It's one thing to amass a collection of tablet hardware and sew it together with the Android OS. Assembling all of those components into a sleek, fast and usable machine is another feat altogether. It seems that Nextbook's tablets have succeeded in some aspects and perhaps failed in others.
Online reviews of the Classic series are decidedly mixed. Yet anyone who expects a full, flawless tablet experience for under $150 might have unrealistic expectations. With outdated CPUs and little RAM, you can't anticipate fast performance or lickety-split multitasking ability. On the other hand, reviews of the Premium SE models are more positive. Users praise the snappy performance and crisp displays.
But online reviews only tell part of the story. One of the most important things to realize about these products is that although they are indeed Android-based, they don't have all of Android's features. Most glaringly, they won't let you access the Google Play store, the online clearinghouse for thousands of Android apps. Instead, you're stuck with GetJar, a lesser-known third-party store. GetJar does have more than 350,000 Android apps, but if you're a hardcore app freak, you'll undoubtedly miss titles from the official Google store.
Company representatives are quick to point out that they've requested certification for the Google Play store. They expect to offer full access to Google Play soon.
Nextbook highlights its partnership with Barnes & Noble. Customers in the United States use the Nook app to find and download new books, while those in Canada engage the Kobo Books app instead. In comparison to other e-readers, there are notable differences. Of course, the full-color display is great for Web surfing and other tasks, but for reading in bright light, monochrome e-readers (such as the Kindle) are often superior.
But it's worth noting that you'll easily find Nextbook tablets for sale online far below their suggested retail price. So these already wallet-conscious products are actually even more affordable than at first glance.
Before you jump to buy a low-cost electronic gadget of any kind, it's always worth weighing the pros and cons. If you're bent on getting a full-fledged tablet experience, with access to every raved-about app and all of the bells and whistles, a Nextbook probably isn't the best choice for you. But if you just want a tablet for light use, including e-books and Web surfing, you might find that one of these models fits your lifestyle very well, and at a remarkably low price, too.