4 Tablets Under $100 for Christmas
By Michael Sweet, Cheapism.com
The first tablet to win the hearts, minds, and wallets of the general public was the iPad from Apple, whose price tag made a tablet under $100 seem like a pipe dream. An iPad is still a triple-digit proposition, as are several other high-end tablets, such as the Samsung Galaxy Tabs. Amazon shook up the tablet world with its Kindle Fire, a very good, functional tablet that costs several hundred dollars less than the iPad and other popular competitors. Barnes & Noble has also released a Nook tablet that is priced in the Kindle Fire's ballpark.
Related: Best tablets under $200
Many consumers are drawn to these name-brand devices, either at the high end or in the middle of the price spectrum, but we found several ultra-cheap tablets under $100 that consumers appreciate for what they are.
There's no doubt that tablets under $100 are an impressive value, but predictably, tablet makers cut corners to keep retail prices so low. The processors that power these ultra-cheap tablets are fast enough to get simple jobs done, but are not on par with processors found in higher-end tablets from Samsung and Apple. Most tablets under $100 have a single-core CPU that runs at about 1GHz, whereas more expensive tablets use dual-core CPUs running at 1.2GHz to 1.5GHz.
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Pricier tablets generally sport better screens as well; that is, with higher resolutions and true HD compared with the typical 800x480 resolution found on entry-level tablets (although the Insignia Flex 8 boasts resolution of 1024x768). Expensive tablets also contain more built-in storage: 16GB to 32GB versus the 4GB to 6GB commonly found in budget models. Note, though, that ultra-cheap tablets mitigate this disparity by including SD card slots that increase their memory. And finally, most tablets under $100 do not include cameras, as their upscale counterparts do.
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Budget tablets are built on Android 4.0 or newer operating systems, as are pricier versions. Almost all tablets at the bottom of the price scale include USB 2.0 ports, and some offer Bluetooth connectivity. Mini HDMI ports are rare but not unheard of (the E Fun Nextbook, for example, has one). A tablet could hardly be called a tablet without a touchscreen and Wi-Fi capability, and these essentials are present in tablets under $100.
Related: Best eReaders under $100
Some people may still prefer to shell out hundreds of dollars on a tablet, but anyone in the market for a second device, or one for the youngsters, won't sacrifice much in performance or quality by stepping down to a cheap Android model. It may be a tiny step slower than the big-name machines, but will serve its purpose.
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