Greg and I decided to try something new. These “new thing” efforts typically occur during a three-beer solution, brainstorming session. This time we may have actually doubled our efforts, since the outcome has been … tragic.
We decided to try an affordable approach to tablets. With all the tablet hype and market growth going on, we wondered how a low-budget solution would fair.
We opted to try two different pads on the android platform. We had basic criteria along the lines of recent OS (Android 2.2 or higher), decent processing speed, good storage, etc. I went with a 7 inch screen; Greg went with a 10 inch screen. We both chose “off brands” in order to keep the cost reasonable.
My 7 inch pad was $150 – delivered. Greg’s 10 inch pad was $190.
Mine totally sucks. I don’t know where to begin in my evaluation since I have yet to find anything I like about it. The biggest problem is likely the touch-screen. Attempts to activate apps, use apps, input info and browse websites result in the highest levels of frustration.
My daughter was all excited when she saw it – calculating this might mean a tablet for her. I promptly handed it to her, with a hearty “good luck.” Five minutes later it was back in my hands.
Bottom-line: price-point tablets are not there yet. Hopefully the new Kindle Fire will bring this dream closer to reality. However, that model seems to be an “up-sell” environment. So up-front, low-cost may be a bit of bait-and-switch.
I suppose the biggest lesson from this experience – is to stop at three beers.
  • Perhaps you can use the crummy tablet(s) as external monitors for an existing notebook.

    You can never be too rich or too thin or have too much screen real estate.

    iPad has at least 2 apps that do this. All require Wifi – no cable connection. I use Air Display. Works well on high speed node, including iPhone as hotspot.

  • I wish I would have been able to contribute to the beers. I can contribute to the experiment.

    I received a free HP netbook recently. I was excited until I turned it on. It was running windows 7 lite (who knew there was a windows lite). For basic web browsing it was ok, but slow. I then installed Linux on the device. It ran apps faster and browsed the web fine. Unfortunately, it currently will not complete the boot process now and I don't know enough about the Linux boot process to easily fix it and the device is too slow and heavy (compared to my much lighter and faster iPad2) to make it worth my time to fix it.

  • I'm really curious about the Kindle Fire, too- we'll see.

  • I received a free Nextbook Platinum 7, which for the price, is a very nice smaller tablet. I beleive that you can find one for around $200 or so.

  • I recently received a free Nextbook Platinum 7. It is a nice
    tablet and pretty easy to use. it is not a replacement for my laptop, but I like it as a transition to an IPAD2 around XMAS.

  • Thanks for sharing this Fail story Toby. From the optimists perspective, you just reminded us all to try before you buy.

  • In the Android 2.2 world, the Viewsonic g-tablet is a good performer with a 10" screen. There is a huge community on XDA Developers dedicated to the g-tablet including modifications to the basic operating system. However, wit hthe release of Android 3.0 Honeycomb, unless you're trying to save some money, then you want to go with a Honeycomb based tablet.

    Any of the Android 3.2 tablets such as the Acer Iconia, Samsung Galaxy Tab, Asus Transformer, etc. are all very nice Android tablets (I don't care for the Xoom though after having one and taking it back) with strong processors and features that are responsive and don't leave you with regrets in my opinion. I have a g-tablet and an Acer Iconia A500 and the Acer is with me at all times now. I also have a Exopc Windows 7 tablet that is an 11" device running Windows 7. It has a shorter battery life (about 4 hours), but in its favor, it will run pretty much any program designed for Windows and works really well with a bluetooth keyboard. If MS could get a decent onscreen keyboard, it would be a really nice device to use all of the time.