Monday, May 9, 2011

$200 Android Tablet Battle Royale - Graphics Powerhouse Herotab C8 VS. Processor Powerhouse RENA3

Written by Roman with Video Reviews and Q&A by Guest Contributor Colonel Zap

The forums over at SlateDroid have been buzzing in regards to the new RENA3 android tablet. Several folks now have gotten the device in their hands and are really liking what they are seeing. The RENA3 features a powerful NEC Renesas Dual-Core Cortex-A9 SOC (from which it gets its name.) However it is hindered (in my humble opinion) by the fact that it is saddled with a PowerVR SGX-530 GPU. On the other hand, the Herotab C8 features the same powerful Samsung hardware found in the Galaxy Tab. The device has a very capable PowerVR SGX-540 GPU but the main processor, while having quite a bit kick, is still only a single-core chip based on Cortex-A8 design. These devices are nearly identical in price and offer a similar feature set. So, while I have been very excited in regards to the RENA3, I have been wondering how it stack up against the powerhouse that is the Herotab C8.

Shortly after releasing our featured written review of the RENA3 comes a new video review by Android Tablet veteran Colonel Zap. The Colonel has released a multitude of high-quality video reviews of different Android tablets, several of which have been featured on this site in the recent past. His videos are excellent in that they fully show off actual device usage giving the viewer a real sense of the speed and responsiveness of the tablet.

The Colonel has had the privilege of spending some time with both the RENA3 AND the much loved HeroTab C8. He has done a full video review of each device and we are going to be taking a look at those reviews in a few minutes. First I wanted to give a run down of the specs for each unit:


Herotab C8

Processor - Samsung S5PV210 (ARM Cortex TM-A8) 1.0GHz
Memory - 512 MB DDR2
GPU - PowerVR SGX-540
Internal Storage - 4GB
Screen Technology - Capacitive MultiTouch (how many points?)
Screen Size - 7"
Screen Resolution - 800x480
Rotation - 360 degrees
WiFi - B/G
BlueTooth - NO
USB Tech - 2 Ports, 1 Host, can't charge device from USB port
Battery Size - 4500mAh
Microphone - YES
Camera - 1.3MP camera (front)


Processor - NEC Renesas Cortex A9 1GHz (2 cores) 533MHz + 666MHz
Memory - 512 MB DDR2
GPU - PowerVR SGX-530
Internal Storage - 4GB
Screen Technology - Capacitive MultiTouch (how many points?)
Screen Size - 7"
Screen Resolution - 800x480
Rotation - 270 degrees
WiFi - B/G/N
BlueTooth - YES
USB Tech - 1 Host Port, Device Charging from USB supported
Battery Size - 3200mAh
Microphone - YES
Camera - 2.0MP camera (front)

As you can see, these are two very similar devices. The RENA3 has WiFi-N, Bluetooth, and a nicer camera, but a smaller battery and it doesn't support full screen rotation. But a video is a worth a million words. Take a look at two of Colonel Zap's excellent reviews:


What a sweet device! Let's take a look at the C8!


Very Slick!

Q&A with the Colonel
Upon watching the RENA 3 review I noticed a few differences between it and the Herotab C8. Despite the faster processor, the RENA3 seems to have a very slight bit of lag compared to the silky smooth Herotab C8. The is specifically noted during screen rotation but this could simply be due to firmware. The RENA3 is still a VERY new device. The Herotab C8 at the time of it's review, had already had at least one firmware upgrade. I took the opportunity to ask a few questions of Colonel Zap about his own perspective on how each device compared to the other. Here are my questions and his responses:

Q - It seems like the herotab C8's screen rotation was much more responsive, what was your impression?
A - True, the C8 does rotate the screen more quickly. Perhaps this is just a question of the firmware?

Q - How does the visual quality of the two screens compare?
A - I personally think that the Rena Display looks slightly better. The color and brightness look a little better in MY opinion.

Q - Battery capacity on both devices is different, did you notice a difference in battery life?
A - I really can't say, I have never drained the battery on either one of them.

Q - I was wondering about your impressions on overall build quality compared to the HeroTab C8?
A - The C8's built quality is definitely better. The Rena's plasic backcover feels a little "cheap" but it's still o.k. On the other hand, it is WAY lighter than the C8.

Q - How many points of multi-touch does each device support?
A - They both only support TWO touch points.

Q - Do these devices support android market out of the box?
A - They both support the Android Market out of the box but I THINK the C8 won't find EVERY single app by default?! Skype for example... but I have read that there is a tweak to give the C8 full market access...

Q - How did gaming (especially 3D gaming) compare from one device to the other?
A - I really haven't noticed any differences, the games I tested performed pretty much equally.

Q - How well does multi-tasking work on both devices? (running a game AND music at the same time for example...)
A - Again, I really don't think there is much of a difference? I think how well a device multi-tasks is mainly a question of how much RAM it has.

Thanks Colonel Zap for the excellent feedback. I hope this short overview of the two tablets helps you make a decision on which one to buy! Personally, I am still more of a fan of the HeroTab C8 due to the stronger GPU performance which is integral for 3D gaming. However, the RENA3 offer Bluetooth, Wireless-N, USB charging support, AND a powerful Dual-Core Cortex A9 processor which are extremely compelling features! The SGX-530 is certainly capable of 3D gaming as demonstrated by the Colonel's video review and if you only plan on doing light to moderate android gaming I think you would be pretty happy. I am looking to do some heavy 3D gaming on the device which is what pushes me towards the Herotab C8.

Regardless, the future is looking exciting and bright for Android Tablets. I am looking forward to seeing what kind of devices the next 6 months will bring! Perhaps we will finally see the Tegra II come down in cost, which would really shake up the budget market!

In the mean time, keep your eyes peeled for a review of AMLogics rather interesting SINGLE-CORE Cortex A9 SOC which features the rather... mysterious? Mali400 GPU. Another poster is eagerly awaiting a new device featuring this hot new hardware. I can't wait to see what kind of performance the Mali400 GPU brings to the table in a low-cost package!

Want to join the conversation? Check out our RENA3 thread over at:


  1. Thanks for this info, Rena3 looks pretty cool!

  2. Cheers!

    I bought a RENA3 and loved the thing so much I decided to start selling them.

    You can check out the site here if you are interested in buying one. I am offering discounts right now for new customers!

    check it out here:

  3. Excellent post Roman, I've signed up to your website, still waiting for the email....

  4. any discount coupon right now ? :D