It’s always exciting to be able to test different versions of a device and see what changes the manufacturer has made. Many make strange decisions – we last saw this at Apple. There, owners of the new iPads who want to use an Apple Pencil are forced to buy the older 1st generation and charge it via a strange adapter.
Today the Alldocube iPlay 50 Mini is in front of us. This is the little brother of the Alldocube iPlay 50 (test report) that we have already tested, which scored particularly well with the adequate performance, the strong display and the relatively high-quality design. The mini tablet was able to inherit some of these advantages: the design, which is unparalleled in this price range, is also found in the Alldocube iPlay 50 Mini, as is the performance, which stood out in the test. But not everything is perfect with this device – the test showed some shortcomings.
design and finish
The tablet greets us after unpacking from its inconspicuous, small, white box. In addition to the device itself, the scope of delivery includes a USB-A power adapter with a charging capacity of a measly 10 watts, a USB-A to USB-C cable, a needle to open the SIM card compartment and a user manual.
The back of the device is a direct testament to the high-quality design and solid workmanship – it is made of grey, matt aluminum, which is only replaced by plastic elements at the top and bottom to ensure the antenna function. The Alldocube logo on the back and the unusually long model number are complemented by a QC sticker, which is unnecessary but can be removed without leaving any residue. The rear camera consists of a sensor placed in a small highlight on the top left.
On the front of the Alldocube iPlay 50 Mini is the 8.4-inch display, which thanks to the rounded corners and the thin display edges fits perfectly into the overall high-quality appearance of the tablet. If you hold the device upright so that the front camera is at the top, the volume and power buttons, which are also made of aluminum, are on the top right. This placement, combined with the device’s small size, means that when the device is oriented horizontally, it’s easy for the fingers of the left hand to press the keys accidentally. Alldocube could have prevented this if the keys had been placed two to three centimeters lower.
The USB-C charging port is on the top (i.e. where the front camera is) and is therefore also unusually placed. The mono speaker is on the bottom left and – this is even more annoying – is covered by the right hand when the tablet is held horizontally. One of Alldocube’s few bad design choices.
The device weighs around 292 grams, making it lightweight and with its dimensions of 202.7 × 126 × 7.5 millimeters it is handy enough to be held with one hand and operated with the other. Incidentally, typing on an on-screen keyboard is possible without any problems. All in all, with minor exceptions, it is a well designed and manufactured device.
The Alldocube iPlay 50 Mini uses an 8.4-inch IPS panel with a resolution of 1920 × 1200 pixels. This results in a pixel density of around 270 pixels per inch (PPI) – an extraordinarily high Full HD resolution for the price, which definitely has to be positively emphasized. The color representation of the display is appropriate – nothing is pale here, but the colors are not particularly strong either. The shadows on the display edges, which are known from other IPS panels, are only slightly present.
We only have to criticize the brightness of the Alldocube iPlay 50 Mini’s display – it is around 350 cd/m² and is therefore appropriate for indoor use. However, if you use the tablet in direct sunlight, the display can hardly be read. For the price of around 100 euros, the complaining is at a high level. A brightness sensor is not installed.
A big advantage of the Alldocube iPlay 50 Mini display is the support for Widevine Level 1. This allows users to watch content from well-known streaming providers such as Netflix and Disney+ in HD quality. Devices that do not support Widevine Level 1 can only stream content in SD quality, i.e. 480p. The more expensive, larger model does not have this functionality. In this case, however, that clearly speaks for the device. So overall it’s a great display – only the brightness could be better.
A total of two cameras are installed in the Alldocube iPlay 50 Mini – a front camera on the front and the main camera on the back. The main camera has an unimpressive 5 megapixels. This doesn’t exactly ensure sharp or otherwise particularly usable photos, and the colors aren’t all that accurate.
Video recordings are possible with the main camera with Full HD at 30 frames per second. Due to the lack of image stabilization, the camera is of little use for videos. The front camera also has a resolution of 5 megapixels and enables video recordings in 720p at 30 frames per second. So video telephony is included, but nothing more.
Alldocube iPlay 50 Mini – photo series
Alldocube iPlay 50 Mini – photo series
The heart and brain of the Alldocube iPlay 50 Mini is the Unisoc T606, an eight-core ARM chip from 2019. It is a processor from the lower middle class, but it is mostly found in devices that cost more than 100 euros. Overall, the processor is quite fast and copes well with all everyday tasks and with the operating system itself. Jerking or short pauses for thought were surprisingly rare in regular use, simple work (Word and Excel) was possible with the device without any problems.
The device struggles with more complicated workloads, but it’s not made for that. What you need to know: The chip runs well enough to do all the tasks that are normally done with such a tablet, and it is also easily available for less demanding games. This is above average for the price range in which the Alldocube iPlay 50 Mini moves.
The Unisoc T606 is accompanied by four gigabytes of RAM. That’s reasonable for the price, but not exceptionally much. The manufacturer advertises that the main memory can be virtually expanded by an additional 4 GB. These are “blocked” from the built-in internal UFS 2.1 storage and used to manage background tasks. This may sound progressive and sensible at first glance, but it really isn’t. After all, this feature is more of an advertising slogan than a really useful thing, since the internal memory is much slower than the RAM and the effect is therefore negligible.
Speaking of the internal memory, it is 64 GB and can be expanded with a memory card. Other technologies supported by this tablet include Wi-Fi 5 (IEEE 802.11ac), Bluetooth 5.0 and SIM cards for LTE (4G). Unfortunately, the USB-C port is only a USB 2.0 port, which means that the bandwidth is severely limited. However, this is nothing unusual for this price range. The built-in mono speaker is okay, but nothing special. The voice quality is adequate for phone calls.
software and updates
To our surprise, as soon as we set up the Alldocube iPlay 50 Mini, we noticed that the software installed on the tablet isn’t exactly the same as that we had to criticize on its bigger brother. Android 13 is already running. The operating system of the mini tablet is less like the pure Android operating system than that of its big brother. The icons on the start screen have been replaced by more colorful alternatives and the settings app has also received a redesign. Visually, it is somewhat reminiscent of Xiaomi’s MIUI user interface.
Interesting: The quick settings menu has not been changed. Overall, the operating system itself is not a disadvantage of the device, as it is mostly bug-free and did not cause any problems in use. We were again surprised by the lack of an option to search for a software update manually. A few days after commissioning, the option to update the operating system was then offered.
The latest security patch is from May 2023 and is therefore sufficiently up-to-date. Unfortunately, it is difficult to say how the update situation will develop in the future. Alldocube does not make firm promises regarding security updates, more than two years of support – if at all – are not to be expected.
Alldocube delivers a last small disappointment with the iPlay 50 Mini with the battery. This only has a measly capacity of 4000 mAh. Many modern smartphones (which come with a much smaller, i.e. energy-saving display) can show a larger key figure here.
This is reflected in the battery life: This was between three and three and a half hours with average use. That’s pretty short and a shame. Playing a two-hour YouTube video at 60 percent brightness cost us 48 percent of the battery capacity. Overall, the battery life is not good and is probably the biggest disadvantage of the tablet. Charging is also slow at 10 watts and takes well over two hours.
The Alldocube iPlay 50 Mini is around 100 Euro available from the Chinese online retailer Banggood, a fair price. Free shipping from the Czech Republic within five days. The only available memory variant has 4/64 GB, the only color is gray.
All in all, the Alldocube iPlay 50 Mini is one of the cheapest tablets that we have seen so far. A great, albeit dark display, solid performance, good features and an extremely high-quality design mean that you will hardly find a mini tablet on the market with a comparable price-performance ratio. It is definitely one of the best Android tablets up to 9 inches in our tests.
Only the sobering battery life is a thorn in our side. The conceivable uses are diverse – whether as a second tablet, as an entertainment machine or e-book reader, you can’t go wrong with the Alldocube iPlay 50 Mini.