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The Doogee T10 is a cheap Android tablet with a 10.1 inch FHD+ display, an aluminum body, a Unisoc T616 processor, and 128GB of eMMC storage plus a microSD card reader for up to 1TB of removable storage.

Available from AliExpress for $116 during a launch sale, the tablet has one unusual spec that stands out: while the Doogee T10 has 8GB of LPDDR4 memory, the company claims it actually features 15GB of “extended RAM.”

In a nutshell, what this means is that the tablet allocates some of its eMMC storage for use as RAM. This is… an interesting choice.

Laptop and desktop computers have long been able to use storage as virtual memory. But there are down sides to using storage in this way. First, RAM is typically much faster than a hard drive or SSD. That means that while this tablet might try to act like it has 15GB of RAM, it will probably run more slowly than a model with similar specs that actually has that much memory.

And second, SSDs and other forms of flash storage also typically have an upper limit of write cycles. While you’re unlikely to reach that limit anytime soon when using a tablet’s eMMC flash storage for apps, media, and documents, using it as virtual memory increases the chance that you could wear down the flash storage much more quickly.

There are reasons for using virtual memory in a PC. RAM is typically more expensive than storage, and if you have a PC with just 4GB or 8GB of memory, for example, virtual memory can be a life saver when trying to run applications that demand more memory than your system actually has. But it’s no replacement for actual DDR or LPDDR memory.

And it’s not like we haven’t seen Android phones and tablets with 16GB or more of memory. They just don’t tend to be as cheap as the Doogee T10.

All told, I can’t decide if this tablet with 15GB of “extended memory” is just a marketing gimmick to make an 8GB tablet seem more attractive… or if it’s a genuinely bad idea to offer extended/virtual memory in an Android tablet at all.

Anywya, in case you were curious, here are a few other details about the Doogee T10. It’s Unisoc T606 processor features two 1.8GHz ARM Cortex-A75 CPU cores, six 1.6 GHz Cortex-A55 cores, and Mali-G57 graphics. The tablet has an 8,300 mAh battery, 13MP + 8MP rear cameras, an 8MP front-facing camera, support for WiFi 5, Bluetooth, FM radio, and 4G LTE (in China, at least). And it ships with Android 12 software.

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  1. It’s the same concept the Chinese use when comparing their knockoff military jets or naval vessels to the real thing… Looks (and ‘specs’) can be deceiving

  2. LOL 🙂
    This is the first time I a vendor advertising the usage of Linux swap on Android as a “hardware feature”.
    Not even zram swap (aka. memory compression), but swap on eMMC !
    Most big name vendors use swap for memory compression, but never swap on storage media. Due to how Android manages memory, using swap in storage media can (and likely will) make the system run slower instead of faster.

  3. Yep, that’s shameless marketing gimmick… probably to hide the fact that it has a weak SoC. To the point, extended memory in mobile OSs has a single use – keeping more apps running on the background… if even that, because this also depends on a few factors.

    It’s not only about what type of memory it’ll use instead of RAM, the architecture just isn’t optimized for it – it’s not the same thing as extended memory on a desktop OS for instance.
    It’s useful to keep more apps running on the background because you don’t really need fast access for that.

    In any case, 8Gb is plenty for a mid-range tablet these days. The thing they don’t say there is that this tablet just can’t have more than 8Gb of ram anyways, that SoC, Unisoc Tiger 606, simply does not support more than 8Gb – it’s on the mid to low end range. This is often the case for mid to low end SoCs… I hear people sometimes saying they wish they put more ram on it, but if it’s a low end SoC, it’s just that they simply don’t support it.

    But with that price, it’s also not too bad… on that price point, the only well known western competitor I can think of is the Amazon Fire tablet, and the specs on Fire tablets are horrible.
    If I’m not mistaken, the 2022 model has a low end quad-core Mediatek CPU with 3Gb of ram, 7 inch panel that doesn’t even get up to HD and has these huge bezels reminiscent of cheap generic Android tablets of 6+ years ago or something… which of course isn’t very surprising considering these Fire Tablets are nothing more than white label Chinese tablets with an Amazon tax on top. Amazon probably pays less than 50 bucks a pop for them, then re-sells it for over 100 bucks. 😛

  4. It doesn’t even feel like it was all that long ago, even if it was, when 4GB in phones was new and didn’t make much sense at the time. Back then, phones were usually not competing with laptops in terms of their RAM amounts because Android didn’t need much to provide a good experience. And I remember the RAM race from several years ago when all the manufacturers were seeing how far they could go, 8GB, 12GB, etc. I’m not saying there’s no good reason for a generous amount of memory, but I also have no doubt much of it was done for marketing purposes only. Meanwhile, I have old devices that are still going strong and doing what I need with 2 and 3GB. In fact, my phone is rather old at this point and the storage is the biggest issue. 8GB seems plenty in something like this.

  5. The real question what in Android uses 15GB of memory? Many Linux OS used 2GB of Ram at time of RPI 8GB launched.

    1. Cant understand the push for more and more RAM on phones. No matter how powerful the cpu there is only so much multi-tasking you can do on that small screen. And who will run background apps that use so much RAM.

      1. I think you generally need to have the hardware first before you get the software.

        Things that use lots of RAM are; Graphical Games, Emulation, Virtual Machines, and running Professional Applications like deep calculations. But the most obvious one to me for mainstream is to have Video Rendering locally right there on your phone with the footage you took. Although some of these tasks could be offloaded to the Cloud and be computed on much faster/larger machines.

        Though what I would like to see, are phones getting the hardware then getting the software to take advantage of it. So it will run in usual “phone mode” (16nm Cortex-A73, 4GB, 64GB UFS 2.0, level) when out and about. But then it can be transformed into a Ultrabook/Surface/MacBook with the use of something like the Project Linda shell. Also it can be transformed into a NUC/Mac Mini/Shield with the likes of a DeX Station to dock into. That’s when the OS software adapts, and it makes you can run the “desktop app” (4nm, Cortex-X1, 16GB, 512GB UFS 3.1, level). This implementation makes alot of sense to me.

  6. Thanks for the breakdown, that “ram” amount and extension had me scratching my head. My OnePlus 9 pro also has this option. They call it “RAM Expansion”, and they do a fine job explaining that it will use storage.

    1. It remains as clear as mud. My OnePlus Nord N200 also has “RAM expansion” and on the theory that it must be a good thing, I maxed it out (to 3 GB), but how it might function is entirely obscure to me. Brad’s points about the speed and endurance limitations of flash memory are true enough, but I thought that Android didn’t work with virtual memory by design. Any software that isn’t resident in RAM and needs to be loaded can only be loaded from either internal or external flash memory — the phone’s proprietary firmware has no way around this any more than Android does. Load times might be reduced if the packages to be loaded were made contiguous, though I wouldn’t think that so many small pieces are now being loaded that there would be much scope for improvement. It’s got to be a marketing gimmick more than anything substantive; there might be an economic incentive to provide a description of how it works (not forthcoming because it likely doesn’t).

      1. Coming soon! ReadyBoost for phones!. Plug in usb drive to experience amazing boost in performance!

        1. It was done with SD cards several years ago, look for “create swap file on SD card”. Swap partitions/files are just a feature of the Linux kernel running behind Android, it doesn’t get a lot of efforts to get them working.

  7. 8 GB for a $115 tablet is definitely enough, I don’t understand the need for gimmicks.. I’ll be on the lookout for reviews though. An alternative to an Amazon Fire tablet in that price range is definitely needed.

  8. To be fair, swapon CAN be beneficial even in android. I mean, it’s not additional-ram-helpful… But just like in linux server and desktop, it can help with some loads and is harmless with the rest so long as excessive swapping is avoided – which on android is fairly standard since the schedulers kills anything that goes unresponsive for more than a few seconds.

      1. It’s a part of android also so I would assume it’s fine, since they shouldn’t have had to do much work