Aldi has become the latest retailer to jump onboard the competitive budget tablet computer market with its new Medion Lifetab Android tablet priced at £79.99. But, before you go and snap one up, there is a reason that the Medion Lifetab E7316 is priced so low.
The Lifetab does not compete so well on features, with similar specifications to Argos’ poorly received Bush MyTablet. After all, it does face stiff competition from other 7in tablets, including Google’s £199 Nexus 7, Amazon’s £99 Kindle Fire and Tesco’s Hudl, which retails for £119 or less. Compared to the recently released Tesco Hudl, the Argos’ MyTablet offers a lower resolution screen, smaller storage, a reduced battery capacity and a less powerful processor.
The Aldi tablet does have some redeeming features as it has full access to the Google Play store and can run any of the 850,000 standard Android apps. The Lifetab comes pre-loaded with a series of free Android apps including a media player app, a drawing app, a Microsoft Office compatible work suite and a 30-day trail of Kaspersky Tablet Security. The Lifetab E7316 has a standard-definition 1,024 x 600 7in screen and runs Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean. It is powered by a 1.6GHz quad-core processor, and has 8GB of storage as well as microSD and USB capability for connecting peripherals and storage. There is a front-facing VGA camera that enables video chat and a two-megapixel camera on the back that will capture photos and video. A micro USB port provides PC connectivity and charging, while the Bluetooth 2.1 connectivity will allow a connection to wireless headphones.
Aldi admits that it is “by no means the first supermarket to launch a budget tablet” but that at £80 it is “still one of the most competitive” meeting consumer interest for low-priced technology gifts. Ben Wood, a mobile analyst with CCS Insight said, “At £79 tablets approaching ‘disposable technology’ levels with consumers barely pausing when they make a purchase. The sting in the tail is that price is obviously a key factor in product quality and consumers risk being disappointed by ultra low cost tablets.” “You can be seduced by the price, but be very careful what you’re getting – there are trade offs when you get down to this kind of price,” explained Wood, joking that “if it carries on like this, tablets will be falling out of cereal packets.” Wood went onto say that “When it comes to tablets, the intensity of competition between UK retailers is staggering,” which is not surprising as in the first half of 2013, almost 6m tablets were sold in the UK and demand is expected to accelerate towards the Christmas holiday. Aldi’s bigger rival Tesco, announced that it had sold 300,000 Hudl tablets since its launch at the end of September.
Other retailers, whether online or high street sold a massive 8.3m tablets in the UK in 2012, according research firm CCS Insight, and more than half of sales came in the last quarter of the year alone.
[Image via news.superzoo]