Intel Inside sequel with 3G: review of the iconBIT NETTAB THOR IZ 3G tablet

    At the end of last year, we talked about the iconBIT NETTAB THOR IZ tablet , which miraculously combined the concepts of “Russian B-brand”, “Intel top processor” and “attractive price” among others. The latter is based on the Full HD IPS matrix and appearance, for which IXBT even presented the model with the Original Design award. Apparently, the people liked the device, therefore, it was decided to release a slightly more functional sequel. And in front of me lies the iconBIT NETTAB THOR IZ 3G. As you might guess, the main innovation is the addition of 3G support. From the little things - the color of the case has changed, black has replaced the dominant white.


    The box of the tablet was “optimized” in comparison with the previous packaging in the direction of reduction. What I can only welcome - I am not a supporter of huge boxes, even if we are talking about a diagonal of 8-10 inches, if most of the space is still empty. However, any tablet here is far from the records of “physical” antivirus packages. Design style, information on the designation of slots and connectors, brief technical information - everything is made in a typical (in the sense of a proprietary) style for iconBIT devices. Well and where without the label "Intel Inside".

    Accessories and waste paper are packed in two separate boxes. In the one that is wider (right under the tablet), there was a warranty leaflet and a brief multilingual instruction. In the other - an exclusively white microUSB cable, a network charging unit and an OTG cable. As far as I remember, in the previous tablet the OTG cable was not included, although it would be useful there first of all - to connect a 3G modem. I must say right away that connecting peripherals and external drives works fine, there were no problems with detecting a pair of mice and keyboards, as well as flash drives.

    There is also a "key" designed to remove the holder for the SIM card.

    Appearance and controls

    At the first inspection, iconBIT NETTAB THOR IZ 3G left me with clear associations with the Sony Xperia Z - the same glassy black surface both from the front and from the rear. It is clear that this whole thing is covered by fingerprints in one moment. Why it was necessary to do so is not entirely clear to me. On the other hand, if similar devices are even characteristic of giants such as Sony, then there is some reason. I will say one thing for sure - it looks very attractive, much more effective in essence of the same coverage, but in white in the version without 3G.

    Plastic in the body (in any case, the outer part) is minimized, only in decorative thin strips passing along the longest ends. The remaining surface of the sides is covered with a dark blue matte finish. A good decorative element is a thin, polished frame encircling the front of the model.

    For the quality of the assembly, I put the tablet a solid five with a plus. In fact, sometimes everything seems to be fine, but you’ll squeeze the case harder - it’s microscopic, but the deflection, then a barely audible creak will make itself felt. Here - an open monolith, with all the desire to find fault with nothing.

    The only significant complaint to the case is the location of the speakers, which miraculously perfectly overlap in the landscape orientation of the tablet with your palms. Although this can be attributed to vkusovschina, you just have to turn the case upside down. The issue is being solved, but, on the other hand, it becomes inconvenient to reach the volume and power buttons.

    Strict lines and a right angle between the rear / front and the ends have both minuses and pluses - the latter are still more. With rounded transitions, the tablet would be better laid in the palm of your hand, it would be a little more comfortable to work with.

    But even so, I will not say that the case "cut" the hand or made it feel uncomfortable. But the model looks more solid, and if desired, it can be put without additional support on a flat horizontal surface.

    On the front side, everything is more than ordinary - the front camera, and a black frame around the screen. Joy after the newfangled 7.85-8-inch models, in which often the side line next to the screen is practically absent.

    On the right side are the volume rocker and power key, as well as slots for microSD and microSIM memory cards. And a barely noticeable microphone hole.

    Nearby is an audio output of 3.5 mm and a microUSB connector.

    From the rear we see a completely glossy cover, an almost “image” icon and a camera dedicated to the processor. The module of the latter is literally "recessed" into the housing by a millimeter and is surrounded by a polished metal ring.


    Display settings have remained unchanged, 8.9-inch IPS-display with a decent resolution of Full HD (that is, 1920 x 1200 pixels). A couple of years ago, the choice of tablets was actually limited to options of 7, 9.7 or 10.1 inches, now the developers’s fantasies have nowhere to frolic - almost all diagonal variations are covered. The iconBIT NETTAB THOR IZ 3G model is one of those that is trying to combine mobility with a fairly large screen. It’s not everyone’s liking to carry around the rather big 10.1-inch models with them, but at the same time, when I get home I don’t want to be limited to an ideally mobile, but still small 7.85-inch tablet.

    What I liked most about the iconBIT NETTAB THOR IZ 3G viewing angles - they are, as they say, "extremely wide", in the maximum deviation the brightness only slightly decreases. The color rendition is normal, on a white background the image is slightly “yellow”, which impresses me more in comparison with the “cyanotic” shade on white in many IPS matrices. Black becomes violet "ebb" only when looking diagonally.

    By default, a full protective film is glued on top of the screen, which is good news. But I would still strongly recommend to buy a cover immediately, in order to protect the back surface of the model from scratches.


    From the front, 2 megapixels, from the rear - 5 megapixels, nothing special. And taking into account that manufacturers in tablets prefer to save on cameras, during the previous iconBIT NETTAB THOR IZ review I had no illusions and was pleasantly surprised that the model showed itself well both in the apartment (window sill / parrot) and inside the apartment at a distant (view from the window) distance. I emphasize - in comparison with other tablets, we are not talking about smartphones. I almost forgot, there is one noteworthy point, it is autofocus with the ability to manually specify the focus point on the screen.

    This time I remembered that often in the “foreign countries” tourists are not particularly complex about shooting from any iPad and shamelessly use very large-sized tablets as a replacement for the camera. Yes, and circumstances may arise so that you can’t use your “DSLR” - which happened to me once during my stay in the vicinity of the Eiffel Tower. And the photos from the Sony camcorder left far from a good impression.

    In general, I walked and appreciated how iconBIT NETTAB THOR IZ 3G is suitable for the role of a camera in an emergency. It turned out very well - adjusted for a) a tablet b) 5 megapixels. There is no frank pixelation, the objects are quite clear, which is especially good for showing a frame with a fence overgrown with greenery. Predictably, the camera does not like shadows and lack of illumination, but at the same time more than tolerably fulfills mixed scenes - as in the photo with a lonely high-rise. There are moments with overestimated exposure, with seemingly even lighting, here it’s more convenient for anyone to mess around with camera presets or edit ex-post in the editor. In general, if you do not set the goal of collecting personnel for printing in a family album during the trip, iconBIT NETTAB THOR IZ 3G will normally cope with photos for VKontakte and Instagram.

    You can slightly criticize the "stock" shooting program Android 4.2 with brute force in the minimalism of the interface. At least the button for switching between cameras could be placed on the main panel, and not forced to access the context menu each time. I won’t criticize the very organization of settings; four and a half points “for everything about everything” are clearly not worth it.

    Performance and autonomy

    Compared to the version of the tablet without 3G, the hardware platform has not changed - with us is the same flagship 2-core (x86 architecture) Intel Atom Z2580 with a frequency of 2 GHz and 32-nm manufacturing process. Let me remind you that the model belongs to the Clover Trail + family and supports the following Intel developments: Hyper-Threading, VT-x, Enhanced SpeedStep, Thermal-Monitoring, Intel HD-Audio and Smart Idle. Not to say that the platform has so far become megapopular, but Lenovo, ASUS, ZTE and a couple of Russian brands, including iconBIT, have already launched products based on it. Together with the processor, the PowerVR SGX 544 MP2 (533 MHz) video chip, 2 GB of LPDDR2 RAM work, 16 GB are allocated for data storage (12 GB is actually available). Interestingly, in the news about the tablet on THG, the model was called nothing more than a “powerful gaming tablet”. Basically,

    The gaming capabilities of the tablet were more than clearly shown by 3DMark in the Ice Storm Unlimited test - a test with the maximum load of this graphic benchmark. In general, as soon as I got ready with the brakes of a large-scale space battle, how iconBIT NETTAB THOR IZ 3G gave a picture at 35 FPS, that is, without any brakes at all. In the most action-packed scenes, the frequency dropped to 20 FPS, but playback still continued smoothly, without jerking.

    I will give the data of standard benchmarks.

    The "non-standard" architecture did not make itself felt in any way by compatibility issues with programs on Google Play. In any case, the usual set of software and games for me functioned without problems, a random selection of two dozen applications was also not capricious. Now more about the games. Asphalt 8 at maximum - excellent, it can be seen that the system is far from the limit of possibilities. Microlags are only at the beginning of the race when the tablet is “warming up”. Shadowgun: Deadzone is not the newest thing, but regularly able to give a decent graphic load. At “Ultra High” for 20-30 seconds in a round, run at 10-15 FPS, after which the frequency grows up and does not fall below normal 24-25 FPS. Real Racing 3 made you worry, the starting clip of the race was close to the slide show. But directly in the race, the situation has changed for the better.

    Modern Combat 5: Blackout with a standard cache showed no difficulties, including at maximum settings. In general, this game worked perfectly - the ability to do optimization at Gameloft cannot be taken away.

    Interestingly, after installing a program or game, the tablet unobtrusively reports how much free space is left. However, convenient. Regarding heating - a noticeable increase in temperature is observed in the upper left corner and in no way reaches the areas for which you hold the tablet. On the other hand, the heat, the glass back cover ... In general, to avoid slipping the tablet from your hands and its active pollution, you can not do without a cover.

    Despite the fact that 3G support was added to the tablet, for some reason the battery capacity was reduced from 7,000 mAh to 6,500 mAh. In general, autonomy decreased proportionally; in certain categories in measurements, the maximum duration fell within 10%. In Dead Trigger 2 with maximum graphics - 5 hours 10 minutes, HD movies (maximum volume, average brightness) - 6 hours 54 minutes, Wi-Fi Internet - 8 hours 26 minutes, 3G Internet - up to 5 hours. On weekdays, I use the tablet at home periodically during the day, usually for web surfing and games, up to about two hours. With such a load, charging was done about once every three days.

    System and Wireless

    One can find fault with the Android version, after all, they saw versions and fresher 4.2.2. Intel should pay special attention to the support of current releases of the system, because KitKat is already in full swing in their devices on other chipsets even B-brands. Compared to iconBIT NETTAB THOR IZ, the review hero has a slight difference. If the predecessor did not have an application screen (only desktops), then in the version with 3G they chose to leave a more conservative option. The system is almost completely “bare”, except that they added the installer of the APK-files. Without it, in the absence of the Internet, it would have been tight, since the file manager is not provided by default. I can’t say that the smoothness / speed of the tablet is ideal - there are periodic delays in the animation, there is something to “bring to mind”. Although this does not lead to annoyance, and thanks for that.

    Wireless connectivity includes the following: Bluetooth, GPS, Wi-Fi 802.1 1b / g / n and 3G. Alas, phone calls and SMS are not provided, so as not to leave false hope, even the corresponding applications have been “cut”. 3G itself works flawlessly; communication issues arose only through the fault of the operator. GPS-module is not the most frisky, a “cold start” takes up to three to four minutes. For periodic walking navigation will do, but I would not recommend completely relying on a tablet for motorists.


    Prices for the iconBIT NETTAB THOR IZ 3G range from 8.5-10 thousand rubles ($ 242-285 dollars). For the money we are offered a solid filling, high-quality Full HD-display, original design and 3G support. By and large, first of all, I see a potential buyer of the model among those who are tired of choosing from practically the same both externally and internally MediaTek- and Rockchip-tablets. Say, I could easily present iconBIT NETTAB THOR IZ 3G in the assortment of some large (globally) brand as an interesting (not only for the price) offer.

    Cons - not the most current version of Android, the lack of an HDMI port, the inability to make calls, as well as receive and send SMS. In the latter case, the questions are not to iconBIT, but to the chip maker, that is, Intel r - apparently, it was he who chose to limit himself to 3G support. Finally, the case - how effective it looks, is so easily dirty. In general, the iconBIT NETTAB THOR IZ 3G turned out to be a very attractive tablet, though not without flaws, clearly not from the consumer goods category. If only second-tier brands would produce more models with this approach.

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