CloudNine Neuropad Ultra
CloudNine have improved the recipe, (or so they say) and we felt duty bound to dispatch our intrepid reviewer once again, to put this new Neuropad through its paces...
By Chris Messenger | Published 04/12/2012
Improved storage size and better camera
Nice and cheap at only £83.99
Latest Android OS works like a dream
Fully compatible with Android Play store
Web browsing can be awkward at times
Battery life is below par
Resolution leaves a bit to be desired
Tablet PCs available at under £100 tend to be the most pathetic collection of dopey, clumsily built, inbred monstrosities you’ll find this side of a home game at Tottenham Hotspur, yet people keep buying them.
Why? Because they’re cheap, stupid.
...But that’s not the only reason, y’see every so often a tablet PC comes along that is both cheap and good value for money - and that, my friends, is a thing of beauty. Not everyone can afford an iPad or a Microsoft Surface, but most of us can stretch to tablets in the ‘under £100’ section.
The CloudNine Neuropad’s predecessor was one such device, a reliable, fairly high spec tablet; it defied all odds to achieve great reviews and considerable sales success, despite being both cheap and cheerful. Now, Cloud have improved the recipe, (or so they say) and we felt duty bound to dispatch our intrepid reviewer once again, to put this new Neuropad through its paces...
Don’t expect an iPad beater and you won’t be disappointed. Having said that, the Neuropad ULTRA (yes, its written with block capitals) is actually pretty cool both inside and out.
With a Cortex A8 processor (specially designed to speed things up) as well as a dedicated graphics accelerator, this tablet should run somewhat faster than its predecessor. In addition, the ULTRA also comes equipped with the newest Android, full HD output (via HDMI) and 3G capability.
The screen resolution might only stretch to 800x480 (but then I did warn you not to expect an iPad beater), while the internal storage now runs to 16GB (a major improvement) and is boosted to 32GB by MicroSD.
On the outside, the design is a real winner; with a super slim outer casing and a gleaming metallic back side. This is a really modern looking design and isn’t a million miles away from the more expensive mid range tablets out there in terms of looks. One of the worries of buying a cheap tablet is the hard, plastic-y feel that many budget models have, they are cheap and they look cheap, not so the ULTRA, which, like the Neuropad 2, is a fine looking device.
£83.99 is more than you would have paid for its predecessor by some £20, but it is still representative of great value. In an era where prices have skyrocketed to such an extent that buying less on your weekly shop somehow costs you even more than the previous week, a price hike of just £20 is still pretty good. Especially considering the improvements on offer here.
Once loaded up, operation is slick and generally faultless. The first thing you’ll notice is how much faster the ULTRA is than almost anything else in its price range. There is the odd lag, of course, but that’s life. This goes double for the apps, many of which can now be used simultaneously without any problems at all. Access to the Android store gives you a wide and esoteric selection to work with and, once the SD card is in place, you can pretty much download and use them to your heart’s content.
This tablet looks, feels and operates like a much more expensive model, the screen is extremely responsive to touch and, although the resolution leaves a bit to be desired, it functions ably for Skype calls, iPlayer and eReaders. Cloud have doubled the RAM of the Neuropad 2 as well and you’ll really notice the difference when it comes to functions like this.
Android ‘Ice Cream Sandwich’ is an excellent operating system and the Neuropad ULTRA has enough processing speed and power to get out of its way and let it run things, which makes the ULTRA a joy to use.
What Other Users Say
Over on Amazon, 53/74 customer reviews are positive (which we define as 4/5 or higher), while 8 customers give this product a solid 3 and 13 rank it fairly poorly. The positive reviews, however, are glowing.
‘Dave R’ (5/5) said “its worth the money”, while ‘Stephen Max’ (5/5) urged users to “buy it!” Over on the negative side, ‘Tazz’ (2/5) said that the ULTRA wasn’t “as good as it first appears” saying that his/her screen broke after just a month of use.
Cloud continue to put out some of the best products in their price range and the ULTRA is a continuation of this legacy. A solid, snugly built little overachiever, this is, in all honesty, one of the best budget tablets around.
It has its faults, of course, and you definitely aren’t getting an iPad for your £84, but what you are getting is a reliable device that’s a genuine improvement on its predecessor. Excellent value.
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