Hisense Sero Tablet Breaks the $100 Barrier, but Beware the Battery

Despite its low price, the Hisense Sero 7 LT tablet doesn't seem terrible on paper

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It never ceases to be surprising when the price of tablets drops to new lows.

Take Hisense’s Sero 7 LT tablet, for example. The 7-in. (17.8 cm) Android tablet is on sale now through Walmart for a mere $99, undercutting bargain-tablet front runners like the Amazon Kindle Fire ($159), Barnes & Noble Nook HD ($199), Google Nexus 7 ($199) and HP Slate 7 ($170).

Despite the low price, the Sero 7 LT doesn’t seem terrible on paper. It runs Android 4.1 — not the newest version, but close — on a 1024-by-600-resolution display. It has a 1.6 GHz dual-core processor, 1 GB of RAM, 4 GB of storage and a 0.3-megapixel front-facing camera. A micro-HDMI slot allows the tablet to connect to external displays, and a microSD card slot allows expandable storage.

But there’s one big caveat with the Sero 7 LT, not listed on Walmart’s product page: according to Engadget, TechRadar and others, this tablet will only last for about four hours on a charge. Most other tablets last at least twice as long. Even if you’re not planning on hours of consecutive use, a big battery allows you to keep your tablet lying around for days at a time, using it on and off throughout. With a four-hour battery, you’ll need to be extra mindful about plugging the tablet in when it’s not in use.

Also, keep in mind that while the Sero 7 LT’s microSD slot compensates somewhat for the measly 4 GB of built-in storage, it’s not a cure-all. Some Android apps and widgets can’t be installed to a microSD card, and juggling two sources of storage can be a hassle.

If the Sero 7 LT’s weaknesses amount to deal breakers, Hisense is also offering a $150 Sero 7 Pro model, with a 7-in. 1280-by-800-resolution display, a quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 processor, 8 GB of storage and — best of all — a 10-hour battery, plus it runs Android 4.2. The specs are similar to Google’s Nexus 7, but with half the storage. On the plus side, the Sero has HDMI out, a 5-megapixel rear camera and NFC support, so you can transfer photos and files to and from an NFC-supported Android phone with one tap.

While tablets that break price barriers make for interesting stories, they rarely stand alone for long. As I’ve said before, these are interesting times for the cheap-tablet wars. If Hisense can manage to hit $99 with a retail partner and maintain a profit margin, it can’t be long until Amazon and Google follow. Both companies rely on the razor-blade business model of selling low- or no-margin tablets and making money on apps and media. The race to the bottom will continue.

13 comments
MeeGirL
MeeGirL

This Hisense sero 7 peace of s%*^.. J bought this crap tablet, I've been playing the games on it. I haven't  dropped it. Or misused it in anyway. Only couple months old. The freaking thing wont charge at all.  I've tried wiggling cable nothing.. I'm scared, worried. I'm just sick abt it. I don't want to tell J abt it not working. WHY?  1 I know he didn't get the warranty on it. 2. He's a d#*k. 3 He will flip out. Yes sd card never worked from day he bought it.       Thanks Hisense  sero7 

BrianKarlovic
BrianKarlovic

i just bought the sero 7 LT and the sd card slot is broken and won't let the sd card to click in and stay in anyone else with this problem

jcraddock
jcraddock

I bought the Pro. It is fast, well-built, has GPS, SD card slot, good speakers, HDMI Out and best of all - for $15 you are insured for 2 years against anything with the Walmart protection plan. I have had no lockups, no crashes, and the battery has been excellent.

skeeboe
skeeboe

Spend $50 more for a Nexus 7 and get twice the RAM, faster Android updates, better quality, and GPS.  It's a no-brainer.  Then again, we're talking about WalMart.

lannister
lannister

For children, I would recommend the childpad. It is a bit more than the leappad by $40, but it has ics on it. I would recommend rooting it if you want access to play and apps, until the next iphone 6.

jessmoss
jessmoss

I just happen to come across this new model by chance the other night.  Seemed like a fantastic deal but had problems and returned it.  The replacement had problems too.  HDMI connection bad and the operating system kept crashing.  I read a few reviews today online to see if I'm missing out and it seems like a number of people are already mentioning product defects on these things.  Pass.

kathyshamilton10
kathyshamilton10

Beware of more than just the battery.  This company, HiSense is notoriously bad for high rate of failure of their TV's which have been selling in the U.S. for a few years now  - I use to work for call center of a big box retailer and  I can't believe Walmart hasn't dropped its  relationship with this company, failure rate was 10 times as high as most other brands. Chances are these new Tablets from HiSense despite the enticing price won't last very long and this company is well known for dragging out the warranty repair process so most customers simply give up.

gkfanatic
gkfanatic

They are both wastes of money, like most Wal-Mart wares it is low-quality Chinese garbage.. It won't take long until app limits are reached with the limited amount of free space these tablets have. They do have Google Play, but you won't be able to install many apps on them.

The 4GB model will probably have only 2.5-3GB available for apps/data. The large model doesn't have an SD slot available so it is actually worse, at least with the small version you could potentially install Cyanogenmod on it using a large capacity SD card with memory to spare.

Save your money and buy a better tablet like the Nook HD or Nexus 7 that you can actually do something with. Buy a Kindle Fire if you are fine with an eBook reader experience controlled by Amazon.

ReadandShare
ReadandShare

@skeeboe 

No brainer?  Not necessarily.  I regularly travel to 'fourth world' countries with spotty (or near non-existent) Wifi.  A microSD card slot serving as backup storage is important (yes, I got burned without one on my first-gen iPad back in 2010).  If the Nexus 7 had a microSD slot, I would have snatched one up months ago.  THAT would have been a no brainer.

enterprisefan01
enterprisefan01

@gkfanatic No idea of what your talking about. I got the hisense 7 pro and it does have a sd slot. also, benchmarked it with passmark and it scored right inline with the nexus 7 in all scores.