Review: Aldi’s cut-price tablet is put through its paces

Can a €100 tablet find its place in the market? We put it to the test

 

We’re all familiar with the saying “you get what you pay for”. That is usually an adage that can be applied to the ever growing tablet market.

At the top end, with hefty price tags, you have the iPads and high-end Android tablets, with high quality screens and fast performance. At the other, you have cheap Android tablets that are targeting the more cost conscious consumer, with all the sacrifices that brings.

The tablet market is littered with the shells of those tablets that have tried - and failed - to take on their more expensive rivals by waging a war on price. But can Aldi’s latest cut-price tablet buck the trend?

The Medion Lifetab E7318 is a seven-inch tablet that falls into the budget end of the market. Selling for just under €100, the tablet nonetheless claims to deliver a high definition screen and fast performance.

First impressions:

The thick bezel doesn’t exactly give it a sleek appearance, especially given the size of the screen, but it gives you something to grip without spoiling the screen with fingerprints.

Put it up against the regular iPad Mini or the LG G Pad and the difference in screen quality is apparent. The Medion screen isn’t as sharp or responsive as its rivals, although it puts up a decent effort. Scrolling isn’t as smooth, but it beats the majority of the cheaper screens that are offered. At about a third of the price of the more expensive tablets, something has to give. And while the Medion Lifetab may not be quite up to iPad standards, it’s not exactly slacking either.

On the back, it’s a mix of aluminium and plastic, which allows you to get a good grip, but doesn’t feel too cheap either.

On the inside:

The tablet comes with a 1.6ghz processor and 1GB of RAM. That gives the tablet a good shot at multitasking without slowing too much. In a few tests, it managed to multitask without obvious much effort, though the more you ask it to do, the more you’ll see an effect.

The LifeTab will take a MicroSD card , expanding its 16GB storage. That gives it the advanatage against the iPad Mini, which doesn’t allow external storage media.

The LifeTab runs Android Jelly Bean. So not the most up to date version of the software that’s available - that would be KitKat -but it puts it on a par with many of the tablets already on the market. Preinstalled on the device is everything from productivity software (Softmaker, for document editing) to media player Lifeplayer. And of course, Aldi’s own app to promote its weekly deals.

It also comes with a three-year warranty, which is far better than most rival tablets that typically offer a year of coverage.

What else?

The Lifetab 7318 comes with a two megapixel camera, which performs adequately, and an integrated speaker. As you’d expect, the speaker won’t exactly challenge your home cinema system, but it’s enough to watch the odd video here and there. If it’s a little too underpowered for your liking, there’s always the option of a decent set of headphones to consider.

The verdict:

If you’re on the lookout for a cheap and cheerful tablet that will perform all the basics, then the Medion Lifetab is a good option.

The Lifetab goes on sale at Aldi stores on March 27th.

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