Nov. 21, 2013 Update: In response to Consumer Reports' test findings, Monster added instructions for a firmware update and corrected the system update link for the tablet. Also, the Monster M7 tablet is no longer a Don't Buy: Performance Problem. Read "Monster M7 Firmware Update Fixes Lockup Problem" for details.
The Monster M7 tablet we tested recently has a problem: It locks up regularly. We’ve bought three samples so far, and have had trouble with all three staying active during our continuous-use battery test. The lockup—evidenced by a frozen or blank screen while the backlight stays on—happened anytime from within an hour to several hours of use while surfing the Web using Wi-Fi, or even while just sitting idle. We were able to perform a hard shutdown and restart to clear the problem, until it happened again.
Interestingly, the exclusive retailer (Walmart) didn't list Monster M7 among the list of tablet manufacturers in its product browser when we checked recently, though we were able to find the M7 with a search. What’s more, the tablet was missing from the manufacturer’s main website, monsterproducts.com, and was listed instead on a dedicated site, mymonstertablet.com, for this product. That website was incomplete, having sales information but only "coming soon" pages for "Press" and FAQ links, as well as for the announced 10-inch M10 tablet. (UPDATE: As of Nov. 8, the mymonstertablet.com website has been changed and now includes a Software Update tab and content under the FAQ tab. We are currently evaluating the Software Update instructions.)
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The Web page for system update requests for the tablet was also missing when we checked. When we called the tech-support number given on the website, the agent assured us that the tablet wouldn't need a system update for at least another eight months. That struck us as odd, since the tablet came with only Android 4.1, while all other new tablets except a few low-end models are shipping with Android 4.2 or 4.3, and version 4.4 is about to be released.
Monster is a brand known for high-end audio products. Tablets are a new category for it. Based on our experience with multiple devices in our labs, we have to give the M7 a Don't Buy recommendation, due to the performance problem described. We will watch to see whether Monster addresses this issue in any product updates.
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