Why Cheap Android Tablets Are Rarely Worth It

Inexpensive Android tablets are on the rise, but you get what you pay for — and what you pay for is a cheap screen, a stripped-down version of Android, and low-powered hardware.

Android tablets started off with a cost problem: they were way too expensive. Even more expensive than the iPad (who would have thought?) Now, though, as tablets are becoming more popular, a lot of manufacturers are trying to cash in on the trend with Android devices costing $100 or less. $100 is pretty tempting, but tech blog Tested notes that these devices probably aren’t worth the money. Some will have resistive instead of capacitive screens, which require you to press hard and don’t support multitouch. Others might not even have a full version of Android:

The software is going to be rough around the edges on the cheap tablet. There might be Market access, but there might not be. If the manufacturer decided to put Gingerbread on the device, the interface is going to be poor. If the tablet runs the browser effectively, though, that might be enough to justify the purchase in some cases.

Watch out for resistive screens, and know that even if you get a capacitive panel, [mediocre] WVGA resolution is where you’re likely to be stuck. Assuming some small amount of optimization was done, even the older SoCs in these tablets should be able to run Android well enough, but don’t expect great gaming performance.

They also note that even though sub-$100 is pretty darn cheap — especially if you’re just reading and browsing the web — other cheap tablets are on the way. They might be closer to $250, but they’ll have Ice Cream Sandwich, better hardware, and other perks.

We’ve made the point before that one of the benefits of Android is that devices appear at every price point, and that applies to tablets too. Some of the cheap options we’ve tested have worked OK, but it is definitely a case of being satisfied with what you get for the money rather than expecting a best-of-breed experience.

Hit the link to read more, and if you’ve ever tried out one of these budget Android tablets, let us know your experience in the comments.

Does it Make Sense to Buy a $US100 Off-Brand Android Tablet? [Tested]

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