Welcome to the third installment of our 2011 Tablet PC Holiday Gift Guide. As always, we’ve done our homework, sifted through the debris, and selected what we believe are the best lower-end tablets on the market. So let’s begin.
Amazon Kindle Fire
If you’re looking for value, the Amazon Kindle Fire is arguably the best choice on the market today. Costing only $199.00, few comparably priced tablets can match the Fire’s versatility, and features. At its heart is a dual-core, TI OMAP4 processor. 8GB of on-device storage, rounds out the Fire’s internal memory. 6GB of this memory are available for user content. F.Y.I. 6GB is enough storage for 80 apps, plus 10 movies, or 800 songs, or 6,000 ebooks. Storage is effectively extended via free cloud storage for all Amazon content.
The Kindle Fire also features a 7″ multi-touch display with IPS (in-plane switching) technology. Treated with an anti-reflective treatment, the 1024 x 600 pixel display can render up to 16 million colors, at 169 PPI. Connectivity is established via (802.11b,g,n) Wi-Fi®, or a USB 2.0 (micro-B connector). Audio is accessed via top-mounted stereo speakers, or the 3.5 mm stereo audio jack. Battery life is average. You can expect up to 8 hours of continuous reading, or 7.5 hours of video playback, with wireless off. The Kindle Fire charges fully in approximately 4 hours, and weighs 14.6 ounces (413 grams).
Price: $199.99 on Amazon
Acer Iconia Tab A100
With solid features and performance, the Acer Iconia Tab A100 is an excellent choice in the lower-end tablet PC category. Powered by the NVIDIA® Tegra™ 2 Dual Core Mobile Processor, the Iconia Tab can handle just about anything you can throw at it. Orchestrated by the Android Honeycomb operating system, it comes with 1GB of DDR2 Memory, and 8GB of internal storage. The MicroSD memory card slot allows for the effective expansion of memory by an additional 32GB. Connectivity is available via (802.11b/g/n) Wi-Fi®, or a USB 2.0 Port. Accessories can be connected via Bluetooth® 2.1+EDR.
The Acer Iconia Tab has a 7” HD multi-touch display, with 1024 x 600 resolution, and a 16:10 aspect ratio. Graphics are bolstered by a NVIDIA® GeForce® GPU (graphics processing units), and sound is provided via a dual speaker, which is further enhanced by Dolby® Mobile Technology. Sound can be input through a dual analog microphone. On the rear of the Iconia tab is a 5MP auto-focus camera with a single LED flash. On the front is a 2MP camera. Powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion polymer battery, the Iconia Tab can run approximately 4.5 hours when watching onboard video. Once more, you can use the Acer Iconia Tab A100 to play video on an HDTV via the Micro HDMI™ out. The Iconia Tab supports both 1080p, and dual displays. Lastly, it comes with a Micro USB 2.0 Port, and the following sensors:
Price: $328.00 on Amazon
ViewSonic ViewPad 7e Tablet
The ViewSonic ViewPad 7e tablet is based upon the Android 2.3 Gingerbread operating system. At its nucleus is the fast, and powerful ARM Cortex™ A8 processor running at 1GHz. RAM (DDR2 SDRAM) weighs in at 512MB. The 7e has a built-in storage capacity of 4GB. Memory can be extended by another 32GB, thanks to the integrated Micro SD card reader. Connectivity is achieved via (802.11 b/g/n) Wi Fi, and Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR. The ViewPad 7e also features a high-resolution (800 x 600) multi-touch screen, and an ambient light sensor. The built in G-Sensor automatically adjusts screen rotation. The ViewPad 7e also supports Flash 10.3. Hook up the ViewPad to an HDTV, and you’ll experience 1080p video via the mini HDMI out connection.
The Android Gingerbread operating system provides access to a multitude of popular apps, including Kindle for Android, Twitter, TuneIn radio, and the Amazon App Store. On the rear of the ViewPad, you’ll find a 3MP camera. The front facing camera has a resolution of 0.3 megapixels. The ViewPad 7e weighs 1.06 pounds.
Price: Starting at $199.99 on Amazon
VIZIO 8-Inch Tablet with Wi-Fi
As always, let’s start with the “guts” of the unit. The VIZIO 8-Inch tablet features a 1-GHz processor, with 512MB of RAM. It’s orchestrated by the Android 2.3 Gingerbread operating system. The VIZIO 8-inch tablet comes equipped with 4GB of built-in memory, 2Gb of which are user accessible. On board memory can be extended by 32GB, via the built-in Micro SD card reader.
The VIZIO 8-Inch tablet features an 8-inch, LCD, LED-backlit, multi-touch screen. As with all lower-end tablets, Internet connectivity is mete out through (802.11b/g/n) Wi-Fi®. Of course, the VIZIO tablet is ideal for Internet browsing, and supports both HTML and Flash. The 8-inch Android tablet also comes equipped with a YouTube player. Stereo speakers broadcast audio content. Video calling is enabled by a front facing, 0.3 megapixels VGA camera (30 fps). The VIZIO 8-Inch tablet measures 8.1 inches long, 6.6 wide, and 0.48 inches thick. It weighs 1.2 pounds.
Price: $239.47 on Amazon
If you’re looking for even more options and gift ideas for 2011 you might also be interested in checking out our tablet PC price and specs comparison chart to help with your decision of what tablet PC to buy this Christmas. With our in-depth chart you can easily and quickly compare several different devices all in one easy location.