Best 7" Tablet (that will marginally work)

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Pak^Man, Mar 21, 2012.

  1. Pak^Man macrumors regular

    Jul 28, 2008
    Columbus, OH
    First of Forum Members: Please don't hate on me on flame me! :D

    I'm an AAPL iPad2 owner, on my second iPhone (3G, 4, awaiting 5!!!), and on my 4th MBP.... add in the airport Extreme, Airport Express, and iPods, and my AAPL ecosystem is happily buzzing along.

    But here's the problem... my stuff just works (Win 7 Thinkpad is also pretty good), so I've never known much about Android.

    But now I feel that I have to have a 7-inch tablet (just can't wait for a possible 7" iPad). I'm sure there are some individuals around here who may be able to direct me.

    Price Range = $200-350 (max)
    Uses = In car Navigation (with Co-Pilot or Navigon), Toy, Android Test Device + regular tablet stuff

    Can you point me to the 7" Android Tab that would best fit my needs? I've been considering Samsung Galaxy 7plus, Acer Iconia 7, Lenovo A1.... not Kindle as it doesn't do GPS. Any others?

    Any direction from actual experience would be greatly appreciated!!

    Bonus if you have actually used an on-board anvi program on one of these (the kind that keeps map data on the device).

  2. Vantage Point macrumors 65816

    Mar 1, 2010
    New Jersey
    If you want in car GPS then you'll need a 3G tablet. If you want in-car navigation and a 7" tablet how about an Amazon Fire for $199 and a Garmin Nuvi (low end for under $100). I'm far from an expert in this area but I have been to many places that my iPhone doesn't get a signal but my Garmin Nuvi had not problems at all - I got mine as a refurb from Amazon for about $79 a few years ago and it was a great investment
  3. Pak^Man thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 28, 2008
    Columbus, OH

    Thanks, but I've used Nuvis in the past and have sworn off their models, or stand-alone GPS for that matter.... hence why I'm looking for Tablet instead.

    Second, you are wrong about "needing" 3G to use tablet as an in-car GPS. That is only the case if one is using those Apps (like Mapquest) that pull map data from the internet.

    Both Navigon & Co-pilot that I mentioned store data on the phone/tab itself. Case in point, I use both on my iPhone, and was able to use them fine (with better lock-on times that the brand new Nuvi my buddy had), with data turned off while in Canada.

    I appreciate your help, but I'm pretty sure what I'm looking for is doable.... it's just a question of the best gadget choice.

    P.S. I recommend you try out Co-Pilot.... it's $20, and I'm pretty sure you'll toss your Nuvi in the trash once you see how much better it can be.... I know I did! ;)
  4. Panch0 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 23, 2010
    I think that the GPS function is usually baked into the 3G chip. It's not that it needs the 3G for map data, it needs it to determine location.
  5. Nice macrumors regular


    Mar 17, 2010
    I have the huawei MediaPad/t-mobile Springboard and its pretty sweet. It fills all my needs of a 7-inch tablet. Dual-core processor, hi-res display, back camera, IceCreamSandwich, 7 hour battery life, offline gps, 3G, fast charging (not thru usb - a great thing, my ipad charges for ages thru standard 5V usb), I can even use it as a usb host to connect usb thumb drives to it. check yout some reviews
  6. Pak^Man thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 28, 2008
    Columbus, OH
    Is that iPad-specific or also with these Tabs?

    Hmmm.... I realize Apple keeps WiFi-only iPads without GPS; but I thought that was a forced-upgrade ploy. GPS chips are separate, and the 3G (and also WiFi) only help in improving GPS performance. Nice-t-haves but not a necessity.

    In either case, at lesat the tablets I refered to do list GPS among their specfications.... unless you've had experience to the contrary with one of them (?)

    I could be wrong; but I'm going with what I've read vis-avis their specs....


    Thanks! I'll look into it. the Tmobile one looks a bit pricey, but the Huawei vraint may be promissing!

    Any chance you've played with turn-by-turn GPS on yours?

    Thanks again!
  7. calvol macrumors 6502a

    Feb 3, 2011
    Tried the Lenovo A-1 with Android 2.2, but sent it back. Was not very intuitive to use, but maybe I'm just not an Anroid guy. Performance was ok. Tried hard to set up Skype, but it would transmit an inverse picture (upside down). Probably the reasons it's been on sale lately.
  8. malnar macrumors 6502a


    Aug 20, 2008
    Nope, no 3G needed. I have an Acer Iconia A100, which is wifi-only, and it has GPS. Works pretty great, too.

    As for the original question, when it comes to budget tablets, this is the one I'd suggest. Nice little tablet, does pretty much everything you'd ask and the price is great - about $250. Only the Galaxy beats it, but it's also considerably more expensive.

    There are only two real downsides to the Iconia that I've found: Viewing angle of the screen - angle your head one way and the screen looks like you're viewing it through a rainbow. Hold it "the right way" and it looks great. And battery life is abysmal - 5 hours, tops.

    Lots of freedom, though - it's almost pure Honeycomb on there, very little Acer junk to deal with, and you can install pretty much anything, unlike so many other Android tablets out there that are hindered by the way their manufacturer has locked down Android. Also officially getting Ice Cream Sunday in the next month is nice.
  9. Pak^Man thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 28, 2008
    Columbus, OH

    Thank You malnar!!!

    This is just the information I as looking for. I'll try to go see the Acer and the Samsung in person, to make sure the screen issue is not a deal breaker.

    Thanks again!
  10. Nice macrumors regular


    Mar 17, 2010
    I have sygic navigation on my mediapad. The turn-by-turn navigation works great!
  11. Pak^Man thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 28, 2008
    Columbus, OH
  12. FunCakes macrumors newbie

    Feb 9, 2012
    Samsung SCH-1800 7" tab

    I have a Samsung Galaxy Tab 7 and I am very happy with it. It is wifi only, but that is all I wanted. We can tether to my husband's phone with unlimited data, if need be, but most circumstances it is used in wifi setting.

    I also have an iPhone4s, which is my first Apple product, and I LOVE it, but it is nice to have both operating systems available, especially since I am an Amazon girl, with 'Prime membership' and not at all a fan of itunes (workability or cost of items). I have to come to be able to work with itunes and have found no need for an mp3 player anymore, since I just use my phone as an ipod for my books and music.

    Anyway, back to the question at hand. I really enjoy my tablet, and purposefully chose this size, to be able to use while cooking without taking up much counter space, small in hand, etc. Also bought the stand for it on Amazon for about half the Samsung price to be able to connect HDMI to tv, but have not done so (now have A/V receiver compatible with iphone, so just use phone) I use it to stream Netflix, Amazon VoD (side loaded), etc., search and display recipes, play games, and so on.

    Honestly have not used the tablet for driving directions/mapping, so can not speak to that specifically.

    I was also torn between the Acer iconia A100 and this, but could not find and Acer cheap enough for my limited budget, so went with Samsung. Got it used on Ebay for under $220, with a leather case.

    Good luck.
  13. scottw714 macrumors newbie

    Apr 28, 2012
    My Two Cents

    I have two tablets, an Archos and the Acer, both in 10m inch.
    I have had and an iPhone and use an Ipad frequently.

    I only mention it because you are coming from they Apple side, so I think I can lend some helpful advise. I am also in the market for a 7" droid tab.

    Android 2.3 is phone software and it came on my Archos. I would not get a tab without 3.0 or higher. 2.2 & 2.3 should have never been put on tablet. Beyond the significant aesthetics, there is a real problem with the system not closing apps, so all the memory is tied up and performance suffers.

    I would recommend a processor of at least 1GHz processor and no less then a 1GB RAM or it will be noticeable with transitions and smoothness. I highly recommend the Tegra2 processor if you are going to play games. Tegra actually has a site with games designed for the processor and they are awesome.

    Media, for Apple users I would verify the media you own will play on the tab. Music shouldn't be a problem, but movies are a mess. I think it has a lot to do with licensing, my tablets do not play the same files. Handbrake will convert the media, but it takes a lot of time to convert a 4GB movie.

    GPS, it's a very cool gimmick. But in reality, a tablet needs two hands. I use my phone in the vehicle. I should also mention that if your phone is a hotspot, you can use data via wifi anywhere you have data on your phone. Beyond the first week or two, I never use the GPS on the tab.

    Archos makes a couple 7" tablets under $150. It is cheaper, but it far more portable then the Acer, which is probably double the weight and thicker.

    Make sure the tablet comes with Google Play, the app store. Many of the tabs come with their own app store, like my Archos has applib. They can all run the Play, but if you aren't comfortable loading an app via computer, it will limit your access to a lot of the apps.

    Cameras. The forward facing camera is pointless, holding up a tab to take a pic is cumbersome at best. And unless you use teleconferencing, so it the user facing camera.

    I am looking for something that is light and will fit in cargo pants. I am leaning towards this Archos ARNOVA 7b G3 8GB 7" just because it's light(plastic). But I really like my Acer. It terms of full functions, the Acer is way better, but I am getting it for traveling, so light surfing and email. Basically a large phone.

    A couple of other notes.
    USB. All droid tabs have a micro USB port designed to interact with your PC. Some have a full size USB which except memory devises, and depending on the model, some will except 3G sticks or game controllers. This port is very useful, any devise, like a my camera, can be hooked up like a usb stick and the data can be transferred. I use this a lot to back up pictures from my camera and data from my GPS. Portable hardrives work as well so long as the power consumption is below the output on the tabs usb slot.

    HDMI. I travel a lot, so this is awesome so long as your hotel has a flat panel. You can watch Netflix or loaded movies or even play music through the speakers of the TV. It works well. The only issue is HD movies are arounf 4GB.

    Without a doubt, get a tab with and MicroSD slot. It's one of the few flaws of the iPad.

    And lastly, SPECS. While important, anyone who has been in the droid game knows the integration by the manufacturer of Android is as, if not more important. My recommendation, when you pare it down to a couple of devises, go to XDA Developers. See what common problems people are having. It's the best resource for issues because the clientele ranges from clueless users to people who actually design/modify operating systems for tabs. On my Acer I actually run the a hybrid Honeycomb. They are called ROM, and there are many of them, and they run faster and are more visually appealing. It's definitely a place you want to check out.

    And remember, one of the biggest benefits of droid, is it's open. I can fix basic issues on my computer, but with my tab, I make do all kinds of stuff, even hooked up a Wii controller via Bluetooth to play games just to see if i could do it. And as mentioned above, I frequently load one of the many alternative operating systems (ROMs). The look cooler and run much faster because a lot of them strip out all the nuisance programs that burn up resources like Kindle and Photobucket.
  14. yanksrock100 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 30, 2010
    San Diego
    Acer Iconia tab A100.

    Full Andorid ICS, Google Play, micro sd, micro usb, hdmi, really the whole sha-bang for about $200 on ebay.

    Great tablet, great price.

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