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Best sub-$150 Android tablets available today (May 2015 edition)

Although we haven’t gone through an entire “upgrade cycle” since July 2014, when we first rounded up your top ultra-affordable Android tablet options, the seven-name list from ten months ago feels dated enough.

150 dollars

It’s time we revisited and revised it therefore, expanding the “magnificent seven” to a “grandiose ten”, as the market greatly diversified and grew in size bolstered by a free fall of premium, extravagantly priced models, iPads included.

As “traditional” PCs, particularly laptops and mini-laptops, slowly but steadily recover their mainstream charm, the demand for not-very-compact, bulky yet unproductive 10-inch+ slates dwindles. Meanwhile, 7 and 8 inchers need crystal-clear distinguishing features and functions to survive. Namely, extreme affordability and respectable bang for buck.

Android shopping

Without further ado, we give you the world’s best sub-$150 Android tablets widely available stateside today, ordered by their current Amazon price tags:

Fire HD 7 – $139 with special offers and 8 GB storage

One of the newest entries in this competitive niche, the 800p 7-inch Fire isn’t exactly dirt-cheap. Not if you want to “locally” hoard a few movies and a couple of gigs of music, with the 16 GB non-microSD-supporting configuration starting at $159.

Fire HD 7

Another major flaw is Amazon’s awkward Android fork, devoid of all Google services and apps. On the plus side, you get a surprisingly fast quad-core processor clocked at up to 1.5 GHz and decent 8-hour battery.

Acer Iconia One 8 B1-810 – $135

Larger than most of our low-cost contenders, at 8 inches, the Iconia One 8 is hardly a looker, but it’s reasonably slim and light, weighing 12 ounces while measuring 0.33 inches in depth. 16 GB internal storage is really the best you can hope for so close to a Benjamin, and the 5 MP rear-facing camera should produce above-average stills.

Acer Iconia One 8

Of course, KitKat runs the software show, and a Lollipop update is but a distant dream. Also, the quad-core 1.33 GHz Intel Atom Z3735G doesn’t quite qualify as a powerhouse. Even by mid-range standards.

Asus MeMo Pad 7 ME176CX – $125

Our first returning title challenger from last year lost some of its pizazz lately, sticking to the age-old KitKat guns when so many rookies retaliate with Lollipop bombs. At the end of the day however, the HD 7 incher doesn’t show its advanced age, perhaps needing an additional $25 or so trim to clear up remaining stocks once and for all.

Asus ME176CX

Can you imagine, scoring a 16 GB tab with quad-core Intel Atom inside, 1 GB RAM and 8-hour juice in exchange for a measly Benjamin?

LG G Pad 7.0 – $122 LTE unlocked; $135 international Wi-Fi-only; $100 and up at AT&T

Did anybody say Lollipop? Ah, yes, the smallest G Pad to date delivers Android 5.0 goodies, at least “internationally”, whereas the US AT&T-usable cellular version is so inexpensive, you’ll forget it’s still on 4.4.

LG G Pad 7.0

Other fortes? Well, the 1,280 x 800 pix res panel is sharp albeit it’s beginning to feel like a given, and the quad-core 1.2 GHz Snapdragon 400 chip should easily outpace previous-generation Atoms.

Dell Venue 8 – $119

Once upon a time up for grabs at $200, the “newest version” of Dell’s entry-level Venue 8 (read sans 3D camera gimmicks) takes the cake with a vibrant 1,920 x 1,200 display. It’s as simple as this – if you’re looking for the cheapest on-the-go Netflix streamer, look no more.

Dell Venue 8

Otherwise, the aging 8 incher is not without its share of weak points: a humble dual-core Intel Atom Z3480 SoC, Android 4.4, humdrum design.

Dell Venue 7 – $119

Dell Venue 7

Why in the world would a sane person pay the same amount of cash on a 7-inch HD Dell Venue as the Full HD 8 incher? It boggles the mind, which is why we’re ready to bet the Venue 7 will soon drop to $100. Maybe less. You just wait and see.

Lenovo Tab 2 A7-30 – $99.99

Aw yeah, now we’re talking. Welcome to the sweet, sweet land of sub-$100 Android gear. No contractual obligations, no strings attached. Just a bunch of compromises and sacrifices. For instance, flash memory here caps off at 8 gigs, so besides the pre-loaded Android 4.4 OS, you almost can’t store a thing sans bringing in a microSD card.

Lenovo A7-30

At least you’re allowed to add external space in the mix, and the “enhanced” Dolby audio system is certainly a nice surprise. So is the impending Lollipop makeover, respectable quad-core 1.3 GHz MediaTek CPU and 8-hour battery life. Too bad we can’t say the same about the cringe worthy 1,024 x 600 pix res screen.

Amazon Fire HD 6 – $99

Fire HD 6

Closed ecosystem, tiny footprint, no microSD, mono speaker, crappy dual cameras, chunky profile. Why bother then with the world’s only non-voice-call-enabled 6 incher? For one thing, you get a crisp 252 ppi display. Then there’s that 1.5 GHz quad-core processor also found inside the Fire HD 7. Autonomy is fairly impressive too, all things considered, at “8 hours of mixed use.”

Finally, unlimited cloud storage for Amazon content is clearly nothing to sneeze at.

Toshiba Excite Go – $87

Well, hello there, our old, remarkably unpretentious friend! It’s good to see you around a whole year after your formal introduction. Cheaper than ever before, no less. If only you’d make the jump to Lollipop already, and somehow improve your shoddy screen resolution.

Toshiba Excite Go

On the bright side, quad-core Intel Atom power remains a key selling point at a fraction of the price of a Nexus 9 keyboard. Just the keyboard, you understand?

Asus MeMo Pad 7 ME170CX – $80

Don’t ever die on us, sweet KitKat-based, 16 GB storage-packing prince. Yes, you’re decrepit in more ways than one, and deeply flawed, what with your 1,024 x 600 WSVGA panel, dual-core 1.2 GHz Intel chipset, 2 MP rear camera, VGA front shooter and 6-hour or so pacemaker.

Asus ME170CX

But you’re cheaper than a first-gen Moto E, yet can accommodate a good dozen of semi-high-quality movies for when there’s no room for the 15-inch notebook in our travel knapsack. Europe, here we come!

Latest Android distribution figures reveal further growth of Android 5.0 Lollipop

Android 5.0

Android 5.0 Distribution

Every month, Google issues Android distribution figures revealing the number of devices that are running its versions of Android. And just like last month, this month’s figures too reveal that the latest version of Android (Android 5.0+) is on the rise. However, Android 4.4 KitKat is still the most widely used version of Android today with a marketshare of 41.4% while Android 5.0+ is at a steady 5.4%, including the 0.4% of Android 5.1.

Interestingly, KitKat has overtaken Jelly Bean for the first time to clinch the top spot. Android 4.1, 4.2 and 4.3 collectively make up 40.7% of the pie, thus taking the second spot in the list. Android 2.3 Gingerbread has a marketshare of 6.4% while Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich is seen on 5.7% of the devices.

It’s good to see that Android 5.0 is on the rise while KitKat is steady as well, which is acceptable for a recent version of Android. But all things considered, it’s quite clear that Google is nowhere close to ridding itself off the ghosts of fragmentation as not a lot of users are on Lollipop yet.

Will that change in the future? Only time will tell.

Source: Android Developer

Via: Android Authority

Verizon Ellipsis 7 tablet reportedly suffering from boot loop issues after KitKat update

Verizon Ellipsis 7

Verizon Ellipsis 7

The Verizon Ellipsis 7 tablet has been receiving minor updates over the course of the months, but the carrier took everybody by surprise when it rolled out the Android 4.4 KitKat update to this budget tablet a couple of weeks ago.

While it was a very good gesture from Verizon to roll out the update for its budget tablet, user reports suggest that it wasn’t without its own issues. Most users are reportedly seeing boot loops with the Ellipsis 7 after the update was installed by the users.

This can be particularly annoying for the users since boot looping essentially restricts users from accessing the device. Some users have found a work around by heading over to the custom recovery option (power + volume down key) during reboot. Even Verizon seems to be suggesting the same workaround, so it might be worth a shot if you’re facing boot loop issues with the update.

Are you facing similar trouble with your Ellipsis 7 after the Android 4.4 update? Sound off in the comments below.

Source: Verizon Support

Via: Android Police

The almost forgotten Motorola Electrify M on U.S. Cellular getting Android 4.4 update

Motorola Electrify M

Motorola Electrify M

U.S. Cellular’s Motorola Electrify M smartphone is now getting the Android 4.4 update. This comes almost a year and a half after the update was originally launched by Google. The smartphone was announced on U.S. Cellular back in November 2012, so it’s well over two years old in the market.

Back then, Motorola had a real hard time keeping up with update promises, partially due to the heavily skinned version of Android its devices were running. Things are different with the current crop of handsets like the Droid Ultra and the Moto X, which pack a relatively stock version of Android.

Despite all the delays, users will be glad to know that U.S. Cellular and Motorola haven’t forgotten about them as far as the update is concerned. Unfortunately, the rollout of the update comes a couple of months after Android 5.0 Lollipop was announced, so users are still not getting the latest version of Android.

If you own a U.S. Cellular branded Motorola Electrify M and have started seeing the update already, make sure you let us know by leaving a comment below.

Source: U.S. Cellular

Via: Android Police

French carrier spills the beans on Android 4.4 and 5.0 update for some Samsung devices

Samsung Updates

Samsung Updates

SFR is one of the most popular carriers in France, which means it has a decent idea regarding update rollouts for specific smartphones. Today, a document accessed from the carrier reveals the update rollout plans for some Samsung smartphones, along with the LG G3 and the Moto G which will reportedly receive Android 5.0 this month.

Among the list of devices mentioned in the update road map are the Galaxy Mega, Galaxy S4 Zoom, Galaxy S4 Mini, Galaxy Note 2 and the Galaxy Note 2 4G. All these devices are expected to receive the Android update by this month or the next. The highlight however is the mention of the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the Galaxy Note 4, which are reportedly in line to receive the Android 5.0 update in December and January 2015 respectively.

This is in contrast to previous reports which suggested that Samsung would finish the rollout of Android 5.0 for its 2014 flagships before the end of 2014. But it seems like the Galaxy Note 4 customers will have to wait until January to get their hands on the latest version of Android. Based on this, we can estimate that American carrier variants of the Galaxy S5 and the Galaxy Note 4 will receive the update sometime during January or perhaps even later.

Source: Club SFR – Translated

Via: Sam Mobile

New video compares the Android 5.0 ROM on the Galaxy S4 with Android 4.4.2

Samsung Galaxy S4 KitKat - Lollipop

Samsung Galaxy S4 KitKat - Lollipop

A new video has revealed the Android 5.0 ROM from the Samsung Galaxy S4 compared with the current Android 4.4.2 ROM, giving us a better idea of what to expect from the upcoming update. This also gives us a clear picture as to what’s different with Samsung’s TouchWiz implementation of Android 5.0. The Galaxy S4 was only recently revealed to be receiving the Lollipop update, just as the Galaxy S5 and the Galaxy Note 4 wait to receive the update first.

Expectedly, the update brings forth a multitude of changes to the Galaxy S4, although the screenshots don’t give you a proper idea of what’s exactly different. Sam Mobile has been kind enough to share the comparison video so that existing users can properly assess understand what’s new. The update should start rolling out sometime soon with no specific word coming from Samsung as of yet.

At this point, devices like the Galaxy Note 3 and the Galaxy S4 are expected to receive the update along with the Galaxy S5 and the Galaxy Note 4. It will be interesting to see if Samsung decides to roll out the update to midrange handsets as well.

Via: Sam Mobile

Huawei Ascend Mate 2 in the U.S. will not get Android 4.4

Ascend Mate 2 KitKat

Ascend Mate 2 KitKat

Huawei has just dropped a bomb on the American customers of the Ascend Mate 2 that the smartphone will not receive the Android 4.4 update. The device was launched back in June in the U.S. sporting Android 4.3 and the Emotion UI. But the company details in its blog post that the smartphone will not see the update to what is now the next best version of Android.

Strangely, the smartphone has seen the update in other parts of the world, so this is clearly hard to fathom for the customers. Since the device is offered without a contract, the company doesn’t need to go through the strenuous certification process. The smartphone has been available since earlier this year in most parts of the world and was launched in the U.S. in June as a $300 phablet for those not looking for a decent budget tablet.

This news has certainly come as a shock to the customers and has certainly given the company’s credibility a hit. The customers are clearly upset as you can see from the reader comments over at Huawei’s blog post (link below).

Source: Huawei Blog

Via: Android Police

Kyocera Hydro Vibe from Sprint getting the Android 4.4 update

Kyocera Hydro Vibe

Kyocera Hydro Vibe

The Kyocera Hydro Vibe smartphone from Sprint has started receiving the Android 4.4 update. The update also brings the WiFi calling feature to the smartphone, so there’s more than just visual changes on board with this update. The smartphone was launched with Android 4.3 back in May, but it’s good to see the manufacturer as well as the carrier rolling out the update now. There’s no word on how big the update file is, but it seems like it’s going to be pretty large considering that the device is switching over from Android 4.3.

Among the obvious changes, the update also comes with a fix for the camera’s autofocus and some other performance enhancements. Bear in mind that you might lose root access after flashing the update. So if your smartphone is rooted, it’s probably safe to wait for a custom ROM or unroot the device.

As is usually the nature of these updates, not all devices might see it at once, so be patient if you don’t see it on your smartphone. In the meanwhile, try downloading the update manually by heading over to the settings.

Source: Sprint

Via: Android Police

LG Wine Smart is an Android 4.4 running flip phone

LG Wine Smart

LG has just launched an old school flip phone running Android 4.4 KitKat known as the Wine Smart. In terms of looks, it mirrors the flip phones of the years past. However, the hardware inside is nothing like the old flip phones we know. The display is quite large for a device of this size at 3.5 inches (480 x 320 pixels) and LG is also going with a 1.2 GHz quad core processor to keep things smooth. The handset has an 8-megapixel camera on the back while the front has a VGA sensor for selfies.

The device also has 1GB of RAM and 4GB of internal storage with a microSD card slot, so it’s not exactly a flagship offering. Samsung also launched its very own flip phone known as the Galaxy Golden last year, although the device failed to make an impact due to its excessively high price tag. But LG could do a lot more damage with the Wine Smart if it can get the pricing right.

The Wine Smart will be available in select countries including LG’s home region of South Korea over the coming weeks. The company is yet to share details on the pricing of the handset. Would you be drawn towards a retro flip phone packing a modern hardware such as this one? Sound off below.

Source: LG Newsroom – Translated

Via: 9to5Google

Sony Xperia SP won’t be updated to Android 4.4 KitKat

Sony Xperia SP

Sony Xperia SP won't be updated to Android 4.4 KitKat

At this point, the possibility of Sony ever updating the Xperia SP to Android 4.4 KitKat wasn’t something owners of the device were hopeful of, but the Japanese manufacturer has now officially confirmed that the Xperia SP will stay on Android 4.3 for its life cycle. Sony didn’t make an official announcement, but the support page for the Xperia SP has been changed to mention that Android 4.3 will be the final build for the phone. (more…)

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs LG G3 – Specs comparison

Ladies and gentlemen, the moment we’ve all been waiting for has finally come. Samsung has thrown its hat in the high-end phablet ring once again, and LG is in trouble. Not that Sammy wasn’t well-represented already in the jumbo-sized smartphone supremacy battle.

Galaxy Note 4 vs LG G3

Unsurprisingly, its Galaxy Note 3 aged more than gracefully, likely keeping the G3 threat at bay thanks to a well-oiled advertising machine that chugs along unperturbed by a reported dip in overall Galaxy sales.

But it’s perhaps the same dip that convinced the makers of the mostly underwhelming GS5 they needed to bring their aesthetical A game to the “Unpacking” of the Galaxy Note 4 in addition to the traditional software and hardware improvements.

Which they certainly did, albeit haters are still gonna hate, fueled by Samsung’s questionable mix of premium aluminum and chintzy plastic on Note 4’s construction and the limited use of the curved side display on the Note Edge.

Samsung Galaxy Note 4

Regardless, this semi-aluminum beaut has more than enough pizazz to give the LG G3 a run for its money, and hopefully, make Apple’s hotly anticipated “iPhablet” intro feel redundant and utterly useless. For now, let’s explore in great detail all the ways the Galaxy Note 4 is superior to the G3:

Design and build quality duel – a no contest

Bet you were just about ready to lose hope of ever hearing this: Samsung’s flagship is one of the best-looking, awesomest built mobile devices around. HTC’s One M8 may be the only rival capable of holding a candle to it, but the all-metal bad boy doesn’t have the screen real estate, resolution or raw power to otherwise go for Note 4’s jugular.

Galaxy Note 4 LG G3 back

Meanwhile, the G3 isn’t ugly, not in the least, and the microscopic bezels, wasp waist and rear physical buttons partly keep its chances of ultimately prevailing alive. Only no matter how you spin it, metal beats plastic. Even metal frames in a combination with a faux leather (read plastic) back cover.

Galaxy Note 4 vs. LG G3 – display showdown

Gimmick or no gimmick, Quad HD display resolution is about to become the norm for upper tier Androids. And yes, we have reason to believe Sony will itself go down the same route as early as H1 2015.

Samsung-Galaxy-Note-4-vs-LG-G3

Back to our spec wars, it’s tough to pick a winner here, as both heavyweights sport amazing 2,560 x 1,440 pixel counts. Since the G3 is 0.2 inches smaller, its ppi is slightly greater, at 534 (vs. 515). But Samsung uses Super AMOLED technology in lieu of LCD, and besides, a bigger panel is an upside for many.

Verdict: draw

Processing speed, RAM and storage

Blame it on release timing, but the LG G3 can’t possibly keep up with the GNote 4 in power-demanding tasks despite packing the beefiest CPU at the time of its debut. In the meantime, Snapdragon 801’s sequel, the higher clocked S805, became available, and Sammy took full advantage.

64-bit

That said, it’s a smidge disappointing the Qualcomm-based 32-bit Note 4 version, which US carriers among others will be scoring, isn’t ready for the next step in mobile computing. The Exynos flavor, however, is, thanks to a brand spanking new 5433 unit built on 64-bit architecture and rocking eight cores, four at 1.9 GHz and four at 1.3. Let Android L come.

Moving on, the G3 and Note 4 are deadlocked in RAM and storage, each offering 3 gigs of random-access memory, 16 and 32 GB space options and external microSD expansion possibilities. Wait, come to think of it, LG narrowly edges this one out, as it can accommodate up to 128 gigs of external storage, double Note 4’s maximum capacity.

Software and battery life face-off

4.4 KitKat is a necessity, nay, a guarantee on high-enders and even Android mid-rangers nowadays, so naturally, there’s nothing to separate our two title contenders there. Unfortunately for LG, their skin applied on top of the stock Google-powered mobile OS is really a featherweight next to TouchWiz.

Galaxy-Note-4-Battery

And yes, it’s a little less intrusive, but to hell with purism, as Sammy’s add-ons and optimizations so obviously improve the user experience. Fast charging, S Pen-dedicated apps, fitness and health tracking functions, camera effects, presets, detection systems and so on and so forth, they’re all part of the great Galaxy Note adventure.

Ultra Power Saving Mode above all. Speaking of, Note 4’s juicer might not be heavily larger than G3’s, at 3,220 mAh (vs. 3,000), but we fully expect it to deliver better autonomy. It’s yet another department where Samsung excels these days.

Cameras, sensors and accessories

Although still incapable of competing in the same league as Nokia’s PureView snappers, or Sony’s G Lens imaging monsters, Note 4’s rear-facing camera is a major upgrade over Note 3 or S5’s counterparts. And not just in the number of megapixels.

Don’t get me wrong, 16 MP is a lot, but what makes this cam exquisite is the optical image stabilization system (finally!), the ISO control, HDR mode and all the other modes, scenes and effects. Also, 4K video recording.

samsung-galaxy-note-4-vs-lg-g3-cameras

G3’s main shooter is itself adorned with OIS, however at 13 megapixels, it’s really no rival for Note 4’s 16 MP bad boy. Ditto as far as selfie-friendly front cams are concerned, with Samsung trumping LG 3.7 to 2.1 MP.

And the best is yet to come. From the GNote 4, that is, which stands out from the crowd, G3 included, not only with S Pen support, but also Gear VR compatibility, a built-in heart rate monitor and fingerprint recognition sensor.

Samsung Gear VR

No fancy monitors or scanners on the LG G3, and no virtual reality transforming capabilities, which once and for all seal the fate of this not-so-evenly-matched duel. The Note 4 is the best, so scr…, um, forget the rest.

Availability and pricing

This may seem weird after the 1,000 words spilled to make the G3 look like a pushover opposite today’s (and tomorrow’s) phablet champion, but I’d still recommend LG’s spearhead to a number of mobile tech consumers.

Namely, those who can’t afford or don’t want to cough up $300 with two-year contracts, or $800 outright for the Note 4. Also, those unwilling to wait a few weeks, maybe a month or two. More importantly, those who aren’t fixated on always owning the very best of the best gizmos.

LG G3

Fit the description? Then know the G3 starts at $79.99 on Amazon with Verizon pacts, $99.99 on Sprint or AT&T, and goes for as little as $525, yes, $525 in a factory unlocked variant. Happy shopping to you, and happy… waiting to future owners of the Samsung Galaxy Note 4. Either way, you’re blessed.

ASUS Padfone Infinity and Fonepad Note 6 getting Android 4.4 today

ASUS Padfone Infinity - Android 4.4

ASUS Padfone Infinity - Android 4.4

Two of ASUS’ premier devices are finally seeing Android 4.4 starting today. The Padfone Infinity and the Fonepad Note 6 are the lucky beneficiaries of this new update. Although it has been quite a while since Android 4.4 came out, users will be glad that ASUS has finally sent it out.

Coming from Android 4.3, customers will notice quite a lot of changes both in terms of visuals as well as functionality. Since both are relatively large devices, with the Padfone even having a tablet, the improvement will be strikingly evident for the users.

The update is being rolled out as an OTA, but can be manually downloaded over from ASUS’ support pages as well. So if you own either of the two devices, make sure you look for an update. Since it’s a big change, the update file will be quite large, so make sure you have that in mind before proceeding.

Source: ASUS Support – Padfone Infinity, Fonepad Note 6

Via: 9to5Google

iPhone 6 clone leaks out in video running Android 4.4 KitKat

iPhone 6 clone

iPhone 6 clone

Apple’s iPhone 6 is yet to be officially announced, although we’ve seen plenty of “dummy” units of the device leaking out on the internet. Based on these dummy devices, a manufacturer has already managed to clone the iPhone 6, but running Android 4.4 KitKat. Confused? Well we were too, because the device appears to be running iOS, but at closer inspection it has come to light that it is actually running Android 4.4 KitKat with a heavy UI layering on top.

The device is known as the Wico i6 and sports a 4.7 inch 960 x 1704 resolution display. Other specs of the smartphone include 32GB of storage, 2GB of RAM and a quad core processor (possibly made by MediaTek). It’s not known if the device will retail anytime soon, but the manufacturer would love to show off the smartphone before the iPhone 6 is announced to leverage the hype surrounding the Apple flagship.

What do you think of this Android running iPhone 6 clone? Let us know below.

Source: YouTube

Via: Android Community

Best sub-$150 Android tablets available today (July 2014 edition)

A whole lot can change in the shifty tech décor in the space of nine months. Heck, even one month sometimes makes a world of difference. Take last month. Lenovo rolled out a slew of A-series budget-conscious slates, HP and Toshiba one-upped each other with the dirt-cheap 7 Plus and Excite Go, and Asus refreshed the increasingly successful MeMo Pad family.

Android shopping bag

Just like that, we got half a dozen of brand new contenders at the low-cost, lightweight crown, and in case our little listicle from back October 2013 wasn’t dated enough, all these exciting releases prompted an immediate update.

Since only one of the fresh title candidates fits the old budget though, we’ve decided to supplement it with 50 bucks. After all, you need to keep up with technological progress, and often, that means ponying up a bit of extra dough. Not a lot. Clearly, $150 is no small fortune.

Android money

Besides, our latest top picks for the best affordable Android tablets around still include a $100, $110 and $120 slab, so if $150 is too steep for your monthly spending plan, you’ve got options. Without further ado, here they all are:

7. Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7

I can just about hear Amazon admirers boiling with rage at Fire HD’s “offensive” number seven ranking, but you should actually take it as a compliment. A most flattering compliment, given the 7 incher’s advanced age. Mind you, four of its six rivals are barely a month old.

Kindle-Fire-HD-7

Meanwhile, the Fire HD is nearly ready to blow out its birthday candles for the second time. So yeah, it’s amazing it made the charts, but not at all surprising looking at some of its specs: 1,280 x 800 pix res IPS LCD screen, 1 GB RAM, 10-hour battery life (in “mixed” use). Too bad about its decrepit TI OMAP chip, microSD absence and clunky OS.

6. HP 7 Plus

Our sole sub-$100 contender offers exactly the kind of humble features we’ve come to expect from sub-$100 tablets. But hey, it’s one lousy Benjamin, so don’t even think of complaining about the laggy quad-core 1 GHz Allwinner CPU, crappy 1,024 x 600 pixels resolution display, painful 2 MP camera or minuscule 2,800 mAh battery.

hp-7-plus

If you really want something to bitch about, I guess the pre-loaded aging copy of Android 4.2 Jelly Bean best fits the description. On the bright side, HP discounted the low-ender to $84.99 for a second there, so similar deals are likely in the cards for the near future.

5. Lenovo IdeaTab A8-50

I could’ve just as well picked one of A8’s little A7 siblings, especially since they have the affordability edge, but ultimately, the richer screen real estate propelled the A8 in our top seven list. Also, the generous 16 GB storage space.

Lenovo A8

The 8-inch panel ain’t bad resolution-wise either, at 1,280 x 800, and the cameras are pretty impressive all things considered: 5 and 2 megapixels. So then why on Earth couldn’t Lenovo set up the A8 with KitKat out the box? Anyone?

4. Acer Iconia A1-830

Exactly as large and cheap as Lenovo’s bad boy, but boasting a crappier 1,024 x 768 display, the A1-830 prevails in the processing power battle, thanks to a dual-core 1.6 GHz Intel Atom Z2560 SoC, as well as in the battery life bout (up to 7.5 hours of continuous juice).

Acer-Iconia-A1-830

It’s also overall sleeker and more elegant than the A8-50, which sadly can’t hide the fact it too runs Jelly Bean. “Upgradeable to Android 4.4 KitKat when available”, Acer says. Yo Acer, KK has been available for roughly eight months now.

3. Toshiba Excite Go

Whoa, whoa, whoa, Best Buy sells the Excite Go for $99.99?!? That has to be a mistake. The MSRP is $110, and it’s way too early for discounts. Oh, well, maybe it’s a limited-time deal. In which case you better hurry up and order it.

Toshiba-Excite-Go

Then again, even at $110, this is a must-buy. It’s one of the very few in its class powered by Android 4.4 KitKat, it tips the scales at 354 grams and packs quad-core oomph, courtesy of an Intel Atom Z3735G. Yes, the 7-inch display is cringe worthy, sporting 1,024 x 600 pixels resolution, and yes, there’s only a disappointing VGA front-facing cam and no rear snapper.

But erm, KitKat for 100 clams? I’ll eat my hat if you find an OEM as high-profile as Toshiba that offers something similar.

2. Asus MeMo Pad 7 ME176CX

The newest MeMo Pad is by far the zippiest and most frugal, carrying an outstanding quad-core 64-bit (!) Intel Atom Z3745 “Bay Trail” processor beneath its hood. The chip delivers around eight hours of autonomy, and, with the exception of cameras, everything else about the MeMo Pad 7 is state-of-the-art… for mid-range standards.

Asus MeMo Pad 7

The 7-inch 1,280 x 800 IPS panel is as good as it gets, Android 4.4 KitKat is as smooth as it gets, and 1 GB RAM takes care of the multitasking business. Tech hoarders have 16 GB of internal storage to use, plus up to 64 gigs external, and not only is the tab elegant, it’s also stylish, rocking four distinct chromatic options: white, black, red and yellow.

1. Dell Venue 7

Believe it or not, we’re not done yet. Because as awesome as the ME176CX is, the Venue 7 is actually awesomer. How’s that even possible? Simple: 2 GB RAM. Sure, the Intel Atom Z2560 inside Dell’s 7 incher is considerably less punchy than MeMo Pad’s Bay Trail. And the software isn’t quite up to date: 4.3 Jelly Bean.

Dell Venue 7

Plus, the Venue 7 is somehow just as thin as the MeMo Pad 7, yet 20 or so grams heavier. But at the end of the day, the extra gig of RAM makes all the compromises worth it. For crying out loud, Dell used to charge a whopping $230 for the 7-inch Venue. Needless to say therefore that $144 is an extraordinary bargain.

What say you, bargain hunters? Agree with our list entirely? Only partially? Which parts would you alter? Sound off below. We’re all ears.