Here at PC World, we think most Android tablets have one thing in common: they're all overpriced. So when a tablet lands on our desk that retails for under $500 and has 3G connectivity, 32GB of internal memory and a microSD card slot, we will sit up and take notice. This is essentially Medion's sale pitch for its LifeTab P9514 — a tablet that will sell exclusively through Aldi stores in Australia. The Medion LifeTab is a good all-round tablet at a reasonable price, but its a little too heavy for our liking.
Medion LifeTab P9514: Design and display
The Medion LifeTab P9514 looks like a pretty regular Android tablet. There's nothing remotely remarkable about its design, nor is there a single design feature that makes it stand out amongst the competition. However, its reasonably well constructed — it has soft feeling grey plastic on the back and a gloss black finish on the front. The LifeTab's 10.1 in screen is also bright, clear and responsive. The TFT panel has good viewing angles and feels smooth to touch. The LifeTab's screen does have one annoying aspect, however. It has small, visible dots all over the display. This imprint appears to be on the layer directly below the outside of the screen and is very noticeable at certain angles, particularly if there is light shining on the screen.
We like the etched silver strip below the display, but the LifeTab branding on our review unit was noticeably wearing off. Our model was a German pre-production unit though, so hopefully the same issues aren't a concern in the final Australian model that will sell through Aldi in Australia.
There are a couple of things we don't like about the Medion LifeTab: it creaks when the case is pressed towards the edges, the power and volume buttons are sunken and therefore require a really firm press to activate, and the unit charges through a proprietary pin connector rather than its standard micro-USB port. The gloss black bezel also reflects too much light, while the screen is hard to see in direct sunlight. Perhaps the biggest issue is weight: at 720g it's one of the heavier Android tablets on the market and this makes it tough to hold with one hand for a long period of time.
The Medion LifeTab P9514 doesn't have a full-sized USB port but on the left side you'll find microSD and SIM card slots (both covered by a plastic flap), a regular 3.5mm headphone jack and a standard micro-USB port. At the bottom is the proprietary dock connector that charges the unit. Included in the box is a HDMI-out adapter that uses the connector to enable the LifeTab to hook up to a high-definition TV via HDMI.
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