The Digiland DL718M tablet is an inexpensive (sub-$40) tablet sold at consumer electronics stores like Best Buy. Make no mistake, it’s a basic tablet for basic needs. But given reasonable expectations you can buy one of these and be happy with it.
This isn’t a new market by any stretch. But it seems like tablets in this price range are usually Black Friday specials, or only available on online marketplaces far abroad. The Digiland DL718M is one you can get today if you want.
This week, numerous celebrities, mostly female, had their Apple accounts hacked and intimate photos stolen and leaked. There are several things we all need to learn from this.
We don’t know yet exactly what happened, though I’ve heard several theories. One possibility is that the celebrities’ accounts were hacked recently. Another is that someone who’s been collecting these photos through various means was hacked.
The incident probably was inevitable, but it’s also entirely preventable. I can think of three things that led to it. While this discussion may seem purely academic, there are misconceptions many people, famous and not, have and need to get rid of.
I’ve been messing with an Asus Memopad, the 7-inch version. I think it’s a well-built, good-performing tablet for $149, and when you can get it on sale for less than that–and this is the time of year for that–I think it’s a great tablet for the money.
It’s not a high-end tablet. It has a 1280×800 screen, a quad-core 1.2 GHz Mediatek processor, a middling GPU, and 1 GB of RAM, and importantly, it includes a micro SD slot so you can add up to 32 GB of storage to it. The specs are all reasonable, but not mind-blowing. Most of the complaints I’ve seen about it are that it’s not a Nexus 7, but it’s 2/3 the price of a Nexus 7, too. When you compare it to other tablets in its price range, the worst you can say about it is that it holds its own. Read more
Amid competition from newer, faster tablets like the 2013 model Nexus 7, Hisense cut the price of its low-cost 7-inch Android tablets. The low-end Sero 7 now costs $79, and while the reviews on that tablet aren’t all that great, it’s much better than last year’s $79 tablet. The Sero 7 Pro, which I own, now costs $129.
They’re imperfect tablets–the Sero 7 Pro, even with its recent update, still crashes from time to time when I use a keyboard with it–but they were fine for the money at their old prices, and at their new prices, it’s hard to go wrong. I expect that eventually they’ll attract enough third-party development that there will be ROMs available to address their shortcomings.
I have zero intention of doing a mobile roundup every week, but it sure seems like there were a few noteworthy developments in the mobile field this week that are worth mentioning. So, here goes.
So when I decided to bring myself into the current decade, tablet-wise, I opted for the $150 Hisense Sero 7 Pro, though I was certainly curious about its $99 little brother. Unfortunately, information on the Sero 7 Lite hasn’t been as easy to come by–people are understandably excited about getting a Nexus 7 clone for $50 less that actually includes two desirable features that the real thing lacks. This must be what it felt like to be in the market for an IBM PC/XT when the Leading Edge Model D came out in the summer of 1985.
But of course I was still curious what $99 can buy today, so I’m glad that Ars Technica gave it a look. Read more
Steve Aubrey wrote in with a link to a useful site dedicated to the Hisense Sero 7. It collects all the useful information that’s surfaced from xda-developers and other sites, including custom ROMs, rooting instructions, and where to get accessories.
He asked if I recommend rooting. The short answer: Yes, if you know what you’re doing. If you’re willing to read the prompts when an app requests root access and understand what it’s asking for, then sure. If you just blindly click yes to everything, then no, by all means, leave the tablet stock.
But if you know what you’re doing, one nice thing you can do is install a firewall, so a rooted Android tablet can be safer than an unrooted one. Have fun wrapping your head around that slice of counter-intuitiveness.
Let’s talk about my impressions of the tablet itself.
Last month, low-end television maker Hisense introduced two new 7-inch Android tablets. The $149 Hisense Sero 7 Pro is a fairly close clone of the Google Nexus 7 that adds an SD card slot. With its quad-core processor and 1280×800 display, a lot of people are excited about it. Overall, the reaction I’ve seen on xda-developers has been very positive. The $99 Sero 7 LT, which is decidedly below the Nexus 7 in capability, hasn’t gotten as much attention.
But I found this teardown. Their verdict: Nothing to get too excited about, but it’s good enough for the average user most of the time, much better than the other sub-$100 tablets on the market, and as good as or better than most of the sub-$149 tablets on the market. The two weak spots are the wimpy camera and weak battery.
I picked up a Hisense Sero 7 Pro tablet this evening. I’ve only spent about 90 minutes with it, but my first impressions of it are very favorable. It’s fast and smooth, the screen is sharp, and the price is right at $149. I’ve seen people at xda-developers say it’s the best $149 they’ve spent in a long time. While I won’t go quite that far, I’ll say this: If you’ve heard of this tablet and you’ve been thinking you might be interested, you’re interested. You won’t regret it.
I’ll talk about it some more this week, I’m sure, but here’s the lowdown on it: It’s a no-name tablet, sold in discount stores, that uses the same chipset as the Google Nexus 7, but it adds a video port so you can connect it to your TV for video playback, and it adds a microSD card slot for expansion. So it fixes the only two flaws the Nexus 7 had, but costs $50 less. It’s probably not as rugged as a Nexus 7 for that price, but for $50, you can buy a carrying case to ruggedize it a bit.
Once the word really gets out about these tablets, I think they’re going to be able to sell them as quickly as they can make them. I’m that impressed, and that’s with the stock ROM on it. I understand that if you’re willing to load a custom ROM, the first custom ROM to come available for it removes some bloat and performs even faster.
This week, ARM said what several people seem to have figured out: The key to mass adoption for smartphones and tablets is the $100 price point.
It may happen this year. It’s not hard to find a decently fast $80 Android tablet, but you’ll have to put up with a sub-optimal screen to get it–800×480.