This year we do not publish a fully-fledged Black Friday-related article, but instead release several news-stories covering hot prices on popular products. Please note that in many cases Black Friday prices are valid in online stores from Black Friday through Cyber Monday. Nonetheless, some offerings are limited in time or quantities the retailer/e-tailer has.
For nearly four years now, media tablets remain the most wanted consumer electronics products. Being portable, easy to use and capable of doing almost all things that a typical user needs, tablets are popular among all customers. Thanks to significant discounts during Black Friday – Cyber Monday timeframe, it will be possible to get a tablet at a more affordable price than usually.
In the last four years media tablets have significantly evolved in many ways. They got more advanced operating systems, multi-core application processors with desktop-class graphics engines, high-resolution displays, new generations of batteries and cover glass. However, some things barely evolved: the vast majority of slates these days come with 8GB or 16GB of NAND flash storage, not a lot of tablets actually feature 3G/4G/LTE baseband.
As a result of constant evolution of media tablets, the market became even more crowded than in it was a year ago. Small-sized 7”-class tablets originally meant for simplestic games, electronic books and social media today not only span from sub-$99 to $399+ price-points, but can feature high-end application processors. 8”-class slates that are suitable for broader amount of applications, such as video, blogging, active email, etc. are also available in many different configurations, from low-end to high-end. 10”-class tablets (that can support almost any apps and arguably offer the best balance between mobility, performance and comfort) mostly remained in the high-end niche; nonetheless, there are low cost 10”-class slates too.
It is noteworthy that nowadays almost all types of media tablets – from low-end to high-end – feature up-to-date Google Android operating system, more or less decent display and fast application processors. Still, all tablets are very dissimilar. They feature different cameras, Wi-Fi/Bluetooth modules, batteries, connectors and build quality. There are still some ultra-cheap gadgets here and there, but they hardly affect the market in general.
Sometimes, price just matters more than any other qualities of a product. For example, it may not make a lot of sense to buy an expensive tablet for a person who only wants to read books and magazines and will only begin to discover capabilities.
If you need a very affordable slate, here is what we have found for you:
- Nextbook 7" M7000NBD – 7” display with 1024*600 resolution, dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 (1.50GHz), 1GB RAM, 8GB NAND flash storage, Google Android 4.1 – for $59.99 at Newegg
- Lenovo IdeaTab A1000L – 7” display with 1024*600 resolution, dual-core MediaTek MTK8317 (two ARM Cortex-A9 cores, PowerVR Series5 SGX GPU from Imagination Technologies), 512MB RAM, 8GB NAND flash storage, Google Android 4.1 – for $69.99 at Amazon
- Nobis NB09 – 9” display with 800*480 resolution, dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 (1.50), 1GB RAM, 8GB NAND flash storage, Google Android 4.1 – for $79 at Walmart.
- Nextbook NX008HD8G – 8” display with 1024*768 resolution, dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 (1.50GHz), 1GB RAM, 8GB NAND flash storage, Google Android 4.1 – for $99 at Walmart
- Ematic EGQ (egq307bl) – 7” display with 1024*600 resolution, quad-core application processor (1.50GHz), 1GB RAM, 8GB NAND flash storage, Google Android 4.2 – for $89 at BestBuy and $99 at Fry’s
- Asus MeMO Pad HD 7” – 7” display with 1280*800 resolution, quad-core application processor, 1GB RAM, 8GB NAND flash storage, Google Android 4.2 – for $129 at Amazon
- Hannspree T7 – 10.1” display with 1280*800 resolution, quad-core Actions ATM7029 (two ARM Cortex-A9 cores), 1GB RAM, 16GB NAND flash storage, Google Android 4.1 – for $129.99 at Walmart
While virtually all high-end media tablets now have high-resolution displays, only several reasonably-priced mid-range slates can boast with decent screens. Moreover, not a lot of tablets in the $130 - $279 range are truly attractive in terms of specifications.
For some reason, not a lot of interesting offerings got significant discounts on Black Friday/Cyber Monday:
- Asus MeMo Pad FHD 10 – 10.1” display with 1920*1200 resolution, Intel Atom Z2560 (1.60GHz) processor with Hyper-Threading technology, 2GB RAM, 16GB NAND flash storage, Google Android 4.1 – for $249 at Amazon
- Microsoft Surface RT 32GB – 10.1” display with 1366*768 resolution resolution, quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 system-on-chip, 2GB RAM, 32GB NAND flash storage, Microsoft Windows RT – for $199 at BestBuy
- Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 7.0 – 7” display with 1024*600 resolution, dual-core Marvell PXA986 application processor (two ARM Cortex A9 cores), 1GB RAM, 8GB NAND flash storage, Google Android 4.1 – for $159 at Target
For many reasons, only a handful of manufacturers address the high-end of the tablet market. There are not a lot of discounted options for Black Friday/Cyber Monday in the $300+ price-range:
- Apple iPad Air 16GB – 9.7” display with 2048*1536 resolution, A7 application processor (two custom-designed 64-bit general-purpose processing cores called Cyclone compatible with ARMv8 architecture, Imagination PowerVR series 6 “Rogue” graphics engine with OpenGL ES 3.0 support, 1MB of L2 cache), 1GB RAM, 16GB NAND flash storage, Apple iOS 7 – for $457.99 at MacMall. Note that the store has other Apple iPad Air models with $41 - $70 discounts
- Apple iPad Air (various models) are sold at BestBuy with $50 - $70 discounts
- Apple iPad 2, iPad mini, iPad Air are sold with $70 - $100 gift cards at Target
- Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 – 10.1” display with 1280*800 resolution, dual-core Intel Atom (1.60GHz), 1GB RAM,16 GB NAND flash storage, Google Android 4.2.2 – for $289 (promo-code 1127BF229 required) at Newegg
- Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 – 10.1” display with 1280*800 resolution, dual-core Intel Atom (1.60GHz), 1GB RAM,16 GB NAND flash storage, Google Android 4.2.2 – for $299/$299 at BestBuy
It is noteworthy that the U.S. retailers this year decided not to use ultra-cheap tablets as door busters. There are still a lot of affordable slates available, but there are almost no more devices with completely outdated application processors and poor displays. It is obvious that this year it is possible to get a nice tablet – with multi-core SoC, up-to-date OS and decent display – at a huge discount.