Google’s Android has been dominating the low-end to mid-end tablet segment. In India, where price is a vital deciding factor while purchasing any device, the affordable Android brigade has been gaining a lot of attention. Android’s Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) operating system, which was announced last year in October has made it to only a handful of smartphones in India and after a considerable delay, but the booming tablet market saw batches of affordable ICS tablets as soon as the year 2012 flagged off. We like the way the Android platform has broadened the reach of great technology and nifty features to all user segments. Today, the affordable tablet market is fierce, and manufacturers have been striving to push prices as low as possible, with some cool features bundled in the device to boot. At one point in time, a tablet under INR15,000 seemed impossible. The tablet market has since showed several options under the INR10,000 hood. Today the prices have been pushed even lower and well below the INR8,000 mark. If you have a budget of INR8000 or less to buy a tablet, you won’t be disappointed as these nifty options are available in the market.

Karbonn Smart Tab 1
Karbonn made its debut in the lucrative tablet market with the Smart Tab 1 this year. This tablet is powered by 1.2 GHz Xburst Processor and runs on the Android ICS operating system. This usual 7-incher may not be a looker but it  is a neat product for its price tag. Some e-shops such as Naaptol are selling it at a discounted price of INR6,990, rather than its maximum retail price (MRP) of INR7,990. The 3700 mAh battery promises upto 7 hours of Internet surfing, 8 hours of video playback, or 25 hours of music playback. It serves as a good eReader and gives access to the vast Android Market. It supports full HD video playback and HDMI too.

New smarty from Karbonn

New tablet from Karbonn: Smart Tab 1

A quick look at the specs:

  • 7-inch capacitive touchscreen with 800 x 480 resolution
  • Support for external 3G dongle, Wi-Fi
  • GPS
  • USB 2.0
  • 2 MP front facing camera
  • 1 GB internal memory, expandable upto 32 GB via microSD slot

iBerry BT 07i/ iBerry BT 07i Limited Edition
When we got our hands on the BT07i tablet in March this year, it came across as one of the good performers in its class. Now, the tablet has been spruced up further with an ICS upgrade, and the company has also launched its limited edition with some smart features. Though it misses out on a primary camera again, we believe most tablets priced under 10K pay very little or no attention to the camera. This 7-incher is fuelled by an ARM Cortex-A10 1 GHz processor, and supports full HD playback and mini-HDMI. The 3600 mAh Li-ion battery offers upto 5 hours of video playback or upto 35 hours of music playback or upto 5 hours of web browsing. iBerry is selling the limited edition BT 07i for INR7,990 here.

Spruced up

Spruced up: iBerry BT 07i

Here is a glance at its spec sheet:

  • 7-inch capacitive 800×480 WXGA TFT LED
  • External 3G, Wi-Fi
  • Front-facing 0.3 MP camera
  • Mini-USB OTG
  • 4GB internal flash memory, expandable up to 32GB

Micromax Funbook 
Our list would be incomplete without including the Micromax Funbook in the under-8k brigade of Android ICS tablets. It has already bagged the Performer position in our under INR10,000 tablet comparison, and we must say it is certainly a good buy at INR6,500. Moreover, Micromax calls it an edutainment device, targeting it at students and those preparing for professional exams. This sleek and good-looking tablet has a 1.2 GHz ARM Cortex-A8 processor at its core while running on the Android 4.0.3 ICS OS. In our battery test, with brightness set to 50 percent and Wi-Fi off, we managed to get exactly 7 hours of battery life while playing a DVD video in a loop, which isn’t bad performance. It is available at several online stores, and also Micromax’s own mStore. The tablet also has full HD and HDMI-out support.

Edutainment on-the-go

Edutainment on-the-go: Micromax Funbook

Take a quick look at some of its specs:

  • 7-inch capacitive touchscreen with 800 x 480 pixels
  • 3G dongle dupport via USB. It only supports Tata Photon dongle and Wi-Fi
  • USB 2.0 (micro)
  • 0.3 MP VGA front-facing camera
  • 4 GB internal memory, expandable upto 32 GB

Wishtel Ira Thing 2
Wishtel also brings in the Ira Thing 2 at a similar competitive price of INR6,500. It comes equipped with a powerful 1.5 GHz processor and runs on Android ICS. The Ira Thing 2 is a home-brewed device tailor-made to meet the specific needs of the Indian user, and combine multimedia, connectivity, and computing capabilities with decent features. It is considered a great deal for travelers, as it offers Navigation, Google Maps, Skype video calling and e-book facilities, supported with various Indian languages.

For frequent travellers

For frequent travellers: Wishtel Ira Thing 2

A glance at some of its specs:

  • 7-inch capacitive TFT touchscreen with 800 x 480 pixels
  • 3G, Wi-Fi
  • GPS with A-GPS
  • USB 2.0
  • 1.3 MP camera
  • 4 GB internal memory, expandable upto 32 GB via microSd slot

Zen Ultratab A100
Zen’s recent entry in the tablet market brings to fore the Ultratab A100 that runs on Android 4.0.3 at an affordable price of INR6,199. Moreover, the tablet is on display on HomeShop 18 initially at a discounted price of INR5,999. This tablet tips the scale at 295 grams, promising utmost portability. The tablet doesn’t look appealing, though. This budget-friendly tablet features 1.2 GHz processor / MALI 400. Its 2800 mAh battery promises above 14 hours of web usage (on Wi-Fi) or 3.5 hours of 720p video playback.

Highly portable

Highly portable: Zen Ultratab A100

Here are some of its specs:

  • 7-inch capacitive touchscreen with 800 x 480 resolution
  • External 3G support, Wi-Fi
  • Micro USB/ OTG
  • 1.3 MP main camera
  • External TF card upto 32 GB

If these devices have failed to impress you, and if you are willing to pay a little more, then take a look at the new WickedLeak Wammy Ethos ICS tablet priced at INR8,999, Zync Z999 priced at around INR11,000 and iBerry AX02. We are sure the market of affordable tablets is going to get more competitive and fierce, especially after Google brings in its own affordable Nexus 7 tablet (though we wish it would be priced under INR15,000).

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