Brandev Flame

We take a look at what’s still red hot about the Brandev Flame and also at what’s cooled down a bit since last summer...

By Chris Messenger | Published 16/08/2012

The Good

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Supports 3G dongles

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Full size hdmi port

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Multi touch capacitive screen

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Relatively cheap with okay specification

The Bad

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No manual

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Excruciatingly slow at times

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Applications freeze/crash to often

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Sold with non uk plug. Needs adaptor

Introduction

Like people, tablet PCs come in all shapes and sizes. There are fat ones, thin ones, big ones and small ones. Also, like people, tablet PCs tend to vary in degrees of usefulness. The Brandev Flame 10.1 Inch tablet is a relatively cheap model that claims to run everything under the sun and comes equipped with Android 4.0. But is the Flame a great advance in affordable tablets, or merely a waste of money? Our reviewer reveals all...

 

Once you are up and running, you’ll find that the device likes to freeze up at fairly regular intervals.

The Specs

On paper the Brandev Flame is rather impressive. For a very decent price, you can get a staggering 1GB of RAM, a multi touch screen, an eBook reader, 3D graphics processor (and thus 3D gaming capabilities), iPlayer compatibility, 8GB of memory, Android 4.0, WiFi, 3G capabilities, an HDMI port, Micro SD slot and 5-6 hours of battery life (now breathe).

 

If all that sounds appealing, then I should also mention that it comes with a free set of headphones, too.

 

So far, this is looking like a contender for tablet of the year. However, there really is no such thing as a free lunch, as it turns out.

 

The Price

For £147, you are looking at one of the cheaper tablets on the market today. This impresses us, but also sets alarm bells ringing in our heads. Why is it so cheap? How can it offer so much and ask for so little in return? Why is this tablet not the template for all others being produced right now? The answers, dear friends, will be revealed over the course of the next section.

 

 

The Performance

Hear that? It’s the sound of a bubble bursting.

 

The truth is that the Brandev Flame just isn’t all its cracked up to be.

 

As an environmentally conscious site, we support Bradev’s decision not to include a paper manual (instead, you get some basic start up instructions and then a web-based tutorial once you’re online). The headphones provided are actually fairly nice and Android 4.0 is pretty easy to get on with (even if you’re a novice).

 

However, once you are up and running, you’ll find that the device likes to freeze up at fairly regular intervals. Despite its very good memory quota, the Flame just doesn’t seem up to the task of handling such a heavy load.

 

You’ll be annoyed when you realize that most of the preinstalled apps don’t actually work very well (and need to either be accessed from their respective websites or simply re-downloaded in another form). Then, you’ll find that several of the main apps simply don’t work at all. After that, you’ll find that quite a few 3D games won’t play. After that, you’ll find that the streaming apps break down frequently (especially ITV). After that, you’ll find that a 10.1inch case isn’t easy to come by and so protecting your device is very difficult. And after that, you’ll probably just give up on it.

 

NOTE: The continental style plug requires an adaptor, which is neither mentioned, nor included anywhere on the packaging.

 

The truth is that the Brandev Flame just isn’t all its cracked up to be.

What Over Users Say

We jogged over to Amazon.co.uk and examined all 4 (!) of their customer reviews (two of which were positive, two of which were negative). Here’s what was said:

 

‘Miss L.P Wright’ (5/5) said that the WiFi was easy to set up, but generally had a few problems getting started. She found repeated problems with the apps and the camera to be in a difficult position (it is ‘front facing’). She was pleased to use the SD card reader to play music and watch movies however, and remained generally happy overall. ‘Jenny’ (5/5) won this in a competition and was able to store all her music on it (with only 8GB of memory?) She was happy, but then again, so would anyone be with a free tablet PC worth over £100.

 

Over on the negative side, ‘Jill in Derby’ (2/5) found it next to impossible to obtain a case for this product, saying that the one on offer from Brandev was the wrong size. She returned the tablet in the end because the caseless product didn’t feel travel friendly enough. ‘Gareth X’ (2/5) found the constant freezing-up, apps not working and games refusing to comply to be a real pain. When he contacted Bradev, they apparently informed him that this was due to Android 4.0 compatibility issues. We really can’t think this is the case, and to be honest it just seems like lazy tech support.

 

Our Verdict

It is tempting to write this tablet off as just one more cheap model that promises much but ultimately delivers nothing. However, this just isn’t fair.

 

Yes, it’s ambitious to a fault and frustrating to work with, and yes, it fails to live up to the lofty goals it has set for itself, but no, this is not a horrible tablet. At an affordable price, this is a well-meaning tablet that doesn’t quite hit the target it is aiming at, but it still performs as well as most others in its price range and does so with far more versatility and panache.

 

 

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Tags: Brandev Flame Tablet PC Review, Tablet PC Review

 

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