Cheap Android Tablets: September 2012

This page is now very out of date. Please do not rely on it. The Android tablet market has changed dramatically in the past couple of years.

Last updated: September 24, 2012.

For those of you asking about the cheap Android tablets; I bought mine through AliExpress directly from a seller in China, but communication was limited and it took almost a month to arrive. So that you don’t have to deal with the same situation, I’ll be posting links to PandaWill, a well-known and established online vendor. They’re slightly more expensive, but worth it. I have no connection to any of the vendors linked here other than as a satisfied customer, and I don’t get any referral fees or kickbacks.

You want something with an Allwinner A10 or A13 CPU (although there are some nice RockChip-based units coming along) and at least 512M of RAM.

Keep in mind that you’re *not* going to get something the quality of a Nexus 7, Kindle Fire, or an iPad – but these are great alternatives if you don’t want to spend a lot of money, are worried about kid damage, etc.

You want a *capacitive* screen (NOT resistive). Resistive is the “old-style” touch screen like on GPS units and so forth.

I would also not buy anything at this point that has a version of Android older than 4.0 loaded on it; upgrades for these may never be available.

Here’s some examples:

YeahPad A13 Tablet PC 7 Inch Ultra Thin Android 4.0 4GB Camera Black

YeahPad A13 Tablet PC 7 Inch Ultra Thin Android 4.0 4GB Camera White

Q7 Android 4.0.4 Tablet PC 7 Inch 4GB 1080P Camera White

ICOO D50 Lite A13 Version Android 4.0 Tablet PC 7 Inch 4GB Camera White

ICOO D50 Lite A13 Version Android 4.0 Tablet PC 7 Inch 4GB Camera Black

Build Excellent Q8 Android 4.0.3 Tablet PC 7 Inch 4GB HDMI White

One step up in quality and resolution (but still not quite as nice as a Nexus 7), for $120:
Ainol Novo 7 Crystal 8GB Android 4.1 Tablet PC MVA HD Screen 7 Inch 1GB RAM Camera White

I have also bought phones and tablets from Merimobiles.

I personally prefer them over Pandawill but they don’t have as varied a selection and the prices are higher.

Avoid the Ainol Paladin; it’s MIPS-based and not a lot of apps will run on it. The ARM-based Ainols are good though (I have an Elf II).

Here’s the $53 tablet on AliExpress for those of you who asked:
NEW 7 inch android 4.0 Capacitive Screen 512M 4GB Camera WIFI allwinner a13 tablet pc

I bought a Matrix One tablet a couple of months ago when they were $90 (now $59), but the $53 tablet directly above is better quality.

Other places I have bought phones (MTK65xx-based) from, but not tablets:


For those of you looking for a slightly higher price bracket, try:

Ainol Novo 7 “Flame”, $156
Google Nexus 7, $199 (my personal favorite, I own two)
Amazon Kindle Fire 7″ HD, $199 (I own one of these as well, and it’s a GREAT upgrade from the original Kindle Fire)

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