We’ve come to terms with the good, bad and ugly about the Aakash, the cheapest tablet in the world. It isn’t an easy job to build a tablet under Rs.3,000, let alone at a price point of Rs.2,500. Bringing the best specs possible, at such a low price is evidently not easy, but are there other better tablets possibly in the same range? To find out, we began our quest for finding existing alternatives in the market. What could be better than the local SoBo electronics markets? So, after some strolling across the market and online tech shopping sites, we didn’t find any 7-inch tablet at Rs.2,500, which is a commendable job done by Datawind, but we did come across tablets quite close in the price bracket with better functionalities. Here are some potential Aakash alternatives, if you want to own a tablet and ready to pay anything between Rs. 800 to Rs.2,000 more.
First let’s take a closer look at the specifications of the Aakash (UbiSlate 7) and improved Aakash (UbiSlate 7+).
Before we begin, please remember that these options are based on the specifications and a little hand-on with just two of the mentioned tablets. Although, we haven’t got a chance to lay our hands on the Aakash yet, we have keenly followed those who’ve been using it. Let’s run through the options one by one.
MID 7-inch tablet
Walk past shops at Crawford in search of a low priced Android tablet and this one will be flashed immediately. We haven’t played around with the Aakash, but the MID tablet appeared quite sturdy going by this dissected picture. The metallic edges and curvy back came with a decent build quality. It is priced at Rs.3,400, and if you are good at haggling, then could possibly take it home much cheaper. Obviously, it’s no high-end tablet, and the start up and touch screen performance came with certain lag. It came pre-loaded with several productivity and gaming apps and access to Android Store, while it ran on Android 2.2 and is fuelled by a Wonder Media WM8650 800MHz processor. The supported audio files include MP2, MP3, WAV, AAC, WMA and video files are inclusive of MPEG1/2/4,MJPG,H263, along with support for 720p videos and call functionality.
Here’s a list of features it has to offer:
- 7-inch 800 x 480 resistive screen
- Wi-Fi, 3G via external dongle,
- 2 USB ports and 1 RJ45 Ethernet port through external adapter
- Android 2.2 OS
- 2GB built-in storage, expanded up to 32GB
Rumbling through streets, we also came across the Showtone 777R, priced slightly higher at Rs. 4350. Interestingly, the Showtone 777R runs on Android 2.3 with a much swifter screen movement and build quality compared to the MID. In a quick hands-on, the tablet responded well and we could navigate without much effort. It equips the Cortex A8 1GHz processor. However, the price tag reads well above Rs.1,800 to Rs.1,300 compared to the Aakash and UbiSlate 7+. It supports MP3/WMA/APE/FLAC/AAC/AC3/WAV and RV/H.264/VC-1/H263/MPEG4/VP6/MKV(H.264 HP)/AVI/RM/RMVB/FLV/MPEG-1,MPEG-2 audio and video files, respectively. Run through the feature set quickly:
- 7-inch 480 x 800 resistive touch screen
- built-in Wi-Fi, external 3G support
- 2 mini USB ports,
- VGA front facing camera
- Android 2.3
- built-in 4GB memory, expandable up to 32GB
Low cost Eken
While this is all we managed to get out of the traditional street shopping. We did come across some nifty options online as well.
Domo Slate N8
Although about Rs. 2000 more than the price of the Aakashes, the Domo comes across as sturdy and portable at 230 grams. This tablet is enclosed in a finger-print resistant coating and equips one direct USB and one microUSB port. The slick device supports up to 720p videos. You will find this Android tablet with a scoop of the Froyo version and it serves as a computing device with 850MHz processor. This device takes about Rs. 4990, and is available through Homeshop18. The list of audio formats are HE-AAC, AAC, MP3, WAV, OGG, APE, FLAC, AC3 and WMA while it supports H.264, MPEG-4, AVI, RM, RMVB, MKV, FLV, MPG, MP4, 3GP, DAT, MOV video formats. Here's a closer look at its complete specifications sheet -
- 7-inch 800 x 480 resistive touchscreen
- Wi-Fi support and external 3G support
- VGA front facing camera
- one direct USB port and one microUSB port
- Android Froyo 2.2
- internal 2GB memory which is expandable up to 32GB
Yet another low cost 7-inch tablet
Besides these, you will find several other options online, with almost a similar list of specs. Obviously, it’s the same OEM and the tablet is branded under varying companies with some or no tweaks and freebies. You can also go ahead and check the EKEN, ePad and Zync.
We didn’t find any of these devices offering a good battery life, but the spec sheet makes them a better buy, but obviously at a slightly higher price. But they don't meet the 'Made in India' requirement, suggested by Datawind. Do you have any other alternatives to add to this list?
Main Image Source: Getty Images