All Hands On Tech: DataWind’s $38 UbiSlate tablet

Hi there, I’m Candice So, and you’re watching All Hands on Tech.

While tablets and other mobile devices are gradually becoming less expensive, you should still expect most of today’s tablets to run you at least $200. But check this out – the UbiSlate 7Ci tablet from DataWind, which makes low-cost tablets for India. Now the company is bringing its tablets to more mature markets, including Canada.

The 7Ci is a seven-inch tablet that goes for just $38, though it’s around $50 when you factor in shipping and tax if you order it online.

Being able to build such a low-cost tablet is, in itself, an achievement. But don’t expect the same level of performance as what you might get from an iPad or most other tablets on the North American market.

Running Android 4.0.3, or Ice Cream Sandwich, this tablet has an eight hundred by four hundred and eighty pixel touchscreen, and it’s powered by a Cortex A8 one gigahertz processor. That’s pretty similar to the processor that was in the original Apple iPad.

It has a 0.3 megapixel front-facing camera. It only has about four gigabytes of memory, though it does offer a microSD card slot for expandable memory. It charges up with a mini USB cable, and the volume rocker is here on the side, though its in-built speakers are relatively quiet.

Its battery life is only just under two hours and a half, when running a video looping continuously using the screen’s brightest setting.Many other tablets have at least five hours of battery life, though of course they cost substantially more.

Also, the 7Ci does NOT run on data – just Wi-Fi.

Even so, with all this being said, it does what it’s supposed to do.

It can allow you to run Chrome or other Internet browsers. Plus, you can access Google Play to pick up whatever apps you want. However, you do get reminded that it’s not meant to compete with the iPad or other high-end devices. For example, it takes a solid five seconds or so for the 7Ci to boot up.

Also, I’ve found the tablet does freeze a lot, and the performance isn’t very fluid. Nor is the screen very easy on the eyes. You have to look at it straight on – from any other angle, everything looks distorted.

You will definitely have to wait to load pages in Chrome or the native browser app, or to stream any video. And personally, I find the lag time in typing on the tablet to be very annoying, especially when I’m trying to tap out an email or something like that.

So for some customers who have had pricier tablets in the past, and have come to expect a certain level of functionality, this may not be the best choice. Still, you get what you pay for. And considering you don’t pay very much for this tablet, you do get some bang for your buck.

I’m Candice So, and thanks for watching All Hands On Tech.

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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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