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m785_mecerJust over two weeks ago Mecer held an event in conjunction with Maybelline South Africa to launch a new tablet and an online portal.

Mecer said that their Xpress SmartLife tablet appealed to the same ladies who use Maybelline cosmetics. The brands used the tagline “where tech meets style”, in reference to the sleek little Mecer M785 (7.85″).

The company also said their tablet stands out from what’s already available in the market due to is its local support and an attractive price point, which retails for R1978 on takealot.com, which I will go into more in a bit.

The event was not the usual tech event, I was one of the few technology journalists there but ended up having a great time and got my makeup done too, at one of the free makeover counters.

maybelline-nafisaPicture credit: @missamandastone

I chatted to Dmitri Tserpes, CTO of Mustek, distributor of Mecer products in South Africa and he mentioned that people who buy low-cost tablets as their primary means of accessing the internet (instead of a desktop PC) will always go for a device with 3G. This is the reason the Mecer M785 comes standard with a 3G slot. He says that in South Africa, 3G tablets are more popular.

The tablet has an extremely attractive price point of R1978 through takealot.com. The tablet is aimed at the low- to mid-range market, students and anyone who wants a good-looking tablet without breaking the bank.

Mecer_M785

For a tablet at that price, you get quite a bit inside the box. The tablet, a cover, earphones, USB plug point, 2x charging cables, USB extender, cleaning cloth and a manual. I’ve reviewed many tablets and none of them come with this many things inside the box – stuff you don’t think about. The cleaning cloth is quite handy because at times you have to really press the screen for it to register, so you will periodically need to clean it. The fact that it comes with a cover is another bonus – one less worry when buying a new gadget that needs protection. It closes magnetically.

I’m all for tablets that are less than 8″ in size. I’ve used many 10″ and under tablets but once I used the below 8″ range, I realised it’s the ideal size for me, and fits with my lifestyle. The Mecer M785 as the name suggests, has a 7.85″ screen made from Gorilla Glass with a screen resolution of 1280×768 pixels. It has a capacitive muli-touch touchscreen (you won’t be able to use it with gloves) and a 4:3 ratio. Great for browsing, reading digital magazines and watching multimedia content.

The tablet, with its cover, has all the slots you need open to you. To the right you will find a volume key at the top, and below sits the SIM card slot. On the top you will find the charging port, micro SD slot and power button. There are no physical buttons on the front of the tablet, it uses soft touch standard Android keys.

mecer_m785-full

Under the hood you will find a quad-core 1.2GHz processor, 1GB of RAM and 8GB of flash memory, expandable up to 32GB via micro SD. It comes with a 2MP main camera and a 0.3MP front-camera, and connectivity options include: Bluetooth, WiFi, 3G (standard) and built-in GPS. Dimensions are 200x134x7.75mm and it weighs a light 400g. It has a battery capacity of 4400mAh, which should give you 6 hours.

The tablet runs on Android 4.2 Jelly Bean and comes preloaded with a fair amount of apps. You get the usual Google suite, Angry Birds, File Manager, Sound Recorder and a bunch of utilities. You won’t find any bloatware thrown in by Mecer (bonus). General usage has been impressive, given that the specs are not meant to be high-end or to compete with high-end tablets. I played a few rounds of Angry Birds and gameplay was smooth, no stuttering. I didn’t find the need to kill apps running in the background to make it run smoother either.

MecerM785

I loaded some TV series and music onto it easily through its USB storage mode – this means your Windows or Mac should pick it up like a flash drive – no additional software needed (like with other Android devices). As with all cameras on tablets, I don’t see the point. You’re not going to be *that* person taking pics with your tablet (or are you??). The camera is average, but it does come with built-in editing tools that give you Instagram-like filters, if this is your main camera, given the target market.

The Mecer Xpress Smartlife M785 tablet priced at under R2000 is an excellent tablet in this class. It’s portable, stylish, fits into most bags, comes with so many extras, plus there’s the local support from Mustek. If this tablet is meant to serve as the main purpose of accessing the internet (instead of a PC), then it’s no doubt the best value for money you will get. And did I mention 3G comes at no extra cost?

Price: R1978 from Takealot.com

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