DataWind improves its UbiSlate tablet, keeps $38 price tag

DataWind has announced it’s launching its newest low-cost, sub-$100 tablets, with more processing power than previous versions have had in the past.

On Tuesday, the Canadian company known for making budget-friendly tablets rolled out the new UbiSlate 7Ci, an upgrade to its predecessor of the same name, as well as the UbiSlate 7CZm. Like the original 7Ci, the latest iteration will also sell for $38, but the 7CZm is set at about $80.

The UbiSlate 7CZm. (Image: DataWind).
The UbiSlate 7CZm. (Image: DataWind).

We reviewed one of the company’s tablets, the $38 UbiSlate 7Ci, back in February. However, with that kind of price tag, we found there were definitely some drawbacks. Like the first iPad, the 7Ci was powered by a Cortex A8 1 gigahertz (GHz) processor – something that may have worked in 2010, but is a little outdated by our standards in 2014.

DataWind has tried to solve that problem by loading a better processor into the new UbiSlate 7Ci. While both 7Ci tablets came with seven-inch displays, this latest version is armed with a dual-core 1.2 GHz processor, it also comes with 512 megabytes (MB) of RAM, and 4 gigabytes (GB) of flash storage, expandable to 32 GB with a microSD card.

It runs Android 4.4, an upgrade from the Android 4.0 operating system on the last version of the 7Ci. Other improvements include better cameras, with a front-facing VGA camera and a rear-facing two-megapixel (MP) camera (the original 7Ci came with just a 0.3 MP front-facing camera).

Aside from the 7Ci, DataWind also announced the 7CZm, which is basically a tablet doubling as a phone. Also a seven-inch tablet running Android 4.4, it comes with a dual core 1.3 GHz processor and is essentially a dual SIM device, giving users connectivity with EDGE cellular networks, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth. It has 512 MB of RAM, 4 GB of flash expandable to 32 GB with a microSD card, and also features a front-facing VGA camera and a rear-facing, two MP camera.

The DataWind UbiSlate 7CZm. (Image: DataWind).
The DataWind UbiSlate 7CZm. (Image: DataWind).

Datawind’s tablets may be a far cry from what Apple is announcing today, but then again, the Canadian device maker is trying to reach a completely different group of customers. The company is best known for its work in India, a country where desktop use isn’t widespread, with many people accessing the Internet through mobile devices.

Still, DataWind has also expressed hopes its tablets will find some kind of foothold in developed markets, especially among households with lower income.

In the U.S., DataWind is offering one year of unlimited, basic Internet browsing to U.S. customers buying the 7CZm through Red Pocket Mobile, a San Francisco-based wireless operator that stays away from offering contracts. The year of Internet access is available through DataWind’s proprietary browser, UbiSurfer.

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Candice So
Candice So
Candice is a graduate of Carleton University and has worked in several newsrooms as a freelance reporter and intern, including the Edmonton Journal, the Ottawa Citizen, the Globe and Mail, and the Windsor Star. Candice is a dog lover and a coffee drinker.

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