(Photo: Reuters) A file photo of the logo of Lenovo on a computer monitor during a news conference in Hong Kong.
Cyber Monday is a time to grab discounts and make practical tech shopping choices. For the curious, it is a good time to look at what's out there and see how prices match gadget specs.
If you are only beginning to explore 7-inch tablets available in the market today, check out the Lenovo-manufactured Smart Tab II for Vodafone. This is probably UK's cheapest tablet. An Android device, the cheap tablet is available via Vodafone in the UK for only £29 (US$47) on a 24-month contract. Should you try it?
Vodafone Smart Tab II: £29 deal, £20 monthly
The £29 deal involves a monthly payment of £20 (US$32) per month for 2GB data. Users can connect via 3G or Wi-Fi. For quick e-mails and quick web queries, the 2GB data monthly may suffice. But if you are fond of downloading apps, videos and other media, 2GB is certainly not enough. You will have to pay extra for more bandwidth.
The Smart Tab II tablet has just been released this November. It is 11.5-mm thick, runs on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, and has 1GHz processor.
The best thing about the Smart Tab II - at least for users in the UK - is the small amount of initial payment involved.
However, note that this 7-inch tablet's 1,024x600-pixel screen - while pretty decent - is not really for maximum visual entertainment. This is also not the ideal primary mode of connectivity, but it can be great for kids who want their own tablet experience with offline games and apps.
Vodafone's Smart Tab II is not very fashionable and eye-catching in terms of design and overall aesthetics. Prospective buyers could only hope that what it lacks in visuals, it makes up for in terms of usability and user-friendliness.
The Smart Tab II has a 2-megapixel primary camera and 0.3-pixel camera for video calls. These figures do not promise crystal clear images, but it is enough for non-frequent tablet camera users.
The Smart Tab II: Storage, battery, off-contract
The Lenovo-manufactured tablet allows 4GB of space for storage. You can expand this space with a microSD card and have up to 32GB extra storage. The device is powered by a 3550 mAh battery, which means battery life is somewhere around 9 hours or less.
Buyers can get the device off-contract for £149 (US$240). This price includes 500MB of data for 60-days, and top-ups cost £5 (US$8) for every 250MB data in a 30-day period.
Smart Tab II users can get apps from the Google Play store.
Do you think this gadget is worth a try? It is best to compare it against other devices worth $240 or less if you are spending under some budget constraints.
Vodafone Partners with Lenovo: The Smart Tab II Video
This video describes the Smart Tab II from Vodafone and Lenovo.