Tablets, et al.

I’m in the market for a tablet. To be totally honest, I’ve been in the market since the iPad launched a few years ago. There’s no dearth of choice. The iPad is as good a tab as money can buy. But it’s too much money to buy one. The Samsung Tab is great, but it’s still too much money. The Samsung Note is another super option. Again, too much money. So I took myself out of the market. Until recently, I came across the low-end options from Micromax and Karbonn.

I’ll be honest (again) and accept that I’ve often looked down upon brands like Mircomax and Karbonn. To me, they seemed to be in the market to make a quick buck with cheap products. Their mobile phone offerings are basic and appeal to the basic user. Much like Nokia’s portfolio over the past few years. Which was why I gave up Nokia. But the Micromax Funbook changed all that. Just an hour with it recently and I couldn’t believe I was actually considering one. At Rs 6.500 or so, it’s a steal. Then I discovered the Karbonn SmartTab 1. An even better option (on paper so far since I haven’t actually tried one) for the same money.

Soon enough, I started considering brands like Wespro and a bunch of others I’d written off previously. The beauty of all these tabs is that the hardware is mostly Chinese or Taiwanese with Android (Ice-cream Sandwich in most) and access to Google Play (Marketplace). Most cannot run a 3G SIM card but can handle a dongle solving that problem. They have 1GB to 8GB of internal memory, but can manage a 32GB memory card. Their screens are not great, but above average for sure and get the job done.

So who are these for? Someone who wants a light, unfancy, practical device that lets them browse, read, listen to music and carry some entertainment when on-the-go. The logic I apply is at Rs 6,500, these are great devices if they do their job for even a year. Heck, we’ll spend more than that on a few dinners through the year!

Karbonn or Micromax or Kindle Fire? That’s the only question left.

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