Tag Archives: RCA

Great Features on a Budget Tablet – RCA Saturn 10 Pro

The RCA Saturn 10 Pro tablet is a 10″ Android tablet that marries budget specs with high-end features at an astonishingly low price, GB£109. That’s about US$140. Amazingly, that price includes a detachable keyboard, but have they cut the corners in the right places, or is this true value for money? Let’s take a look.

Sold by Asda in the UK, the Saturn 10 Pro is the big brother to the Mercury 7L and both carry the RCA branding though I’m not sure if the RCA brand is as strong in the UK as it might be in the US. Eagle-eyed GNC readers will spot a great deal of similarity with the Venturer EliteWin which I reviewed previously. Unsurprisingly it’s no coincidence as the Saturn 10 Pro is produced by Venturer under the RCA brand. For those wondering what happened to RCA as a company, it was purchased and then broken up by GE in the 1980s.

Taking a quick look over the tablet, I think the design has got stronger with each iteration of the tablet. MoMA won’t be asking for an exhibit any time soon, but the Saturn Pro isn’t far off some of the other low cost tablets from a certain large on-line retailer. Mind you, it’s still quite thick at 11 mm without keyboard. Handily, most of the controls and features have been concentrated on what I perceive as the left-hand side. This is a good thing as it means there’s one unencumbered short edge which can be used to grasp the Saturn Pro in portrait mode.

Quickly reviewing features, there’s a microphone, HDMI connector, reset button (that I never had to use), microSD slot, 5V DC jack (never used), microUSB (used for charging), 3.5 mm headphone jack, power button, volume rocker and full-size USB port. The keyboard connects onto a long edge via four pogo pings with magnets keeping the tablet in place. The single speaker round the back is possibly one of the loudest I’ve ever heard on a phone or tablet.

Speed is not one of the Saturn 10’s strengths. Although equipped with a 1.3 GHz quad core processor and 32 GB of storage, it’s held back by the paltry 1 GB of RAM. In benchmarking, Geek Bench 3 gave the Saturn 387 and 1113 in the single and multicore tests respectively. For comparison a Nexus 5 from 2013 scores 859 and 1764. In real world conditions, that means Alto’s Adventure takes over 20 seconds to launch. Still, it’s playable when it gets going though the tablet sometimes stutters when there’s too much action in the games. Surfing the web and watching YouTube is fine – give it time to get the videos loaded.

The display could be better too. 1280 x 800 on a 10″ screen simply is disappointingly low and at times there’s a hint of blurriness round text in places. Look closely at the “t” in the photo – it’s not crisp. 1280 x 800 was the resolution of the original Nexus 7 in 2012, and that had a 7″ screen. The Nexus 9 is 2048 x 1536 in a 9″ screen. To be fair, most of the time it’s not noticeable but open a text-heavy magazine in Zinio and it’s quite obvious.

And as for the cameras, lots of light is needed to get anything worthwhile from the two megapixels. Stick to using the camera in your smartphone.

What’s good? The plethora of ports is definitely interesting – full-size USB, microUSB, microSD and HDMI are all handy, particularly for photos and documents. Plug in a memory stick or card, fire up Google Photos and flick through the photos. Copy between media using ES File Explorer. I’m not sure if I had a setting wrong somewhere but I didn’t seem to be able to use the microUSB port for anything other than charging. Connecting up the Saturn to my PC via USB didn’t show any additional drives.

Connecting the Saturn to a big TV via HDMI is fun. I had the tablet on holiday with me and I could take the day’s GoPro footage and check it out on the big screen in the evening with the family watching. It’s good from that point of view.

Of course, the keyboard and touchpad are a win too. The keys are small but big enough for even a fat-fingered typist like myself to touch-type without too many errors and the key action is perfect acceptable. The keyboard has a sixth row of keys for back, home, search and other functions which greatly improved the Android-with-a-keyboard experience. Turning the tablet screen off is possible with the keyboard, but it’s not possible to wake the tablet from keyboard. The touchpad is sensitive, though I found it suffered a bit from stray fingers brushing the surface and occasionally text would end up being typed in the wrong place.

On first inspection, the user interface would appear to be mainly stock Android 6.0 (June 2016 security patch) but there are a couple of customisations. The most obvious is the that status bar has few additional icons. Pressing the camera on the left takes a screenshot and the speaker icons control the tablet volume. It’s a smart idea to have onscreen volume controls though I would have preferred keeping the Home button centred.

The other change is more of a disappointment – the “Firmware update” screen is black screen with a grey “CHECK NOW”. How hard would it have been to code a screen in keeping with the rest of the OS? It’s somewhat concerning too that the most recent security update is from June 2016.

Everything else is as expected for an Android tablet with full access to Google products; Play Store, Music, Movies, Games, Maps and so on. It’s all there – the Saturn 10 Pro is fully functional Android tablet (specs). Battery life is quoted at six hours and that’s not far from the truth.

Let’s be clear, the Saturn 10 Pro is not a Pixel C but then again, you’d get three Saturn 10s for the price of one Pixel C. The Saturn 10 is a budget tablet with a great deal of functionality from a microSD slot to a full-sized USB port,  HDMI out and a keyboard. On the other hand, the tablet is slow, cameras are low-res and the screen is disappointing for a 10″ display. What’s important to you will determine if £109 is money well spent on the Saturn 10.

As an example, I wouldn’t buy one personally because I read lots of magazines on my tablet and I want a glossy hi-res screen to enjoy the features. That’s important to me, but if you want to do a bit of email on the sofa, having the keyboard might make it a killer proposition at the price. As an aside, if Venturer was able to produce a tablet that bumped the specs to the mid-range and priced it well, I think they’d have a real winner.

If the Saturn 10 Pro makes your shortlist, it’s available from Asda for GB£109 at time of writing. Video unboxing and review below.

Thanks to RCA Venturer for providing the Saturn 10 Pro for review.

RCA partner with Sling TV and shows off new antennas at CES

RCA logoCutting the cord is a bit of a wrong name in many cases as many people retain cable internet so the cord still exists, just not as a source for TV. For that there are many affordable alternatives that come in online and one of those is Sling, a relatively new service that brings live TV and can be used from a set-top box so you still have it on the big screen.

Now Sling is partnering with RCA in conjunction with a new line of wireless antennas that the electronics maker is showing at the Consumer Electronics Show this week in Las Vegas. Those who purchase one of the new antenna models will receive a 10 day free trial of Sling TV.

The new antenna list, including prices and range, is as follows:

  • SLIVR Indoor Flat HDTV (ANT1520F – $29.99) operates up to 30 miles from the nearest broadcast towers.
  • SLIVR Amplified Indoor Flat HDTV (ANT1560F – $44.99) operates up to 50 miles from broadcast towers and is equipped with SmartBoost™ amplifier technology that enhances the frequencies needed for the clearest picture.
  • SLIVR XL Indoor Flat HDTV (ANT1620F – $59.99operates up to 40 miles from the nearest broadcast towers.
  • SLIVR XL Amplified Indoor Flat HDTV (ANT1660F – $69.99operates more than 50 miles from broadcast towers and is equipped with SmartBoost™ amplifying technology.

“More Americans are seeing the benefits of using an over-the-air antenna”, says Ian Geise, Senior Vice President at RCA. “Not only is our antenna technology advancing to deliver the strongest signals and highest quality broadcast content, but the increased availability of streaming services like Sling TV are making it effortless for consumers to customize the content they want to create a package that’s perfectly tailored to them”.

An antenna can fill the niche that Sling does not cover — local stations.

RCA Introduces New Charging Solutions for Mobile Devices at CES

RCA 2-AC:2-USB Wall PlateRCA announced five new additions to their line of charging solutions at CES. These solutions are designed to make customers feel at ease when their mobile devices are in the battery “red zone” knowing a full charge is possible anywhere. These new chargers are compatible with a variety of mobile and portable devices and designed to blend in seamlessly with the home or office.

The 2-AC/2-USB Wall Plate has a simple design that will blend right into any room. The wall plate adds two USB ports offering a total of 3.4 amp charging without compromising any AC outlets in your home. It is $21.99.

RCA 8-Port Tabletop Charging Station

The 8-Port Tabletop Charging Station ($99.99) is ideal for the office or boardroom where multiple devices often need to charge during long meetings. The ultra-fast 2.4 AMP charging port allows up to eight devices to charge simultaneously, utilizing 96 Watts of charging power, in a compact tabletop format.

RCA International Power Adapter

Those who do a lot of traveling will find the International Power Adapter ($24.99) useful. It has a USB port that allows travelers to power and charge laptops and mobile devices from anywhere in the world with a 2.1Amp fast charge USB port. All components are built into the product, eliminating the risk of misplacing pieces or adapters when traveling.

RCA Portable Backup Battery

The RCA Portable Backup Battery ($19.99) instantly powers a smartphone for one full charge. It is small enough to fit into a pocket or bag and can go anywhere. This one is great for when your mobile device hits the “red zone” of battery life.

RCA Car Charger

The RCA Car Charger with Built-in Cables provides ultra-fast charging with built-in Apple Lightning ($24.99) or micro-USB ($14.99) cable. Both are 6′ in length. The additional USB port provides an additional charging solution for smartphones, tablets, and Android devices.

Visit RCA at Booth # 10406 in the Central Hall at CES.

RCA Introduces the “AIR” Ultra-Thin Antenna at CES

RCA logoRCA is the original pioneer of color television and antenna technologies. They continue to challenge consumers to “cut the cord”. Their “AIR” Ultra-Thin Antenna can help you to do that.

The “AIR” Ultra-Thin Antenna is superior in UHF performance as well as optimized for VHF high use frequency. This allows consumers to receive free local news, sports, weather, and popular TV show broadcasts and to break from expensive cable subscription bills.

RCA AIR UltraThin AntennaThis antenna takes things to the next level. The “AIR” Ultra-Thin Antenna has adapted market leading reception technology for consumer amplification with a double sided/layered reception element to maximize and strengthen broadcast signals. The element is the portion of the antenna that is responsible for receiving the signal (much like “rabbit ears”).

However, in the “AIR” Ultra-Thin Antenna, the elements are not visible. This highly intricate antenna is double layered where signals broadcast on the same frequency allowing them to strengthen each other, rather than cancel each other out.

RCA AIR UltraThin Antenna in useLike other RCA models, the “AIR” Ultra-Thin Antenna uses SmartBoost amplification to strengthen week signals and deliver purer channel quality making it easier for the consumer to tune in. SmartBoost provides just the right amount of amplification to let consumer watch their favorite shows from NBC, CBS, ABC and other broadcast networks.

Visit RCA at Booth # 10406 in the Central Hall at CES 2015.

RCA Model LED32A32A30RQ TV

I recently picked up the 32 inch RCA model LED32A30RQ TV. It has a resolution of 1366x 768 and a 16:9 aspect ratio. It has the following connections:

  • 1 RCA component video input
  • L/R Audio input for component
  • 1 RCA composite video input
  • 1 L/R Audio input for composite
  • VGA input
  • Audio input for VGA
  • 4 HDMI connections
  • 1 Digital audio output
  • 1 Analog output
  • 1 earphone jack

The fourth HDMI connection was a pleasant surprise because the description says only 3 HDMI connections, although the specifications say four HDMI inputs (it is a little confusing). The HDMI connections and the analog audio output are on the side panel. On the bottom panel are the rest of the connections. The HDMI connections are a little cramped and because the panel is dark it is hard to get things connected, unless you have good lighting. The other big complaint I have is with the sound coming directly from the TV it is really tinny. However, connected to a receiver or sound system it sounds great. I think the picture is fine, however I haven’t been able to do a full calibration yet. When you switch from output to another there is a bit of delay, but it is not too bad. The hardest part of the setup was trying to figure out how to connect to the stand, the directions weren’t very clear.

After having it for a couple of weeks, my husband and I are both really happy with this TV it is perfect for a small room. At $264.00 including taxes the price couldn’t be beat, it was originally almost $400.00. I ordered it right on time, because by the time it arrived 3 days later it was sold out and is now no longer available through Wal-Mart. In fact I can’t find it for sale on any site. If you do find it for sale and have a small room, I recommend you pick it up.

RCA Introduces Android TV

At CES 2011 RCA unveiled their version of Android TV – yes, a TV that runs not Google TV, but Android itself.  It’s not available yes, but it’s well into development  – far enough that they could show it off at their booth.  In fact, they are talking about a possible Fall 2011 release.  The big selling point for an Android TV is obviously apps.  That’s what everyone found so lacking in the recent Google TV rollout – the lack of any apps to allow users to customize the devices.

Internet connected TV’s, on their own, are becoming more and more common and have certainly come a long way since the first ones that featured Yahoo widgets only a few years ago.  Now with Android being ported to the big screen it could be a whole new step forward for the connected living room.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central.

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