m-150If you’re looking for a cheap tablet as an inexpensive e-reading alternative to the iPad, you might want to look a lot further than the Maylong M-150 Android tablet selling for $99 at Walgreens. Jacqui Cheng at Ars Technica has a review of the tablet that might better be called a defenestration—for judging by her description, after dealing with this tablet your first impulse might be to throw it out the window.

Among her list of reasons are that the construction is flimsy, the touchscreen (which is resistive like the old Palm PDAs, rather than capacitive like the iPhone and its brethren) is very difficult to use, and the most simple tasks such as browsing the “App Market” often take several minutes.

Speaking of the App Market, it’s a slimmed-down version of the regular Android Market, though we must say that we never did get any apps to work properly, largely because they wouldn’t connect to the Internet. I was most interested in trying to get the Kindle app to work, since that’s the one task I could imagine being bearable and the Kindle store has the largest selection of all e-book stores. However, no matter how many times I was able to confirm that WiFi was working in the browser, the Kindle app kept kicking me back to say that WiFi wasnot working. The same goes for other apps as well; there was simply no way to get them to use the WiFi, despite the fact that the WiFi was on.

Also, battery time is ridiculous (and not in a good way),

Cheng points out that if you’re looking for good tablet, you’d be better off saving your money for one a little more costly. As for e-book readers, both the Nook and Kindle have devices in or near that price range.

(She also notes that the Best Buy blog has a hilarious set of photos detailing things that the Maylong M-150 would be good for.)

Just more proof that, as much as we’d like fully-functional multi-use devices like tablets or netbooks to get below $100, the only examples so far turn out to be pretty poor deals for the money, and you’d be better off saving for a slightly more expensive refurb. Maybe this will change by next year.


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