The competition for the money in your wallet can be cutthroat, so it's hardly a surprise to see manufacturers attempt to offer the most budget-friendly devices around. Datawind is certainly taking the phrase "budget-friendly" to heart with its latest tablet, the UbiSlate 7Ci. The tablet, which is a holdover from an Indian initiative to bring low-cost tablets to college classrooms, is launching in the UK with a price tag of just £29.99. That's an incredibly low price, and it sort of goes without saying that you probably shouldn't expect much in the way of stellar components if you're only paying around $49 US for a tablet.
Still, the fact that Datawind can offer a functioning slate for such a low price is impressive to say the least, so let's have a look at the specs. Users will have a 1GHz Cortex A8 processor at their disposal, working in tandem with 512MB of RAM and running Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich. 4GB of internal storage is all the UbiSlate 7Ci ships with, but that can be expanded through the included microSD slot. Finally, don't hold out much hope for stunning visuals, as the 7Ci merely sports a 7-inch WVGA display. So, unsurprisingly, Datawind's tablet falls a little flat on the technical side of things, but when you're talking about the "cheapest tablet in the world," there isn't much room to complain.
While the UbiSlate 7Ci won't be topping any must-have lists, it seems safe to expect at least decent performance during the holiday season. IDC tablet and smartphone analyst Francisco Jeronimo points out to The Guardian that low-cost tablets are always in demand around the holidays, with parents opting to take a less expensive route to outfitting their children with smart devices. "Parents looking to give gifts to children and teenagers are unlikely to spend £400-500 on a tablet, so tablets sub-£100 are less of an investment and more of an attractive disposable gift."
When it comes to budget tablets, UK consumers certainly have plenty to pick from. With tablets from Tesco, Argos, and Aldi all coming in around (or a fair amount below) £100 – not to mention Google and Amazon's budget offerings – there's no lack of devices to be had on the cheap. Datawind's UbiSlate 7Ci is easily the cheapest, though, but is there a certain point where specifications win out over price? With technophiles, that's definitely the case, but as far as mainstream consumers are concerned, we'll have to wait until we see sales numbers before making the call. Would any of you consider picking up a £30 tablet, despite the unexciting internals?