Increasingly, tablets are becoming the dominant form of portable computing. Although only a few currently on the market offer decent processing power sufficient to use in lieu of a laptop, it’s entirely probable that these devices will progress in leaps and bounds to the point of market domination. The high end tablets perform well, but also have a high price tag attached to their brand, which paves the way for cheaper tablets making their way into the market.
With the good, comes the bad and the rather ugly. There are tablets that occupy the hideous waste of space category, those which really shouldn’t have been allowed to see the light of day. We’re here to guide you clear of these mistakes, by pointing out the worst of a bad bunch.
Blackberry PlayBook (2011)
The oldest tablet on this list, I included it mainly because it’s a contradiction, and a bit of a sad case. Added to that the relatively recent announcement by BlackBerry that the PlayBook would not be moving to Blackberry 10 OS, and on reflection it seems unlikely that many consumers will bother with what is essentially a dead-end, unsupported product. Apart from the fact that I know nobody who owns this piece of hardware, I find it a bit contradictory that there could be such strong hardware inside it, yet it is completely at odds with the dismal OS and lack of Android support. This 7” tablet has a 1024×600 WSVGA capacitive touch screen, a 1GHz dual core processor, 1GB RAM, dual HD cameras (3MP front and 5MP rear), HDMI video output, WiFi and Bluetooth, and yet the software was buggy, the App Store was crap on launch, and overall it just felt rushed. To be fair I, Blackberry did attempt to improve its services and to a certain extent improve sales of the PlayBook, but only after a substantial price drop.
D2 Pad 712 (2013)
Completely underwhelming. That’s probably the best compliment I can hand out. A terrible 800×400 display that looks fuzzy and low res (probably because it is), combines with hideous lag and poor performance. Although I haven’t experienced this personally, by many reports it also has an inconsistent speaker that works intermittently. For the fact that most tablets nowadays come with dual-core processors, it’s really not acceptable that this is a single core, although I suppose this fact and the terrible display go hand-in-hand here. Although touted as kid-friendly, I don’t know that I would even inflict this on my toddler who would likely be frustrated by the slow response time.
Toshiba Excite (2013)
While this is hardly the worst tablet on the market, it’s hardly anything to get excited about as the name would suggest. It does offer a pretty decent audio experience, and that can’t be said of many tablets on the market. The battery life is also decent, which does earn this tablet a thumbs up. Sadly for such a low-res display and quite bland and uninspiring design, it’s rather pricey, and it’s this more than anything else that earns the Excite a place on our list. If I wanted to pay upwards of R2000 (US$169.00 without import, etc), I would rather choose something with a better display. And that was less ugly.
Coby Kyros MID7047 (2013)
Even if it didn’t have a singularly uninspiring name, this cheap tablet would still be pretty shit. Battery life is terrible, design is ugly and bulky, the screen quality and touch responsiveness is shameful, and it can’t access the Google Play store. I often wonder why manufacturers still release Android tablets that don’t support this capability. Oh, and did I mention there’s no Flash support? Add to that the narrow viewing angle on this awful low-res display, which means that it’s even more tedious to view anything on it. Plus, the damn thing doesn’t charge via USB. Finally, its sluggish performance means you rather should avoid this altogether.
Hipstreet Titan XK HS-7DTB4 (2013)
Where do people come up with these names? Possibly the worst named tablet in the history of tablets. Would I ever buy something called the Hipstreet Titan? Hell no! Apart from which it’s the crappiest tablet on this list. Most notably it has appalling battery life – seriously, somewhere in the region of two hours – that’s less than most smartphones being used at full capacity! Coupled with sluggish performance, no Google Play support (I mean WTF?), and a crap display, why would you put yourself through the misery of wasting money on something no-one in their right mind would consider. If you have considered it you need to be committed.
Yeah we might all bitch about how expensive tablets are in this day and age, but really, when you look at the options, you want to get the most bang for your buck, as “they” say. Sure, you might have to save up a little longer for a more expensive, better quality model, but at least you’ll still be able to use it in a couple of years. In fact, it will likely still be supported by the manufacturers, which is more than we can say for more of these hideous pieces of engineering.