Internally, the Hisense Sero 7 Lite comes equipped with a 1.6 GHz dual-core processor and 1 GB of RAM, which gives it a surprising amount of speed. It’s not quite as fast according to benchmarks as a comparably specced high-end smartphone, but it still runs rings around any app that you’d care to throw at it. Running Quadrant Benchmark, it managed an average score of 4246 over four runs, which is impressive for a gadget so cheap. A $99 smartphone couldn’t even touch those kinds of numbers.
That’s not to say that there aren’t a few corners cut to make the device cheap. The internal storage is definitely one: it ships with 4 GB of memory, leaving you with only about 2.5 GB free out of the box. Fortunately, it does come with a microSD card slot, so you can easily expand with up to 32 GB more, making the internal storage pretty much a non-issue.
There are other corners cut, too. Unlike most Android tablets, the Sero 7 Lite doesn’t have any kind of GPS capability. Nor does it have Bluetooth, or Near Field Communication. Still, the builders of this device cut their corners wisely: most of the major compromises in the specs are in areas where you can compensate for it (such as memory) or where basic users won’t feel the pinch (like other wireless options). And when they had to cut something, they cut it out entirely rather than trying to do it half way, which also helps it feel like they really meant to make a decent gadget.
A nice thing that you discover once you start getting down into the trenches with the Sero 7 Lite is that it runs an almost absolutely pure version of Google Android 4.1. There are a few pre-loaded apps — Walmart, Vudu, etc. — but very few compared to some of its rivals, and as far as I can tell nothing has been done to the interface. And unlike a lot of the extremely cheap generic Android devices, this tablet doesn’t cut the most important corner, that being the Google ecosystem. It features Google Play and all the associated apps, just like any more expensive tablet or smartphone, allowing you to hook into your account and use any existing or purchased apps and content with ease.
It even, believe it or not, comes with an Office suite, albeit the completely unheard of “Kingsoft Office.” Obscure, but being able to read and create Office documents on the device without needing an extra app is more than I was expecting out of it.
That’s not the end of it, though; the Sero 7 Lite also gets updates. The second day I had my hands on it saw two over-the-air updates, apparent bug fixes. While these updates didn’t move it onto Android 4.2, it’s at least good to see that unlike many cheap tablets it’s not abandoned right out of the box.
The Sero 7 Lite’s only camera is a single 0.3 megapixel front-facing one, capable of 640 x 480 photos or video. Its performance is about what you would expect; blurry, grainy, awkwardly placed, and generally unusable. I suppose if you really desperately needed to video conference, it would be handy, but I sincerely doubt you’ll get much use out of it.
Overall, I would characterize this tablet’s battery life as being reasonably average. It won’t compete with a Google Nexus 7 or Apple iPad mini, but then you can’t expect it to. What you can expect is roughly 5-6 hours of use on a charge while doing average things; you could get significantly more or less depending on your settings.
I wouldn’t count on the 3400 mAh battery for a cross-country flight, but it’s acceptable. Standby time could definitely be better as well, but as long as you charge regularly and don’t leave it lying around, you should be good to go.
Don’t stop now. Page 3 has our final conclusion on the Hisense Sero 7 Lite.