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By Robin-Leigh Chetty 3 October 2014

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For any newcomer to the small tablet scene looking for an entry-level device, the options are boundless. Throwing its hat into a rather crowded ring is Mecer, with their wallet friendly 8" 800P31C Smartlife Tablet, retailing for R1 800. At that price point, the Smartlife Tablet combines a solid array of specifications and relatively robust construction to win over those users leaning towards one of Samsung's or Asus' offerings.

Sturdily built

In spite of Mecer opting for a plastic heavy design, the Smartlife Tablet is well put together and remains sturdy even under rugged use. Measuring 12.3 cm wide, it sits well in hand and remains relatively easy to wield throughout the day. If there is one downside, the 800P31C is on the slightly heavy side, weighing in at 345 g. The 8" display (1280x800) offers 188 ppi pixel density and Gorilla Glass protective technology. Compared to the more expensive 8" tablets, the Xpress Smartlife's screen struggles with highly detailed applications and games, but performs adequately when viewing movies and browsing the web.

Internally, the Smartlife Tablet incorporates a number of mid-range performing components, such as a quad-core Mediatek MTK8389 processor, clocked at 1.2 GHz. Added to this is 1 GB of RAM and 8 GB worth of flash memory. As a result, the 800P31C can handle most multitasking demands, and switches between apps fluidly. Fitted with a 5 MP camera on the rear and 2 MP one upfront, the 800P31C is not a first choice imaging tool, as pictures look grainy in low light conditions, which serves as the only major drawback we found on the Smartlife Tablet.

Cost savvy

All things considered, the 3G-touting 800P31C is a great option for users in need of a well constructed 8" tablet that won't break the bank at R1 800. Along with a microSD slot for up to 32 GB and 4200 mAh battery for a full day's use, the Smartlife Tablet is indeed a good choice for the cost savvy.

PROS
Solid construction; Handles a number of multitasking activities well; Well priced
CONS
Slightly heavy; Screen quality not ideal for detailed content
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