IdolPad Plus Google Play Store Fix and Other Getting Started Tips

IdolPad Plus with Keyboard Case

Last week Idolian released a new budget tablet with Android 4.0 called the IdolPad Plus. It is being marketed as the least expensive tablet in its class, and they weren’t kidding about that. It’s selling for only $89 on Amazon and right now.

Earlier in the week I received a loaner to review, along with a nifty keyboard case, and so far my initial impressions are generally positive. I’ll post full reviews of each in the next couple of weeks after more testing. Right now I wanted to write down some getting started tips for the IdolPad Plus since some things are unclear, especially for beginners.

But first, some background information. The IdolPad Plus is a 7-inch tablet with a 1.2 GHz processor, microSD card slot, front-facing camera, mini HDMI port, and a micro USB port with a full size USB adapter cable included.

It has 4GB of internal storage with 512MB of RAM. There’s a speaker on the back, a headphone jack, and microphone. It has a couple of buttons on the front for home, back, and menu, along with volume buttons and a power button along the top edge.

Probably the best thing about the IdolPad Plus is that, unlike most other cheap tablets, it comes with the Google Play store, which grants access to the widest selection of Android apps. Finding the Google Play store app at first can be a little tricky, however.

Google Play Store Fix

The weird thing with the IdolPad Plus is that when you first turn it on and start looking around, there’s no app for the Google Play store to be found anywhere.

I ended up finding it by accident in a roundabout way. The best thing to do is this:

Go to Settings, scroll down to Development options, then click the box at the bottom of the list that says Show Google Applications.

Now you can go into the app drawer from the homescreen and the Google Play app will be there, along with Gmail. Once you sign into your Google account you can download the other Google apps too.

Chrome Browser

I discovered that a good share of apps appear in the Google Play store for the IdolPad Plus, but not all. Some are mysteriously missing, like the Chrome web browser.

You can often find missing apps in alternate appstores, and that’s just what I did.

1Mobile has the updated Chrome web browser for download, and it works fine on the IdolPad Plus despite not showing up in Google’s appstore.

I like the features of the stock browser for Android 4.0 but it is always freezing and crashing no matter what tablet you use it on. The Chrome browser just came out of beta and it’s promising so far, despite being a little slim features-wise.

Installing Non-Market Apps

Before you can install the Chrome browser or any other apps from outside the Google Play Store, you have to enable third-party apps in settings.

Do this by going to Settings > Security and check the box for Unknown sources.

Using an HDMI Cable

I’ve found that using an HDMI cable with the IdolPad Plus is a little different than some other tablets. Most switch over to the TV automatically or use the HDMI switcher app, but with the IdolPad you need to go into Settings and then HDMI to turn on the connection. From there you can adjust the resolution and zoom settings too.

Turn off Spellchecker

One annoying thing about these budget tablets is they always seem to have the spellchecker enabled but never seem to have a personal dictionary installed, so every word you type gets underlined in red.

To turn this off go to Settings > Language and Input > Spelling correction.

Unfortunately I haven’t found any way to install a working personal dictionary to get spellcheck to work, other than adding words manually. If you know how please leave a comment. Installing other keyboards can help with predicting text, but it’s not exactly the same.

13 Responses to “IdolPad Plus Google Play Store Fix and Other Getting Started Tips”

  1. HI Nathan,

    Are you going to do a full review on this one? I don’t expect this to compare to the new Google Nexus at this price point, but how is the screen on it as far as sharpness, brightness, colour and viewing angles? And how stable is it? The Nextbook 7SE was prone to freezing once in a while, depending on what you were doing with it. I like the keyboard case option for $25, because for me, without a real keyboard these devices are only good for reading books or playing games as the 7″ form factor is too small for surfing the net on non-mobile sites, and the lack of a keyboard makes even email or social networking painful, unless you are just reading. But at $115 with the keyboard case, this one is tempting, if it is stable and the viewing angles are decent.

    • Yeah, I’ll post a full review soon. So far it’s looking like one of the better sub-$150 7-inch tablets I’ve tested so far, expect the battery life seems poor to this point. It has the usual 800 x 480 TFT screen so it’s about the same as most other 7-inchers, probably about the same as the Next7se. The touchscreen is 5-point capacitive touch and it is nice and slick and responsive.

      The keyboard cases aren’t IdolPad specific; they’ll work with any similar-sized tablet with USB host capabilities. I don’t think the Nextbook has that though.

      Unfortunately Android isn’t the most stable operating system; getting freeze ups or weird glitches now and then isn’t uncommon even on high-end tablets.

  2. @Chris – I have used my Idolian TouchTab 10 (Idolian’s 10-inch tablet offering) for about five days now. It cost me only $169.00 with free shipping from an Amazon-backed seller. Idolian makes a quality product. All of the ports work perfectly on the device I received, as do the off-screen touch buttons. I absolutely love having a mini-ethernet port (adapter included!) and a full USB. They also sell a keyboard case like this for the 10-inch tablet; in fact, this might be the same case that you can also use for the 7-inch. The OS is extremely stable and zippy. I haven’t had any problems or freezes at all, after more than twelve hours of use. 10-point capacitive touch and 1GHz Cortex A9 processor are working fine for web browsing, reading, application opening, and simple gaming. Everything is very responsive and fast.

    I like the body design, although it is a little heavy, but I am happy to trade off for the full USB thickness and sturdy build. I do hear a little creaking of plastic when picking it up sometimes, but it seems solid otherwise. I’m not sure how long I can expect this stellar performance (maybe a three-to-four year lifespan on this tab?), but I am loving it for now. The MicroSD slot works great. I loaded lots of MP4 and FLV videos onto it and they play perfectly. The ES File Explorer app helps you manage all of your eBooks and videos. The browser works fine (I’m not sure what it is), as do the media players. I didn’t experience any lag when using live wallpapers.

    The cons – I did have some trouble installing apps (Stupid Zombies/Nook app). They would not show up in the app drawer and I would have to uninstall and retry. Not that big of a problem. This is a big and bulky tablet, but not unmanageable.

    The absolute worst part of this tablet is–the screen. 1024 x 600 res screens are okay for 7-inch tablets (like the Kindle Fire), but on a 10-inch device, it is visual suicide. Being used to the clarity of my iPhone/iPad/Kindle Fire screens, I noticed a serious resolution deficit on the TouchTab 10. Images and text look extremely pixelated and fuzzy. Viewing angles aren’t the worst, but they aren’t the best either. When surfing the web, ads and smaller pictures are a complete blur. eReading involves some serious eyestrain, even when using larger font sizes. After about thirty minutes of use on the first day, I had a splitting headache and visual fatigue. Eventually my eyes were able to tolerate it, but the screen is really a let-down. If the TouchTab 10 had a 1280 x 800 screen, I would give it a five star rating, provided it lasts longer than a few months.

    This 7-inch tablet might have a little bit better screen resolution, but I wouldn’t use it as an eReader. Maybe as Idolian grows, they will come out with a higher-end line of tablets with better screens but all the same ports? That would be a good tablet to buy, but I’m sure they are trying to make their mark on the budget range.

    If their 7-inch tablets are as reliable as their 10, this would be a great purchase for someone who is okay with low screen res for a low price.

    • Yeah, those screens are definitely more suited for large text than small with that resolution. I was so glad to see the new iPad come out with a high resolution screen because that’s just going to up the ante for all the Android tablets. Maybe this time next year all the budget tablets will be using better screens.

      I also have the Notion Ink Adam with the same resolution screen as the TouchTab 10 and it’s a lot worse. I think they must have screwed up the implementation of the Pixel Qi screen because the viewing angles are so bad it even looks funky when you are looking at it head-on.

      Weird that you couldn’t get Stupid Zombies to install when I had it working on mine. I may have gotten a different version. Mine might have been from Amazon instead.

  3. I agree Nathan. The Nexus 7 will really set the standard for 7″ tablet screen resolution. I can’t wait to see what specs the next generation Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet will offer.

  4. @Andrew. Thanks for the info. I hadn’t considered the 10″, but given that I have no real use for a 7″. You are right about the screen resolution. All things considered, I think I’ll just get a netbook. Better processing power, real keyboard, and the ability to install real applications for about the same money as the 10″ tablets.

  5. Hi Nathan.
    Thank you for your great and informative review.
    Do you know what the differences are between the 7″ Idolpad plus and the 7″ Idolian TURBOTAB C8?
    Which one would you recommend?
    Thank you in advance for answering.

    • Good question. I looked over the specs for the C8 and it looks like there’s hardly any difference between the two. The C8 has a bigger battery and a different processor that’s 300 MHz faster. Other than that they look pretty much the same but I haven’t tested the C8 so couldn’t say for sure.

  6. Nathan,

    Would it be possible to see if you could review the TURBOTAB C8 as well? I would like to know for sure if that is the only difference between the two?

    • Sorry, Joe. But I think reviewing two of Idolian’s tablets is enough for now. If you are hesitant I would suggest ordering it from somewhere like Amazon that has easy returns if you decide you don’t like it.

  7. just bought mine thru Amazon. My nephew loves it. It was very easy to load apps.

    What are the steps to download the actuall Google Play Store App, so it can be seen on my home screen with out me looking for it?

  8. I’ve read your response from some of your fans,in was very please I wonder if u can help me with my 7″idolpad android 2.3.It has a hdmi but says in the book use the vortex player to connect to tv.All I get is nothin’it seem to be just a photo player.No way to connect to tv.This is a nice little tablet but I would like to use my big screen tv instead.Your help I needed bad.Thanks for takin the time to read my problem.

    • Mine ran Android 4.0 so it’s kind of different. There was an HDMI option in the settings menu. Have you tried contacting Idolian support?