The best Android tablet for under $200?

The best Android tablet for under $200?

1. What do you want the tablet for?
If you want to be running the latest and greatest releases, playing games etc etc then you’ll have to cough up a lot more than $200. If you want something to browse the web and play web videos etc, then you may well be able to get away with something around the $200 mark.

2. Work out what features you must have and what features would be nice and what you can live without.
What version of Android would be ok?

3. What size screen/resolution do you want?
The best one is a larger screen of around 10 inches, it would be better and you can feel the higher resolution means there is more you can do with it. Of course larger screen means you lose out on other features for the same price and portability is reduced.

4. Do you need 3G, GPS, Camera, HDMI, multitouch, Flash 10?
For most people HDMI would be very useful. GPS and Camera, lets you play around with some of the interesting apps like Google Goggles, the GPS is most useful if you are planning on having a dataplan & 3G (or using wifi tethering). Multitouch – Android only does 2 point multi-touch and most apps are ok with with one, you may decide you can live without it (it adds a lot to the price – particularly in the 10″ screen range). A bonus is that single touch supports stylus use, which I prefer. Flash-10 – at the moment there is varying support for it, flash is a big part of the web and if you are looking for a low end unit, this is probably going to be a big section of functionality.

5. Minimum CPU & RAM?
I’d say ARM11 or above is the limit, 256Mb of RAM or more if you can get it. Although on paper the Cortex A8 is better, a good ARM11 with supporting chips seem to do a good job. How they compare in practise I can only guess, but again cost to benefit, it’s anyone’s game. Also, I previously hoped that the A8 was going to be the gateway to Honeycomb but that’s a dual core party (so $400+).

6. What is the community support like?
In the $200 band, most of the tablets are not big makes, so are ROMs being made to fix the issues which undoubtedly occur. Unfortunately, other than the big names such as Nook, it is hard to find out which tablets are being worked on, particularly if they are quite new.

The most promising tablets are the FlyTouch 3 (about $230) followed by the Zenithink ZT-180 V2 (about $230 too). Both are 1Gz ARM11, 512Mb of RAM, 10″ 1024×600 Resistive Single Touch, HDMI, Camera etc.

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