There was a time when the Apple iPad, the Samsung Galaxy Tab or the business oriented Blackberry Playbook were a frenzy. But these tablets also created a divide among those who desired them and those who could afford them or the casual users who prefer to use these products for their novelty rather than its utility.
Low cost tablet computers are a boon for most of us out there. These are available at almost 10 to 40% of the cost of any of the above heavyweights.
The following is a list of the low cost tablet computers in India:
(1) Aakash 2 Tablet or commercially called UbiSlate 7+: Probably the most popular and cheapest tablet in the world. This recently upgraded tablet is priced at INR 2999; it runs on Android’s stable 2.3.3 Gingerbread. It boasts of ARM cortex A8 700 MHz processor with 256 MB RAM, has a 7 inch resistive touchscreen and a dedicated video co-processor for viewing HD videos. It comes complete with PDF and Document editor, WIFI, USB connectivity with SIM card support.
(2) WishTel’s Ira and Ira Thing: WishTel, a company that almost won the bid for manufacturing the Aakash tablets against DataWind, have launched their own low cost Android 2.2.2 based tablets costing Rs. 4000-5500. They come with a 7 inch resistive touchscreen and 800 MHz processor, with the standard PDF and document viewer along with 3G and SIM card support, WIFI, 720p HD video playback. The Ira thing comes with similar specs except for a 512 MB RAM and price tag of Rs 5500 as opposed to the Ira’s Rs. 4000 with 256 MB RAM.
(3) Micromax Funbook: The youth oriented mobile phone manufacturer Micromax is not too far behind in the race for cheap tablets. The Funbook is priced at Rs. 6500 and is probably the only tablet in this list to run the latest Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) operating system. It also has a zippy 1.2 GHz ARM cortex A8 processor, 512 MB RAM and full HD video playback with WIFI and HDMI connectivity options. It consists of 4GB internal storage, again highest of the list and a capacitive 7 inch touchscreen. It comes with a VGA front camera and Document editor as well.
(4) BSNL Penta Tpad: Launched by the largest Government cellular and internet service provider, the Penta Tab comes in three models, namely IS701R, WS704c and WS802c all running Android 2.3.3, have USB connectivity and 2Mp camera. They are priced at Rs. 3499, Rs. 11000 and Rs. 13000 respectively. The difference among the three is mainly in terms of the internal storage, RAM and 3G connectivity. The lowest version has 2GB internal storage and the other two have 4GB each. The processors are 1.0 GHZ, 1.0 GHZ and 1.2 GHZ respectively with the 704c and 802c having 3G connectivity and 512 MB RAM.
(5) Reliance 3G Tab: This is probably one of the earliest low cost tablets launched almost simultaneously with the government’s Aakash tablet. This tablet costing Rs. 12000 is a 7 inch touchscreen device running Android’s 2.3.3 Gingerbread having 512 MB RAM and a 32GB expandable memory. The processor ticks away at 800 MHz and has SIM and WIFI connectivity. As the name suggests the tablet is 3G enabled and Reliance ADAG group offers various data plans along with the purchase of the tablet.
(6) Beetel Magiq @ 8999 running on Android 2.2 with WIFI and 3G functions along with 2mp camera and HCL ME U1 @ Rs. 7999 with a 7 inch touchscreen running the latest 4.0 ICS from Android, has a 1 GHZ processor, 512 MB RAM, 4GB internal memory, WIFI and Bluetooth with 3G connectivity via USB dongle.
It must be noted from the above list that the higher price doesn’t mean a good solid tablet and a lower priced one is not necessarily a dud. One must consider the following before making a purchase:
- Operating system the tablet has, the newer the OS the better performance the tablet may have.
- The processor, the faster it is, better the performance of the tablet.
- The RAM, higher the RAM, lesser the lag in User Interface.
By and large these 3 would dictate the performance of your tablets and then the connectivity factors should be the other important consideration, whether you need a SIM card function or WIFI would suffice and the USB and Bluetooth connectivity for data transfers. Whatever the choice maybe it is wise to get a user demo before making a purchase.