By Stephen Schenck | June 18, 2012 4:47 PM
Sometimes a manufacturer is able to release a piece of budget-priced hardware that, despite decisions made to keep costs down, still ends up being a quite capable (and consequently successful) device; when it comes to tablets, we need look no further than Amazon’s Kindle Fire. For every model like that, though, there are plenty of others that hit their low price points by making so many compromises that the product ultimately ends up becoming quite unattractive. Today, Idolian Mobile announced its IdolPad Plus, a seven-inch Android 4.0 tablet for a mere $98. Is this going to be another Kindle Fire, or will it fail to impress?
If that extremely low price point has you immediately concerned, you’re not alone. The hardware specs don’t live up to the level of the Kindle Fire, hitting a bit closer to 2010′s Nook Color, instead. Like the Nook Color, the IdolPad Plus is powered by an aging Cortex-A8-based processor, though at least it steps things up to 1.2GHz. There’s a similar 512MB of RAM, but Idolian drops storage down to just 4GB; luckily the tablet supports microSD expansion.
The Kindle Fire and Nook Color both have 1024 x 600 seven-inch displays while the IdolPad Plus has just an 800 x 480 WVGA resolution; that means a pixel density of 133 versus closer to 170 for the others.
So is this a hit or a miss? Well, considering the Kindle Fire may be dropping to $150 soon, the IdolPad’s low price could soon be much less of a selling point. Then there’s also the issue of the quite sizable bezel, which includes a lot of space reserved for Android buttons despite this being a native ICS device. Additionally, we’re a bit concerned by some of Idolian’s eccentricities, like devoting a portion of the model’s product page to pointing out its own faults, like a “pretty grainy” front-facing camera, or the amount of space it dedicates to discussing how great it is that the tablet uses a capacitive touch sensor; that’s kind of what absolutely everyone expects from a tablet nowadays, Idolian.
If you’re interested in picking one up, Idolian is accepting pre-orders for the IdolPad Plus, which should start shipping this Wednesday.