Today Show: Bargain Tablets

Aldi's making a play for the bargain tablet market with the Bauhn 9.7" android tablet. But is it worth the $199 price tag or is it destined for the E-Waste recycling tip?

Surprisingly, this is a really solid tablet at this price point. As a Quad core, 1GB RAM tablet with 16GB of memory, it doesn’t get much cheaper than this.

During our testing it was more than capable of handling all browsing, basic word processing and video streaming.

You would only buy a tablet in this price range if you were after a basic browsing experience and this is exactly what the Aldi Bauhn provides.

It’s comparable to a first generation Google Nexus 7 in terms of performance, but has the advantage of a 9.7 inch screen size; equivalent to that of the iPad. All other usable tablets in this price range are 8 inches or smaller and it’s got the handy addition of a micro USB file transfer connection.

At $199, there isn’t anything comparable in the same size or with the same snappy processing power; it’s a pretty ideal purchase for school students or light tablet users.

It’s a genuinely impressive product, which makes you wonder how long it will last in store as the Aldi bargain hunters flood in.

Hisense – Sero 7 - $199

This is a great value 7” tablet from Hisense with a Quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor, micro SD to expand memory to 32GB to save music, video and pictures. It’s got a 7 inch vivid 1280x800 HD display. For Hisense Smart TV owners, there’s a built in remote app so you can control your Hisense Smart TV with your Sero 7 Pro.

Aldi’s tablet has nearly identical specs, but has the bonus of being a full sized 9.7” tablet.

Google Nexus 7 – $249 from the Google Play store

The Nexus line is a “pure Google” experience. For most users this is great as google designed tablets run smoothly, their interface is clean and they are uncluttered with all the aftermarket apps of third party manufacturers. In the sub $250 category, this tablet is the cream of the crop.

It’s a 7-inch, rubber-backed tablet powered by a 1.3Ghz quad-core Tegra 3 and 1GB of RAM. The $249 model comes with 8GB of storage and it weighs just 340 grams. The screen is a 7-inch, 720p IPS display. 

Asus Memo Pad - $199

At $199 this is a solid value for money tablet from Asus. It’s basically a first generation Google Nexus 7 with the option of expanding your storage through a micro SD slot.

It’s got the bonus of an IPS display, dual stereo speakers and it’s ultra-light at 302 g. The battery life isn’t bad either with 10 hours of run time.

 

What to look for when buying a budget tablet?

Connectivity

Tablets in this price range simply do not come with cellular 3G or 4G capabilities, if you need an internet connection beyond WiFi zones then you’re looking at a $400 + tablet.

Size

Most tablets in this range are in the ‘mini’ category at 7-8 inches. Which is still more than enough screen size for most with the added bonus of being slightly more portable

 

Operating System

Bargain basement tablets have a tendency to run older versions of the android operating system. Any tablet that you purchase today should be running at least Android 4.0 or above.

Why?

Anything running below 4.0 will likely have underpowered specs or lack the ability to upgrade to current and future operating systems.

Interface

A lot of tablet makers in the past have ‘skinned’ the android interface in order to impose their own modifications. Basically what this means is that the interface becomes clogged with fairly redundant apps that slow the operation of the tablet right down. Generally speaking, the closer the tablet is to the original android interface the better, which is why the Google Nexus range is so popular

Camera

At this price point the tablet has to sacrifice somewhere and more often than not it’s in the camera department. While the camera at the back of the device might be up to par it’s really the front facing camera that matters to a lot of users. For things like skype, chat etc. the front facing camera is key, I’ve seen one tablet valued at $99 that boasts a whopping 0.3 megapixel camera – you get the gist, that’s not a whole lot of pixel and it will make skype chats a pretty painful experience.