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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

UbiSlate - A $39 Tablet for TapToTalk

In December, Datawind announced a 7" Android Tablet that only costs $39 in the US. Early reviews of the tablet indicated that the UbiSlate 7Ci was a much better tablet than many of the cheap "off-brand" Android tablets that usually show up around the holidays. We were curious about it, so we bought one to test. If a $39 tablet is an acceptable tablet for children as an AAC device, we want our customers to know about it.

So, here is our hands-on review:

Thumbs Up: The UbiSlate 7Ci is a 7" tablet that runs an official version of Android 4.1. For our customers, that means that it comes preloaded with the Google Play app store. It is easy to download the free TapToTalk App.

Thumbs Up: It feels like a solidly constructed tablet. It appears to be able to handle normal child use, like drops on the floor and some mild banging.

Thumbs Up: The touch screen is responsive as you would expect it to be. One of the major complaints we have heard in the past with cheap tablets is that the touch screen does not work well.

Thumbs Up: You connect the tablet with your WiFi as you would any other Android tablet and it works fine. Bad WiFi connectivity was another complaint concerning cheap tablets.

Thumbs Up: The UbiSlate does not have a high end processor, so we were concerned if TapToTalk would run slowly. However, TapToTalk works well. However, other Android Apps that are very graphical, like games, may not work as well.

Thumbs Down: A disadvantage of the UbiSlate for TapToTalk (or any music, video or app using sound) is the speaker. It does not sound as good or as loud as a comparable 7" Kindle Fire or Nook Color, or as an iPad Mini. It also does not support Bluetooth, so any external speaker you might use to make the sound louder must be connected through the headphone jack.

In summary, the UbiSlate is a reasonable, extremely economical device for a TapToTalk user. Assume that you will need to buy an external portable speaker if you are using it much outdoors or in noisy areas. However, we still recommend that the $100-$130 alternatives, such as the Kindle Fire, Nabi 2, Samsung Galaxy Tab and Nook Color tablets, are a better low-priced choice for most TapToTalk users.

This could be a great choice as a backup TapToTalk device (remember, you can run your TapToTalk on as many devices as you wish, no extra charge), or a TapToTalk introductory, learning or therapy device.

To learn more about UbiSlate go to the Datawind website: http://ubislate.us/
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