RK3288: Pipo P8 Android tablet

Dec 28, 2014

Pipo P8 Android tablet shows that the number of cores is not all and its quad-core RK3288 CPU has enough guts to stand the octa-core competition.









Pipo P8 is an 7.9" tablet using the recent Rockchip 3288 quadcore (1.8GHz) and the Mali T764 @ 600Mhz. The model tested is the 32Gb (NAND Flast Flash) version with the firmware from 2 Dec. 2014. 

Specifications:
● Display: 7.9",2048*1536 Retina    
● Touch panel: Capacitive 5-touch
● CPU: RK3288 Cortex A17, 1.8GHz, , with Mali T764 GPU
● RAM: 2GB LP DDR 2
● OS: Android 4.4
● Sensor: G-sensor
● Camera: Front 2M, back 8M auto focus, flashlight
● I/O ports: Micro SD slot, HDMI output, speaker, mic
● Wifi: 802.11b/g/n
● 3G built-in: optional. With UltraStick slot 
● GPS built-in: Yes
● Bluetooth : Yes
● Battery capacity: 5300mAh*3.8V
● Back housing material: metal+ plastic
● Weight: 344 gr

Design:
A micro-HDMI connector should be standard on the small tablets but it's not really common. The P8 has one!

The tablet is just a tad bigger than a iPad Mini so the choice of cases will be limited to the bulky universal ones or a specific Pipo case.

Where are the buttons?
There's one "hard" button for Power. The volume is controlled using the soft buttons on the bottom bar. 


Where's my toothpick!?
As for my previous Pipo M6 Max, there's a reset hole that requires a paperclip or a toothpick. I'm not a fan of this design choice. The good news is that the P8 didn't crash once so far. The bad news is that you need to use the reset button with the power button to launch the tablet in upgrade mode

The 3G functionality is covered by a Huawei E1220S ultrastick with an SPCI interface. My unit shows a decent battery life of 18h (mixed use/standby). Charging is done only with the USB cable and I noticed that the tablet cannot be turned off while plugged (12022014 firmware).


The cameras:
The front 2MP and the rear 8MP cameras are nothing exceptional, as with most tablets in this price range, but they'll do the job as long as the scene is bright enough. 

Performance:
My tablet of comparison is an iFive Octacore 3GS Mini (MTK6592) using the same 2048*1536 resolution, and on the ART runtime.

The P8 scores 34419 with Antutu but this is mostly due to its superior Mali T764 GPU (30113 for iFive with Mali 450MP).

With GeekBench, the P8 gets a better single-core results with 726 (vs 445), a lower multi-core 1950 (vs 2408) and wins hands down for memory performance 650/658 (vs 243/406)

Curiously, in Epic Citadel, the GPU achieves only an average of 29.2 FPS (vs 37.5 for iFive) and I could see some stuttering during the P8 evaluation.




In the real life, games like Riptide GP2, Real Racing 3 all ran smooth and fast with no lag.
Strangely the tablet generated more heat with Candy Crush...

A video can be played in a smaller (resizable) window while using another app, very much like the Novo 9 Spark II did.


Wi-Fi:
The Wi-Fi signal is fluctuating and on average weaker than my other (MTK6592) 8" tablet within the same distance from the router.

Screen: The 5-point multi-touch Retina screen has a resolution of 2048*1536 and is completed with an auto-brightness feature. If feels slightly brighter and sharper than the iFive Mini 3GS.  

Audio: The speaker is the real bad surprise of this tablet. It produces a faint metallic sound. Hopefully it can be significantly improved using Viper4android. Something that could and should really be looked after in a firmware udpate! 

Conclusions:
The Pipo P8 shows that power is not defined only by the number of cores: a quad-core done right with fast memory can compete with the mighty octa-core models.  
It remains focused on the essential and, unlike some MTK-based phablets, there's no FM radio, no notification LED and not smart-sleep case.
This tablet is perfect for browsing and for gaming. Watching movies or listening to music through the speaker currently requires some tweaking. 

The price goes from 140€ for the 16GB/Wifi-only version and reaches 170€ for 32GB + 3G module.

Good:
- Snappy quad core performance. 
- Great battery life.
- Bright and sharp display.

Not so good:
- Sound from the speaker is faint, metallic and cold
- The tablet turns on when plugged to the charger.
- The tablet can get hot with some apps
- Reset hole requires a pin or toothpick
- Wi-Fi range is slightly weaker than average for that tablet size.





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