Buying a tablet has some similarities to buying a car. If you can head to the nearest luxury dealer and buy a new, fully loaded and drool-worthy vehicle, you likely have your mind made up about the quality and cost and are buying the best because it's reputed to be the best.
When choosing an economy car, however, getting the most for your money involves more legwork, testing and comparison shopping. Buying one of the high-end, lauded tablet devices versus choosing a budget category Android tablet involves the same kind of work and research. Often it's a matter of sorting out the best of the good, and thankfully there are a lot of good -- and even great -- lower-cost tablets to choose from these days.
One of those companies is Ematic. It's based in California and has been in the electronics business since 1985. They offer about 100 products, ranging from MP3 players to Apple accessory kits -- even for the iPad, a higher-end competitor -- as well as eReaders and other tablet devices. Ematic tablets are among the friendliest to wallets in the Android competition, and they come in about nine different models as of this writing [source: Ematic]. Major online and walk-in stores sell Ematic tablets, and depending on the operating system, size and features, the tablets range from about $60 to $220.
Overall, consumers and technology reviewers seem to like Ematic tablets when compared to other similarly priced tablets, but when head-to-head with higher-priced offerings, they don't do as well. When matched with their peers, Ematic tablets show very strong in most categories.
Two areas where Ematic really stands out as a company are in its practice of donating 10 percent of all profits to charity and in making all packaging 100 percent recyclable.
Are there any stand-out qualities to Ematic tablets, though? Are they all that and an ice cream sandwich to boot? We'll look at the specs next.
Ematic Tablet Specs
Not all Androids are alike, but most tablets running an Android operating system (OS) do come close in their specifications. Ematic offers models with the latest 4.0 OS, as well as lower-priced 2.1 and 2.2 OS products. Tablets loaded with the Android 4.0 ICS, or Ice Cream Sandwich in the dessert-themed naming system, have a dual-core 1 GHz to 1.2 GHz CPU processor and 4 GB to 8 GB of built-in Flash memory.
All of Ematic's tablets are either 7-inch (17.78-centimeters) or 10-inch (25.4-centimeters) models and the newest weigh in at about 1.4 pounds (0.635 kilograms). Built-in Wi-Fi, enhanced 3-D capabilities, a three-axis gyroscope or G Sensor for improved motion-sensing, expandable storage, HDMI connection, and capacitive, multi-touch screens make for a well-outfitted tablet. With the SD card and additional options for cloud storage, some tablets can handle up to 32 GB of data [source: Ematic].
Newer models in the eGlide Prism and eGlide Pro series are noteworthy not only for their 8 GB of storage but also for their 4:3 ratio display, which is the same as that used for Apple's iPad. Most Androids feature a 16:9 widescreen display, but many prefer the 4:3 for surfing, reading and day-to-day use though not for viewing movies on a tablet [source: McElhearn].
One unique model within Ematic's impressive selection of tablets also deserves mentioning. Although it isn't the most loaded model with the most up-to-date operating system, the FunTab for kids comes in blue, purple, black, green, red, pink or orange and does everything you expect a tablet to do for less than $100. Reviews are mixed on this one, with some parents raving and others not so thrilled, so testing the product and researching are probably advisable.
And what exactly can the other Ematic tablets do? We'll list some features next.
Ematic Tablet Features
Despite the budget pricing, most Ematic tablets offer these features:
- A Web cam
- Kobo book application for eReading
- A powerful processor to enhance gaming
- HD video player
- A camera
- Built-in voice recorder
- A personal assistant
- A music player
An Ematic App Shop comes loaded on the devices, and although the tablets don't come with the Google Android Marketplace or game store, user shortcuts for downloading the apps are posted on forums online. Some report difficulty in getting the Google features to work while others have no problem.
A USB cable, wall charger and a card for free music download come with a tablet purchase, and the eGlide Prism model even comes with a pair of 3-D glasses for movie viewing. Accessory kits and stands and protective colored sleeves also are available.
If you're in the market for an Android tablet with speed, storage and a low price point, you might want to kick the tires a bit and add Ematic to your list of test drives.
More Great Links
- Burns, Chris. "Ematic Reveals $119 Android 4.0 ICS Tablet "Steal." Slashgear.com. May 29, 2012. (July 28, 2012) http://www.slashgear.com/ematic-reveals-119-android-4-0-ics-tablet-steal-29230693/
- Crider, Michael. "Ematic Launches 10-inch ICS Tablet for $219." AndroidCommunity.com. May 7, 2012. (July 27, 2012) http://androidcommunity.com/ematic-launches-10-inch-ics-tablet-for-219-20120507/
- Fingas, Jon. "Ematic Unwraps 9.7-inch eGlide Pro X Tablet, Widens Its Android 4.0 Horizons in a Literal Sense." Engadget.com. June 26, 2012. (July 27, 2012) http://www.engadget.com/2012/06/26/ematic-unwraps-9-7-inch-eglide-pro-x-tablet/
- Heater, Brian. "Ematic Thinks $120 Is Too Much to Pay for an ICS Tablet, Unveils the $119.95 eGlide Steal." Engadget.com. May 29, 2012. (July 27, 2012) http://www.engadget.com/2012/05/29/ematic-thinks-120-is-way-too-much-to-pay-for-an-ics-tablet-unv/
- McElhearn, Kirk. "Why Apple Chose the iPad's Screen Format." Macworld.com. Feb. 1, 2010. (July 28, 2012) http://www.macworld.com/article/1146035/ipad_screen.html
- Smith, Sherri L. "Ematic eGlide XL Pro II Review." LaptopMag.com. June 18, 2012. (July 27, 2012) http://www.laptopmag.com/review/tablet/ematic_eglide_xl_pro_ii.aspx