A Non-Authoritative Android Tablet Buying List: What to Get, What to Avoid (2010)

Discussion in 'Android Tablet Discussions' started by xaueious, Nov 19, 2010.

  1. xaueious

    xaueious Administrator Staff Member

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    Number of stars, up to 5, denotes level of recommendation. Stars in brackets indicate additional value added for day-to-day Android enthusiasts (can follow instructions to install APK files, rooting, firmware flashing)

    This will be updated as the market changes, if myself or other moderators have time to make changes to this.

    As I am in Canada, this list does not necessarily reflect the devices available in your area.

    If there's a device not on this list of at least mentioned implicitly, it's probably not recommended. It's either too expensive, too buggy, or too much tweaking required. If you know enough to disagree, you probably are one of those who doesn't mind spending days tweaking the heck out of a device before using it for the first time, which I'm not trying to cater to here. At the end of the day, I'm just trying to help you make the right decision.

    Last updated Feb 11, 2010

    Local Buys
    These devices have good customer support, a real return policy.

    Hassle Free Recommendations
    Samsung Galaxy Tab *****
    $399 with a contract, around $500 without.
    Manufacturer Link
    I really don't have to talk about this one do I?
    The best on the market. Need I say more? Capacitive touch, best display technology on the market, Samsung support, Google backing...

    Huawei Ideos S7 ***(*)
    $299 at Best Buy
    Manufacturer Link
    With phone capability via SIM Card, and AT&T 3G data support.
    A 7" phone/data tablet. Still packs Android 2.1, and only has a resistive touch screen. Proven chipset at a bargain price. Official Froyo scheduled for Q1 2011. Will not go Gingerbread officially. Still not bad for the features it packs. Singapore firmware allows underclocked CPU to go to full speed of 1GHz easily. Was seen as low as $249

    Archos 70 ***(*)
    Manufacturer Link
    $280
    Android 2.2. Screen resolution isn't kind to some apps. No Android market or Google apps, but extremely easy to install. Does video chat. Low availability, and price is a little high

    Archos 101 IT ***(*)
    Manufacturer Link. $300
    Android 2.2. Screen resolution isn't kind to some apps. Does video chat.
    No Android market or Google apps, but extremely easy to install. Low availability, and speed becomes an issue at larger screensizes.

    Dell Streak ****
    Manufacturer Link
    $500 from Dell
    Pricy, but it is everything it promises to be. Android 2.2. You don't have a better option at this form factor for a capable capacitive phone/data tablet at around 5".


    Some Tweaking Required (Not for everyone)

    Coby Kryos with TCC8902 (MID7005, MID7015). 7" Android 2.1 **(*) $150
    Rebrand Manufacturer Link.
    Excellent video playback compatibility. Full SD slot. Poor 3D graphics performance. Buttons in the front are not very responsive. USB hosting.
    MID7015 is another one to consider, with better buttons but is without a full USB and SD port, nicer build quality.
    Was seen as low as $130. HDMI, 1080p video playback and output. Android market is a more complicated install, and applib isn't very good. Gaming is weakpoint.


    Creative ZiiO 7 **(*)
    Press
    Android 2.1, resistive, Cortex A8, $250. Q1 upgrade to Android 2.2. A little expensive for the hardware it packs. Android market a difficult install.

    Viewsonic G-tablet with Tegra II at 10" **(***)
    Manufacturer Link. $399.
    Lots of good custom modifications and high potential device. Bad shipping firmware, and LCD quality not great (netbook screen on a tablet).

    Advent Vega with Tegra II at 10" ***(**)
    Wikipedia 250 pounds at PC World.
    Modaco custom ROM and other custom ROMs. Similar to gTablet in terms of hardware.
    Also P10AN01 or POV Mobii Tegra


    Toshiba Folio 100 *(**)
    Extra sticker price over Advent Vega is unjustified. Terrible out of the box.

    Nook Color 7" *(****)
    Link. $249
    Shipping with Android 2.1, requires significant tweaking to become usable. Android 2.2 coming. Good quality.
    Custom firmware good tablet. Shipped as ebook reader out of the box. Has still not reached full potential. Lack of built in camera and USB hosting functionality. Was as low as $175 at one point.


    Pandigital Novel White Version *(***)
    Link. Good if $120 or less. Sales occur often.
    Moddable and fun ebook reader with tablet functions with custom firmware for Android 2.2, useless out of the box. 256MB RAM. Avoid the black version. Could be had for very cheap at times with deal stacking. As low as $60. Not a very quick device. Poor video capabilities (working low quality Youtube), but audio works fine. Easy to flash, but hardware is really slow.

    Cruz Reader **(*)
    Link
    Can be inexpensive. A decent buy below $120. Sales occur often.
    Android 2.0
    Custom ROM development much slower than cousin Pandigital Novel. Much better out of the box.

    Elocity A7 *(**)
    Link. $369-399
    Custom ROM allows good use out of Android 2.2. Not very good out of the box. Single touch capacitive with limited pinch to zoom.

    Disgo 6000 / Sylvania 7" Tablet *(*)
    Disgo
    Cheap price for a decent tablet (if around $140)
    HDMI, 1080p, Infotmic ARM11 core. Android 2.1
    Works out of the box. 7". Make sure it is running the latest firmware. Android market is possible via a ugly workaround. Decent graphical capabilities.

    Shanzhai Buys
    Buying shanzhai means variable quality control. The device is not likely to last as long. If you are local to China/HK, or simply don't mind taking a risk, there are some decent devices out there. The main concern is that the products don't last, and tend to have various hardware and software issues. Having to buy from China automatically knocks a star off.

    Good Budget devices
    Anything with TCC8902. 5/7" Android 2.1 **
    Around $140 per unit
    Beware of fakes. New batches are much better. Works decently well out of the box

    Anything at 7" with the TCC8902 is pretty much a recommend from me. Quality has varied greatly between variants in recent weeks, but M701 seems to be going strong. Emdoor EM units are good, but more expensive.

    Buys for the Adventurous
    Witstech A81G *(**)
    TI OMAP Android 2.2 at 7"
    $200
    Firmware continues to improve. Firmware has gotten decent for a Chinese tablet. Resistive version is now a decent device, especially after installation of a custom ROM. Too expensive. GPS optional, but doesn't really work that well. Custom firmware increases experience of device greatly.

    Malata Zpad *(**)
    10" Android 2.2
    if $399. Generally closer to $500
    Said to be the OEM variant of the Viewsonic G-Tablet OEM. Up to 1GB of RAM, with 3G support. Generally ridiculously overpriced. Capacitive multitouch

    Gome Flytouch II at 10" **
    ~$180 resistive with GPS, $160 without
    Only worth it if you are getting the GPS option. It does seem to be better overall than its cousin, the ZT180. Lots of variability with this choice in terms of build quality. If you find one that's built right, it isn't that bad. But don't ask me where to go look for a good one. Also the superpad, wowpad. The fun feature is the GPS, which works with offline navigation software. Really the only cheap 10" I would throw my money at. Easy to recover, lots of uses. 256MB RAM. Android market. Easy OTA updates. Difficulty in obtaining from reliable buyer, as registration code is required to continue updates.

    Zenithink ZT180 V1 *(**)
    ~$140-180
    Buying this for more than $180 doesn't make sense. One of the more flexible devices out there if you aren't afraid to flash firmware. Has been relatively stable in recent months. Android 2.2 upgrade in progress, but will take months to stabilize.


    Leader G10/BluePanther Thunder 7" **
    ~$200 with GPS,
    GPS capable, Android 2.2. This device works decently well out of the box. Poor video performance. 256MB RAM. Android market. A little expensive. Resistive

    Good soldering skills
    IMX515 8" (Herotab M802) *(*)
    ~$160-200
    Cortex A8 resistive, Android 2.2, full Android apps working well out of the box, 4:3 and 8" 800x600 screen. Stupid 30pin connector with quality and reliability concerns. Hardware hack available to fix very shaky touchscreen which renders long-presses useless. Cheapest Cortex A8 on the market. Firmware is buggy but stable. Can become a decent ebook reader. Easy to modify firmware for some added value.


    Avoid
    Android 1.5, 1.6
    VIA WM8505
    128MB RAM
    Rockchip RK2808
    Anything smaller than 5"
    Cruz Tablet, Augen, MIPS
    No g-sensor
     
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  2. xaueious

    xaueious Administrator Staff Member

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    Additional notes

    I haven't included the ZT180 or the Infotmic devices because their Android implementation has been flaky. I know it's getting better these days, but there are concerns still with hardware QC, especially with older inventory. I don't give them much merit for being able to create a good firmware... ever. The price is pretty low these days, but the fact that you have to flash firmware on and to get a market work around isn't really for everyone. TCC8902 is really the better platform overall and is the only ARM11 platform i recommend.

    Intel isn't giving enough of a push for Android right now.

    I am aware there are other devices, but nothing substantial. Or maybe I just missed it. Let me know.
     
  3. gadgetrants

    gadgetrants Moderator Staff Member

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    Thanks! I always love your lists. :D Very helpful.

    -Matt
     
  4. AndroidIsTheTruth

    AndroidIsTheTruth Member

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  5. xaueious

    xaueious Administrator Staff Member

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    What's not listed is probably not recommended.

    Not a good deal. You should not be paying more than $220 for that tablet shipped to your door. $210 is the recommended retail price, and promo price is even lower.

    The g-sensor doesn't actually work properly in games.

    Some apps also can't full screen or just don't run at all on that resolution.

    Plus there are two versions of this tablet from different manufacturers, one of which is pretty bad in build quality.

    Do yourself a favor and avoid the listing altogether for now. I will not recommend the 4:3 form factor for now. Market does not work on this right now from what I've read.

    I'd grab a Witstech if i was going to play around with a cheap Chinese tablet.


    Oh that Amazon review is definitely fake, by the way.
     
  6. AndroidIsTheTruth

    AndroidIsTheTruth Member

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    Thanks. I actually canceled the order seeing that it was 3rd party, reports of no response from the seller, and they sell chinese items along with electronics. I'll just stick with what I got on order. I'm also sure this is coming from china seeing how it'll take up to 4 weeks to get. Not willing to deal with the headaches.
     
  7. madmarcus

    madmarcus Member

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    Just how big of a limitation is the 800 by 600 screen?

    I'm looking at a couple of tablets that seem to be terrific deals (Herotab M802 and Herotabb MID816. I prefer the 4:3 form factor for ebook reading but I'm less interested if that will cripple other features. On the other hand I can do without most/all of the games at this point.
     
  8. ainyul

    ainyul Member

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    ^although i searched on the net profusely any official confirmation from HUAWEI regarding 2.2 for Q1 2011??
     
  9. xaueious

    xaueious Administrator Staff Member

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    As for the 4:3 800x600 tablets, I don't have a 800x600 tablet myself. But it has more to do with the fact that software developers do not design applications targeted for this resolution. It may run fine, but it wont run as intended. That's a big factor to consider. It breaks some apps, but I'm not sure how bad it is since I don't have first hand experience. It's a headache you are better off not dealing with.

    Source is Huawei Norway on Facebook: http://www.androidtablets.net/forum...huawei-s7-receive-froyo-2-2-1st-q-2011-a.html

    Given that the platform is Snapdragon, it's not too hard to believe.
     
  10. ainyul

    ainyul Member

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    ^thks for the link, i knew i read it somewhere; ((cant make out what they r saying though..:(..))

    EDIT: after filtering for posts by HUAWEI Norge only and have gone back as far back as June 2010 i only see posts regarding the ideos phone, nothing yet regarding Froyo for S7; only reason i ask is that i really want to future proof the software for at least 6 months onwards if i can;

    let me know if u find something; or if you speak Norwegian (sp)..?

    EDIT2: foudn this but; <S7 er en 7 tommers Android 2.1 tablet. 3G og Wifi++ Mer og mer informasjon vil dukke opp;) Dette blir svært spennende!>
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2010
  11. aleis

    aleis Member

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  12. kos

    kos Member

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    Hello,
    You say what Freescale IMX 8" android 2.2 have two versions of this tablet from different manufacturers, one of which is pretty bad in build quality.
    please, prompt how to distinguish tablets from different manufacturers ?
     
  13. xaueious

    xaueious Administrator Staff Member

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    Updated with recommendation stars.

    In this case, you should call the manufacturer. But that platform has not been very stable historically (Infotmic). Just look at that subforum and you'll see what I mean.

    I'd be interested in a TCC8902 with a capacitive touchscreen around $180, which I know is something that is profitable and possible provided that they can source the components. There was an article on one coming soon at Shanzhaiben. Beyond that, the Archos 70 is the only capacitive touch Android tablet I recommend other than the Samsung Galaxy Tab (for everyone).

    Well the one that has been shipping everywhere is the one with issues. There are LCD issues, and the front face doesn't quite sit flat. I'm reading this from a Chinese forum. The other one just started to ship, and it's from Shenzhen Utopa Tech selling at a few hundred yuan higher than the other one. They both have major issues right now with regards to software functionality. I don't plan on doing more research on these until they prove that they can do better, which I don't think will happen any time soon.

    Considering that it typically takes 2 weeks to ship anything from China, and the Archos 70 hits our shores for just under $300 after all is done, the $100 is worth the headaches you will encounter.
     
  14. kos

    kos Member

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    I have found some offers in the Internet

    209$ Herotab M802/APAD IMX515 Android 2.2 Flash 10.1 800MHz Gsensor A8 CPU+FREE Leather Case
    it have 4200maH battery

    189$ with coupon 8" A8 Pad Cortex-A8 Google Android 2.2 Tablet PC With 4GB Wi-Fi Black Color

    it have 2800mAh battery

    184$ Android 2.2 OS Tablet 8 Inch with Freescale iMX515 Cortex A8 Chip, support Flash Player 10,512M RAM
    it have 3800mAh battery

    It turns out that between them there is no difference as assemblage?
    At them small distinctions are visible on a photo.
    What variant is better for choosing?
     
  15. xaueious

    xaueious Administrator Staff Member

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    Upgraded Archos 101 recommendation. Downgrade A81E because the factory is a mess.

    I think all 3 are the same thing. I'd avoid all of them.
     

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