You might initially think that choosing a lesser-known brand means you'll have fewer tablet options. Think again. Nextbook offers not one, not three, but a whopping 11 different tablets. The company divides them into three different series: the Classic, Premium and top-of-the line Premium SE.
At the lower end of the spectrum is the Classic series, which includes the Next2, Next3, Next5 and Next6 models. The Next2 is definitely a bare-bones unit, including Android 1.5, 2GB of built-in flash memory, and a 0.6GHz Pentium 4 CPU. It has a 7-inch touch-screen display (800 by 400) packed into a form factor that measures 7.48 by 5.11 by 0.44 inches (19 by 13 by 1.1 centimeters) and weighs 0.77 pounds.
It includes a USB cable, a protective case and an A/C adapter for charging purposes. The lithium-ion battery is rated for approximately 10 hours of use. There are built-in speakers and WiFi connectivity; however, there's no camera whatsoever.
Nextbook touts this model primarily as an e-book reader, and as such, it's preloaded with 25 books. It's also set up to work directly with Barnes & Noble's online store so that you can easily download new titles. The price? You can find this one for less than $100.
Contrast the Next2 with the $280 Premium 10SE and you'll see plenty of differences. The latter has a 9.7-inch (1024 by 768) capacitive display, a speaker and a 0.3-megapixel camera. There's 8GB of onboard flash storage, but you can boost capacity to as high as 32GB thanks to the microSD slot.
The improved OS is one of the most critical upgrades in the Premium series. Instead of being stuck with an antiquated version of Android, you'll have Android 4.0.3, which is nicknamed Ice Cream Sandwich. Thus equipped, your device will have a fuller range of capabilities (such as Flash compatibility) and more app options.
Perhaps you want to find some middle ground between these devices. In that case, you can sift through your options in the midrange Premium (that is, non-SE) tablets. The most apparent difference here is, again, the OS. Instead of Android 4.0, these come with Android 2.3. You can choose between a 7-, 8- or 9-inch display.
The 8- and 9-inch versions have a front-facing, 2-megapixel camera. They also ship with a 1GHz Cortex A8 CPU and 512MB RAM.
Of course, hardware and software specs are just pieces of a complex tablet puzzle. How all of these pieces come together really makes or breaks your tablet experience. On the next page, we'll check out Nextbook tablet features and performance.