RCA Viking II Review

Electronics Reviews
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Viking? Where’s the beard? Where are the horns? Source: RCA.

When we reviewed the $50 RCA Voyager II, we were a bit surprised at how much we liked it. Not everyone likes the 7″ tablet form factor. Thankfully, RCA has just refreshed their 10″ tablet with the Viking II.

At first glance the Viking II doesn’t quite invite a second glance, and that’s a shame. Yes, it looks like just another mid-range 10″ slab of plastic. Picking it up, we see that it weighs a drop over a pound, which is not terrible in the mid-range (for comparison, it weighs a bit less than an iPad 2). The layout of ports and buttons (almost all along the “top” edge) may not grab you either… until you notice the full-sized USB port. Yes, RCA opted to put both a MicroUSB and a full USB port on this tablet (as well as a dedicated DC-in jack). This port worked perfectly with my USB drives, making it a huge plus. Keyboards and mice should also work fine. This is a fairly unique feature for an Android tablet.

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Now do we have your attention?

The two most well-known lines of Android tablets out now features a very heavily-modified version of the operating system. And even the ones who don’t modify throw on a a ton of “value-added” apps. This made it very refreshing to notice that RCA did neither of those things. The only OS tweak they made was adding volume buttons to the navigation area at the bottom of the screen (now back, home, window view, volume up, volume down). This takes some muscle memory re-training but it’s must easier than essentially learning a whole new UI. As for apps, the only additions I had were a File Manager app, an RCA app for registering, an office solution, and a Target app (the Viking II is exclusive to Target). The good news is that all these apps are removable (except an RCA manual shortcut). That makes this an almost “pure” Android experience, and it’s running the latest version of Android; 6.0, aka Marshmallow.

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In terms of day-to-day use, I was coming from using my Nexus 7 (2013) as a daily driver. The 1.5 GHz quad core chip in there was enough for my reading and light streaming. The Viking II has a more modern ARM quad core chip, running at 1.3 GHz. The two feel close enough in daily use, and the Viking II felt faster at times. So I ran a benchmark… or rather, I tried to. GeekBench3 would not run on the Viking II (I also had issues syncing with one Windows box). That’s not great. But like I said, general real world use is similar, and some videos even rendered a little bit smoother.

Image quality on the Viking II is better than expected on this type of tablet – but maybe not up to the RCA name. It’s a 1280 x 800 display with modest viewing angles. Don’t try to run a presentation off of it, but you could get away with watching with a friend. The built in speakers are tablet speakers in a plastic body – far better to use headphones. There are front and rear cameras, but tablet cameras are not even worth testing. Don’t use them unless you have no other choice.

Outside of the USB port, I don’t seem to have much to say to grab you with this, right? That’s because the big item here isn’t the hardware or software, but the price. The Viking II has a suggested retail price of $129.99. If it follows the pattern of the Voyager II, it will likely go on sale for under $100 several times a year. Considering that my 3 year-old Nexus still costs more than $150 new, that’s a heck of a good deal. There are absolutely cheaper tablets, but they are usually flimsy junk.

This is usually where I add a disclaimer saying RCA provided this tablet for review purposes. And it’s true: they did. But this is the rare item where I can say I would absolutely have spent my own money on it. My Nexus 7’s charge port was separating (a known issue), and while using a QI charger would fix it, going back to a 10″ tablet has been great. I can confidently say that if you want an affordable 10″, you should check out RCA.

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16 thoughts on “RCA Viking II Review

  1. I thought your review was very good. Thanks.

    My question has to do with version 6 of Android. In reading reviews elsewhere it was said that Android 6.01 was a significant improvement over 6.0.What do you think? And will RCA offer an upgrade to 6.01?

    I currently have a Dragon A10 tablet with 5.1. it is my daily drive. The design has some modifications that I didn’t like but I adapted. Is Dragon planning an upgrade? Any idea when?

    thanks

    Dan

  2. Hi, great review. Wondering if you can help me out regarding a PR e-mail contact for RCA that supplied you with the tablet? I’ve supplied my contact e-mail on the comment form.
    Thanks in advance!
    Michael Dequina
    TheMovieReport.com

  3. Your review was really helpful. Is the RCA Viking II the newest tablet offering from them as of November 2016? I’m looking at the RCA Viking Pro with Android Marshmallow 6 and the Viking II with the AM6. Walmart shows an RCA Viking Pro with AM6 and Amazon shows both with AM6. It’s getting confusing as to which is the newest one!

  4. Суперский фильм. Вот только зачем плохое качество, если посмотреть можно в HD качестве на пиратском сайте, пока правообладатели не удалили. Тут есть пока что по ссылке
    goo.gl/oCwpH6

  5. Mordechai, if you’re still using this tablet, could you check the app store and see if the Ozobot Evo app is available for download to it. I am having trouble finding an inexpensive android tablet that my boys can use for their evo programming bots. Even though the tablets meet the advertised evo requirements I’ve now returned two tablets that won’t work with this app. Thanks so much!

    1. I am not really tablet savvy, but I have this tablet and I just looked in the apps and games and there is an app called Ozobot Evo that can be installed…

  6. As you mentioned in the review, I just got a Viking II that was on sale. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy the set up was and it just finished “restoring” all of the apps I have on my other tablet. So far I am quite happy with it, and it came with a screen protector which is a bonus.

  7. 10 Viking Pro SKU: RCT6K03W13H1 can’t see the difference with this one
    10 Viking II Pro SKU: RCT6603W87DK This is the one you want
    10 Viking II SKU: RCT6603W47 has memory transfer issues
    reviews on all three would be nice.

  8. Can any of the RCA 10 Viking models handle a ATSC TV tuner made for Android connects with micro usb to watch free over the air HD channels? it works on my other tablets.

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