Better than Amazon Fire HD 10? Dragon Touch Notepad 102 Review (Budget Android Tablet)

iPads have been completely dominating the tablet market for over a decade. But even the cheapest ipad starts at around $330. So I want to focus on the sub $150 tablet category. I have got with me “Dragon Touch Notepad 102” a 10.1” tablet. Amazon may be running some holiday shopping promotions on this tablet, so please checkout the links below for its latest price. 

I have been using Dragon Touch for over a month, mostly for watching videos and checking my twitter and other social media feeds. At sub 150 bucks, this tablet competes with Amazon Fire HD 10 and Lenovo Tab M10 Plus tablets. My main issue with both Amazon and Lenovo tablets is the puny 2GB system RAM. That's just not enough to run Android smoothly in 2020. Amazon Fire HD 10 also doesn't come with google play store. So that means you will have to jump through countless hoops to install popular android apps. Stuff like YouTube, Gmail, Google Docs and Google Maps are not available on Amazon Fire HD. And I just don't want to deal with this nonsense especially since I am deeply invested in the google ecosystem. Lenovo Tab M10 on the other hand does ship with a full version of Android, but it's the older Android 9 Pie operating system which is now 2 years old. So, for these reasons I believe Dragon Touch Notepad 102 is a better option than Amazon Fire HD 10 and Lenovo Tab M10 Plus tablet.

Build Quality

Let's start with the build quality. Dragon Touch Notepad 102 is a premium looking tablet with all metal and glass construction. The back of this tablet has brushed aluminium finish which looks great although it's not very grippy. It has a 10” screen with relatively slim bezels making this tablet feel compact and manageable in hands. The bezels are still wide enough to hold the tablet in hands without triggering accidental ghost touches. 

Unlike Amazon Fire HD and other cheap android tablets, Dragon Touch has paid a lot of attention to detail. It uses a solid metallic chassis with aluminium back, clicky metallic buttons and copper pins for docking it to the keyboard case. The back of this tablet is completely flat except a small protruding camera module on the top left corner. The front camera is located smack in the middle of the top bezel when the tablet is held in landscape orientation. This placement is perfect for making zoom video calls.

Ports & Camera

Let's talk about the ports. While holding Dragon Touch in portrait orientation, the USB Type-C port along with the volume rocker and the power button are conveniently located on the top. There is a headphone jack on top right side along with a dual card slot that accepts both micro-SD card and a SIM card. I was surprised by the inclusion of a SIM card slot because Dragon Touch does not mention anything about cellular connectivity. I have tried my t-mobile sim card on this tablet and it didn't work. 

I believe the SIM card slot is just a dummy, and honestly at this budget price point, asking for cellular connectivity would be unfair. Since we are living in the perceptual world of quarantine and social distancing, let's talk about the camera on this tablet. You get an 8MP rear facing camera and a 5MP front facing camera. Both cameras record 1080p videos which is great for zoom conference calls. The front-facing camera is actually quite good for video chats, as long as your face is properly lit up. Now regarding photography, I honestly don't think anyone in their right mind would use a tablet for taking pictures. But for occasionally snapping picture of documents, say for archiving purposes, the rear camera on this tablet will suffice.

Screen Quality

Dragon Touch comes with an HD LCD screen. The resolution is 1280 by 800 which is lower than other tablets in this price range. For e.g. both the Lenovo Tab M10 and Amazon Fire HD offers 1920 by 1080 resolution. While I am a little disappointed at the lack of 1080p resolution, the screen is plenty bright pumping out 300 nits of brightness. It offers a wide viewing angle, making texts, pictures and videos look bright and sharp even when viewed at a skewed angle. While most budget tablets skimp on the quality of their screen, Dragon Touch offers a high quality IPS panel screen. Streaming videos from YouTube, netflix, hulu, disney plus, and amazon prime look great. 

I think this is a great tablet for multimedia consumption. It comes with 2 box shaped speakers which are plenty loud for watching videos and movies and listening to music. You also have the option of using headphones since this tablet comes with a 3.5mm headphone jack. It also supports the latest wireless bluetooth 5.0 protocol.  Dragon Touch is running a stock version of android 10 which means you will have full access to google play store, unlike other gimped tablets like Amazon fire HD. Also Dragon Touch fully supports Google Widevine DRM which means you will have no trouble running HBO-max and other premium streaming services.

Hardware specs

Let's quickly talk about the hardware specs. So this tablet is powered by an 8-core ARM CPU. There are 4 high performance cores running at 1.6 Ghz and 4 power efficient cores running at 1.2 Ghz. While this is a middle of the road CPU, it's plenty fast for typical tablet usage. I haven't faced any performance issues while surfing websites, watching streaming videos, running productivity apps including emailing and word-processing. Dragon Touch comes with 3GB system RAM which is plenty for effective multi-tasking and quickly switching between various apps. It has 32GB internal storage which can be expanded using a micro-SD card slot. 

If you intend to use this tablet in laptop mode, there is full support for bluetooth keyboard and mouse. Dragon Touch also sells a docking keyboard which connects via the proprietary copper pins. You can even connect an old school keyboard and mouse using USB Type-C to type-A converter. One thing missing is the ability to hook this tablet to an external monitor and mirror the display, something you can do on both Ipads and Samsung tablets. Now, if you are thinking of buying this tablet for intense gaming, you will be disappointed. Fortnite struggles on this tablet and so do other high end games. But casual games run just fine. I think Dragon Touch is pitching this tablet to folks who are looking for a device geared towards multimedia consumption and casual social media use.

Final Thoughts

Dragon Touch Notepad 102 is a nice little tablet. It has a premium metallic build, a nice HD IPS screen, 3GB system RAM for smooth multitasking and a full version of stock android. Now this tablet will never compete with an iPad or Samsung Galaxy Tab, but it's definitely better than most budget android tablets in the market today. So what do you guys think of android tablets? Do you think they are a good buy or would you rather go with an iPad. Let me know in the comments below.

Purchase Links

👉 Buy Dragon Touch Notepad 102 Tablet
👉 Buy Fire HD 10 Tablet
👉 Buy Lenovo Tab M10 Plus Tablet

Disclosure: Some links may be affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases