I am telling you here that cheap tablets are good. I am not here to tell you that they are the future of computing or will change your laptop to work. But I will tell you that they are great entertainment devices.
The best way to experience cheap tablets is to just install the applications you use for entertainment and relaxation: Kindle, Hulu, Prime Video, HBO Max, Pocket, whatever is your choice. Do not install or set things like Twitter, Slack new York Times Applications, email, or anything that is taking away from leisure time and you have to suck at work or the dreaded doomscroll. This is a tablet you buy to watch videos and read things, not to try to replace your laptop.
I was testing Samsung’s Galaxy Tab A7 for the past few months and found that it is a classic example of a cheap tablet. At $ 229.99 (and often available for less), it’s a lot more affordable than the entry-level iPad, but it works just for watching videos and reading books and articles. I’m not going to recommend Android tablets – an iPad is objectively better in almost every scenario – but the Tab A7 is surprisingly capable and priced right for its tertiary device status.
The bar for a tablet destined to be just a personal entertainment device is actually quite low. This requires an attractive screen with enough resolution so that you won’t be able to see individual pixels at a comfortable distance, speakers that are not muffled or crackly sounding, and battery life that will charge you with a chance of winning. Will be found through some films between T plugging this thing in after every use. It should be thin and relatively light so that you can hold it for a long time without getting tired.
Tab A7 exceeds all of those matrices. The 10.4-inch 1080p screen is vibrant and colorful, the battery easily lasts for 10 hours or more of video, and the quad-speaker system sounds great. It is surprisingly slim, with a metal chassis that feels tighter and nicer than the plastic-clad Amazon Fire tablet. There is enough bezel around the screen, so that I can comfortably handle it without worrying about the wrong touch, and it’s light enough so I can hold it in one hand to read. It even has a 3.5mm headphone jack, when you don’t want to disturb anyone else while watching the seventh episode The boys in a row.
Where the Tab A7 comes up would not be a surprise, but none of its drawbacks prevent it from being a good entertainment device. Its low-midrange Qualcomm Snapdragon 662 processor and 3GB of RAM make it one of the fastest or snappest devices around – but it doesn’t matter if you’re using the video or eBook app of your choice. Its cameras suck, but on the other hand, if you use it for a zoom call, it is less awkward than an iPad, thanks to the correct placement of the front camera.
Android doesn’t have nearly the same width or depth of application as the iPad, but it has all the major streaming video services (save for Apple TV Plus) and all the book-reading apps you want. The base model only has 32 GB of storage, but it supports microSD card expansion, so it’s easy to add more. Finally, the Tab A7 lacks any kind of fingerprint scanner or biometrics login, but since I use it at home and have no sensitive or work data on it, I’m comfortable disabling screen lock. In order to make it easier to get
Samsung isn’t pushing any productivity features here: it doesn’t come with a stylus, there’s no keyboard case available for it, and it doesn’t have Samsung’s Dex desktop software mode. It also lacks Samsung’s dumber-to-average Bixby voice assistant. (Google Assistant is available and works just like any other device.) Instead of developing the time and resources that most people won’t use, Samsung focuses on what matters here Are focused: the best speaker and probably the best performance you can get. In a pill at this price point.
And in fact, this is all you could want from a tablet like this. It needs to look good, it needs to look good, and it needs to have apps with the content you want. The tab A7 checks all those boxes and no more.
This is the best anti-doomscrolling gadget that you can get this year.
Photography by Dan Seifert / The Verge