Should You Buy a Bargain Tablet?
by Robert McNicholas on October, 29 2014
My, my, how tablets have come down in price! No longer do you have to mortgage your house to get the newest technology in this sluggish tablet market. These days, $200 or less will get you a 7-inch tablet with an HD screen, a quad core processor, and a decent amount of memory. But what about the super-budget tablets—the ones that ring in between $50 and $100? Should you save your money for a better model, or should you go ahead and snag that bargain tablet?
Guess what? You’re the only person who can answer that question. But we’re here to help you reach the right answer for your needs.
Questions To Ask Yourself When Buying A Tablet
If you’re on a limited budget and absolutely desperate to have a mobile device, it can be very tempting to rush out and buy the cheapest tablet you find. Buy tablet; have money left over for lunch. Win-win.
Unfortunately, it is rarely that simple. While budget tablets may have an attractive price tag, that price tag is low for a reason. Can you live with the slashes made to get this tablet down to this price point? That’s what we’ll find out in this post.
Before you decide to buy a tablet, ask yourself: How will I use it? What will I expect it to do? What little quirks and performance issues can I live with, and what will annoy me to no end? If you’re planning on using a tablet to check your email, read a few e-books, and watch the occasional YouTube video, you can get by with a non-HD screen and lower performance specs. If you’re thinking of using it for anything more than casual gaming, for watching higher-quality videos, or as part of your business equipment, you may need to spend that couple hundred dollars we talked about earlier.
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Now, let’s have a step-by-step look at some of the components of a tablet and how your bargain tablet might compare against a name brand:
- Screen Resolution. This is usually expressed in what looks like a multiplication problem: 1024x760, 1280x800, etc. In most cases, the higher these numbers are, the happier you will be. The better your screen resolution is, the smoother and sharper the picture will appear. Reading without eyestrain will be easier; videos will look crisper; photos will be more vibrant. This is a major area where budget tablets skimp. I have seen some with the screen resolution of 800x400. That’s all right if it’s a plaything for a toddler, but not for grown-up.
- Memory. The more memory you have, the more apps you can have running at the same time. Playing games, especially graphic-driven games like Minion Rush, eat up a huge amount of memory. It’s not difficult to find a snappy processor of dual- or quad-core capacity in a tablet, but at least 1GB of memory is necessary if you’re looking to do anything other than browse the Internet and read e-books.
- On-Device Storage Space. Storage space is where things can get tricky. Let’s say that your prospective tablet comes with 6GB of space. This does not mean that you have 6GB of usable space to store your apps, docs, music, videos, and photos. You probably have under 4GB, as the operating system will take up 2 or more gigabytes. If you’re not planning on loading up a lot of programs, 6 or 8GB may work just fine. If you want a lot of variety in your apps, opt for more space.
Some budget tablets come with an SD card slot, which can expand your device’s usable memory. However, not every app can be moved to the SD card; some can only be transferred by means of an advanced and somewhat risky procedure known as ‘rooting’ your device. It’s better to think of the SD card as a repository for files and media than a place to stash apps.
Bargain or Bust?
Is that $50 bargain tablet worth it? Depends what you want it for. Hopefully, these questions will help you figure out if it will meet your needs.
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