Late last year we saw a proliferation of imitation tablet devices with names likes iPed, Eped, and Apad popping out in the grey market offering the same features as that from named brands such as Samsung, Archos, ASUS or even Cherry Mobile.
It attracted a lot of people especially those who want to own a tablet device but are in a strict sub-5k budget. The question here is, are these imitation tablets reliable? Are they worth the few thousand pesos you would paying for or is it better if you would just save up to buy from trusted brands, even second-hand ones?
If you are considering getting one of these imitation tablets, here are 7 things we came up with that you might want to keep in mind:
- The materials used are not of high-quality and may have not passed quality inspection. Don’t come crying if your iPed suddenly stops working due to heat or if that power button got stuck after a hundred press. Most imitation tablets are made of cheap plastic so better see if you can live with that.
- Lack of after-sales support. Go ahead and ask stores what would happen if the tablet gets broken. Just like CD-R King, they would offer about a month of shop warranty or so. For repairs, well good luck having it repaired. Just make sure to reset your device so your saved logins and passwords don’t get abused while being repaired.
- May not be eligible for firmware or OS upgrade. A lot of imitation tablets are still running the outdated Android Cupcake or Donut. If you’re going to buy a cheap imitation Android tablet, make sure it has the latest OS (2.2) and that the hardware can support future upgrades. Still, you need to know how to root an Android device and install the latest OS.
- Check the touch screen type. Did you know that there are two types of touchscreen display? The spec could simply mention touchscreen so it’s up to you to make sure it’s the capacitive kind. Resistive touchscreens are cheaper to make but it takes out the fluidity of a touch interface as compared to capacitive ones. If it comes with a stylus, chances are it’s resistive.
- Don’t expect all features to be available. That iPed may have the latest Android OS and a front-facing cam. However, the hardware also determines if it can run that video chat application or play your HD videos or open your 40MB PDF file. Test it if you can.
- Is there enough internal storage? If you’re dreaming of installing lots of games and apps, make sure that your cheap tablet has enough internal memory. Sure if it’s on Android 2.2 you can install them in your microSD but not all apps support this feature yet.
- Don’t expect top-notch user experience. Owning an imitation tablet can be quite frustrating especially if yours turned out to be in one of the bad batches. WiFi keeps on disappearing, it doesn’t do multitouch, display color changes for no reason, apps would start crashing, web browsing is not responsive”¦ these are only a few issues cheap tablet owners are encountering.
As for me, I still don’t recommend getting these imitation tablets. The cheap price is not worth the headache you may experience with it in the long run. And you need to be a real tech person to maximize your cheap investment.
However if you’re still determined to get one, do a LOT of research especially from user experiences. See what chip is the best so far (Cortex A8?). If you can, bring a techie person with you who knows how to properly check the specs. Sometimes, the listed or printed specs are not accurate. If it says it runs on Android 3.0, look away. As of this writing, 3.0 is not yet available.
I cannot suggest a brand or a specific model because I don’t have extensive experience in using these tablets. All I know is to stay away from those with outdated VIA chips. Also remember, you are getting what you paid for. You might get lucky if your iPed turns out to be a cheap but worthy alternative to the real thing or it may turn out to be just an expensive digital photo frame.