Though many would say the Apple iPad set the standard in terms of what people expect from a tablet these days in terms of function, it also seems to have set the price.
Many Android tablets, including the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and HTC Flyer have come in at a price that comes close to matching the cost of Apple’s machine, but not everyone’s willing to pay that much to get in on the act.
As ever, the world of technology can be relied upon to provide some budget tablets, including some brilliantly cheap Android tablets, and in some cases you’ll sacrifice surprisingly little from their more expensive brethren.
1. Creative Ziio 7-inch
The Ziio isn’t what you’d call a premium product, we readily admit. For functionality and design, it’s far behind the more expensive tablets. But there’s still a lot that appeals about it. It’s light at just 412g, it’s not too thick and it’s got excellent sound quality. Most importantly of all, it’s a stone cold bargain at under £200.
2. Advent Vega
The Advent Vega impressed us by getting the modern tablet basics right. It offers a responsive touchscreen, good hardware in its Nvidia Tegra 2 chipset and a solid internet browsing experience, including Flash. With all this, corners have had to be cut elsewhere. The 10-inch screen offers a comparable resolution to the big boys, but doesn’t have anywhere near as good viewing angles, and the operating system isn’t Android 3.0, unsurprisingly. But since its available for just £200 these days, it’s still an astonishing amount of tablet for the money.
3. Archos 101
This is another tablet that succeeds in getting the most important things right a budget price. We found performance to be strong, with smooth web browsing and responsive multi-touch gestures. The screen is also a standout feature, offering bright and vibrant images across its 1024 x 600, 10-inch display. It can be a bit reflective, but it’s still a strong feature for a budget tablet.
4. ViewSonic ViewPad 7
This dinky 7-inch tablet masquerades as a smartphone at times, which we found a little unnecessary in our review, but it has a significant upside. Unlike many of the tablets here, the ViewSonic ViewPad 7 comes with the Android Market on-board, so it’s got the full range of the operating system’s app catalogue available to it. It’s not hugely strong when it comes to performance, but there’s still a lot of potential for the price thanks to the Android Market.
5. AOC Breeze
Where AOC has done well here is surely in the Breeze’s construction. Our review found the tablet to be well-built for the price, with some nice aesthetics for a budget tablet. It’s also one of the few tablets in this price range to feature the Android Market, so the potential functionality is huge. Unfortunately, the Breeze uses resistive touchscreen technology, rather than the capacitive tech used in almost all other tablets. It also has a slightly low screen resolution at 800 x 600. Though the screen is its weak point, there’s still potential value in the Breeze thanks to its low price and Android Market functionality.
6. Disgo Tablet 6000
As a 7-inch Android tablet with a 1GHz processor, the Disgo sounds like a strong option for the price. Certainly, this would seem to be backed up by the sturdy build quality and plethora of ports, including HDMI. Unfortunately, a low-resolution resistive touchscreen holds it back, as does the lack of Android Market to add some variety of apps to the device.