Understanding China, One Blog at a Time

An American in China

China’s ErenEben Tablet An Overpriced Retro-Tablet- Review of Eben Eren T-3

Posted by w_thames_the_d on May 29, 2011


Here is my tech review of China’s ErenEben T-3 tablet—-Too much for too little

In Chinese tech, as much as it pains me to put those words together, a company called ErenEben is entering the tablet market. The result is the T-3, a masculine looking somewhat large tablet PC which eschews a touch screen for a stylus…

I will set cynical Bill to the side and give an honest analysis of this product as one of my acquaintances is a .. mover and shaker within the company so out of fairness to them I will be impartial.. I have played with this product so I will give you my two cents.

First the specs (btw I have pics of this and will upload mine later, these are from the net)
Specs
-1 cm thick (to Americans this means about the thickness of an Iphone
-Freescale iMX 800 MHz processor
-512 M Ram
-8 inch panel and stylus from Wacom
-weighs 530 grams or about a pound
-leather case
Summary
I love the feel of the thing in my hands but it is not cutting edge in terms of design. It has blunt edges and supposedly is often offered as a gift to communist party members, (one of their clients) which could explain the spartan design. In the Apple world of ‘hey look at my cute tablet thing,” this is the forlorn looking woman in the corner who after all of the other woman have been dancing for hours slinks home by herself. This is definitely not going to win design awards nor be something the fashion set would be interested in. But instead has that grandfathers den appeal, and I actually like it. In terms of whats under the hood it is somewhat weak but runs on Android so does not use much memory anyhow.

Features
-host of games
-wifi
-book reader
-microphone
-speakers
-Stylus navigated screen
-multi colored monitor
Summary
The stylus is very responsive, probably the best I’ve used. But its 2011, is a stylus really what the world wants in the era of touchscreens? I mean the stylus is great but losing them is easy and without it you can do nothing, so what do you do, carry a spare?
The software is nothing to write home about but a good thing is that when taking notes, you can do so in color and you can also change the size of the pen tip. What this means is that it is like a MS Paint Ap and you can draw small and large lines etc and can do so in color. To me the cool factor of this and also the sensitivity of the stylus are pretty cool. The software was a little buggy and tended to disobey and had to be rebooted a few times.

Price
ErenEben means ‘everyone can have one’ in Chinese but at 4890 RMB or 750U$ the name is a cruel joke. I doubt a machine that is worth as much as a local makes in three months goes with such a moniker. Setting this aside i have to cringe and say again
750U$ for this?

When thinking of all of the things I can do with U$750 and what functionality it would have one has to scratch their heads at this one, but let me explain.
Possible Strategy
I have no inside info on this so take it with a grain of salt, but this is what i can come up with. I know this company is trying to get cash in the states, maybe go IPO, but I do not know this. If they are getting VC funds it may be due to the fact that the communist party or the government is a big source of revenue. Although lately they have been putting up boatloads of stores and advertising like crazy here, but research shows that more than half of the Chinese shun Chinese products and at such a steep price point, I know of no one who owns one, but know of many people with Ipads.
But the strategy may be as follows. The Chinese government, read as communist party, wants to promote indigenous innovation, having a nice tablet manufacturer from Beijing cannot hurt. So, it may be possible that the communist party sales may be a form of support. Remember this is merely speculation on the matter. But why would the price point be so high if it is being sold to the communist party members? A good friend of a premier Chinese university explained it to me. When I said that ErenEben made inroads with the government, a thing the chinadaily acknowledges, he said so what. I then asked why the thing was so expensive. He said that it makes sense. In China you give someone face by giving a gift, the more expensive the better. Thus, he said that it would hurt ErenEben to make a cheaper tablet right now as they are being offered to party members as gifts. Thus a cheap gift is no good and the local Chinese are picking up the tab vz taxes, so its all good. (interestingly enough if you read the few reviews of the product in English they will mention communist party members, like the chinadaily did an article and it said something like ‘the communist party members like the stylus more than the Ipad touchscreen).
To summarize all of this means that maybe this company can leverages its contacts to build stores and stay afloat then go to the US for cash and maybe hope to be bought out and cash in their options, but I have no idea if this is true.

CONCLUSION
I’m going to go out on a limb and give you my prediction.
For this price the tablet will never sell back home as it is right now (forget about the fact that it is only in Chinese that will change in 6 months with the T4). But due to design limitations weak 3rd party aps and crazy price point it will go over like a turd in a punch bowl. When I can fire up my EE-PC which I loathe but is reliable and or use my Kindle for a combined total of about U$380, why would I shell out twice as much for a stylus driven Chinese made tablet from a relatively new company?
In the world of sexy toys, where Apple is a Lamborghini, the T-3 is an old Skoda or a Ford Fairlane with wooden panels. Its not the barfly hottie who gets all the looks, but the sensible woman who stays home studying accounting.
In order for me to buy one it would have to come down to at least U$350 or I could not justify the purpose, not even as an extra gadget that is cool to have. Sure I can own 3 Ipods, but they are pimp and utilitarian as well, but this thing is the size of a clipboard and looks as if designed for some government functionary with more time then talent or a guy with tape wrapped around his glasses and a pocket protector with a knot of pens snuggled up next to his protractor.
Using Chinese workers and tech , I really have no idea why the price point is so high. I heard they wanted to keep it low so as to compete with the Ipad but have failed.
What will probably happen is they will get funds from here or there and then due to distribution channels they have built up, look for a foreign buyer. Then they will either fold or get rich.

I think it is a mediocre piece of tech which seems like it would have been a great idea Before the invention of the Ipad but not after.


14 Responses to “China’s ErenEben Tablet An Overpriced Retro-Tablet- Review of Eben Eren T-3”

  1. Perdue said

    Excellent review. Thanks for the information.

  2. Daniel Bos said

    Nice review. I agree this tablet is either far too expensive or far too under-spec’d.

    About the stylus, I think you’re missing one important point, and that is Chinese characters. Granted, you can use a pinyin keyboard, but handwriting recognition works so well it’s the superior technique. I have Chinese character recognition on my (capacitive) phone, and although it works, using your finger is too slow and inexact.

    I also have one of those cheap(ish) electronic dictionaries, and the handwriting recognition with a stylus is just great. I’d say the few times it doesn’t recognize what I’m writing is because of my poor Chinese.

    I think for Asian markets having a stylus is a definite plus.

    However, back to this tablet, I think you’d be far better off buying one of the many other Android tables with a stylus, such as the new HTC Flyer, which isn’t much more expensive, but is on every aspect far superior.

    I do expect the price of this tablet to drop rapidly, either that, or don’t sell any…

  3. [...] did a review on China’s ErenEben T3 here and posted this pics on my other site [...]

  4. [...] did a review on China’s ErenEben T3 tablet here and promised some pics, so here they are. For those of you who do not know, ErenEben is the [...]

  5. [...] is that if India can do it, or even produce one for U$200, then why can’t China do the same? I reviewed the Eben Eren which is ok, but the thing costs 25% of the cheapest car India makes (US$ 800) is too much to [...]

  6. [...] is that if India can do it, or even produce one for U$200, then why can’t China do the same? I reviewed the Eben Eren which is ok, but the thing costs 25% of the cheapest car India makes (US$ 800) is too much to [...]

  7. [...] (3)(4)(5) Untruth #4 – Top Secret Writers (6) IBID (7) IntoMobile.com (8) SinaporeSeen (9) WtDevFlnt (10) WtDevFlnt #2 (11) Want China Times (12) IBTimes   [...]

  8. Glenn said

    I played with one in a department store in Shenzhen last month, at the request of a friend of mine, a Chinese guy who is not a nerd, and 50 years old.

    He absolutely loves it, as he can’t type quickly in English or Chinese. With the T4, he can write with the stylus. In Chinese, it is very accurate, much more so than western denies are at recognising English. Written Chinese has the concept of stroke order for characters, so the recognition system gets a big head start.

    I loved it too. I liked the way you can take notes on it, or draw pictures. For business meetings, it seems very useful. I thought of getting an iPad for this, but the stylus on a capactiive touch screen is like the shoes on a clown: way too big.

    The price is a little alarming, but you need to remember that the target market is probably millionaire/billionaire Shenzhen businessmen. They don’t really care how much it costs, as long as it does the job, which for them is mainly taking notes, drawing ambitious revenue charts, getting the email, impressing hotties and checking the calendar.

    For someone who likes to sketch and take notes, this is the best tablet I’ve seen so far.

    Rumour has it there is a colour BoogieBoard on the way that stores pages to your PC. If it doesn’t materialise soon, I may buy one of these devices. It’s Android, so you can probably add a few apps later to make yourself feel better about the price. iPad owners have been doing this for years…

    • wtdevflnt said

      Thanks. Word is , they are high priced for they are given to communist members, no kidding, I have a good friend who is well placed there.
      I agree about the thing, and if it weren’t so expensive, I’d think about getting one.
      I just can’t shuck out the price of 6 kindle 3 gs or the new entry level Alienware rig, for this thing.
      Totally agree about useless iPad pens. It’s like writing with your heel.
      Thanks

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    [...]China’s ErenEben Tablet An Overpriced Retro-Tablet- Review of Eben Eren T-3 « Understanding China, One Blog at a Time[...]…

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