Spire Bliss 9 Pro+ Tablet

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Product: Spire Bliss 9 Pro+ Tablet
Provided By: Spire
Price: ~$179.99 MSRP at time of publication

Introduction:

It's that time of the year where it gets down to the wire for what to get others for Christmas. There are a lot of things on the shelves to give and technology seems to be high on the list these days. Tablets are certainly being made for all ages, and when I say all ages - there are even products geared for elementary kids. I'm not reviewing a kid's product today as this tablet is designed for all ages. As with any piece of non-kid-proof tech, I think it will be much safer in a teen or adults hands.

Box of Bliss
Box of Bliss

 

About Spire:

Spire is not a new company, but they are a new affiliate here at BCCHardware. So far we've reviewed a tablet stand and today we are following up with something to put on that stand. Spire is based in the Netherlands and started business in 1998. Their corporate office is in the Netherlands, but have branched out their sales offices to Japan and Brazil. They actually build their products in Shenzhen China as well as a few other locations for consumers and other partner products. Three major business fields they exceed in are computer thermal solutions, power supplies and enclosure. Spire strives to become stronger, sincere, and seeks the latest innovative technology around. Their main goal is "to build on the current success of the Spire brand so that our brand is recognized worldwide as a provider of top quality computing solutions"  More information on Spire is available here.

Bliss 9 Pro+
Bliss 9 Pro+

 

Closer Look:

As I previously mentioned, Spire has given us the 9-inch Bliss Pro+ - their newest and best 9-inch device. At first glance some things are very noticeable, such as the nice shiny white back where their name and website are proudly displayed. You won't have to try and figure out who made it or where to get support. The speaker is on the back as well and this may cause some issues later. Along the edges of the tablet you'll find the headphone jack, a power button, Micro-USB charging cable input to charge the tablet, a physical back button, mini-HDMI cable input to hook up to your TV or computer, two tiny holes – one is a microphone for recording or voice commands. Also along the edge is a TF-Card Slot (MicroSD) for expandable storage. Some major features for the 9-inch tablet include dual cameras, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of storage and Android 4.2. The Jellybean goodness is displayed on the 1024x600 screen that has a five-point capacitive digitizer. Soft buttons on the screen include volume, screenshot, home and back buttons.

Camera and Ports
Camera & Ports

 

We have reviewed tablets in the past and we recently reviewed the Galaxy Note 8.0. In comparison the Bliss Pro+ is about an inch bigger. The Bliss Pro+ is also more of an entry level tablet as compared to the premium Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0. Both have dual-core processors and do what they are designed to do.

Ports Close

Although tablets are new to Spire the fit well into their tech-product portfolio. They have a few other 7-inch and 9-inch tables as well. As mentioned earlier, they also have several cases, fans, PSUs, PC accessories including mice, keyboards and more. They even have little cooling accessories such as “Y” splitters for PWM case fans. Spire has a little bit of everything to help outfit the tech enthusiast. See more of their accessories here.

On the next page we'll take a look at the features and specifications of the Bliss 9 Pro+ before we continue on through the review.


Features:

The following information has all been taken from the Spire Bliss 9 Pro+ product page and posted here for your convenience. If you want the updated information and all of the extra details, downloads and more, make sure you check out the manufacturer's site for the latest information.

The Bliss series are quality Tablet PC's loaded with powerful features. These functional and handy mini computers are lightweight, portable and great for people that travel much and are always on the move. The Bliss 9 Pro+ is pre-loaded with Android 4.2 'Jelly Bean' and Google play, for instant downloading of your favorite applications and games. Jelly Bean improves on the simplicity and beauty of Android 4.2 and introduces a new Google search experience on Android. The elegant and sleek design ensure comfortable and stress free use. Supported by two years Spire manufacturer warranty, the Bliss 9 Pro+ are powered by innovation offered by Spire.

 

 

  • Sleek contour and smooth touch for comfortable use
  • Lightweight and portable, easy on the go
  • Intelligent camera build in the front and rear
  • Scratch-free, splash proof glass display 
  • Build in Micro SD card-reader
  • Pre-loaded with Android 4.2 'Jelly Bean'
  • Backed by 2 years manufacturer warranty service

 

Specifications:

Specs

Specs

 

On the next page we'll quickly cover installation and then jump into testing.


Installation:

Like most tablets these days, there's not really a lot that comes in the box. There are just the necessities.

At this point, I'm not sure if Spire will update this tablet with Android 4.3 or KitKat, but we are hopeful as this is just a new product. Either way, most apps should be compatible with Android 4.x and you'll have a few years of solid service with this tablet. As with any Android tablet, simply sign in with your Google account and then start downloading your social network apps that you use to post about bacon, Canada and kittens. Once you're all signed in, you'll get updates as long as you have a Wi-Fi connection. If you are new to Android and to Google products, you'll have to create a Google Account to access all the goodies in the Google Play Store.

Settings
Settings

Play Store
Play Store

   

Games
Games

Games
Games

 

Testing:

When you get new toys (a tablet) you obviously want to play around and try out a bunch of different things. I have tested out two tablets and have one of my own. My brother has a tablet that's similar in screen resolution to the Bliss Pro+, although his tablet is much slower. The Spire tablet is no Samsung or Nexus tablet, but the Bliss Pro+ does just fine for most things. It is Jellybean 4.2 which is a big improvement over last generation tablets that ran FroYo or Gingerbread. The buttons work great on the tablet and it's a familiar experience – much like my Nexus 7. The Spire Bliss Pro+ has a few extra buttons that include soft-keys for taking screenshots. This is a good idea for most tablets and I like the fact that it is in plain sight instead of through some awkward multiple button press, or waving your hand over the screen. The volume buttons are in a good spot and are easy to reach. Initial battery life is decent and with Wi-Fi off, it lasts for quite a bit of surfing. Once you enable Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and start playing games, the battery does drain pretty quickly – like most Android devices. Charging the tablet takes a couple hours to get its juices flowing.

 

What's cool about the Bliss Pro+ is that if you have a mini-HDMI cable kicking around you can plug it into your tablet and then hook up your tablet to your TV or monitor. I used my monitor and used the Bliss Pro+ to watch movies using the MovieTube App. The video quality is spot-on with what you are viewing on your tablet. Of course the quality of the content will determine how good is looks when output over the HDMI cable. There are no different resolutions available, but most YouTube videos looked good on the big screen. Video content looks much better if you are using 720p content stored on your tablet. This is a pretty nice feature that could be great to use for presentations and sharing other media on your big screen. I’ve been to a couple of LAN parties and this could be a fun way to show off the final rounds of "App Battle" mini-games.

YouTube
YouTube

YouTube
YouTube

YouTube
YouTube

 

On the next page we'll continue on with testing and check out the camera as we continue on.


Testing (Continued):

The camera is simple on the tablet and the stock app doesn't have a lot of features for you to play around with. A circle in the corner is there for you to choose your white balance, brightness, other simple settings, and also to switch between front and rear facing cameras. The other button lets you choose between camera, video or panorama. Tap and hold anywhere on screen and it can also bring up the camera options too!

Camera Sample
Camera Sample #1

Camera Sample
Camera Sample #2

Camera Sample
Camera Sample #3

 

This tablet has a single USB port so I was able to plug in a mouse and a keyboard, but not at the same time. You could use a USB Hub I suppose or a wireless dongle that supports both keyboard and a mouse at the same time. That is pretty cool! If you wanted, you could hook up your tablet to an HDMI cable and then use a keyboard and mouse to control it like a computer. You could click away as you play games using your mouse if you don’t want to get fingerprints all over your screen. Hooking up a keyboard works as well when you're typing up anything, but specific macros or hotkeys don't work on the tablet. Still a regular keyboard will work great.

 

Everyone likes extra space and storage anytime! The little slot that says TF under the HDMI cable slot is for your Micro SD card. You can pick up one of those and quickly add 32GB or more of space to this tablet. You will be able to easily drag and drop documents, pictures, music or any other files you want onto the card from your PC and then put in your tablet. You can store and play movies on the Bliss Pro+ and watch them anytime, anywhere.

Language & Input
Language & Input

Mouse Cursor
Mouse Cursor 

Keyboard Note
Keyboard Note

 

As I mentioned previously, the Bliss Pro+ runs Jellybean 4.2 and is not as smooth as other tablets I've used recently. I quickly forget that 4.2 ran a little slower than the later versions of Android. I hope that it will be updated to Android 4.3 or 4.4 in a future update. The tablet surprised me in some ways with all the features it has - including HDMI, USB, SD card slot and more. I haven't used personally used other tablets that have that much connectivity!

 

It has one speaker on the back that works well and I tried listening to some music from the Xbox Music App. Unfortunately, the volume on the Bliss Pro+ is a little weak. I honestly wasn't all that impressed with this and using the headphone jack resulted in audio that was heavy on the treble and light on the bass. The microphone on the tablet doesn't have very high gain and if you're making video or voice calls you have to get pretty close to the microphone. It doesn't seem to be able to use a wired headset either.

Home Screen
Home Screen

Image Screen

 

The price of this tablet is a little high when comparing with other tablets in North America. The truth is, tablet prices in Europe are much higher than they are over here and for that market the price of the Spire Bliss Pro+ is about right. As it is, the Bliss Pro+ may have a hard time selling in North America as they have to compete with the powerhouse of Samsung and ASUS. I'm not saying that this is a bad tablet at all. It's more than decent but the MSRP is just a little high.

 

On the last page, we'll wrap up this review with our conclusion.


Conclusion:

As we wrap up this review, I took time to break things down into different categories to give you a real good idea of how it all stacks up.

Quality: 8/10

Everyone loves a product that can hold together when you get it out of the box and or use it! The Bliss Pro+ from Spire is a sturdy piece of hardware that holds together well. Of course any tablet can break or chip if dropped or treated roughly but the Spire Bliss Pro+ looks and feels well made. When comparing it with other tablets, it ranks right up there. I know that the overall feel of it when compared to the Galaxy Note 8.0 would be pretty close. This is the only tablet I've reviewed from Spire so I really don't know how this compares to their other products. The Bliss Pro+ is their upper-tier product and it feels like it. One thing that coule be better is screen resolution, speakers, headphone jack and audio experience overall. Also if the microphone faced more toward the front it could pick up your voice better. Overall, the quality lived up to my expectations.

Spire Bliss 9 Pro+ Front Bliss Back

 

Performance: 7/10

When it came to overall performance, my expectations were a little low considering how the audio was less than I expected. The screen resolution was a little low, but it worked well. The Bliss Pro+ Tablet did pretty well in application loading, multitasking, and displaying things on the big screen. Also the fact that you can plug in other USB inputs and other outputs is nice – and that all worked very well. I do like the fact that the tablet has some extra inputs and outputs, such as HDMI, the USB port and SD Card slot. Also the screenshot button is easy to get to and is very useful – as are the volume buttons.

The camera works well - but it won't replace a traditional point-and-shoot. The Bliss Pro+ has both front and rear-facing cameras.  Scrolling through the home-screens was slightly slow with it running 4.2. Web pages load up quickly and look great. Finally, launching apps is responsive and social networks load and run quite well.

Mobile Browsing Google Now

 

Accessories: 9/10

When I opened the box I found the tablet (w00t!), a user manual, Micro USB cable, OTG cable, and a European wall AC power adaptor. This makes sense if you live in Europe or are visiting for a while. Unfortunately, they didn't notice the memo that we lived in North America. If they ship out to North America in retail channels, you'll be sure to get an adapter that you can use. Thankfully it charges by a micro-USB cable and as I have other Android device, I was able to use my Canadian power adapter plug to charge up! Although it wasn't included a nice touch would be to include the mini-HDMI cable as sometimes they can be hard to come across.

Accessories

 

Installation: 9/10

There is nothing to install when you get the Bliss Pro+. Copying and transferring stuff between your PC and tablet should be pretty easy and straightforward. Stick your MicroSD card in and load it up, then play whatever you are able to! If you want to go wirelessly, you can always try using the Wi-Fi File Explorer App to transfer files back and forth. It looks like you can set it up like a cell phone and receive a monthly data network from your phone company if it’s possible or even manage data usage when hook up an internet stick. App installation is painless - just as with any Android product. Although the Bliss Pro+ is currently running Jellybean 4.2 - hopefully it will get 4.3 update and possibly KitKat down the road.

Apps List Widget List

 

Value: 8/10

So we're down to the wire where everyone is wondering if all these extra features that are on the tablet are worth it. When shopping for a tablet, you're counting your nickels, hoping for a great deal somewhere and usually trying to catch a sale. Also you want a tablet that works for you. This tablet would probably sell here in North America for $150 and at that price you're wondering why it is so affordable. The reasons are these: it has lower screen resolution than some of the competition. That doesn't make it a bad tablet, but the screen doesn't "pop" and impress you as other screens do on premium tablets. The screen is often one of the more expensive components, and this screen helps them keep the price low. Over in Europe Samsung tablets are very expensive making this option a lot more attractive to many people.

Pros:
  • Affordable price
  • HDMI out
  • TF ( Micro SD) card slot
  • Keyboard and mouse compatible
  • Easy access to buttons
  • Front and back camera
  • Can add extra storage, WWAN, USB Flash and more through the USB port

 

Cons:

  • Microphone is not very impressive
  • Average screen resolution
  • "Tinny" sound when listening through headphones
  • Didn’t accept headphones with in-line microphone

 

You have to realize the market the Spire Bliss 9 Pro+ is aimed for before you judge too harshly. In the end, we can award the Spire Bliis 9 Pro+ 8.2/10 and it earns our Silver Award.

Silver

 

BCCHardware welcomes and thanks Spire for looking us up and sending this tablet over for us to review. We hope to work with them in the future with more of their products. If you have any questions, comments or general feedback, please post it in the forum at the link below.