(Editor’s note: This guest article was written by Shane Davis)
The ad says It retails for $259.00 but the big box store is going to graciously sell it to you for $49.00, so
this tablet must be a great deal ….right….right….? Well it might be, but buying anything based only on
price is basically wrong. I think most people just want a head nod from me that they can spend under 50
bucks and get an iPad or Surface equivalent, but about three sentences into it the person realizes they wish
they had never asked me (I assume it is that way with most things).
So here is some good advice for buying a tablet this year. The reason tablets can be sold for under 100
dollars is because of the cheap components that they put in them or the lack of software and hardware
support that will be offered for the tablet after the point of sale. Instead of price, get an idea what the
person you are buying it for wants to do with it. Do they want it for work, or for games, or to just watch
Netflix. All of these things and much more create a picture of what you should purchase and what price
points are best for you. So let’s say the person wants it for work, and you have a hundred dollar budget,
well then my friend I am sorry but you need to look at getting them something else, because processor
speed , portability and document conversions are very important and very costly in the tablet world.
On the other hand they just want to watch Netflix and YouTube videos and stalk….I mean visit Facebook,
well then, you just need to make sure it plays flash videos and has a mildly decent processor.
The hierarchy goes like this in the tablet world:
Netlix/Youtube/Mobile Video Support – Mid Range Cost
Supports most Popular Apps- Low to Mid Range Cost
E-reader – Cheap
Can get on the Internet but not much Else – $49.00
Another important thing to know is that how information is dispersed (internet, media sources, gaming)
pushes what devices are sold and supported, so buying that cheap dual core tablet this year, will most
likely mean that halfway through next year, the apps and games will not support it, because they have
moved on to focus on the faster more agile quad core tablets being sold this year. What you want to
do is find that sweet spot between cost of the device and the expected usage and life of the device.
I generally give most technology about two years before it becomes obsolete. I do this by taking into
account catching the middle of the technology wave (front side of the wave is very expensive new
technology and back side it stuff on the way out) and not the tail end. A good example is buying a 150
dollar Quad-core tablet today will most likely ensure a good 2 year run, where that 49 dollar tablet will
probably be useless out of the box for anything other than surfing the web (sitting right next to the
Hopefully this was helpful to someone and will save them from an embarrassing phone call on the 26th
asking for the receipt because this thing “can’t even get angry birds.”