Electronics seemingly become a bigger part of holiday gift shopping every year, with people expected to spend an average of more than $800 in 2014 on gifts, according to the National Retail Federation. Though most will want the latest iDevice to show to their friends, there are still many other options out there, including some you should stay away from to help make sure every dollar counts.
Here are three tablets to avoid buying this holiday season, at any cost, even if they’re free.
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When you’re doing some last-minute shopping, and you might be in a drugstore such as CVS or Rite-Aid picking up holiday cards or last-minute gift cards, there might be the temptation to pick up a tablet for someone close to you, especially if it doesn’t cost a lot.
Whatever you do, stay away from Coby.
The Coby Kyros is a cheap Android tablet, starting at $139.99, which is a lot cheaper than the new iPad Air 2. While the Coby delivers on price, that’s where it ends. It doesn’t come with access to Google’s suite of apps, it’s heavy (at 1.2 lbs.) battery life is substandard and the touchscreen is awful, making it unusable sometimes.
As if those issues weren’t bad enough, it doesn’t have access to Google Play and its hundreds of thousands of apps. You can download the Amazon Appstore app and get access to apps that way, but Amazon’s selection is much more limited than Google Play or Apple’s App Store.
Stay away at all costs, even if it’s being given away.
Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 8.0
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 8.0 is a relatively decent value, starting at $199.99, but that’s where the highlights end and the nightmare starts for consumers.
The 8-inch tablet is light, at .7 lbs., but considering it’s supposed to compete with the likes of other mid-range tablets, perhaps Samsung should’ve added a bit more computing power to this unfinished product.
With just 1.5GB of RAM, running multiple apps slows it down a bit. Forget about downloading large files, because that makes the tablet nearly unusable while data is being downloaded. The sound quality doesn’t come close to the Amazon Fire HDX 8.9 or the iPad mini 3, and the screen quality is poor at best, with 1,280×800-pixel resolution and poor brightness.
The screen looks really pixelated and if you’re going to spend around $200 on a tablet, you want to be able to enjoy what you’re watching or doing, something that’s hard to do when you can count the pixels on the screen.
Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook
Barnes & Noble had trouble making a Nook tablet people wanted to buy, so what makes Samsung think it can do something differently?
The Tab 4 Nook, which is essentially the same tablet as the Galaxy Tab 4, offers little value for consumers’ hard-earned money, except some bloatware from Barnes & Noble. It has its own Android skin, so it doesn’t look like a stock Android tablet, and comes with a few e-books, some TV episodes, some trial magazine subscriptions and some stock Barnes & Noble apps.
The 7-inch tablet, which costs $179 with a $20 mail-in rebate, offers little storage at just 8 GB, but you can expand it with a microSD card, up to 32GB.
Though it’s been touted as the first Android tablet optimized for reading, most tablets already do a very good or in some cases excellent job of this, and there’s little reason to pick one that doesn’t offer the consumer much else, even if it’s under $200.
Now that you know what to avoid… These are the best tablets you can buy this holiday season