Chinese Tablets – Worth Buying?

My review of the Huawei phone was well received, so here’s my report on Chinese Android tablets from experience gained with three different brands over the past couple of years.

Note that I’m talking about Chinese made but not well known tablets rather than more the well known brands that happen to be manufactured in China. Commonly available from Aussie importers and directly from sellers in China, there are literally hundreds of different models and brands available now. Some are even unbranded and are simply referred to as ‘Google tablets’ (which probably annoys the heck out of Google because they aren’t made by the company) – these are best avoided at all costs to be honest. Some of the more well-known China tablets are made by Cube, Onda, AllWinner and Zenithink.

First off, I recommend only buying from an Australian importer or an EBay seller with a good feedback rating that has a full 12 Month Australian warranty. I have seen some importers that say that their products are covered by warranty but it seems a little hazy who is providing the warranty.

With the price cuts recently by the well known brands like Google, ASUS and Samsung I’d also check prices carefully (including postage) on Ebay as sometimes a known brand device may not cost a great deal more. Having said that, if you want a larger screen and latest (or later) Android versions then buying from an Ebay seller can often save you $100 plus.

Here’s some of the things to watch for – firstly, some China tablets are hardware ‘locked’ to Country=China. While this means that the language and location as far as time and weather can be set to your location, it usually means that only apps that are allowed to be sold or are available in China can be downloaded through the Play Store. The majority of apps are available world-wide but some aren’t. This problem can be overcome to some extent but not usually by the average user. I haven’t checked later tablets for this problem but the most of the ones I have bought or used up to a year ago had this issue. Some tablets aren’t authorised by Google to have access to the official Play Store and these are certainly not worth getting as the range of apps available for these is very limited.

Secondly, be wary of claims made in the Ebay seller’s information like ‘Video call over the internet using Skype’. My tablet description said this but, try as I might I was never able to get the thing to reliably work – at least in a video call anyway. I also had problems syncing the Google calendar too, but overcame this by downloading a calendar sync app for another device, but for the average non-technical user doing this would be beyond their abilities.

While most China tablets run later versions of Android, most of the manufacturers aren’t interested in supplying updates to their products, unlike known brand tablets which usually provide upgrades eventually so you usually have to be happy with the version installed when bought.

The tablet I bought is known as a ‘Cube U9GT2’. Cube make better and faster models now and their larger screen models appear to have very good specs and are cheaper than an equivalent brand name model. Mine has a nice 9.7″ IPS screen which is basically the same as the one in the iPad 2 and has good battery life. It is now a little slow in comparison with newer models but I still use it to browse the net and watch videos both on YouTube or ones I have downloaded and they display very well.

So, the bottom line is this. If you just want a tablet for yourself or the kids or grandkids to play games on, watch YouTube and check email / browse the web and you are on a tight budget, then a China tablet might well suit your needs. If you can afford a little more then I’d stick to the famous branded ones sold through retailers that provide support and guarantee that they are set to Australia – not China! A good example is the excellent Nexus 7 which I will be reviewing soon – watch this space.

Andy

Androids4Seniors


Related Posts

Andy on FacebookAndy on Google
Andy
About the Author : Andy describes himself as "an older geek" and has been assisting seniors with understanding technology for many years. He is involved with his local seniors computer club and believes that seniors appreciate assistance from those of a similar age group.

4 Comments on Chinese Tablets – Worth Buying?

Barry Ward said : Guest Report 4 years ago

If you want to try out an Android tablet without paying too much for a well known branded product and are not keen on buying things via Ebay, etc - then there are plenty of other options. I have a 7 inch Audiosonic tablet which I bought from KMart for $69 ( They also have a 10.1 inche version - and Coles and Aldi also sell devices) . I am VERY pleased with it and it does MOST of what I want. It's greatest weakness for me is that it only has 512K RAM (this is fine for most Apps but Google Chrome needs 1 Gig of RAM to run smoothly - this doesn't matter much because the standard browser in the device works fine and syncs with my desktop Chrome bookmarks) It also has no GPS - which is a bit of a problem if you want to use it with Maps and (I believe) prevents it from installing some Google Play Store Apps ( eg Tripadvisor) . All of the Apps that will not install on my tablet will install on my $99 Huawei Y300 phone. But for the price , it is great.

Andy said : administrator Report 4 years ago

Thanks for the great feedback Barry. By the way, have you tried a Skype video call on it? I have seen one comment from another reviewer who said it worked well which is great news. You can't really go wrong with a $69 tablet bought new from a local supplier because if you have major problems with it you can just return it. Aldi especially have a 'no questions asked' return policy still I believe. Other reviewers have complained about the lower quality screen and performance but you can't expect $200 quality from a $69 device can you? Glad to hear from another happy Y300 owner too - I'm still very happy with mine. Enjoy the tablet Barry and let us know how some of the apps we've reviewed work on it too!

Geoff Greig said : Guest Report 4 years ago

What Barry said about it only having 512K of RAM is important for any low cost Android devises. Most Seniors do not no the difference between RAM and all the other memory's in Android devises. I have found that the RAM memory is often not disclosed in advertising and often disclosed in the specs. Some other consequences of to little RAM are messages such as "unable to install App" even though ther is plenty of other memory available and the Google store saying that app are incomparable with your devise

Andy said : administrator Report 4 years ago

Yes, you make some good points Geoff I agree entirely. I wouldn't touch a tablet or phone with less then 1Gb RAM now as so many apps require a good amount to run and when you factor in the other running apps / system requirements you can quickly run out of room to run or not be able to install a new app. Another thing to consider with devices running Android versions since 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) is that apps can no longer be moved to external storage (like an SD card) so you need to have a good amount of inbuilt storage as well - 6-12Gb FREE space is necessary to install a reasonable number of apps. Buyers should be made aware to check how much free space is actually available for installing apps before buying. Unfortunately, many manufacturers and phone companies are installing so much junk that cannot be uninstalled on their phones and tablets that people can't install what they need!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

Don't forget you can subscribe to receive an email when a new post or review has been added to Androids4Seniors. Just put your email address in the box provided on every page.
Thanks, Andy
Back to top