Keith: well, I bought one off eBay. It’s called an ‘ePad’ or ‘aPad’ – basically, it’s an unbranded tablet, although it seems to be widely available. It’s a 10.2” screen and cost me £160 including postage. Impressions?
Well, build quality seems slightly on the flimsy side, although I’ve had no problems in the couple of weeks I’ve owned it.
Google says that Android really isn’t ready for tablet devices yet, and it shows. The ‘operating system’ for the ePad is kind of a kludged up version of a phone operating system. That makes it sound much worse than it is: it’s really not too bad. It can be clunky and slightly erratic, but it’s fine.
It ain’t no iPad, though, in terms of slickness and usability (or build quality). But then, it’s not at an iPad price either.
It accesses the web pretty well via WiFi and also has an adaptor for an Ethernet cable. It’s an OK ebook reader (probably not up to the standard of the Kindle) and is generally fun to play with. Music volume isn’t great, photos look OK (but not as sharp/vibrant as on the iPad).
Things to look out for. Since I got mine, there have been a couple of firmware updates. My eBay seller has been really good about making these available 9and also providing technical support). You have to be pretty comfortable with technology before embarking on a firmware update.
My understanding is that Android Market – where all the cool apps are – isn’t necessarily supported by all Android tablets. It’s worth making sure anything you buy gives you access to the Market.
3G isn’t natively supported either, and it’s not clear yet whether it will be via a dongle, and which future firmware update will support it.
Not yet sure about battery life. I suspct it may not be great.
Would I buy one again? Absolutely! But, I’ve certainly learned that having a professional, knowledgeable, responsive seller is key to getting the most out of these things.