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How Le Pan Tablets Work

        Tech | Tablet PCs

Le Pan Tablet Features
You can use your LePan tablet to access thousands of useful Android apps.
You can use your LePan tablet to access thousands of useful Android apps.
Eternity in an Instant/Getty Images

Le Pan tablets are encased in a brushed aluminum frame, which sets them apart from the rubberized frames of other Android tablets. This gives Le Pan tablets a sleek look, though it adds a bit of weight.

All Le Pan tablets can access the Android Market, which is home to more than 150,000 apps. Physical accessories specifically designed for Le Pan are scarce -- the company offers ear buds and little else. Accessories like cases and stands designed for other tablets of the same size as a particular model of Le Pan will probably work just fine, though.

As of July 2012, the Mode de Vie (TC970) could be found for under $150. The more powerful Le Pan II was selling for $250 [sources: Walmart.com and Newegg.com]. The Vive seems to be a mysterious little device – it appears that it hasn't been released and was likely a victim of the Le Pan/Matsunichi reshuffling.

Which tablet should you buy? In terms of 7-inch tablets, it's tempting to view the elusive, possibly non-existent Vive to the Nexus 7. If the Vive is ever released, it will be instantly obsolete. Why? The Nexus 7 is more powerful, and there's no way Le Pan can beat the $200 base price.

For 9.7-inch tablets, the TC970 is obviously more budget-friendly. However, Android 2.2 (Froyo) isn't optimized for tablets, so users may find it a frustrating experience. The Le Pan II is a major upgrade, but don't kid yourself – for $250 you're not getting anything close to an iPad. If you really need a tablet that's not too hard on the wallet, though, the Le Pan II might get the job done. Keep in mind that Le Pan has been hinting that the Le Pan III will be released in late 2012 with Android 4.1 (a.k.a. "Jellybean"), an operating system designed to improve the performance of tablets. Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) is a very nice tablet OS, but Le Pan II owners may have to wait a very long time for an official 4.1 upgrade. If the TC970 experience is any guide, it may never be upgraded.