X10 AirPad mini-review

We don't normally worry about the really low-end Android tablets floating around out there, because they always seem to disappoint.  We had to make an exception when we heard about the X10 AirPad, though.  X10 is a company many of us know -- they've been around forever since 1978 and have sold many a gadget to many a gadget-lover.  And since the AirPad checks in at under $200, we figured it might be the one.

Gingerbread and a 7-inch form factor doesn't get enough love anyway -- right?  hit the break, and have a look at a video review, some pics, and all the details.

Youtube link for mobile viewing

Quite the shitty ending for some otherwise decent hardware and a great price isn't it?  The signal bug is what it is, and no matter how well constructed or nice the rest of the bullet points are, until it's fixed there just no way I can recommend anyone pick this up.  Trust me, I was disappointed as well.

There is a bit of good news there, as this thing should be pretty hackable (it was an easy root with Gingerbreak).  If that's how you want to roll, and are only worried about the hardware, read on!


  • 1.2Ghz Rockchip 2918 Cortex A8 processor + 600 Mhz DSP
  • 7-inch 800x480 resolution TFT LCD capacitive multi-touch (5 point) touchscreen
  • Android 2.3, with Flash 10.1
  • 2MP camera with video recording and playback
  • 3-axis accelerometer
  • 512MB RAM
  • 4GB on-board ROM, up to 32 B microSD card
  • Battery Life:  6 hours movie, 20 hours music, 6 hours WIFI Internet access *
  • WiFi (802.11b/g)
  • HDMI supporting 1080p output,
  • mini-USB
  • full size USB host
  • 195 mm x 120 mm x 13 mm, Weight 400g (14 oz)
  • 4000mAh rechargeable lithium polymer battery

*The 6 hour battery life, like the cake, is a lie

It's a bare-bones build of Android 2.3.1 with a custom status bar that has the volume control, and a menu button baked in.  We see this same setup on many Rockchip powered seven-inchers.  You won't get luxuries like video codec support, or hardware accelerated launchers, and there's no proximity or light sensors.  It's very much a basic Android appliance -- and many of us want such an animal.

The AirPad does have access to the Android Market, and most everything (curse you Popcap and your games!) seemed to work just fine.  As I mentioned in the video, it's not blazing fast, and games like Dungeon Defenders can get pretty laggy, but if you stay within some sane boundaries, you'll be fine.

It's well-built, and even though it's plasticy it feels decent to hold.  It's nice and light, and great for reading if that's more your speed.  All the inputs worked exactly as advertised, on the first try, so the hardware is solid.  Much better than I expected for a $200 craplet.

Here's where things get sticky.  There are very few people who should buy this one.  The Kindle Fire has the same $199 price tag, and if it's built anything like the PlayBook it resembles, will be a really nice bit of hardware.  But the AirPad is plain wide-open.  If you have a little workshop and the inclination to really tear things apart and re-purpose them, the AirPad is the right one to choose.  If the folks at X10 get around to updating the software to fix that crazy time without signal bug, we'll revisit.  Until then, think twice before whipping out your plastic for it.

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

  • What if you were to root it, and flash another rom, would that remove the bug?
  • I have had an Airpad since they came on market, a little more than a month now. I can agree that battery life is not as good as promoted but the device works well and still meets my needs quite nicely. I personally never have it further than two hours away from charging device. Which brings up another concern that the usb ports do not allow for charging. I tried multiple keyboards and found that the basic no frills type do work, but any that require some kind of power do not. I found a used one for $5 that word fine. There is a method to obtain superuser for terminal support though I have not tried it yet, but no alternative ROM yet. I believe I did read that X10 is working on one. I must admit I have hardly turned my Kindle on since purchasing this tablet, it also does a good job web surfing and I am in fact using it to post this comment with a tablet version of SwiftKey. It lacks many of the specs found on more expensive tablets but worth comparing to what you're needs are.
  • I got an airpad from X10 and buyer beware ! !! I started having problems with it right away as far as the charger. The next problem was the screen would go blank and then get squiggly lines all over so shut it off and it would work for a day or so and this kept up. Finally it would not charge at all. So I called the company and after many phone calls later they said to send it back and I thought they were going to replace it. Nope they sent my same airpad back broken and not working. The airpad was only a few months old when I started having trouble with it. Stay away run run from x10
  • the viewsonic gtablet had the issue on custom roms but deleting TelephonyProvider.apk in /system/app/ solves the issue. maybe a possibility?
  • So, I could buy this tablet, go to the marketplace, purchase, say, Astro file manager and delete that file and have a great tablet?
  • thats incredibly interesting. if I could flash cyanogenmod on it i would buy it in a heartbeat
  • The Ainol Novo 7 advanced is far better and cheaper. $140
  • The second counter on the clock would drive me nuts. Could you hold power and enable airplane mode, then turn on wi-fi from settings? That might be a simple workaround for the signal bug. Looks decent, but I don't know why you would pick this over the amazon fire. The fire tab will likely have a big developer base due to the hardware, assuming they don't go all htc/motorola on us and encrypt the bootloader.
  • The new Lenovo 7" tablet originally posted at $199, and then they upped it a little to $229, when they realized they had no competition at that price with anywhere near the specs. GPS, front and rear cameras, Capacitive touch screen, 1024x600 resolution, expandable storage to 32 GB, 512 megs ram, and 2 GB built in. Up it to 249, and it's 16 GB built in. This is the standard all low end tablets should be. Even the new Kindle Fire, doesn't have all that.
  • Why would anyone get this tablet over a rooted Nook Color? Factory-refurbished models with a full warranty for as cheap as $150. The Nook does not have any cameras, and struggles with audio input, but it has a much better screen viewing angle and at least double the promised battery life, and it actually lives up to its battery life claims. (8 hours with WiFi off, I think) Plus it can be easily rooted to run CyanogenMod 7.1.
  • I have 2 Airpad X10 and let me tell you my experience about: PROS:
    1. Very fast
    2. Cheap
    3. Big Keyboard for a 7' tablet
    4. Regular size USB HOST "this is why I purchased these tablets"
    5. Very responsive screen
    6. Not bad speakers
    7. Play many video formats
    8. Good PDF reader CONS:
    1. Poor battery
    2. Little heavy
    3. NO Android Market, just Amazon Market so you have to register a credit card for any download
    4. Poor Camera it is really basic I am developing an application under HTML + PHP + Javascript + AJAX + MySQL, the browser can handle all this great, this software is to control a warehouse inventory and I am using a "REGULAR USB BARCODE READER" So I can tell you that this tablet is great for this, but it sucks if you want it to play ClubPenguin, regular browsing or Facebook. But it is a great option to put it to work because the employees can't be playing with it.
  • By the way I forgot to tell that there are not many tablet with this USB HOST PORT, and ir really useful
  • I have just purchased the Airpad for $170 from x-10. It is now running Android 4.0 (Ice cream sandwich) and seems to have addressed the drawbacks listed in this review. I would urge an updated review of the unit based on this new configuration.
  • Update. I have been using the new upgraded tablet with Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) for the past week, and it seems to have solved most of the problems. It still is impossible to access Android Market, so many apps are not accessible (like Nook for android pad), but there are additional android app sites flat provide most of the apps that one would want. Free Pandora, Netflix, and Skype works on the ipad. I am very happy with this purchase. It was a bargain, and I think that anyone who was hesitating because of the review above should seriously reconsider. For the price of a Kindle you get a fully-functioning color device with a touch screen. I purchased a 32 gig micro chip for $25 and a case with attached keyboard for $12 on Amazon, so I have now a fully functioning computer (albeit with not much memory) as well as a tablet for well under $200.
  • I have had the AirPad 7P (7 inch version) for several months now.
    They posted a new version Android 4.03 that seems to have corrected several problems including some application stability.
    The unit has worked well, but the Amazon Android Appstore does not get the support from the developers that the Android Market seems to get.
    I think it was a great buy - especially since I purchased a refurbished unit for only $129.00.
  • I have both a "bluetooth" and 2 different USB, GPS antannas, and can not get eather to work with this AirPad 7 (android 2.3) Dose anyone have a suggestion? 1. GPS is the TravRoute USB from Co-Pilot
    2. GPS is the Altha USB
    3. GPS is the Altha Bluetooth I am unsing RMSTECH (Flight Soft) Express for Andriod
    When I select the Nav button and then the connect to GPS, a few seconds later I get a "GPS Lost" on the screen.