The battery tests, which will come later on, are what I'm especially excited about.
This is clean. While there were a few blemishes on the outside, the tablet was not affected at all during transit. The tablet is neatly packed into a rather slim box, which we'll be able to take a look below.
The tablet sits on top. Underneath, the instructions manual and warranty slip rest under a groove to produce a relatively flat surface for the tablet. I'm glad to see that Dragon Touch included a power adapter along with a USB-C charging cable. I ended up using my Samsung power adapter for its fast charging capabilities as this process does take a while given the 6,000 mAh battery.
Manual and Warranty
If you've ever owned an Android device, then you likely won't need to review the user manual. The setup process is very straightforward as the Android operating system will guide you through the various security settings and user profile configurations that must be completed.
This tablet only has three buttons; one for power and two for volume controls. While I highly doubt the user manual is necessary, it is a nice to have if you do happen to need to reference it.
As for the warranty, I'm glad to see that Dragon Touch is not abiding to the standard one-year norm. A two-year warranty is offered provided that you register your device in a timely manner. Since I haven't encountered any issues, I am unable to comment on their warranty procedure. Regardless, I'm glad to see that a two-year warranty is offered by default rather than a pay scheme for extended warranty.
The construction of the tablet was rather surprising when I first unboxed it. The bezels surrounding the screen is plastic, but the back consists of a brushed aluminum panel. It definitely feels nice in the hand, but there is a noticeable transition at the sides where the aluminum back clicks into the plastic front.
Taking a closer look at the bottom, this is where it gets a little confusing. While I would've liked to see front facing speakers, the volume sacrifice with the bottom placement is minimal.
The center bottom features a set of connector pins. Dragon Touch states that this is to connect a detachable keyboard. My confusion is that I don't see any keyboards listed on their website, which I can only assume will be released later on. For the time being, I won't be able take advantage of the connector pins as there are literally no accessories available.
Since I don't plan to use this tablet as a substitute for my laptop, the lack of a keyboard accessory isn't a dealbreaker.
Assuming that the tablet is held horizontally, the power button and volume rockers are positioned on the top left side. I actually like this and think that this is well-thought out. When I hold the tablet, it's highly unlikely for my left hand to hit any of the buttons.
If I were to hold the tablet vertically, there would be a clockwise rotation. As a result, the buttons would be facing upwards.
Thankfully, the earphone jack is included. Due to its placement on the top left corner, I found that I either need to hold the tablet slightly closer to me or use a longer cord. Otherwise, there won't be any slack with my standard length earbuds.
Can you play videos in HD? Yes, it's possible. However, it is noticeable that the image quality just can't compare with a flagship that costs a few hundred dollars more.
Since this is a budget tablet, I'd say the display quality is acceptable, especially when the benefits trickle over to the battery life.
To test out the performance, specifically the battery life, I largely focused on my personal usage. While this tablet handles basic tasks such as checking emails or web browsing with ease, I wanted to focus on what exactly I would be doing with a portable device that's equipped with a larger screen. If I really wanted, web browsing and checking emails can easily be performed on my phone.
The question remains, what exactly do I use this tablet for? For me, it's primarily watching videos - streaming and playing local content. I purchased a Samsung EVO Plus 128 GB microSD card and inserted it into this tablet. After copying over a TV series that I have yet to catch up on, my real-usage testing can begin.
Battery: Local Video Playback
Over on Dragon Touch's website, they state that video playback is only 5 hours. I was blown away by the fact that the tablet actually doubled that estimate. I gave the tablet a full charge and then started playing through the video files copied to my microSD card.
The screen's brightness was set at about 75% and speaker volume at 80%. While I don't have the exact numbers in nits and decibels, I would say that both were set at a comfortable level. If you prefer to have the brightness or volume set even higher, then you'll definitely notice a shorter battery life.
After using this tablet from a full charge down to 15%, the performance drastically exceeded my expectations. As shown in the battery stats, I was able to play 13 hours and 45 minutes of videos via the VLC Player in one single charge. You'll notice that this playback didn't occur over the course of one day. I would also like to note that I didn't go out of my way to save battery. I didn't turn on airplane mode, which would've conserved a bit more power due to the lack of WiFi connectivity.
The standby battery drain overnight was minimal, which was slightly surprising as none of my other Android devices came close to matching this. My guess is that there isn't any bloatware on this tablet. You are getting stock Android with just the Google apps installed.
If continuous video playback isn't your objective, then I dare say that you can easily achieve two-day battery life with this tablet. Based on the video playback performance, this tablet is an easy choice to pass the time on the plane or a long car ride.
It's evident that the battery life takes a hit when it comes to streaming. However, my usage still far exceeded the five hour video playback time that Dragon Touch quoted.
If you take a look at the battery graph, this did take over a day to complete. The overnight standby time still resulted with minimal battery drain, which is a good sign.
For this streaming test, I essentially went through the new unwatched videos in my subscription on YouTube. From a full charge down to 15% battery, I was able to get a full nine hours of video playback over WiFi. I do believe that this was partially contributed by the bigger internal battery along with just an HD display.
Regardless, this is still very impressive in my opinion as it strengthens my confidence that this tablet will definitely last a whole day on a single charge without any issues. For both these video playback tests, I relied on the tablet's speakers and it still managed to last over a day.
The Dragon Touch Notepad 102 is a solid contender if you're looking to acquire tablet at an affordable price. It won't have the bells and whistles to match that of a Galaxy Tab S7, but it performs well in its own way.
This tablet gets the job done for basic usages whether they may be web browsing, media playback, or checking emails. For more graphics intensive tasks, you'll definitely notice it struggling. This especially pertains to action and racing games. I tested this briefly and knew right away that I just didn't want to continue with it. The same applies for any artistic tasks that utilize a stylus or pen. I would recommend going for a higher pixel density display.
If battery life is a concern, then you definitely can't go wrong getting the Notepad 102. Through my real usage testing, I'm confident that it will last a full day with heavy use. When I was playing back video files, a single charge lasted me two days easily.
On a final note, you currently cannot take advantage of the connector pins. However, I expect to see a keyboard being offered at a later time to further enhance your productivity. My final advice is to acquire a microSD card and expand the storage. After doing so, it has put my mind at ease since Android 10 takes up about half of the 32 GB internal storage.
Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on January 02, 2021: