Saturday, April 21, 2012

android - be discerning at the lower end (part 3)

For the past 2 years, I have been following the specification / price combination of android tablets.

In particular the £150 -> £200 price range, which will compete with netbooks in your purchasing choice.

In part 1 of this series I defined a set of specs to reach for:
  • 3D Graphics support (OpenGL ES)
  • 512MB ram
  • SD card slot (or microSD at a push)
  • Android 2.3 or later (includes WebM support)
( For the observant who followed closely part1, part2, and now part3, you will notice that I have increased the ram requirement to 512MB from 256MB, and Android 2.3 rather than 2.1 - reason is progress, specs that low are really being phased out now )

Sub £200 dual core ....

This tablet in fact exceeds what I was expecting when I started this series back in February 2011. The Dual Core Omap 4 processor is leagues ahead of what tablets included 14 months ago.

Not only that, but the progress in user features from Android 2 to Android 3.2 is significant.

Specification in full:

Revisiting the specs - a new set going forward:

  • 3D Graphics support (OpenGL ES)
  • Dual Core processor
  • 768MB ram
  • SD card slot (or microSD at a push)
  • USB slot (or standard micro/mini okay)
  • Android 4.0 or later
  • Support for Google Play / Official Android Market
  • Resolution 1024x768 for 8" or 9" tablet, 1280x800* for 10" screen
*Sub £200 tablets are not (by design) aimed at replacing your school projector, If you really feel you need to use the playback from a tablet to drive an external screen, then this series of reviews if probably not written with your needs in mind.

Anyone who suggests that a tablet (where no external screen is connected) would require resolutions higher than I have stated, is probably being driven by tick lists from hardware companies.

My 15" laptop runs 1440x900 resolution, and I have never yet been dissatisfied with the resolution level / clearness of it's rendering.

In summary, a year and a half is a massive period in terms of tablet specification, so much so that I have expanded my original list (to weed out more tablets), and upped key metrics.

I expect it will be February 2013 or later before £200 will buy you a tablet that meets my new criteria above, but the IT industry is full of surprises ;)

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