Cherrypal CherryPad America Hands-on: An $188 Android Tablet That Works!

When we first heard about the CherryPad America from the eco-conscious tech company Cherrypal, we experienced flashbacks to the underwhelming Augen GenTouch78 and other low-cost Android slates. How much Android tablet do you really get for $188? Like the Augen, the CherryPad America features a 7-inch resistive display, an 800-MHz Telechips ARM 11 processor, only 256MB of RAM, and 2GB of onboard storage. Uh oh, right? No, this tablet actually works, and the design is much better.

Here are our initial impressions.

  • The aluminum back actually feels pretty sturdy, and it doesn’t exactly hurt that it makes this 1.15-pound tablet look like an iPad from behind. You get a 3.5mm jack and mic up top, a power button and volume controls with good feedback on the sides. Down below is a microSD card slot, proprietary power connector, and speaker. The physical Menu, Home, and Back buttons beneath the screen worked fine in our early testing. The device is 0.5-inches thick, which is pretty good for this price.
  • While the resistive display (800 x 480 pixels) doesn’t have the accuracy or sensitivity of a capacitive touch panel, we didn’t have to stab at it to get it to work. Yes, we had to use more force than we wanted to unlock the screen and slide down the notification panel, but we can type on this thing without that much effort. You don’t need a stylus. Just keep in mind multiouch is off the table.
  • Running Android 2.1, the CherryPad America accesses the Android Market. I repeat. This sub-$200 tablet can actually download apps you’d want to use; you’re not relegated to third-party app stores. To test this out we downloaded Pandora without an issue. Does Google approve of this device tapping into the Market? We’re not sure, but it’s accessible on our unit.
  • This tablet isn’t very speedy. We noticed some lag when moving around menus and launching apps, so that’s definitely a trade-off you’re going to have to make. On the plus side, we didn’t encounter any issues getting connected via Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g only) or when setting up our Google account. Cherrypal claims the CherryPad can handle 1080p video playback, but we’ll have to see about that.
  • You don’t get a camera or video output, or Flash  (for now). If you’re interested in taking pictures with your tablet or video chatting, you’re better off with devices like the Samsung Galaxy Tab. You can also forget about HDMI. Cherrypal promises an update to Android 2.2, which will bring Flash support, but we’re not sure the guts of this tablet will be able to handle it.

Overall, the CherryPad America (for now available exclusively through online retailer Zecozi) is not meant to compete with the iPad, and the company admits as much. It’s a low-cost tablet for getting online and enjoying Android apps. And as long as you keep your expectations in line with the sub-$200 price tag, this slate might satisfy.

Unfortunately, some customers who have ordered the CherryPad America and were promised delivery have not yet received their shipments, which has some questioning whether the company is on the up and up. We’ve reached out for comment and will bring you our full review shortly.

Update: The founder and CTO of Cherrypal just shot us an e-mail, saying “We started shipping 10/15 and as of today we are current. Any domestic orders get shipped within 24 hours.”

AUTHOR BIO
Mark Spoonauer
Mark Spoonauer
Responsible for the editorial vision for Laptopmag.com, Mark Spoonauer has been Editor in Chief of LAPTOP since 2003 and has covered technology for nearly 15 years. Mark speaks at key tech industry events and makes regular media appearances on CNBC, Fox and CNN. Mark was previously reviews editor at Mobile Computing, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc.
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  1. DocWllk Says:

    I’m writting this comment on a CherryPad America. I am finding the resistive touch-screen a bigger challenge than I expected. I am using the erasure on an erasable pen and it is better than my finger. I can confirm that it is slow but it did connect to my Google account and the Market.

  2. blanco Says:

    Re 2.2 Froyo update… cherry pal says on their cherrypad forum that their 2.2 tests are going very well and the new OS should be downloadable within the month, so apparently the guts of this tablet can handle it just fine, fyi.

  3. blanco Says:

    Doc… the CP forum, under upgrades, says that a planned upgrade will make it possible to adjust the touch screen’s sensitivity, fyi.

  4. JonGl Says:

    @DocWllk. Do you think one could use a stylus, like used on the Palm or Apple Newton MessagePad? Or is it better navigated by fingers? TIA

    -Jon

  5. paulied1 Says:

    I have been using my Cheerypad for a few days now and I must say,it’s a nice little tablet. You do have access to the full market but you aren’t able to install all apps. It will let you go through all the steps but once you get to the install step it will give you a” failure to install”,not on all apps. just some..example..I tried to upgrade google maps, it would not complete the process..it’s going to be a hit or miss on the market.Paid apps are there as well but I have not tried to purchase one yet. I am most impressed with the feel , it feels very solid and the fit and finish is much better the most China Tablets. I own the nationite midnite and that runs Android 2.2 with few problems,however youtube does lag on that unit and pandora is unusable because of slow play back, the Cherrypad has no problem playing youtube videos and also plays pandora really well, I just hope that the upgrade doesn’t actually degrade the operating system and render these 2 particular apps useless. Anyone interested in purchasing one should check out Cherrypals web site, there you will find a support tab,click it and go to the CherryPad forums, there you can see how others are feel about the unit.

  6. Dan Says:

    Not impressed at all, very sluggish. There is no smooth scrolling, there is no pinch to zoom, so i guess there is no multitouch! I have a HTC Evo 4G and my phone kicks this things butt. The test that i have done on the CherryPad is SAD. Linpack test on this is 4.2 MFLOPS in 19.96 Seconds. EVO Linpack is 36.18 MFLOPS in 2.32 Seconds. Quadrant Score on this is 273! WOW that is pretty sad. EVO is 2200+. For those who understand the scoring system u would agree that this is not up to par. Mind you i have a rooted EVO overclocked thanks to CM6 SNAP Turbo but, i have nothing else to compare this pad to. For those who want a decent pad i would look into something else with a better Processor and higher RAM and at least have Multi Touch.

  7. Larry Says:

    I have had mine for two days. Except for tinny speakers my unit works great. I have an Evo and did not expect it to come near to the performance of it. However, keeping in mind this is a less than $200 tablet with a slower processor, I certainly wasn’t excpecting it to be anywhere near the performance. Before ordering I read the specs over and over. It was clear that IT DID NOT HAVE MULTITOUCH, NO CAMERA, A RESISTIVE SCREEN. I am extremely happy with mine. Each time I go to use it I just say to myself, “Larry, this is not your Evo”, and my brain adjusts to s slower experience. Also, I downloaded the e Reader APK and it works great and is a swell ereader. I have had no problems downloading anything from the Marketplace, including Google Maps, Street View and a host of others. Videos run smoothly and I am sure when 2.2 is released it will perform better. Keep in mind the onslaught of android tablets is in its infancy. In six months this will be obsolete and cheap ones will be faster. Another reason that folks who want to pay an outrageous price for the Galaxy Tab will be disappointed spending all that money when in a few months it will be dated and a much better cheaper one will be out. Did I mention it is a sweet piece of machine. :)

  8. why? Says:

    I was looking to buy one of the Cherry pal products. But, though the site appears is up. The most recent news update is from 2010. And the buy links all go to error sites, what a strange surprise. There isnt any news to speak of of them for a while. If the products were as offered, it would seem like they would have been great, but I dont seem to be able to find any information about where to actually buy one these days. Google it up, I think you’ll see what I mean, gaps of a year, or more, on any news. Are you curious about what happened? I mean, the great products seemed ready to go. And now, no. They just, what, went off the map, decided not to make or sell them? Did they go out? Where did CherryPad go? Why are the sites buy links inactive? And there’s nothing new, for a year or a year and a quarter.I think its a really interesting story, I’m dissapointed I am not going to get one of their products, and I am also curious, what happened?
    I thought as a tech reporter you might be interested.

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