If you can buy one, that is
Xmas is coming, the geese are getting fat, and in the UK the Carphone Warehouse is off-loading all its tat..? So, armed with all of £49, your intrepid GoMo News hack decided to see if what’s claimed to be Britain’s cheapest tablet – Carphone’s 7″ Avoca – is actually worth buying or is little more than a bit of festive junk. But first the announcement. This came just before the weekend and received widespread coverage as Carphone revealed how it was slashing the price of this particular tablet in half. Thus massively undercutting rival devices from Tesco and Argos.
As Carphone’s CEO, Graham Stapleton, described the decision on Friday [25th October 2013], “We know that over a third of tablet purchases are for children and family use but that one of the main barriers to not buying a tablet is cost.”
So far so good.
And what you get is a tablet that runs on Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, boasts a 800×480 resolution screen, along with a 1GHz processor, 512MB of RAM, and comes with 8GB of in-built storage, as well as a Micro SD slot which supports a further 32GB.
The Avoca also has a 0.3-Megapixel front-facing camera for conducting video calls through services like Skype or for taking pictures, and supports WiFi, audio connections and a built-in eBook reader. Up to 8 hours battery life is promised.
But the sting in the tail of the announcement was that the Avoca was available “only while stocks last.”
So, first thing on Saturday, off went GoMo to London’s Oxford Street to splash the cash.
First port of call was Carphone’s Marble Street branch which wasn’t even stocking the Avoca but suggested a visit to the branch opposite Selfridges apartment store, just a short walk around the corner.
And Lo!, just after 10am, GoMo got its mitts one of the remaining devices – only two were left, with one having already been sold that morning soon after the doors opened.
Our verdict thus far? Definitely good value for money even if you might struggle to make sense of the woefully inadequate user manual and its Chinese English advice.
An example – how to reset the tablet: “When the tablet is under the condition of the crash, use a small objects (sic) to short press RESET button” – and so on.
Perhaps as an omen, the tablet did crash soon after GoMo used it, even though the battery was indicating it still had a third of a charge.
But once plugged into the mains with the supplied adapter for six hours, it was thankfully back in the land of the living and doing what it said on the packet.
All in all, a bit sluggish and confusing with the apps and widgets scattered like confetti across the home screen and elsewhere, but otherwise well worth £49.
That’s assuming that Carphone, having garnered a blaze of pre-Xmas publicity, does prove to have more than a handful to sell. Here’s its UK store locator.
Incidentally, the Avoca is actually SIM free so you can use it on any GSM network.