Monday, July 27, 2015

Tuvva Power Play - Gaming Tablet Review

The Tuvva Power Play is quite possibly the cheapest gaming tablet on the market. Priced at $120, is it worth the cost? I'm here to share my views.

To start off, yes the Tuvva is very cheap. You'd be hard pressed to find any Android tablet in the same price range, let alone one with built in controls. You even get the option of black or white, which it more than you can say for most of the top of the line tablets.

Initial impressions of the tablet are good. It has nice feeling buttons, and a good size display. The Tuvva has analog pads more similar to the PSP and the 3DS vs. full analog sticks. These are a bit wieghty, but they work fine.

But once you start using the device, you can see where they saved money. The first thing you will notice, it has a TFT screen. TFT technology was considered old 10 years ago. What this means, is if you tilt the tablet while playing, the screen will look bleached out or too dark to see anything. The Tuvva also has the cheapest and saddest little speaker I've ever seen fitted to a device. It's mono, and very wispy in power. Thankfully it has a good working bluetooth and audio jack, so if you want to use headphones or external speakers, it works fine.

The Power Play ironically isn't what you'd call very powerful either. It's only rocking a dual core 1.6gb processor with only 1gb of ram. It also only has a total of 8gb of flash memory, with only 1gb setup for the OS and applications. Thankfully with androids ability to store most of your app data on the on board SD card, this hasn't affected me too much. It's rocking a quad core 400MP4 graphic processor, but the screen resolution is only 1024x600. I do want to mention, that if you are using this tablet to emulate old games (as it was designed for), the low resolution almost helps.

You can tell they used somewhat lower grade plastic as well. When this really shows is when you use the device in the dark, you get a fair amount of light bleeding through the plastic. Now, the tablet doesn't feel fragile, which is a plus. I've actually been using mine fairly regularly for almost a year now without any major issues. And because it used Joypads instead of full on Joysticks, it's much more portable without having to worry about the stick getting screwed up.

Everything else is pretty standard. Multi-Touch screen which works adequately, front and rear facing camera's (which are actually really bad), gyro sensors, WiFi, Bluetooth and pretty much anything else you come to expect from any android device these days. It also has a built in HDMI port along with support for up to a 64gb Micro SD card. The battery life is impressive as well. Under full use, it will last 6-8 hours without a charge.

Tuvva decided to set its tablet to use a non-upgradeable Android Jelly Bean. At first I was irritated by this until after using it a bit, I figured out why. Jelly Bean is possibly Android's most stable operating system, and they wanted to keep many of the bugs from crashing while you're gaming. Over all the OS is pretty bullet proof.

There is one re-occuring glitch in the OS however. The 'Home' bar on the bottom (the bar that give you the 'Home', 'Menu' and 'Back' options) will disapear and can't be brought back without a restart. Thankfully this is relatively minor as most of these buttons are also available in the physical controls.

The Tuvva also has one built in feature that is fantastic. The ability to map the physical controls to on screen functions. This way, if you're playing a game that doesn't have mappable keys (I.E. most Android games), you can set it up so the buttons will interact with the on-screen controls. It's easy to set up and will retain and saved controls for whatever program it was setup for. It's also one of the few gaming tablets that has the option for an R3 and L3. They aren't connected to the Joypad like the Playstation controls, but placed just below.

Even though the power plant in the Tuvva is a bit lack-luster, it actually holds it's own when it comes to emulation. It seems to be able to play much of the same games and devices that my Quad core LG tablet can play with about the same amount of success. The trick is to not force it to multi-task and it'll do just fine. I've emulated as low as Gameboy games to as high as PSP and Sega Dreamcast without much issue. And pretty much any android emulated apps have options for button mapping. With some programs that don't have full mapping functionality (I.E. Reicast), you can map what you can and then assign whatever buttons you want to for the on screen functions.

I wanted to make a special point to the customer service at the Tuvva Department. I had dropped the first tablet I received cracking one of the shoulder buttons, and they exchanged it, no questions asked and for no money. I had a new tablet in a little over a week (hey, shipping from China, that's impressive).

Great with emulation (why you're buying this tablet to begin with)
Full functioning analog Joy Pads
Great portability (Slim and light weight)
Full functioning Android Tablet
Screen mappable functions
Great Customer Service
Expandable to 64gb Micro SD card
Long battery life

TFT screen
Low Resolution
Cheap and crappy speaker
Slightly cheap build quality
Low amount of on board flash memory
Slow processing power
'Home' bar glitch

Overall Impressions:
The Tuvva Power Play isn't what I would call a high end device. As long as you take the 'You get what you pay for' mantra to heart, you won't be disappointed. You won't find it's equal for the price, and it does what it sets out to do, provide a good and portable emulation device, very well. If you're in the market for a gaming tablet, the Tuvva Power Play is well worth a second look.

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