Teclast P98 Air Review – Plus how to improve performance on the P98 too!


Christopher from GizChina.de reviews the Teclast P98 Air tablet, and even shares his custom ROM so you can make your P98 run and perform like a dream!

Have you ever owned a device that you absolutely hated from day one, only to eventually fall head over heals in love it? Well that’s what happened to me when reviewing the Telecast P98 Air, I’ll go over all details in the following review.

Teclast P98 Air Review: Specifications

The Teclast P98 Air was one of the first two tablets to make use of the Allwinner A80T octa-core processor. The very first available was the Onda V989, which we unfortunately had to send back, as it was unusable, slow, and had huge compatibility issues.

The issues with the Onda V989 were basically all down to that Allwinner processor, and with the Teclast P98 we wanted to give the SoC another shot. For specifications the Allwinner P98 boasts 2GB RAM, 32GB memory (with room for 128GB SD), 8000mAh battery, and 9.7-inch 2K display wrapped in an 8mm thick alloy body. If all that isn’t enough to get your heart racing then the fact Lollipop is making its way to the tablet just might!

So a promising specification and a nice design, so how well does it actually run?

Teclast P98 Air Review: Unboxing & Design

P1010899

While Chinese phone makers do now release their phones with international packaging, tablet makers still ship all device in Chinese boxes. The box our Teclast P98 Air came is all in Chinese, but the various symbols and icons give us clues of what’s on the device.

Inside the box are no nasty surprises, and all the usual accessories are inside. Wall charger (2.5A), Chinese manual, micro USB 3.0 cable and OTG adaptor all present and correct!

First impressions were very good, with the design of the Teclast P98 literally blowing me away. Touching the tablet was as impressive as looking at it! It’s quite impressive at which price tags Chinese manufacturers are able to produce devices with a build quality that’s outperforming even some Apple products.

The Teclast P98 Air is simply flawless with its solid glass-covered screen, slim bezels and perfectly crafted piece of aluminum formed around the back and sides. No squeaking under pressure, no bending, no large gaps, even the physical power and volume buttons are solid and rattle free. The weight at 500g is just as impressive as the build, and adds to the quality solid feel.

Teclast P98 Air Review: Screen

Looking over the hardware of the Teclast P98, you might already becoming to the conclusion that it’s basically a slightly modified version of the Onda V989. I’ll agree that it’s a similar device, but once you set your eye’s on the display you will quickly change your mind.

The 9.7-inch IPS panel of the P98 Air boasts a massive 2,048 x 1,536 resolution and is extremely bright for a tablet PC. Outdoor use won’t be an issue at all with this one. What’s more, the panel features very nice color reproduction, being somewhere in between cold and warm. It’s just perfect, especially when viewing crisp 4K video!

Touch sensitivity is possibly the best I have experienced on a Chinese tab, totally on-par with the ones found on high-end devices like the iPad for example.

Teclast P98 Air Review: Performance & Software

The build and screen are fantastic so what had me hate, then love the Teclast P98 Air? Here are the details.

To begin with the tablet had the very same issues as the Onda V989 we had back last year again. So apps crashing, very poor performance (to the point it felt like a dual core rather than octacore) and lots of compatibility issues. This time however, the tablet hasn’t been shipped back to China, instead it has been fixed by me (Christopher from GizChina Germany).

So how did I fix it? Basically I took what Onda and their developer community at ondaforums.com had done for the Onda V989 and created a custom ROM for the Teclast P98 Air. The fix makes the tablet fly, but don’t worry you don’t need to do all that as you can just download it all from here.

The reason for those issues mainly is the fact that Allwinner does indeed create amazing SoCs, yet doesnt perform so well at developing software. Both the Onda V989 as well as the Teclast P98 Air which was released a little later are based on the same framework, and that’s why both had the same issues.

The main problem with the original Allwinner configuration is, that the SoC is not reacting fast enough to increased workload, which makes the device appear very stuttery. Another problem is a little design mistake inside the SoC, which can cause the SoC to turn off all of a sudden under certain circumstances,  causing the crashes. Luckily for all of this there are software workarounds. To cut a long story short: “Chris’ custom ROM” achieved iPad smoothness and Antutu scores up to 70k points by unlocking the CPU to 1.8GHz vs. the 1.6GHz of the stock ROM, changing some driver configurations including the GPU driver and improving the CPU governor as well as a lot of other small things plus some improvements like a 8GB of app memory.

Now the Teclast P98 Air not only runs like a freshly oiled gear, no matter which apps or games you throw at it, but has fewer compatibility issues, especially within the gaming sector. We have to admit though, that Teclast is working on those issues the stock ROM has as well. The latest release “Chris’ custom ROM” is based on what was already a lot smoother than previous versions, and there is Android 5.0 Lollipop coming up, which many claim to be the final solution of all issues – at least on the Onda V989.

Read Also:  New Blackview Tab 12 tablet model goes on sale

Teclast P98 Air Review: Wireless & Media

There isn’t much wireless to talk about this time, as the Teclast P98 Air only comes with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. You are able to attach a 3G dongle through USB though. While using the Teclast P98 Air we noticed that the Wi-Fi is a little weak. It’s far from being unusable, but you definitely notice a limited range going on here. Again this won’t be much of an issue for most, yet it could be for those of you generally suffering from a weak Wi-Fi signal. Using Bluetooth the signal strength doesn’t seem to be limited in any way with up to 12 meters of reach using a Bluetooth speaker and flawless support of Bluetooth LE devices.

One far more interesting topic is how well the Teclast P98 Air handles multimedia playback. Now the Allwinner A80T isn’t just a powerhouse for apps and games, but for video content as well, which also is the reason why we mostly see this SoC within set top boxes these day. It’s capable of playing not only 1080p videos, but 4k content as well. It doesn’t stop there as we even stumbled upon playback support for 3D files, which is handy when pairing the slate with your 3D-enabled television. The SoC is even  capable of playing a 4k file at 60fps in multi-window mode while browsing a media-rich responsive website without any lags. Sounds impressive, and it really is impressive.

Audio quality is impressive as well with flawless, loud, bass-heavy and distortion-free stereo playback through the internal speakers and a well-balanced output through the 3.5mm headphone jack. We have two things to complain about though, first being the fact that the Xiaomi Pistons v2.1 somehow do not work with this tablet, second being the fact that the stereo speakers are a little misplaced in landscape mode, as they are both on the right or left side then, depending on how you’re holding the device.

Teclast P98 Air Review: Camera

While the camera specs of this tablet might seem impressive to you with a 13 megapixel rear shooter along with a LED flash and even support for recording 4k videos, in reality it isn’t. While the camera is surprisingly good for what we are used to from Chinese tabs, the pictures are far from being usable to show off your latest vacation and the recorded 4k videos do look more like 1080p. Are we complaining? Not at all. No one will ever take serious pictures with a tablet PC, just because of the sheer size.

Teclast P98 Air Review: Battery

Featuring a 8,000mAh capacity, the Teclast P98 Air might sound like a real battery monster that you could even use as a power bank.  While the Allwinner A80T still is better at power-saving than those Intel x86 BayTrail SoCs, while providing a similar performance, it is still quite a battery hog, much more so than for example the MT8392T.

If the battery life depends on how you use the tablet. We stuck to the normal mode for productivity and multimedia and only hit the speed mode setting in case we wanted to play games. This along with medium brightness settings, we’ve reached screen-on times of in-between 6 – 8 hours, depending on the workload. Watching a 4k movie non-stop was the biggest battery-drainer to our surprise, resulting in 5.3 hours screen-on time. Taking full advantage of the A80T’s capabilities by staying in speed mode all the time, results in a screen-on time of 3 to 4 hours, again depending on what you do. That’s not a bad result, but far from being high-end. Charging the slate will take you around 3.5 to 4 hours with a 2.0A charger.

Teclast P98 Air Review: Conclusion

This time building a final conclusion isn’t all that easy. On the one hand we have one absolutely amazing tablet PC here with a perfect build quality, beautifully crafted design, amazing screen, insane performance, great multimedia capabilities and a good battery life. But on the other hand there are those software bugs you are confronted with out of the box and the need of flashing before having a working tablet. This is something the average consumer just doesn’t want to do, nor should they have to.

So in the end we have to say the following: If you have an open mind towards software mods, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t consider giving the Teclast P98 Air a shot. After all it is one of the most powerful Android tabs you can get right now plus features one of the best price-performance ratios we’ve seen so far. But if you just want to have a device  that’s working without the need of software mods, that you just unbox and start using, stay away at all cost. You won’t be happy with this one. Instead we’re recommending you the Cube Talk 9X.

A big thanks goes to TinyDeal.com who sent us the Teclast P98 Air. They also provided us with a coupon code called “P9819OFF”, giving a 18% off the slate, valid thru January 31, 2015.

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65 Comments

  1. pa5t1s
    January 20, 2015

    Cool review Christopher, and kudos for the custom ROM! Gut Arbeit! 😉
    PS: I wish you did the same for my ‘old’ Onda V982 🙁 I’m really considering to upgrade to a newer tablet as this 4-core is slow as a snail nowadays- don’t ask me why…

    • January 22, 2015

      Try rooting it and use Antutu CPU Master to set the “Performance” CPU governor. This might boost your tab a little.

      • pa5t1s
        January 22, 2015

        Ok, it’s already rooted, will try this governor. Thx for the tip 😉

  2. Soraya
    January 20, 2015

    Tolles review 🙂

  3. pa5t1s
    January 20, 2015

    Cool review Christopher, and kudos for the custom ROM! Gut Arbeit! 😉
    PS: I wish you did the same for my ‘old’ Onda V982 🙁 I’m really considering to upgrade to a newer tablet as this 4-core is slow as a snail nowadays- don’t ask me why…

    • Christopher Straßer
      January 22, 2015

      Try rooting it and use Antutu CPU Master to set the “Performance” CPU governor. This might boost your tab a little.

    • pa5t1s
      January 22, 2015

      Ok, it’s already rooted, will try this governor. Thx for the tip 😉

  4. Soraya
    January 20, 2015

    Tolles review 🙂

  5. Adam Irvine
    January 20, 2015

    Well that was a good read, I’ve just purchased a Teclast X80H mainly for the dual boot and iPad Mini form factor so I’m hoping it’ll share some positivity as found here 🙂

  6. Freeje
    January 20, 2015

    As I’ve experienced before with Chinese tablets, great hardware but poor software. You basically buy them for the hardware and look for the firmware somewhere else.

  7. Adam Irvine
    January 20, 2015

    Well that was a good read, I’ve just purchased a Teclast X80H mainly for the dual boot and iPad Mini form factor so I’m hoping it’ll share some positivity as found here 🙂

  8. Guest
    January 21, 2015

    As I’ve experienced before with Chinese tablets, great hardware but poor software. You basically buy them for the hardware and look for the firmware somewhere else.

  9. Airyl
    January 21, 2015

    Fantastic review. Very informative and well worth a read if anyone’s looking for a tablet like this. Also, 70000 points is just crazy.

    • January 21, 2015

      The score is fake. Allwinner is manipulating the timing and overclocking the CPU while running Antutu. That’s why those tabs got banned from Antutu. The real score is somewhere around 40k to 43k.

  10. Airyl
    January 21, 2015

    Fantastic review. Very informative and well worth a read if anyone’s looking for a tablet like this. Also, 70000 points is just crazy.

    • Christopher Straßer
      January 21, 2015

      The score is fake. Allwinner is manipulating the timing and overclocking the CPU while running Antutu. That’s why those tabs got banned from Antutu. The real score is somewhere around 40k to 43k.

  11. Zoealandy
    January 21, 2015

    Christ, will you do contrast review for Cube talk 9X and this one?

  12. Tomi
    January 21, 2015

    For gaming & multimedia would you recommend this or X98 Air 3G DualOS? I don’t really need dual OS but would prefer 3G. Would a like a smooth & fluid interface. I had Xiaomi MiPad for 2 months and ended up selling as I was utterly dissapointed with the incomplete and buggy software so I would like my next purchase to be on spot 🙂

    • January 22, 2015

      I heard there are some big issues with Google Play on the X98 Air 3G, but I think they can be fixed. If you prefer 3G, go for it. Intel SoCs are always nice.

      • Tomi
        January 22, 2015

        Ignoring 3G for a moment would you still go for Intel (quad core) over Allwiner A80T(octa core)? I am a bit confused with different X98 models (Air / Air 3G / DualOS 3G / Air II…) but would like strongest (smoothest working in real life, not just specs!) model from P98 or X98 series (regardles of 3G or dual os). Thanks!

        • January 22, 2015

          I watched a few video reviews of the X98 Air 3G now, and from what I’ve seen the Allwinner A80T is running smoother with my custom ROM when browsing the web and playing games. This does only apply to Android though. The performance while running Windows 8.1 on the X98 Air 3G seems to be much better, which isn’t all that surprising. When it comes to 3D performance, the A80Ts 64-core GPU of course is kickin’ Intel’s ass.

          • Tomi
            February 20, 2015

            Hi, I’ve decided to go for Teclast X98 Air II, simply due to Win 8.1. My only doubt is weather to go for standard version or 3G. I have read there are some concerns on 3G version with flipped camera and laggy interface but apparently these have been resolved via software update. Do you perhaps have any insight on this? Thanks!

  13. Zoealandy
    January 21, 2015

    Christ, will you do contrast review for Cube talk 9X and this one?

  14. Tomi
    January 21, 2015

    For gaming & multimedia would you recommend this or X98 Air 3G DualOS? I don’t really need dual OS but would prefer 3G. Would a like a smooth & fluid interface. I had Xiaomi MiPad for 2 months and ended up selling as I was utterly dissapointed with the incomplete and buggy software so I would like my next purchase to be on spot 🙂

    • Christopher Straßer
      January 22, 2015

      I heard there are some big issues with Google Play on the X98 Air 3G, but I think they can be fixed. If you prefer 3G, go for it. Intel SoCs are always nice.

    • Tomi
      January 22, 2015

      Ignoring 3G for a moment would you still go for Intel (quad core) over Allwiner A80T(octa core)? I am a bit confused with different X98 models (Air / Air 3G / DualOS 3G / Air II…) but would like strongest (smoothest working in real life, not just specs!) model from P98 or X98 series (regardles of 3G or dual os). Thanks!

    • Christopher Straßer
      January 22, 2015

      I watched a few video reviews of the X98 Air 3G now, and from what I’ve seen the Allwinner A80T is running smoother with my custom ROM when browsing the web and playing games. This does only apply to Android though. The performance while running Windows 8.1 on the X98 Air 3G seems to be much better, which isn’t all that surprising. When it comes to 3D performance, the A80Ts 64-core GPU of course is kickin’ Intel’s ass.

    • Tomi
      February 20, 2015

      Hi, I’ve decided to go for Teclast X98 Air II, simply due to Win 8.1. My only doubt is weather to go for standard version or 3G. I have read there are some concerns on 3G version with flipped camera and laggy interface but apparently these have been resolved via software update. Do you perhaps have any insight on this? Thanks!

    • Christopher Straßer
      February 20, 2015

      Unfortunately I don’t

  15. Adam
    January 21, 2015

    Can this be rooted with Android 5.0? If so, I’ll be purchasing this immedietly.

    • January 22, 2015

      The Onda V989 can, so the Teclast can be rooted as well I think. I can tell you more once the Lollipop ROM for it is out.

      • Adam
        January 22, 2015

        Well what about CM12 when it’s released?

  16. Adam
    January 21, 2015

    Can this be rooted with Android 5.0? If so, I’ll be purchasing this immedietly.

    • Christopher Straßer
      January 22, 2015

      The Onda V989 can, so the Teclast can be rooted as well I think. I can tell you more once the Lollipop ROM for it is out.

    • Adam
      January 22, 2015

      Well what about CM12 when it’s released?

    • Christopher Straßer
      January 22, 2015

      You can’t port CM without kernel sources

  17. Flow
    January 23, 2015

    I think the most important thing on a tablet is a good WiFi signal. Without a decent WiFi (or as the Germans call it: “WLAN”) a tablet becomes a very annoying thing that you might as well throw in the garbage bin or use it to cut your meat and veggies on. And it’s not only the signal strenght that needs to be checked, many tablets suffer from slow download-speeds as well, even when the signal is between usable and good.
    So when you’re writing a review on a tablet and write down that the WiFi-signal is a bit shabby, than please do some measurements and write down the download- and uploadspeeds at different distances from your wireless accesspoint.

  18. Flow
    January 23, 2015

    I think the most important thing on a tablet is a good WiFi signal. Without a decent WiFi (or as the Germans call it: “WLAN”) a tablet becomes a very annoying thing that you might as well throw in the garbage bin or use it to cut your meat and veggies on. And it’s not only the signal strenght that needs to be checked, many tablets suffer from slow download-speeds as well, even when the signal is between usable and good.
    So when you’re writing a review on a tablet and write down that the WiFi-signal is a bit shabby, than please do some measurements and write down the download- and uploadspeeds at different distances from your wireless accesspoint.

  19. hugo
    January 30, 2015

    Hello everyone, i’ve just purchased thé p98 air. I saw that there is two version c6v8 ans c6v9.
    Does someone know thé différence. Mine is c6v9. Thé ROM listed above is for which version ?
    Thanks …

  20. hugo
    January 30, 2015

    Hello everyone, i’ve just purchased thé p98 air. I saw that there is two version c6v8 ans c6v9.
    Does someone know thé différence. Mine is c6v9. Thé ROM listed above is for which version ?
    Thanks …

  21. hugo
    February 2, 2015

    Hi Christopher, do you have any idea about the possibility to update mine p98 c6v9 with the rom have updated ?

  22. Guest
    February 2, 2015

    Hi Christopher, do you have any idea about the possibility to update mine p98 c6v9 with the rom have updated ?

  23. Steve Buddy
    February 25, 2015

    Hi Christopher.
    Do you have a root etc. for the Teclast T98 4G?
    Thanks

  24. Steve Buddy
    February 25, 2015

    Hi Christopher.
    Do you have a root etc. for the Teclast T98 4G?
    Thanks

  25. Δαγλάρογλου Κωνσταντίνος
    February 26, 2015

    Hi!
    I just bought P98 AIr and I am looking for the ROM you described.
    Unfortunately the link you provided to gizchina.de is not working.
    Could you please look into this or upload the ROM somewhere else?
    Thanks!

  26. Δαγλάρογλου Κωνσταντίνος
    February 26, 2015

    Hi!
    I just bought P98 AIr and I am looking for the ROM you described.
    Unfortunately the link you provided to gizchina.de is not working.
    Could you please look into this or upload the ROM somewhere else?
    Thanks!

  27. rgnr
    March 5, 2015

    Have you managed to run Real Racing 3 and Asphalt on it?

  28. Guest
    March 5, 2015

    Have you managed to run Real Racing 3 and Asphalt on it?

  29. Ragnar Ironblood
    March 23, 2015

    Hey, Chris, have you had а chance to compare P98 Air to X98? Not synthetic benchmarks.

  30. Ragnar Ironblood
    March 23, 2015

    Hey, Chris, have you had а chance to compare P98 Air to X98? Not synthetic benchmarks.

  31. Sab
    March 23, 2015

    I have this Tablet. I bought it one year ago. Once I crashed its display and had to fix it, but otherwise it’s an excellent product, I love it. I use it as a phone too. And because I have the Solo UI it looks awesome, better than a phone!

  32. Guest
    March 24, 2015

    I have this Tablet. I bought it one year ago. Once I crashed its display and had to fix it, but otherwise it’s an excellent product, I love it. I use it as a phone too. And because I have the Solo UI it looks awesome, better than a phone!

  33. Harshal
    March 30, 2015

    Hello Christopher Straßer,
    Do you have any updates on Teclast T98. Nothing much has been mentioned about it.

  34. Guest
    March 30, 2015

    Hello Christopher Straßer,
    Do you have any updates on Teclast T98. Nothing much has been mentioned about it.

  35. Andrei Dinu
    July 6, 2015

    Hi Christopher, there are some good deals on this model and the X98 air, which one would you say it’s better in terms of display and touch quality? I don’t think the processing speed is that much different (not a big gamer). Thank you!

  36. Andrei Dinu
    July 6, 2015

    Hi Christopher, there are some good deals on this model and the X98 air, which one would you say it’s better in terms of display and touch quality? I don’t think the processing speed is that much different (not a big gamer). Thank you!

  37. tred
    August 26, 2015

    Hey what is the difference of the Teclast T98 and the P98 version?

  38. Guest
    August 26, 2015

    Hey what is the difference of the Teclast T98 and the P98 version?

  39. Mesterio
    November 18, 2015

    Hi all , Christopher, I was wondering is it worth still getting the teclast p98 air or is there a better option? Thanks

  40. Mesterio
    November 18, 2015

    Hi all , Christopher, I was wondering is it worth still getting the teclast p98 air or is there a better option? Thanks

  41. Nadam
    July 5, 2016

    Just seen the 3G version available at Geekbuyng for $88.29. Do you suggest buying it?

  42. Nadam
    July 5, 2016

    Just seen the 3G version available at Geekbuyng for $88.29. Do you suggest buying it?

  43. Thurstan Hethorn
    November 28, 2018

    I’m trying to track down the rom mentioned in this article. Anybody have a download link?