It’s no secret that Apple has dominated the tablet PC market since the debut of their iconic iPad in early 2010. However, there’s a been a recent surge in the popularity of Android tablets. Once a mere sliver of the total pie, Android tablets now take up nearly 40% of market share. More importantly, other mobile operating systems like BlackBerry and Windows have made inroads that can’t be ignored. The fact of the matter is that the iPad isn’t the only option nowadays. Below, you’ll find a quick preview of three of the best bargains on the market at the moment when it comes to iOS alternatives on the tablet scene.
In the last few years, HTC has made quite a name for itself as an Android purveyor that’s nearly the equal of Samsung and just about as popular to boot. Their Flyer tablet is quite frankly just as impressive as any other tablet that’s out there. It rocks a 1.5 GHz Qualcomm CPU, 16 or 32 GB of internal storage and 1 GB of RAM, as well as microSD for storage expansion up to 32 GB of on-board space. For $380, the Flyer is a bargain, despite its relative girth at 13.2mm thick. Regardless, it features a beautiful Android 2.3.3 Gingerbread experience that defies expectations. For a budget Android tablet, the Flyer is the bee’s knees. In other words, it’s a steal at this price when performance is considered.
Acer Iconia A200
As the number two PC maker in the world, Acer has a lot of experience in delivering machines that are favored more for their low price than their overall luxury. Regardless, their Iconia series of mobile devices proves that cheap doesn’t always mean inferior. The $340 Iconia A200 has a 10.1-inch display, an Nvidia Tegra 2 CPU, 1 GB of RAM and 8 GB of internal storage. It’s also got mini and full-sized USB ports, microSD and HDMI output. Though originally shipping with Android 3.2 Honeycomb, it’s now capable of supporting Android 4.0.3 via an OTA update.
Much hay has been made of Research In Motion’s recent fiscal troubles, but it’d be a mistake to count them out at this time. As a company, RIM isn’t going anywhere. Their BlackBerry lineup’s slipping market share provides an excellent buying opportunity in the form of the Playbook, a well-constructed 7-inch tablet that’s easily the equal of far more expensive machines. It’s got a 1.0 GHz Cortex-A9 chip, 1 GB of RAM, 16 to 64 of storage and the new PlayBook 2.0 OS. Furthermore, it sports BlackBerry’s amazing back-end IT infrastructure, microSD and plenty more. At under $250 on Amazon and elsewhere, it’s a steal.
Our list has admittedly favored “premium” tablets selling at a discount at the expense of overly-cheap models. There are plenty of true, bargain-basement models like the Coby Kyros MID7024, the Vizio VTAB1008, the PanDigital 72-70FW and the Le Pan TC 970 that offer solid, full-screen Android experiences for less than $200. While these cut-rate tablets don’t offer as many perks as those listed above, they will get the job done in a pinch. However, the primary models we alluded to earlier are put out by well-respected manufacturers, offer solid value and deliver high-quality hardware that you can count on. It’s tough to go wrong with these non-iPad tablets, especially at fire sale prices.
James is a tech fanatic and is currently reviewing the GLC-SX-MM transceiver.
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