We’re back again, with another affordable gaming tablet. This time we have the Alldocube M5S on the review bench. You may recall that we recently gave a little preview of the Alldocube X, a premium media tablet that found success on IndieGoGo. The M5S is its cousin, the original M5 acting as the older “sibling” and shaves a heaping helping off the price tag while still offering impressive performance and visuals.
- Current Pricing: AliExpress: $130.37, Amazon UK: £159.99
- Official Site: Link
- Operating System: Android 8.0 Oreo
- CPU: MediaTek Helio X20 MT6797, 64-bit Processor
- GPU: Mali-T880 MP4, 780 MHz, 4-Cores
- Camera: 5 Megapixel Rear Camera | 2 Megapixel Front camera
- Flash Memory: 3GB LPDDR3
- Storage: 32GB with microSD card slot up to 128GB
- Display: Screen size 10.1 inches LCD IPS WUXGA Screen (1920 x 1200)
- SIM: Dual (Nano-SIM + Nano+SIM) Support, Dual Standby
- Battery: Non-Removable Lithium-Polymer 6600mAh battery
- Sensors: Accelerometer
- Colour: Silver, White
- Port: Micro USB Slot, 3.5 mm headphone jack, DC Jack, Micro SD (TF) card expansion, Power Off/On, Speaker, SIM Slot
- Dimensions: 241.3 mm x 171.7 mm x 8.9 mm
- Weight: 510 Grams
- More Features: TF Card Expansion, Aluminium Alloy and Plastic Body Design, Dual Camera, LTE Cat 6 300 Mbps Download, 50 Mbps Upload, HSUPA Plus, TF Card Slot, Dual-Band Wi-Fi, SIM Card Slot, Dual SIM Dual Standby, Micro USB Port, 100-240V 5V 2A AC Adapter, 3.5mm Earphones Port, Built-in Dual Channel Speaker, Multi-language Support.
On the surface, the M5S looks a lot like the Chuwi Hi9 Air we reviewed last week. In fact, it’s quite similar, carrying the same 10.1” screen size and packing the same Helios X20 chipset. The engines, so to speak, are the same but there are a few key differences that make this an even more interesting purchase.
Just like the tablet we looked at last week, what you’re getting here really is much better than anything you’ll find stateside. Tablets at this price point in the US are usually made of cheap plastic and come in at 720p resolution (if you’re lucky). Their internals are old and out of date, storage is limited, and RAM is cut to the minimum. Mostly. Here, the M5S is made of sturdy aluminum and glass. It’s thin and light, coming in at only 8.9mm thick and 510g. The upgrades aren’t limited to just build quality, either.
The M5S packs the MediaTek Helios X20, which is a deca-core processor. That’s… a lot of cores. This system on a chip is broken into eight A53 cores and two high performance A72s. This chipset also includes the Mali-T880 GPU, clocked 780 MHz, and it works well for most games on the market today. It also features 32GB of storage, expandable with MicroSD cards up to 128GB, and 3GB of DDR3 RAM. The chipset also opens the doors to high bandwidth connectivity with WiFi 802.11 ac/b/g/n (2.4GHZ/5GHz) and LTE. The M5S also supports dual SIM for multiple network connections.
What sets it apart, though, is the price. Right now, the Alldocube M5S can be pre-ordered on AliExpress for only $130 and change. That’s downright remarkable for what you’re getting here. If you’re in the U.K., you can pick it up on Amazon for a little more at $159.99, which is still very reasonable for what you’re getting here.
To get the price that low, Alldocube has made a series of smart design choices to really make this a purpose-driven budget gaming and media tablet. The screen, for example, is Full HD instead of QHD. The resolution comes in at 1920x1200 in a 16:10 aspect ratio. While yes, you can notice the difference coming from a 2K screen, FHD still looks quite good at this screen size and goes a long way toward keeping the price down. The LCD IPS screen is still vibrant and plenty bright for indoor use (outdoors it can be a bit hard to see) and offers good viewing angles without noticeable blue shift.
For gaming, however, this actually turns out to be quite a good thing. Since the resolution is lower, gaming performance is much better than on the higher resolution tablet we looked at last week. At 2K, the Helios X20 can begin to chug when there are lots of particle effects on the screen. At 1080/1200p, it maintains a better framerate throughout. Order and Chaos Online, Lineage 2: Revolution, and PUBG Mobile were all very playable.
Watching movies is also a nice experience. Alldocube did a good job of tuning the screen straight from the factory so dithering in Netflix streams wasn’t visible, making for a good media experience. The downside is that the speakers really aren’t anything to write home about. They get the job done but really don’t compare to a good set of headphones or a bluetooth speaker.
When it comes to practical use, I would often prop the M5S up on my desk while playing games on my PC. Cruising Reddit or Facebook is snappy and responsive. Even picture intensive sites load up well and scroll smoothly. There’s also no bloatware slowing your device down. For better or worse, this is pretty much a stock Android Oreo experience to shape as you will.
But… it’s not all sunshine and roses. Remember how I said it was purpose driven? If you’re looking for an amazing camera, you may be disappointed. The rear camera is only 5MP at 4:3 and isn’t the sharpest. The front is only 2MP. Even on the smaller screen of a tablet, they look a bit fuzzy. It will work for basic video chats and Twitter pictures, but you know what? If they had to sacrifice camera quality on this media and gaming tablet to get the price that low, that’s a pretty fair trade off in my opinion.
On the other hand, the battery life comes in at 6600mAh, which is pretty middle of the road for a tablet of this size. It’s a more meaningful sacrifice than the cameras, since you’ll definitely need to be charging it every night or plugging in during movies.
The Alldocube M5S is a tablet that knows what’s its trying to be and hones in on it. If you’re looking for a responsive slate to play some games, watch movies, and browse the web, this is one of the best options we’ve found at this price point. At this price point, you can’t expect it to have the newest chipset or best camera. Instead, what you have is a wise selection of internals that give you impressive performance, quality screen, and cut-above aluminum and glass construction. For $130, it’s a great value.
- Nice aluminum and glass construction
- 1920x1200 resolution better for gaming with the Helio X20
- Decent storage and RAM
- Stock Android
- Purpose-driven, great price to performance ratio
- Cameras aren’t great
- Battery life only 6600mAh
The product described in this article was provided by the manufacturer for the purpose of review.