How much do you need to spend to get a decent Android tablet? The last couple of weeks I spend a lot of time with the FNF iFive Mini 4S. It’s a very cheap tablet that you can get for just 110 US Dollars. For that price, we get a 7.9-inch display with a retina resolution, a quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. I’ve been surprised by how much I liked the iFive Mini 4S during my review. There are a couple of downsides though.
Design & Build Quality
Considering the price, the FNF iFive Mini 4S feels surprisingly high end. The 7-millimeter thin frame is indeed made out of aluminum. On the back, there are two parts on the bottom and top made out of glass. The rest seems to be plastic. It’s not the thinnest tablet at 340 gram but it’s still alright.
The metal frame feels a bit sharp at the edges. It’s also easy to see fingerprints on the parts made out of glass. I would have preferred to get a full metal body.
But, to be honest, since the tablet is so cheap, that criticism is kind of not fair. The iFive Mini 4S feels much higher end than the Amazon Fire HD 8 (review) or Lenovo Tab 4 8 (review). When holding it in your hands without knowing the price, you would think it costs at least around 200 dollars.
Ports, Speakers, Cameras
Sadly, there is no USB type C port. Instead, FNF is giving us a standard micro USB port. Using that you can charge the device, transfer data or connect accessories like USB sticks. There’s a microSD card slot as well and those cards can have a capacity of up to 128GB.
As you might expect at this price, the two speakers on the back are not the best. I would say they are still acceptable. But I suggest using external speakers or headphones when listening to music.
Speaking of headphones, there is a standard 3.5-millimeter audio jack on the top. The sound out of that port is pretty good. I noticed some weird static when listening with headphones tough. Not while any sound is playing, but when the headphones are connected and no sound is playing. That’s not a huge issue and could be a problem of my device only.
The main camera on the back has a resolution of 8 megapixels. On the front, we’re getting a 2-megapixel camera. While the quality out of the main camera is fine, the front-facing camera is almost not usable. Pictures and videos look kind of crappy. It’s certainly not the best for Skype either.
Display: A Lot Of Pixels
One of the big highlights of this tablet is the display. The FNF iFive Mini 4S has a 7.9-inch screen with a resolution of 2048 x 1536. That’s the same resolution and pixel density we get with the iPad Mini or Samsung Galaxy Tab S2. Compared to other tablets at this price range, the iFive Mini 4S looks much sharper and more detailed.
Most other aspects of the display are fine as well. Colors look nice and the viewing angles are wide. It’s not the brightest screen though. If you’re using it outside during a cloudy day, it is still usable. But in direct sunlight, it transforms into a small mirror.
There’s also some minor light bleeding on the edges of the display. That’s only noticeable when you’ve got dark pictures though. It seems like we’re not getting any kind of gorilla glass. Instead, there’s a pre-applied screen protector.
Even though the display is not perfect, it is excellent at this price. I reviewed the Lenovo Tab 4 8 at the same time. This one is more expensive and does offer an HD resolution only. Compared to that, the iFive Mini 4S is much better.
Hardware & Performance
Inside the FNF iFive Mini 4S runs a Rockchip RK3288 SoC. That’s a quad-core processor with four cores clocked at 1.6GHz. We’ve seen this chip in some cheaper tablets before and in a couple of Chromebooks as well. Other specs include 2GB of RAM and a 32GB internal storage.
Again, as you might expect at this price, the Rockchip RK3288 is not the fastest chip out there. But it actually is not that bad either. The performance is fine for most things. I was able to surf the web using Chrome, watch YouTube at a 1440p resolution at work in Microsoft Word without any problems. If you use one app at a time, there are no performance issues.
But, if you switch between apps fast, the tablet might have to think for a second. Apps in the background are also closed faster as with devices that offer more RAM.
In my gaming test, the iFive Mini 4S got surprisingly good results. I was able to play games like Asphalt Xtreme, Modern Combat 5, Dead Trigger 2 and Rayman Adventures without any problems. GTA Vice City runs very smooth too – even at its highest graphics settings.
The tablet gets pretty good results in benchmarks as well. Using Geekbench 4, I got a result of 780 and 1900 points. That’s pretty similar to the Amazon Fire HD 8 and Lenovo Tab 4 8. With AnTuTu the tablet gets over 50,000 points. In this case, it’s even better than the Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1 and Huawei MediaPad M3 Lite 10 (review).
Software: Where’s Nougat?
Obviously, it would be nice if the iFive Mini 4S would be running Android Nougat or even Oreo. But that’s not the case. Instead, FNF preinstalled Android 6.0 Marshmallow. I don’t think that we’ll ever get an update.
So, is it bad that we have to live with Marshmallow? Well, it’s not perfect, but at under 100 dollars, I think it’s fine. Almost no tablet is offering Nougat at this price point. Marshmallow is still a solid and stable operating system. I’m kind of missing the split screen view from Nougat, but besides that, I can live with Android 6.
What’s awesome though: The interface is not customized at all. We’re getting pure vanilla Android. The only apps that are preinstalled are the ones from Google – including the Play Store. Since there are no spammy apps installed, the system takes up 5.9GB only out of the 32GB.
I was able to install all apps and games I wanted out of the Play Store. With one exception. I couldn’t find Netflix. As far as I could find out, there are two possible reasons for that. Either the tablet is not supporting Googles DRM standards or it thinks the tablet is rooted.
But, don’t worry. In fact, Netflix itself is offering an APK to download on their official support side. Using that APK, the Netflix apps work normally.
Let’s take a look at the battery life. This is a point where the iFive Mini 4S does not get good results. In my battery test, I got a runtime of 8 hours. My battery tests are always the same. I’m running an HD video over and over again – at 50 percent brightness and activated WiFi.
That’s my standard test. But during my real life use, the battery life wasn’t great either, maybe even a bit worse. I wrote down a kind of battery diary. In total, I got a runtime of 26 hours. But, out of those, I used the tablet actively for 4 hours only.
WiFi and Bluetooth were activated the whole time and the brightness varied between 50 and 100 percent. In those four hours, I played games and watched YouTube. So, you might be able to get a bit more juice out of this tablet. But still, it’s not great at all. One reason for that is that the tablet uses a lot of energy during the night while the display is shut off.
FNF iFive Mini 4S Review: Final Verdict
So, what’s my final verdict of my FNF iFive Mini 4S review? At this price, the tablet offers an excellent display, a good build quality, and a good performance. It’s nice that the operating system is not overloaded as well.
On the other hand, the battery life could be better. And yes, it would be nice if it would be shipped with Android Nougat.
The iFive Mini 4S has a lot of positive and some negative points. But, considering the price, the negative points are… almost not existent. From more famous brand we usually don’t even get a full HD screen at twice the price.
Because of that, the solid performance and good build quality, I think the FNF iFive Mini 4S is a great value for the money.
- Very inexpensive
- Great display
- Good performance
- Decent build quality
- Vanilla Android
- Bad battery life
- Future updates unlikely
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