Christmas Buyer’s Guide: Cheap Android Tablets…

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I know, most of the Christmas shopping season for many has passed, and those still shopping have hit full-on panic. Let me help you calm down  little bit and give you a bit of advice…. Don’t fall for the cheap tablets, just don’t….

I know that supplies of the latest greatest tablets are running slim by now, but let’s look at the specifics. Many of the top retail outlets purchase a quantity of these $99 (and now even less) tablets to tempt buyers as impulse buys. Retail giants conditioned us as consumers to this years ago as they did the same with laptops. Although, the game has changed a little when it comes to tablets. You may not be getting technology from the last couple years as you would with a laptop, you would be getting newer technology, but missing some of the key features of it’s much higher priced competition.

Here are some of the key features you might miss in that $99 tablet:

1) The Screen. this is the most important and most expensive part of the tablet. This is the first place that manufacturers will cut corners. You may lose resolution (how sharp things look), saturation (color quality)

2) The Processor. The processor is another expensive assembly in the overall cost of a tablet. You may run into compatibility issues, a lack of being able to even access the apps or appstores that you desire, or even suffer painfully slow performance. Rule of thumb…. if the box does not clearly state the brand/model of the tablet on the packaging, that is not exactly a great thing…

3) The build quality. Here is a third place that the manufacturers can cut cost. Less time and effort put into quality assurance can lower the overall cost of the tablet, but it can result in lower customer satisfaction as well.

4)Operating System and Updates from Manufacturer. That cheap tablet may have an outdated OS right out of the box, or if it is a recent operating system, there may be little or no support and/or updates available from the manufacturer.

Here are some great alternatives to that cheap $99 tablet

1) Buy a device that is a generation or two old. Many great tablets that are in use are a great tablet, just not the newest generation of a device. For example, first generation Kindle Fire, and  First Generation Kindle Fire HD are great devices that will fit many people’s needs. The same can be said for the iPad 2 and the First Generation iPad Mini. If you are careful you can find them new and factory refurbished at a reasonable price.

2) Buy Factory Refurbished. If you must have the latest generation, you can often find a deal on a refurb unit that carries the remainder of the factory warranty. Apple has some very fair pricing in this realm. Best Buy does as well.

3) Go Used. This is the route I have chosen. I get quite a bit of our electronics from outlets like Craigslist and eBay. In fact the unit, I am typing this post on is an Asus Transformer that I got through a trade on Craigslist. It is several generations old, but has the hardware and was at the price point that I liked. It does the job. If you choose this route, utilize caution, as many of the things you find are out of warranty.

4) Look at other options. There are some great options out there that have a better price point than what the “most well known” in a category, and are quality devices. Do some homework, read some reviews, and you may save some cash.

So before you pull the trigger on that endcap impulse buy at the local big box store, take some of this advice in mind.

Until next time, Happy Shopping! 

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Brent Lacy

Youth Pastor. Web Designer. Homeschool Dad. Former Child Abuse Investigator. IT Technician. Writer. Lock-in Survivor. Rural Ministry Advocate. These all describe the experiences and stories that are part of Brent Lacy’s time in ministry. Brent grew up on 160 acres of corn, soybeans and cattle in Southern Illinois. He is currently a Rural Ministry Specialist with National Network of Youth Ministry (NNYM), based in Rockville, Indiana where he lives with his beautiful wife and three awesome kids in the Covered Bridge Capital of the World! His book "Rural Youth Ministry: Thrive Where You're Planted" is available at SimplyYouthMinistry.com and on the Kindle Store.

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