Many low cost tablets can only support 3G connectivity via an external 3G USB dongle, and if you are searching for one online, it can be a pain to find because of keyword stuffing. I’ve just discovered one easy way to filter the 3G tablets: Specify Mediatek MTK6575 (Single core Cortex A9) or MTK8377 (dual core Cortex A9) processors during the search as those platforms (always?) include a connectivity combo that provides GSM and 3G support.
Media MTK8377 is still very new, but some preliminary tests show its Antutu score is 5626, which is not really wonderful, but still passable for an SoC clocked at 1.2 GHz. As a reference, I’ve seen AMLogic AML8726-MX dual Cortex A9 SoC @ 1.2 GHz having an Antutu score of 5900. The GPU used in MTK8377 is Imagination Technology PowerVR SGX531, which was released 6 years ago. That’s about all I know about the processor since Mediatek has no information on their website.
If we try to search for MTK8377 on Aliexpress, it will return a list of sellers offering 7″ tablets with 2G/3G connectivity and dual SIM card support with price ranging between $170 to $230. A tablet called ZXC Z7 will show up with many sellers, so let’s have a look at that one.
The specifications do not look too bad for this Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) tablet:
- SoC – Mediatek MTK8377 Cortex A9 dual core @ 1.2GHz with PowerVR SGX531 GPU
- System Memory – 1 GB RAM
- Storage – 8GB NAND Flash + micro SD card socket
- Display – 7″ capacitive multitouch (5 pts) IPS Panel – Resolution: 1024 × 600
- Wifi 802.11 b/g/n
- Build-in 3G with dual SIM card:
- 2G GSM: 850/900/1800/1900MHz
- 3G WCDMA: 850/1900/2100MHz
- Bluetooth v4.0
- Camera – 0.3 MP front camera, 5.0 MP rear camera
- Sensors – G-Sensor
- Audio Formats – MP3, WMA, OGG, AAC, WAV FLAC etc.
- Video Formats – AVI, MP4, FLV, 3GP, MKV, WMV etc.
- Picture – JPG , GIF , BMP , PNG , et.
- USB – 1x micro USB port
- Audio – 1 headphone jack
- Misc – FM Radio, Analog TV, built-in GPS
- Battery – 4000mAh (Up to 6~8 hours)
- Dimensions – 192 x 119 x 9.8mm
- Weight – 345g
The tablet is sold with a Charger and a USB cable.
If you’re interested in custom ROMs for your devices, MTK8377 is too new, so there’s nothing on XDA developers forums, but there are a few threads about MTK6575 devices with custom ROMs.
At the time of writing, the cheapest option for ZXC Z7 tablet with Mediatek MTK8377 SoC appears to be $193 including shipping.