The all-plastic body doesn’t help to make the Binatone ReadMe tablet win any premium-device feel, but it does keep it very light. Binatone hasn’t yet released any details on the exact weight of this ereader-come-tablet, but it felt significantly lighter than the vast majority of tablets we've palmed in the past.
If the insubstantial feel is a turn-off rather than a bonus, it also comes bundled with a folio-style case. The ReadMe slots into this with the help of three plastic holders, while the back of the case can be folded up to act as a stand for the Binatone. Although the case is not made of premium materials, this is a surprisingly neat addition for a £129.99 tablet.
Not bothered about out-and-about skills? The Binatone ReadMe Mobile features a flip-out stand on its back, letting it stand up on its own lengthways. The built-in physical keyboard ensures you probably won’t want to use it as a photo frame, but the stand could come in handy when watching movies in bed.
The imperfect viewing angles stop this from being a budget movie-watching hero like the Archos G9 80, but it’s more-than-capable of blasting out the odd TV episode. Here’s where the holes in our tech knowledge about the Binatone ReadMe Mobile start to take their toll though. We don’t yet know the processor speed or video codec compatibility of this device. We got to test out a few videos, but as they were Binatone’s own demo files rather than our gruelling benchmark vids, we can’t glean much from the tablet’s otherwise perfectly decent performance.
Navigational lag was kept at a respectably minimal level, given this device runs the aged Android 2.1 OS, but we’ll have to wait for our retail unit to really test its powers - we’re not particularly used to using Android with a cursor, after all. Even if it does have a 1GHz, or more powerful, CPU, the 800x480 pixel screen won’t be able to make best use of anything above 480p video content.
Connectivity-wise, the Binatone ReadMe Mobile puts on a lukewarm show, with a full-sized SD card slot, miniUSB for data transfer and headphone jack. It uses a dedicated power jack – so presumably won’t charge over USB – and offers no video output. How does this compare to other budget Android devices? Some are beginning to better this spread, the Kogan 7in tablet in particular offers an HDMI output. eReader hybrids rarely offer this feature though.
Although interesting, the Binatone ReadMe Mobile has a number of issues to overcome before it can claim success. It attempts to meld the design of two new(ish) tech trends, tablets and ereaders, but lacks some of the most important bits of both. It doesn’t have a glare-free screen or a proper app store, which are vital to the identity of any respectable ereader/tablet. Can the low price alone make up for these omissions? We’ll be back with our full conclusion in the full Binatone ReadMe Mobile review.