Maylong M150 Universe Tablet PC Review

I’ve been searching for a replacement for my Palm T/X  now that Palm has abandoned its users.  Although the iPod Touch seemed to be the choice, I refused to get sucked in by the Apple hype machine, so when I discovered an Android tablet for less than $100, I bit.  The Maylong M150 seemed to give me everything I wanted and more.  It’s available exclusively at Walgreens.com.  Did I get suckered?

The features:

  • Google Android Operating System
  • 7 inches LCD color touch-screen
  • Full Internet browsing capability
  • Experience YouTube at your fingertips
  • Pre-loaded e-Book reader
  • Built-in digital picture viewer application with all features of a Digital Picture Frame
  • Easy access to emails
  • Included digital music, video player
  • Download and install custom AndroidApplications,including Facebook, games and more.

The Specs:

CPU ARM9 533MHz
Memory RAM 256MB DDR
Flash 2GB Built-in Flash Drive
Display Touch Panel 7″ TFT LCD
Resolution 800 X 480 Pixels
WIFI 802.11b/g
Camera 0.3M Pixel
Input/Output Touch Panel Resistive type touch panel
Speaker Two built-in loud speakers 1W
SD/MMC Micro card slot
Network/USB Dongle for RJ-45 network and USB connection
Buttons/Switches Power On/Off, Speakers volume Up/Down
Battery Built-in Li-Polymer battery with stand-by time of 2-3 hours
AC Charger Input DC 100-240V AC
Output DC 9V DC
Physical Characteristics Dimension 7.5″ X 4.6″ X 0.3″
Weight 13.5 OZ
Environment Conditions Temperature Operation 0-50 C
Storage -10-60 C
Humidity Operation 0-90%, Non-Condensed
Storage 0-90%, Non-Condensed

Here’s what you get:

  • Tablet device with 7-inch color touch screen
  • Stylus
  • AC Adapter
  • Network/USB dongle
  • User’s manual

There aren’t too many mechanical buttons to play with.

On the right side you have, from left to right, a micro SD slot, the dongle connector, earphone jack and power jack.  The speakers are on the extreme left and right.

On the top are menu button, volume control and the microphone.

On the left side is the power toggle.

To my eyes the device is solidly built.  The touch screen is resistive, better suited to a stylus than a finger.  This didn’t bother me considering the price and because I was used to using a stylus with the Palm.  Although a stylus is provided, there is no holder in the M150.

After charging the unit up for several hours I hit the power button and waited…and waited…and waited.  After watching the Android character dance around for what seemed like 5 minutes, I got the home screen.

There didn’t seem to be too much there, so I grabbed the manual to get myself oriented.  Truthfully, the manual is marginally useful.  It does define most of the icons, but doesn’t even acknowledge things like the camera.  Being moderately geeky, I did enjoy exploring the product’s capability, however, I’m not sure most people would.

I accidentially tapped a lightly visible arrow on the main screen and wound up with another display of icons.   The first one I tapped was for the Wi-Fi settings, so I could get online.  It was easy to setup.  It found my home network without problem and after inputting my key, I was ready to go online, so I fired up the browser.

After a long while, the page rendered well and there are options to zoom in and out.  Also, the M150 has a sensor that automatically changes the screen orientation, albeit very slowly, when you turn the unit from landscape to portrait.  To actually read multiple pages on the web, you need to have patience, because this device is slow.  I was getting frustrated with the sluggishness of the M150 surfing the net, so I went on to discover other features.

I wanted to see if I could speed up the device if I plugged into the net via cable, so I hooked up the supplied dongle, only to discover it didn’t work.  It was not recognized by the unit so I would not have ethernet cable access, nor could I use the 2 USB ports on the dongle.

Every time I turned on the unit it complained that the SD card was dismounted, which was interesting because there wasn’t one installed.  I bought a micro SD card to plug in and the unit stopped complaining.  I needed the SD card so that I could use the MP3 and movie players on the device.

The included MP3 player has an interesting feature where it will download the lyrics to the currently playing track.  The sound from the speakers was terrible, but using a set of earphones made the quality very acceptable.

I had several avi videos I made at 480×320 resolution and put them on the SD card.  The playback was very choppy and pixelated.

Oh well, let’s move on to the camera.  I guess you shouldn’t expect too much with a .3M pixel resolution and I wasn’t disappointed.  Not only was the output grainy, it was a photo of me.  That’s because the camera is on the same side as the screen, so you can only take a picture of yourself.  I got the same results when using the video app.

I wasn’t too discouraged yet, because I bought the M150 to replicate my Palm T/X and the applications I used on the Palm were available in the Android Marketplace, so all I had to do was download them.  Was I wrong!  The Maylong M150 does NOT have access to the Google Android Marketplace.  It has its own Maylong Appmarket which lists dozens of apps that have the word girlie in them.  I did discover, after some research, that I could “side load” Android applications if I could find the apk file.  This is NOT user friendly.

I was able to download an app called APKshare, which had some interesting things, one being a Kindle reader.  The reader seemed reasonably responsive and allows one to download books from Amazon, as opposed to the supplied reader which has some propriety format.

I approached this product with some excitement, but after days of painfully slow web surfing, extremely choppy You Tube videos, poor documentation and limited application support, I came to the conclusion that at best the M150 is a mediocre ebook reader/MP3 player/electronic picture frame.  Hopefully the product’s shortcomings are not because of Android, but just poor execution by Maylong.  I’m upset with myself for forgetting that you get what you pay for.  Apple should thank Maylong.  Because of the M150, which I returned, I purchased an iPod Touch.  Yes, I have succumbed to the hype.  In the future I promise not to get my prescriptions filled at Best Buy nor will I buy technology products from Walgreens.

 

Product Information

Price:$129.99 normally, on sale now for $99
Manufacturer:Maylong
Retailer:Walgreens
Pros:
  • Easy returns at any Walgreens retail outlet
Cons:
  • Sluggish, poor documentation, obsolete Android OS 1.6, no access to Android Marketplace
Posted in: Android related, eBook Readers, Tablets, Ultra Portables

{ 17 comments… add one }

  • Ian December 16, 2010, 2:37 pm

    I am glad to know that someone other than me can make purchases that one regrets. In fairness you gave this little machine a very fair shot!
    Talking about Android/Droid etc. I was thinking of upgrading my Sprint HTC TP2 soon with a possible android phne. But I find NONE of Sprint’s Android phones are world phones!

    1
  • RainyDayInterns December 16, 2010, 3:28 pm

    Apple has set the bar incredible high in terms of performance and usability. We have been saying since the release of the iPad that no one is going to be able to catch them any time soon…especially if all they are competing on is price.

    A cheaper purchase price is soon forgotten if one has to put up with poor performance every time a device is used. We purchased a Porsche Boxster new…after 10 years of every day use, do we feel that we paid a lot for a car? Not in your life. It was the best 10 years of driving we’ve had.

    That is the way we feel with EVERY Apple product we’ve ever used.

    2
  • John December 16, 2010, 6:31 pm

    Not EVERY apple product. I bought an Shuffle and it won’t hold charge after 6 months. Overpriced POS as far as I’m concerned.

    3
  • Michael December 16, 2010, 6:54 pm

    I am concerned that all of these cheap tablets running Android 1.5 & 1.6 are going to hurt public perception of Android as a whole. There is a HUGE difference between these things and the quality Android tablets like the Galaxy Tab.

    4
  • Bob Deloyd December 16, 2010, 8:09 pm

    An ARM9 533MHz processor with 256MB of RAM should have told you right off that it’d be browser slow and YouTube would be a not!
    The iPod Touch has to small a screen for it to be useful to me :(

    5
  • David H December 16, 2010, 9:28 pm

    Thank you for this informative review. I love my Droid Captivate but it seems the tablet isn’t yet ready for prime time.

    6
  • Mark December 17, 2010, 8:31 am

    @ Bob
    Agreed…I saw the processor and groaned. its too bad because this device would have been pretty sweet with a 1Ghz or more chip in it. Of course it would have raised the price though.

    7
  • Ian December 17, 2010, 10:14 am

    Current best, IMHO, Android tablet is mad e by Viewsonic they call it View….. something. Spec has 10″ screen Tegra II CPU 1,000Mhz latest software but only 600 lines horizontal definition.
    Price is $380 at Sears online.

    8
  • Ian December 17, 2010, 10:18 am

    Ok I rechecked. It’s called Viewpad (original Huh?)
    Specs:
    1.0Ghz NVIDIA Tegra 2 CPU, 16GB Storage, 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth

    10″ multi-touch LCD, Google Android OS 2.2 OS, 10 hour battery

    9
  • Ian December 17, 2010, 10:34 am

    I don’t know if others have the same need as me.
    I travel for a couple of months a year and need some kind of portable PC for doing emails, web browsing and light work related stuff.
    I used to travel with a 6 lb+ Laptop. Did the job, but my arms fell off. I converted to a number of Netbooks which served me extremely wel,l but I hate web browsing on 600 lines defn.

    The latest Mac, what’s it called Airbook(?), looks great. about 2 1/4 lbs with flash memory 10 inch screen and 800 lines defn. But then there’s the new Tablet ranges and of course the class Leader the Apple ipad.
    The BIG advantage of the ipad is low weight, 10 inch screen and 768 lines defn. Not only good for browsing, but great for another purpose;)
    I get about 8+ monthly mags Automobile, Car & Driver etc and Pop Science, Wired…you get the idea. Plus I get the NYTimes physically delivered to my home. Well using say “Vinio” I could convert ALL of ‘em to be received monthly on an ipad! Big advantage is the wife would no longer complain about the piles of mags I keep around the house to re read….. Plus I have worked out that my savings on subs would pay for a 64GB Wifi (only) version of an ipad in < 2 years! In effect it pays for the ipad and I get to carry my mags even on trips. i.e. even less carry on materials for flights.

    Big disadvantage re the ipad "I" is that I cannot easily make Voip/Skype calls and cannot do Video calls at all. So while I have the "forced wait" for the ipad "II" to become my "must have" and first Apple purchase in 15 years (I still have 2 Newtons!), where's the Android equivalent? Answer: it's not for sale yet. Can't believe that Apple got out so far ahead and everyone got so caught out.

    The Viewpad is the closest yet but still only 600 pesky lines….

    10
  • Byron December 17, 2010, 11:36 am

    My father, without my advanced knowledge, bought this Maylong (rebadged) from QVC for 130.00.
    They sold over 40,000 units. When he did tell me about it, and I researched it, I called and told him to cancel the order.
    This is an absolute piece of junk. 1.6 os? 256 ? 2gb ?
    All red flags to me.
    Everybody and there brother is jumping on the tablet bandwagon to get those Holiday dollars – selling CHINESE JUNK.
    I’ll bet QVC takes back at least 20,000 of those over hyped pieces of junk before its all over.
    The STUPID, UNEDUCATED, public will buy anything some slick
    sales rep puts in front of their fat faces.
    Anything running less tha Android 2.2 is NOT Upgradable
    (the exception being the NOOK Color – which B&N is having an upgrade created for that IS PROPRITARY and is a good value, but not really a Tablet PC).

    LISTEN – There are NO CHEAP TABLETS / REPEAT NONE available at this time,
    that are QUALITY, JUST A WASTE OF MONEY.

    THESE COMPANIES ARE JUST DUMPING CRAP ON PEOPLE HOPING TO GRAB YOUR MONEY AND RUN – NONE OF THEM IS A NAME BRAND AND ALL ARE CHINA CRAP.

    HERE”S the choices if you want QUALITY and VALUE for your dollar now, Buy the iPad or Samsung TAB – that’s it.
    (or the NOOK COLOR if you want a Reader with extras)

    OR WAIT

    Ipad 2, BlackBerry Playbook, others to come that will be running UP TO DATE software

    Still – there will be NO cheap tablets of quality.

    WAIT, WAIT, WAIT for the good stuff and Save your money for Quality.

    Advice from someone who knows, and has researched this.

    Wait.

    11
  • Nick December 17, 2010, 12:01 pm

    AUTHOR, you need to load the new 2.1 ROM to the device to significantly increase performance and battery efficiency; In addition to gaining access to the Android Marketplace.

    GOOGLE: “tipstir M-150 Rooted” or simply go here: http://tipstir.the-talk.net/rooted-non-rooted-rom-mod-f40/

    The developer is a genius.

    12
  • Sam Stone December 18, 2010, 5:48 pm

    As Nick has stated…just go to tipstir.the-talk.net and look for the various rooted M-150. There are several ROMs that you can load to make your Maylong have access to the full Android Market as well as performance improvements.

    Thanks to the Android community of developers, there are always smart people who will help you get most out of your hardware.

    After installing one of the custom ROMs I have really found a big difference in the usability of this product. For a 100 bucks its really usable and a cheap way to have portability and access to email and other android apps.

    Those Apple fan bots will pay anything to Apple and pretend every inconvenience is a feature that their god Steve Jobs has given them.

    There is no way I would ever buy an Apple product…I don’t ever want to be associated with that cult.

    13
  • deslock December 19, 2010, 5:26 pm

    Sam, though I also dislike many things about the Cult of Mac, in my experience Apple haters are often even more smarmy and irrational than fanbois.

    Anyway, the M150 is tempting at this price point, but the sluggish browser rendering, choppy video playback, lack of Netflix, and resistive screen = I’ll pass.

    The iPod touch isn’t really a direct competitor, but since it was brought up, I’ll mention that I think that device makes for a kick-ass PDA.

    I write that not as an Apple user, but as someone who owned 14 PalmOS and WinMo devices over the years. Those platforms advance so slowly… in early 2007 I never would’ve thought that by 2010 you could buy a 3.5 ounce, 7 mm thick device with a vibrant 640×960 screen, 8 GB, two cameras, 7 hours of smooth video playback on a single charge, painless and fast wifi connectivity, quick almost-desktop-like browsing, better-than-PSP graphics, and a responsive GUI for $175 ($200 w/ $25 amazon gift card).

    Between that and the plethora of awesome Android and iOS smartphones and tablets to choose from, it’s a good time to be a gadget fan.

    14
  • 10basetom December 20, 2010, 9:29 pm

    Probably the best budget Tegra 2 tablet you can buy (or not since it’s been sold out) right now is the Advent Vega. It’s got solid specs:

    http://www.talkandroid.com/17045-full-tech-specs-on-the-advent-vega/

    But horrible software — UNLESS you root it and mod it with this ROM:

    http://android.modaco.com/content/advent-vega-vega-modaco-com/324099/15-dec-r5-modaco-custom-rom-add-on-performance-pack-for-the-advent-vega-1-06-5-with-online-kitchen/

    Then it becomes a tablet worth having ^^.

    15
  • drunkncrew December 24, 2010, 10:22 pm

    Heh, I was reading some comments from the apple fanboys, and couldn’t help but make my own comment. You can NOT compare the apple ipad to this product. This is not an official Android product. This is a cheap chinese iteration that is sold via the grey market, and sometimes makes it’s way to reputable companies, like walgreens due to their buying errors.
    For that matter, you really can’t even compare the Samsung Galaxy Tab to the ipad, since the Android Tablet OS/Apps haven’t even been released for public use. The first tab that you could compare to the iPad will be the Motorola tab that is coming out this coming year.
    Oh ya, and to the FanBoys; don’t be like the all knowing Steve Jobs and scoff at android if you’ve never used it. Just go into BestBuy sometime and play with an android device, you’ll be pleasantly surprised, I promise. ;)

    16
  • grumpy bear February 16, 2011, 1:50 am

    I agree, sorriest piece of junk I ever wasted a hundred bucks on. Should have known when the first was defective. Gets hot, shuts down, won’t access anything except their junk. My advice…stick to name brands with proven track record.

    17

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