Review of Pipo M6 Max (Retina Tablet)

I’ve been wanting to have a tablet for quite a while now but I was adamant at spending the roughly PhP30,000.00 to get the latest iPad4.  So I did some searching around with the following things I wanted from my tablet:

  1.  A very good screen, high resolution, bright, good contrast, as I will be using this most of the time to display images, read PDFs, check email, and surf the web.  This is the biggest consideration.
  2. At least 9″ so that I could be able to present with the tablet if need be, anything smaller would be too tedious.
  3. Since I was not buying an Apple product, I wasn’t going to the iOS ecosystem, and Windows Surface is prohibitively expensive, I’ll end up with the android ecosystem which means I should only consider ICS or Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0, 4.1, 4.2.
  4. At least 2 GB RAM (current trend for higher end tablets)
  5. At least 16GB Storage
  6. expandable storage
  7. At least latest or second latest graphics processing unit
  8. most recent central processing unit (although they say programs in the future will use more GPU than CPU, but as you will see later in the available tablets, they just don’t hit the right combination of GPU and CPU, or the tablet is not available in the Philippines).
  9. Decent camera (I have an iPhone5 and iPhone 4S but I still want at least a 5MP back facing camera and at least 2MP front facing)
  10. HDMI would be cool if I needed to present and a TV was available

 

So based on the list I had, I found the following alternative tablets that met some of my requirements:

 

Chuwi   v99 Onda   972 Aoson   M33 Pipo   Max M6 Ainol   Novo 9 Spark
OS 4.1 4.1 4.1.1 4.2.2 4.1.1
CPU A31   Quad Core CPU A31   Quad Core CPU RK3188   Cortex A9 Quad Core 1.6Ghz RK3188   Cortex A9 Quad Core 1.6Ghz A31   Quad Core CPU
GPU Power VR SGX544MP2 Power VR SGX544MP2 Mali-400   MP Mali-400   MP Power VR SGX544MP2
RAM 2GB   DRR3 2GB   DRR3 2GB   DRR3 2GB   DRR3 2GB   DRR3
Storage 16GB 16GB 16GB 16GB 16GB
Screen   Resolution 2048×1536 2048×1536 2048×1536 2048×1536 2048×1536
Screen   Size 9.7” 9.7” 9.7” 9.7” 9.7”
Screen   PPI 320 320 320 320 320
Display Retina   IPS Retina   IPS Retina   IPS Retina   IPS Retina   IPS
HDMI Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Front   Camera 2.0   MP 2.0   MP 2.0   MP 2.0   MP 2.0   MP
Back   Camera 5.0   MP 5.0   MP 5.0   MP 5.0 MP Autofocus + LED Flash 5.0   MP Autofocus
Micro   SD Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Multi   Touch Yes Yes Yes 10 5
Wifi 802.11   b/g /n 802.11   b/g /n 802.11   b/g /n 802.11   b/g/n 802.11b/g/n
3G No No No No No
GPS No No No No No
Bluetooth No No Yes Yes Yes
Battery 9000mAh 8000mAh 8000mAh 10000mAh 10000mAh
OTG Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Thickness 9.8mm 9.8 9.3mm 10mm 10.6mm
Dimensions 243×188 242×187 240×184 190×243 185.6×240.9
Shell 1 piece aluminum Aluminum   and Plastic All   Metal
Weight 650g 674g 618g 628g 642.3g
Antutu   Benchmark 4.0 (3.0 or 3.3) (13,060) (11,076) (14,600) 17,741(14,640) (11,249)
Charging Proprietary   charger Proprietary   charger Proprietary   charger Proprietary   charger Proprietary   charger
Casing Free   leather case None   included
 Link website website website websitewebsite website
Cost   in US$ (PH if available) *average price 250 (13,200) 216   (9,600) 247   (10,600) 200   (9,580)

 

So what I got from all this was like what I previously mentioned, that although the A31 Quads provided such great GPU performance (they say the chip is the same used in iPad 4s) only one of the tablets with that chip had Bluetooth, which dropped both Onda 972 and Chuwi v99 out.  What was left was Aoson M33, Pipo Max M6 and Ainol Novo 9 Spark.  Between the three, Ainol dropped out because the performance benchmarks were just too low compared to Pipo and Aoson.  Now it came to Aoson and M33, the OS version of Pipo was 4.2.2 while Aoson was 4.1.1, which for me showed that the manufacturers of Pipo were up to speed with things and so support in terms of software updates would be much better with them, not including the LED flash for the camera I most probably won’t be using unless my iPhone has low battery, and since for 10g more I get 2,000mAh more battery capacity.  Good thing Pipo M6 was available at Greenhills for PhP11,000 which I negotiated down to PhP10,600.

Pipo M6 Max

Just for the sake of it the Pipo was the least aesthetically pleasing haha, Aoson, Chuwi, and Ainol were really nice looking. Onda looked normal.

 

On the left is the standard advertising image of the Pipo M6. It came with a very sturdy paper carton box (I think it was paper, which I was happy with because that meant that if some unscrupulous individual just threw this out of his window it would stand a chance to decompose, unlike say if it were plastic). Funny and weird thing was a separate box was provided where all the wires were.  I’m like totally bad packaging idea because one can get lost 😛

Anyway, the first tablet I bought from Greenhills was so faulty it couldn’t power back on when I left it charging overnight.  Aside from the other issue I had that it was the display tablet there so it felt too used and scratchy and the display bevels were already creaking!!  So anyway, long story short they had a replacement for me in one week – so no complaints, yet.

 

So the tablet came with the charger, a short OTG cable and then the longer one to connect the micro-USB to a normal USB slot.  It came with earphones that my cousin thought was from Beats.  The tablet itself has two layers of plastic screen protector so if you wish you can remove the top layer which is a bit scratchy (I didn’t yet), and reveal the immaculately smooth screen protector underneath.  In other reviews on the internet they had a Pipo casing included, mine unfortunately had none.

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I haven’t found the use to open the longer USB OTG cable.  The tablet is not rooted but the performance is smooth compared to the price point and what it’s powering (a retina screen), despite it having a subpar GPU.  The leather casing from Halo is for an iPad so I had to make some custom holes for the earphones and I have yet to figure out how to punch a hole into the thick leather part for the camera’s without destroying it, it is quite expensive at PhP795 if I am not mistaken.  The tablet at first had many hiccups. At the start it had a penchant to hang a lot, as in plenty of times. I found it extremely annoying to have to take out the tablet and press that reset button with a pin all the time!  But after a month it stopped hanging as often, very weird.  It is actually running faster than when I first had it.

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The thickness of the tablet is just right I guess since It can fit inside the tablet casing for an iPad (9.4mm vs Pipo 10mm).  It is quite heavy compared to other tablets but by a miniscule amount. I guess it is comparable to the iPad 4 (652g vs Pipo 628g).  The build is good although not solid like what Apple makes.  If you squeeze it enough it will creak which I experience with the first tablet I got, the current one I have I don’t dare I already know its not unibody so it’s prone to get moving gaps.  Inside the case though its pretty solid.

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Some users on the internet say that not all apps show up on Google Play with the stock ROM of Pipo.  Right now I got all the basic things I need.  I’ll tinker around rooting my tablet after 6 months maybe.  The tablet performs really well compared to others of its class.  The Antutu scores are good and playing 3D games were smooth.  Loading time was satisfactory but I’ve been using iPhones, Macbooks, and i7 PCs so my standard is quite high.

image005image006

So if you check out the bar chart you can see it’s performance is similar to the Samsung Galaxy S3 (difference is the S3 is powering a 4.8inch non-retina 1280×720 screen); the big difference is Nexus 10 which is almost the same size would be again the GPU score… if only the Pipo or the RK3188 could come with a Power VR variant.

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But it’s really the screen that makes wonders.  At this price point the 320ppi retina screen is perfect. Perfect for reading, perfect for looking at photographs and pictures, perfect for watching movies and Youtube videos.  Scrolling through HD photographs are smooth, watching MK video (GBs in size) streaming from my Windows 8 PC using ES Explorer is smooth.  I watched Fringe season 5 all streaming from my desktop 🙂 Handy! I used it in my meeting to present peg boards (I’m finally in the 21st century). Easy! That’s what matters for me – smooth enough performance to power a retina screen for presentations and movies!

 

My verdict – Android OS sucks. Pipo Tablet is a wonder at the price you pay.

PROs:

  • At roughly half the price of an iPad, it is an affordable Retina Tablet with above average performance
  • iPad look alike
  • Extra long battery life (I use it the whole day, I’d say 6-9 hours worth of surfing and movie watching at 40-50% screen brightness)

CONs:

  • Android OS sucks big time. Fix it Google!
  • Construction cannot be compared to apple products (no China tablet can anyway)

 

Period of use: about 1 month already

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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