The Canvas Tab P690 looks expensive with its grey metal back-panel finish, sleek form factor (7.8mm) and thin bezel. Though the P690 has an 8-inch screen, it feels as compact as a 7-inch tablet. The metal on the back extends to the side panel, with a slight curve in between. This blunts the edges, making it easy for the user to handle the tablet with one hand. At 318g, the P690 is slightly heavier than the Apple iPad mini 3 (312g). The SIM and microSD slots are tucked away side by side on the side panel.
Display: impressive at this price
The 8-inch, in-plane switching LCD display has a 1,280×800 resolution, which is on a par with what one expects from an Android tablet that costs less than Rs.10,000. The display is good-looking—the colours look real, the text is easy to read, and it is on the whole, sharp. It is ideal for reading e-books, perhaps even for watching movies. The only niggle is that it is a little reflective. This affects visibility if you are using the tablet outdoors.
Software: freebies worth Rs.3,000 inside
Like most tablets in this price point, the P690 also runs on Android 4.4.4 (KitKat), which is now an older version of the operating system. But it is scheduled to get the Android 5.0 (Lollipop) update soon, though exactly when is anyone’s guess. Micromax has opted for slight modifications to the standard Android interface rather than wholesale changes to icons, etc., something that a lot of other tablets and big-screen phones do.
There are two separate drop-down panels from the notification bar—sliding the finger down from the left shows the new notifications, while sliding down from the right side takes the user into quick settings. It is interesting to note that Micromax is offering some freebies with the tablet. This includes e-books worth Rs.1,500 from Amazon’s Kindle store and a three-month premium subscription from music app Saavn, which costs Rs.297. While these aren’t the primary reasons for picking this tablet, they are definitely value additions if you use either of the two services.
Performance: inconsistent and slow
Powered by Intel’s quad-core 64-bit processor, paired with 1 GB RAM, the P690 can handle basic tasks without a hitch. It isn’t very quick with games such as FIFA 15, but it manages to run them smoothly without any stutters. However, the minute you open four-five applications simultaneously, it slows down, even freezing for a few seconds on occasion.
The internal storage stands at 8 GB, of which only 3.81 GB is free for users—the rest is taken by the operating system and default apps. There is a microSD slot that can accommodate up to 32 GB more space.
The tablet is powered by a 4,000 mAh battery that barely managed to provide a day’s backup through reading, Web browsing, watching videos and 15 minutes of gaming. It also takes a long time to charge. We do believe that once the Android 5.0 (Lollipop) update is rolled out, the battery performance will improve—the new operating system has battery consumption improvements all-round.
There is no doubt that the Canvas Tab P690 looks good and has a rather interesting set of features. But it is useful only for those who want a basic computing device, not those who will open half-a-dozen apps at the same time and expect smooth switching between them. The Dell Venue 7 3000 series (Rs.7,885 on Amazon.in) is a good alternative, offers more storage, better performance and a long-lasting battery.