While Android is all about diversity, freedom of choice and all that, low-priced gadgets (except for Amazon’s Kindle Fire, maybe) have earned themselves a reputation for being glitchy, buggy or featuring poor hardware.
And although in most cases it's true that you shouldn't expect much from an Android-based tablet available for less than $150, there are those (rare) exceptions to the rule. Idolian’s IdolPad Plus seems to be one of these exceptions, at least at a first glance, being available for just $98 (!) and coming with some not-so-horrible tech specs.
Idolian, a California-based technology manufacturer, has attempted to draw some attention with a couple of tablets in the past, but the original IdolPad and the TurboTab C8 haven’t exactly hit it big.
The new IdolPad Plus, up for pre-order right now on Idolian’s website and set to start shipping on June 20, sports a 7-inch capacitive touchscreen with 800 x 480 pixels resolution, which might not seem that impressive by high-end standards, but is in fact a huge upgrade over the original IdolPad’s display.
The first 7-incher from Idolian came with a resistive touchscreen that, although featured the same 800 x 480 pixels resolution, was pretty horrible in terms of responsiveness and user interaction. The IdolPad’s processor has itself been upgraded, from a Cortex A8 clocked at 1 GHz to a 1.2 GHz model. It’s true, the new chipset is still single-core, so you shouldn’t expect the gaming experience of your lifetime, but for a tablet this cheap, the proc is decent enough.
IdolPad Plus’ most important upgrade comes on the software front, where Gingerbread has been ditched for Ice Cream Sandwich. There’s full support for Google Play, too, and pre-installed Adobe Flash Player, so what more could you need?
The rest of the tech specs are pretty much the same with what you would find in the original IdolPad, including 512 MB of RAM, 4 GB of internal memory, a 1.3 MP front-facing camera, a microSD card slot for expanding the storage space to up to 32 GB, WiFi 802.11 b/g connectivity, a microUSB 2.0 port, G-Sensor, and an accelerometer.
Unfortunately, Idolian had to compromise somewhere to fit the hardware in the below $100 price tag, so the 3,500 mAh battery powering the first-edition IdolPad has been downgraded to a more modest 2,800 mAh unit, only capable of running for around three hours between charges, based on regular use.
In terms of design, there aren’t any notable differences between the two tablets. The IdolPad Plus weighs in at 0.8 pounds (362 grams) and measures 0.56 inches (14 mm) in thickness, being pretty skinny, but not very robust or reliable-looking.
You can pre-order your IdolPad Plus dirt-cheap tablet from Idolian’s official website, where you’ll also find a bunch of optional accessories on sale and extended warranty. If you can wait for a couple more weeks, you will be able to get it from Amazon, Sears, and Buy.com.
How about it, guys? Could this actually be the first decent Android-based tablet available for under $150? Would you have preferred a gadget with a rear-facing camera, a better battery, and maybe even a snappier processor, although it might cost some more?