Here it comes, a chain of relatively cheap supermarkets Aldi launched its low-cost Android tablet and sells it out within the first few days. Some say that this is the answer to Tesco’s Hudl, but I see a tendency far bigger. Just like every online company wants to be a cloud storage provider nowadays, every more or less established retailer wants to boast off a tablet of its own.
Medion Lifetab E7316 is a highly competitive tablet mainly due to its price £79.99. Despite its almost give-away price, it still faces stiff competition from a wide array of 7-inch tablets, with Amazon’s Kindle Fire, £ 99, Tesco’s Hudl £119, and Google’s Nexus £199.
Lifetab comes in black color, offers full access to Google Play store and is fully compatible with standard Android apps. It comes preloaded with some basic apps, such as media player, drawing app, a work suite compatible with Microsoft Office. It also comes with Kaspersky 30-day trial.
Aldi admits that Lifetab is “by no means the first supermarket to launch a budget tablet, but the price makes it one of the most competitive” since the low-end segment is the market’s largest. Tablets under $100 have immense potential during Christmas shopping period; it is especially true when it comes to parents looking for gifts for their kids and teenagers. A kid’s first personal device is unlikely to be a high-end iPad, unless the parents don’t mind to buy another one in a month or two when the little fingers drop it once or twice “accidentally-maliciously.”
- Lifetab E7316 has a 7-inch screen with standard 1.24×600 definition and runs Jelly Bean 4.2.2, although runs is somewhat of an exaggeration.
- A 1.6GhHz quad-core processor with 8GB internal storage, so the apps may load with a slight delay, or freeze from time to time.
- The tablet has USB and microSD ports to extend its capabilities in storage and connect to PC to exchange files and charge.
- Bluetooth 2.1 comes handy when you need a connection to wireless headphones.
- The back camera is 2 megapixel for photos and videos while the front camera enables video chatting.
Parents nowadays use tablets for both entertainment and educational tools for children, says Ben Wood, mobile analyst with CCS Insight. “The tablet has become the lazy childcare tool. It’s a kid pacifier – just pass the tablet into the back of the car to keep the children happy.” He names the low-end tablets ‘disposable technology’ when consumers barely think before they buy. “The sting in the tail is that price is obviously the key factor” and consumers buy without considering hardware and software capabilities; hence they may end up being disappointed.
Consumer reports suggest Aldi’s Medion Lifetab is quite slow and sports a sluggish look and an unimpressive screen, but it may be the right thing for the kids to entertain themselves with Angry Birds on a family trip. It has a robust aluminum back and solid plastic build which suggests it can withstand one or two falls.
The speakers are rather quiet, and the camera does not suggest HD photos; the screen has a somewhat elongated aspect ratio making circles appear like ovals. WiFi connectivity is pretty weak, so you need to be really close to the modem for smooth browsing and viewing media online. While you browse the Internet, media are displayed fine, but when you attempt at loading a youtube app, it takes time loading, but once the video starts playing it’s very smooth.
Do not expect to be able to multitask or be able to run it for a long time. Battery won’t last more than 4 hours of moderate usage, and too many running applications may freeze some of them. The suggestion here is to download a task manager that would allow you to kill unnecessary processes.
After all, Lifetab comes at almost give-away price and considering that it offers a basic user experience quite ample for a set of games, educational applications, watching movies and listening to the music, or reading books, it just might save the Christmas for many. It certainly is the kind of tablet you can buy specifically for the kids so that they do not interfere with your personal device that holds too much of your personal and financial information.
Strengths: dirt-cheap price, expandable storage, standard Android Jelly Bean 4.2.2 and robust build.
Weaknesses: poor camera and speakers, slow processor and short battery life.
Conclusion: Aldi hits the sweet spot with the price, and while it certainly is not the strongest or fastest, or most handsome rival to other budget 7-inch tablets, it still offers plenty of joy and fun one can have with a standard Android tablet.