After about a year of checking out tablets and waiting to see the prices drop, I decided to make a present to myself and get a tablet. The choice was really hard and included the unsuccessful attempt to buy an HTC Flyer on sale from Dixons (199 GBP) and from Amazon (210 GBP). Being a big fan of HTC devices, I was really disappointed that I could not get one of these workhorses….
Then I started looking around, collecting information and asking users about their opinion for a 7-inch Android tablet below 250 euros. I had some basic specs in mind, being:
- 7-inch capacitive screen: Since the tablet is going to be used mostly in the really crowded Greek public means of transportation, it had to be compact and light.
- CPU at least at 1GHz
- RAM at least 512MB / Storage about 8GB
- High-res, more than 800X600 which was that case for the majority of the 7-inch screens around
- GPS, HDMI would be a nice bonus
- Didn’t mind about the 3G option, as I consider data plans to be expensive in Greece and apart from that, I am always online so being offline with the tablet would be a nice change!
I wanted the tablet in order to check my emails, surf the web, read books and watch movies while I am on the road or on the couch. I am not demanding, so I could compromise in some aspects in order to achieve a nice balance between cost and performance.
I heard various opinions, ranging from unknown Chinese products to really expensive models. Some of the specific models suggested by community members included the Archos 70 internet tablet, Archos 80 G9, Turbo-X Hive, Bitmore Tab 88. Archos models were rather powerful and sturdy; however, they did not have Android Market installed (a workaround was needed) and some really nice video codecs had to be purchased individually… Archos 80 seemed to suffer from a minor (?) screen issue as well, which brought it out of the competition.
The winner was… Lenovo IdeaPad A1: A 7-inch tablet with 1GHz Cortex A8 CPU, 512MB RAM, 16GB storage, 1024×600 reolsution and Android 2.3.4 (rather obsolete) for only 170 GBP (about 205 Euros) from Amazon.co.uk. It came from a well-known brand and had most of the features that I needed. It still had an old version of Android (but I hoped that it would be upgraded in the near future) and a GPS receiver but did not have an HDMI port, stereo speakers or a set of custom ROMs…
It was bought from Amazon, along with an 8GB micro-SDHC card and a case/stand from Ebay, to protect it from scratches in my backpack, which is usually full of cables, pens and books.