Are eBooks a bargain in comparison to traditional books? Read our analysis to find out the pros and cons of each.
Tablet Battery Life & Android Tablet Wi-Fi
Tablet Memory.Most budget tablets have either 8GB or 16GB of storage. Some, such as the Nexus 7, offer as much as 32GB of tablet memory if you're willing to go over the $200 threshold (the 32GB version of the Nexus 7 starts at $249), although the 16GB model on our list keeps you in the Cheapism range.
Among our picks, the Nook HD, Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0, and Acer Iconia A110 boast a microSD card slot. A good thing, as each of these models only contains 8GB of tablet memory. And in the case of the Nook HD, about 2.5GB of that memory is reserved for the customized Nook operating system and Barnes & Noble content.
The Kindle Fire, like the Nook HD, also has an 8GB hard drive, of which about 5.5GB is available for users, with the remainder taken up by the customized Android OS and other Amazon content. Although the Kindle Fire and the Fire HD (with 16GB of tablet memory) both lack a microSD card slot, Amazon lets users store all their Amazon-specific content in its cloud storage service at no cost. The Coby Kyros MID9742 also has 8GB of tablet memory and likewise lacks a microSD card, but it contains very little preloaded content.
Tablet Battery Life.As with smartphones and laptops, the amount of time a tablet runs between charges is affected by how you use it. Most manufacturers claim eight to 10 hours of tablet battery life with typical use. Reviewers use different means of testing the battery life of tablets, so one reviewer may find that a tablet lasts about eight hours while another finds the same model only runs for, say, six hours.
Google's Nexus 7 earns the most praise for tablet battery life. A reviewer at CNET lauds its 10-plus-hour battery life. Similar results reported by an expert at PC World are described as "astounding." An 8.5-hour result for the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 proved better than average in testing by Laptop Magazine. The tablet battery life of the Coby Kyros MID9742 clocked in at a respectable 8 hours, 25 minutes, according to Computer Shopper but only 5 hours, 36 minutes, according to PC Mag. The same review source also tested the tablet battery life on the Acer Iconia A110, which ended its run after 8 hours, 5 minutes. The Nook HD lasted for 7.3 hours in CNET's battery tests, which is about average for tablet battery life. The Kindle Fire only managed 5 hours, 11 minutes in PC Mag's battery test and 5 hours, 24 minutes in the CNET tests; its sibling Kindle Fire HD managed seven hours in a PC Mag tryout.
Tablet Connectivity.Tablets are designed to be portable, handheld devices so you won't find many ports for connecting to other devices. All tablets should have Wi-Fi capability (as do all those on our list), and some, including the Acer Iconia A110, Google Nexus 7, and Kindle Fire HD, support Bluetooth connections as well. The Nexus 7 and Acer Iconia A110 also have a micro USB port. Somewhat ironically, the cheapest tablet we researched, the Coby Kyros MID9742, offers the most frills. It contains a mini HDMI output and a USB 2.0 port in addition to the two cameras mentioned earlier. The Nook HD can also output video via HDMI if you purchase a separate dongle.
Some tablets, such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0, are available in 3G or 4G versions that you can use with your wireless service. You'll have to buy the tablet from a wireless provider, though, and sign up for a service plan, just as you would with a cell phone.
Don't Bother Cheap Tablets
Coby Kyros MID9742 Review
Acer Iconia A110 Review
Amazon Kindle Fire Review
Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 Review
Google Nexus 7 Review
Nook HD Review
Samsung Galaxy Tab
Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet
Asus Eee Pad Transformer
Acer Iconia Tab
Coby Kyros MID7015
Samsung Galaxy Tab
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