The second new tablet made by Hisense and distributed by retail giant Walmart, the Sero 7 Pro is the companion to the Sero 7 Lite. But while the Lite is a low-end device intended for the very cheapest users, the Sero 7 Pro is aimed squarely at a slightly more upscale market, packing in a 1.3GHz quad core processor, GPS, NFC, and Android 4.2 into a package that's still priced at just $150, which is $50 less than Google's competing model.
Can an unknown manufacturer really go toe-to-toe with Google's Nexus 7? We take a look.
Build and Design
Superficially, the Sero 7 Pro has a lot in common with the Lite version. They're both very simple black-and-brown designs with a generic tablet shape and a fairly wide bezel around the screen.
There are a couple of external differences, though. For one, the back casing is now covered by a textured rubbery coating, giving it a reasonably good non-slip quality. There's a larger rear sticker identifying where the NFC antenna is, which happens to be right above what are now dual speakers, compared to the single speaker in the cheaper tablet. The microSD slot is covered by a small door, where the Lite had it uncovered. Otherwise though, there's not much physical difference.
The rubbery coating makes the Pro feel better in the hand, versus the slightly cheap plastic of the Lite, and overall the feel and build quality seem to be good. You definitely don't get the impression of a cut-rate device, even if you could argue that that's what it is. The build quality feels solid. That's not always a guarantee, but often it's a leading indicator of how reliable a device is going to be, and the Pro feels good.
Thankfully, one of the upgrades in the Sero 7 Pro was to ditch the slightly sub-par screen used by the Lite in favor of a much more robust and pleasing display. Colors and contrast are better, and the resolution is significantly improved, putting it on par with other 7-inch tablets like the Nexus and the Galaxy Tab 7.0. It makes for a nice reading device, as well as one that's much better for photos and video than the Lite.
It's not going to beat a Retina or OLED screen, but it's definitely competitive with comparable tablets.
Other Buttons and Ports
Besides the power and volume buttons found on the side, all the Pro's other controls are found on the "top" of the device. It's unconventional, but it works well enough for most things. And if you want them at the bottom, you can just turn the tablet 180 degrees around, it's pretty much all the same.
You're just getting started. Part 2 explores whether the performance of this inexpensive tablet stands up to the competition.
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