Groupon Android Deal Reminds Us Group Deals Aren’t Always Great

Group deal provider Groupon has an Android tablet offer today, with prices starting from $149 for a 7-inch model. That’s certainly a lot cheaper than an iPad, but you can actually get similar Android devices for less and make a more informed purchase.

For $149, you get a 7″ tablet, two styluses, headphones and a leather case, which the site values at $288. The price includes postage.

Groupon itself doesn’t offer detailed specs for the tablet, which in itself raises a red flag; it’s very hard to compare tablets without knowing their specs, and I’m very wary of buying anything like this without knowing what I’m getting. A quick check on the site of the provider Android Tablets Australia shows what looks like the same model for $189, running Android 2.2 and with a 1.3 megapixel camera. That’s obviously more expensive than the $149 model — if they’re the same, which we don’t know for certain.

It’s certainly the case that there are other alternatives at similar or lower prices. Dick Smith is still selling the Optus MyTab for $129, though that has Android 2.1. (Again, though, the Groupon deal might be the same — I’m being generous in assuming it has 2.2). Kogan’s 7″ model has a faster processor (1GHz vs 600MHz) and runs Android 2.3, and is going for $161 plus delivery. And those were just the first two I thought of — more searching would reveal other alternatives.

Ultimately, whether this deal makes sense depends on whether you think getting (at best) a free case is worth the risk of buying a tablet which you don’t know very much about. For some people, that may well be a worthwhile decision, but it’s hard to make a worthwhile decision when you’re being pressured to buy in a limited time frame. The lesson is one we harp on a lot about here at Lifehacker: before you buy anything that’s on “special”, search around a bit and find out just how special it is. (If anyone wants to make a more confident identification of the tablet on sale, tell us in the comments).


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