When searching for inexpensive and smaller Android tablets for a case mod project I’m considering, I was shocked to see the rock-bottom prices of some Android tablets on the market. We’ve heard the horror stories before, and so naturally, I was wary when I found the not-quite-rock-bottom $150 price of the Velocity Micro Cruz T301 with some pretty respectable customer ratings.
I ordered the tablet having well read what to expect. I knew out of the box I wouldn’t be able to use the Android market. To be honest, I can’t think of one app off the top of my head I’d want, anyway. As long as this device browses the web and browses it well, I will be pleased.
I have to say, I am pretty pleased with the tablet thus far. I happen to think the 7″ size is an overlooked segment of the tablet market, and I find it fits it one hand, not unlike the original Samsung Galaxy Tab. The back of the case does have a unique texture and the buttons are perhaps a bit gaudy, but overall the tablet feels solid. The screen is not the sharpest, but I appreciate the 800×600 ratio. Many tablets this size go for the overly long and thin approach, hoping to capitalize on the ability to watch “widescreen” movies, while really just depriving you of portrait screen real estate.
The experience using the tablet is where the tablet has really exceeded my modest expectations. Firstly, I did not have to upgrade to Android 2.2 as the upgrade was already complete. Nice. Next, I tried browsing the web and found the browser zippy and responsive to my commands and keystrokes. I was scared to death this device was going to chug and choke on even the most elementary tasks, but I am happy to say, that it looks like a most competent web browsing tablet.
I have not tried the Kindle store, or the Cruz market, but I’m sure I’ll get around to it. I should also mention the tablet came with a docking station, a protective pouch, and a 4GB SD card. Not bad extras for a budget tablet.
Admittedly I haven’t pushed the tablet very hard or expected very much, but I anticipate books and websites being the majority of most tablet users’ needs, and in these areas, the Cruz seems quite the good deal. Of course, I’ll report back if anything changes.