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I love everything about this budget Android tablet (especially the price)

Blackview's Mega 1 is an 11.5-inch Android 13 tablet with a 120Hz display, 256GB of storage, and 24GB of RAM. What's more, it comes at a great price.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor
Describe what's shown in the image.

Blackview Mega 1 tablet

Adrian Kingsley-Hughe/ZDNET

ZDNET's key takeaways

  • The Blackview Mega 1 is available directly from Blackview and AliExpress, with prices starting at $219.
  • The tablet has a big screen, a great display, and fantastic sound output. It's also thin and light.
  • The folio case feels flimsy and there's nowhere to store the stylus.

If you think of a tablet, you probably think of an iPad. You should know that there are some fantastic Android tablets that you can buy for a fraction of the cost of an Apple device.

I've been testing a tablet that offers an 11.5-inch, 120Hz display, 256GB of storage, 12GB of RAM, and cameras that are perfect for social media and video calling, for less than $300.

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I'm describing the Mega 1 from Blackview, a company once synonymous with rugged smartphones. Blackview has diversified its offerings over the past few years and now makes budget devices with a premium feel.

View at S.click.aliexpress

Blackview Mega 1 tech specs

  • Display: 11.5-inch 2.4K FHD+ IPS 1200 x 2000 pixel, 85% screen-to-body ratio
  • CPU: MediaTek MT6789 octa-core Helio G99 2.2 GHz
  • RAM: 12GB
  • ROM: 256GB
  • OS: Doke OS_P 4.0, based on Android 13
  • Rear Camera: 50-megapixel Samsung ISOCELL JN1
  • Front Camera: 13-megapixel
  • Battery Capacity: 8800mAh (supports 33W fast charging)
  • Speaker: 4 x 1217 BOX speakers
  • Wi-Fi: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
  • Bluetooth: 5.1
  • SIM Slot: 2 x SIMs or 1 x SIM + 1 x TF card
  • Biometrics: Fingerprint reader, Face ID
  • Colors: Space Grey, Sky Blue, Dreamy Purple
  • Dimension: 268.7 x 169 x 7.6 mm
  • Weight: 528g
The Mega 1 tech specs.

The Mega 1 tech specs.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

The Mega 1 impressed me right out of the box. I expected this budget tablet to have a cheap, bulky, plastic feel, like the laptops of yesteryear. Instead, I discovered a thin, light aluminum tablet that feels as premium as Apple's iPads. The curves and bezels are smooth, and the tablet feels perfectly balanced. It oozes a premium feel you don't expect from a device that costs less than $300. 

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The Mega 1's folio is, in comparison, a bit of a letdown. Yes, it does a good job of protecting the display and transforms into a usable stand, but it has a cheap vinyl feel and started to show wear after only a week of use. The case is no deal-breaker, but it feels like sacrilege to put such a beautiful tablet into a budget folio case.

The Mega 1 has a thin and light design that gives is a premium quality feel.

The Mega 1 has a thin, light design and a premium-quality feel.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

The Mega 1's otherwise premium feel goes a lot further than skin-deep. The 11.5-inch display feels great on the eyes. Even after several hours of using the tablet, my eyes felt fresh. The 120Hz refresh rate and 203 pixels-per-inch density help ensure user comfort.

The system also supports Widevine L1 digital rights management specifications, allowing for streaming HD and HDR content from Netflix, HBO, Disney+, and more. This capability gives the Mega 1 an advantage for people who want to use the tablet as a content consumption device.

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The quad speakers do a good job of delivering a cinematic surround sound experience. At high-volume output, the sound is powerful, clear, and distortion-free.

The device is powered by a MediaTek MT6789 octa-core processor and backed up by 12GB of RAM (expandable to 24GB using system storage). This combination is powerful enough to keep everything humming along nicely. I didn't encounter stuttering or lag during my tests. Apps sprang to life almost instantly.

Yes, there's a SIM tray for cellular data that can accommodate two SIM cards, or one SIM card and a microSD card.

A SIM tray for cellular data can accommodate two SIM cards, or one SIM card and a microSD card.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

Cooling is handled by an integrated system that uses more than 8,000 square millimeters of graphite. Blackview claims this setup can keep the tablet below 40ºC/104ºF. My testing of the Mega 1 under heavy, prolonged loads supports this claim. At no point did the Mega 1 feel hot to the touch. You can push this device to its limits with confidence.

The huge 8800mAh battery is crammed into less than a third of an inch of tablet. Blackview says the battery is good for 20 hours of overall use, can play music for 22 hours, play HD video for 5.5 hours, and support five hours of gaming. I easily got two days of heavy use between recharges.

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While the 20-hour runtime figure is probably correct, Blackview might be underestimating its figures. I watched a lot of YouTube during my tests. Either way, the battery is not a weak point.

The Mega 1's cameras don't disappoint, either.

The 50-megapixel rear camera is great for social media and school/work reports.

The 50-megapixel rear camera is great for social media and school/work reports.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

The 50-megapixel rear camera features a 1/2.76-inch Samsung ISOCELL JN1 sensor that delivers clear, detailed, and color-accurate images. You're not getting the pop and detail you see from an Apple iPad or a Samsung Galaxy S24, but this difference has less to do with the hardware and more with the intense amount of on-device processing that high-end devices now perform on images.

Don't let this shortcoming put you off, as the camera is perfect for what most users want, and the output for social media or work/school reports is more than adequate. The 12-megapixel front-facing camera is also more than enough for selfies and video calling, and it handles a variety of lighting conditions easily.

Note: The sample images that Blackview uses on its website to promote the camera are stock images and not taken using the Mega 1. Blackview isn't alone in using this technique, and I don't know why companies insist on this approach that clearly misleads consumers.

The tablet comes with a stylus. I'm not a fan of styluses, but I guess it's an extra for those who like them. That said, there's nowhere on the tablet or the folio case to store the stylus. So, if you're like me, the stylus is unlikely to stick around for long.

Yes, there's also a stylus!

Yes, there's also a stylus.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

ZDNET's buying advice

It's easy to think of a budget tablet as a cheap chunk of plastic and glass, with a mediocre processor and display, powered by a battery that can barely last a morning. 

The Blackview Mega 1 is nothing like this. It's a tablet with a premium feel that offers a hardware experience that would have commanded a high price only a few years ago. From its thin and light design to the 11.5-inch 120Hz display, this tablet oozes quality and delivers a great user experience.

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