Smartphones are amazing pieces of kit, they’ve changed the way we live our lives, help us stay organised, entertain us and keep us connected to our family and friends, but with new aspects like eBooks and mobile Office applications, sometimes you need a tool better suited to getting certain things done.
Some may consider tablets to be a luxury, but we’ve found a list of versatile, affordable slates that should offer you all the same key features that more premium products will, but each for no more than £250.
Archos 80 Titanium – £150
One of the most recent tablet lines from French manufacturer Archos, the Titanium series offers the newest hardware the company has up their sleeve, paired to a more refined design than we’ve seen from previous Archos tabs.
The Archos 80 Titanium (as the name suggests) is an 8-inch Android tablet that offers a rounded metal backing and a white-bezel-laden glass frontage. Thanks to its overall proportions, the 80 Titanium could be mistaken for Apple’s iPad Mini but offers a larger 8-inch IPS display with a WXGA (1280×768) resolution.
In true Archos fashion the 80 Titanium’s biggest strengths are its multimedia chops. With extended codec support and a sharp interface found in the Archos Video app as well as the Archos Remote Server feature and an integrated Mini HDMI port, you can watch or broadcast Full HD video from this small slate. Not a bad package for the most affordable device in the lineup, even with a few UI bugs here and there.
Disgo 8400G – £155
Whilst the Disgo 8400G forgoes the 1.6GHz clocked heart of the Archos, in its place is a 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 dual-core processor that still delivers enough performance and in addition with the inclusion of a Bluetooth headset, the 8400G can be used as a phone too.
Thanks to the Qualcomm chip in play, this is one of the first Disgo tablets which allows access to the Google Play store and its library of 700,000+ apps as well as being one of the most affordable 3G tablets out there. As you might expect the conservative processor paired to a big screen device won’t offer top-tier performance but it’s wholly serviceable nonetheless.
Nook HD+ –
In the race between colour eReaders from the likes of Amazon, Kobo and Nook, parent company and publisher Barnes & Noble has brought out the big guns with the arrival of the Nook HD+. It’s most certainly an incredible package for just £150 and the most powerful tablet in Nook’s arsenal.
The highlight of the Nook experience is that users have access to a huge array of full colour books, magazines and comics as well as a combination of both Nook-optimised apps and apps from the Google Play store, a feature which trumps Nook’s biggest rival, Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD and what’s more, the HD+ totes a 9-inch 1920×1280 display, the highest resolution screen in our lineup.
As a result of weak sales the already low price tag of the Nook HD+ has continued to drop even further since filming the original comparison (where we quoted an already reduced price of £180). Stay tuned, the price might continue to fall yet further on this one.
Huawei MediaPad 7 Lite – £200
TalkTalk mobile customers will be able to pick up the MediaPad 7 Lite for free on a number of mobile plans starting at £15 a month alongside handsets like Huawei Ascend Y210, right up to the Samsung Galaxy S3, but if you’re not a TalkTalk customer you can still get your hands on this 7-inch tab for just £200 from retailers like Expansys.
Offering both WiFi and 3G connectivity, it’s a little pricier than the Disgo 8400G but totes a premium metal finish and an impressive 4100mAh battery. Its compact size and the inclusion of Android Ice Cream Sandwich mean it offers great app support and general all-round flexibility too.
Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 – £245
Although the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 is the priciest slate in our lineup, it’s not without its perks. Internally it serves up a tasty 1GHz dual-core processor a 10.1-inch WXGA resolution display and a 16GB of internal storage, expandable via microSD by an additional 32GB.
Imaging falls to a pair of cameras on the front and back and power falls to a vast 7000mAh battery. Although Android grants access to hundreds of thousands of apps, the experience is bolstered by exclusive apps and services direct from Samsung and finished with a premium UI in the form of TouchWiz Nature UX.