On the lower end of the spectrum, there is a huge number of options and they remain popular devices for anyone looking for an affordable device to browse the internet and watch media.
The Vankyo MatrixPad S8 is one of the cheapest on the market at around £80 making it cheaper than any phone I have ever reviewed. Is it possible for a tablet to be this cheap and usable? Lets find out.
- 8-inch 1280×800 IPS display
- SC7731 SoC
- Quad-core Cortex-A7 up to 1.3 GHz
- ARM Mali-400 MP2
- 2GB RAM
- Android 9 Pie
- 32 GB Storage – 26GB usable
- 4000mAh battery
Set up is identical to every other Android device you have ever used. There is nothing technically challenging about it but I did have issues with the wait screens not progressing even after several minutes waiting. At one point I had to reboot the device to see if it helped, which took me back a step, but I eventually go there. I think the chipset is so slow that it takes a while to complete these things.
Performance and Benchmarks
Performance is about as poor as you might expect, but the tablet is usable.
The Cortex-A7 based CPUs used on the device were first announced back in 2011 and the chipset is comparable to the Samsung Exynos 3 Quad 3470 which was used on the Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini which launched in 2014. So this is based on ancient technology in the world of computing and mobiles.
Testing this with synthetic benchmarks, the results are predicably dire, with the lowest results of any device I have ever tested.
In general though, as long as you have realistic expectations about what a £80 tablet is capable of achieving, it works OK. While the tabket doesn’t freeze on me there is a noticeable load time when you open apps, and the display and UI are generally not the most responsive.
The display itself isnt the best either, with a graininess from the low resolution and a general washed out colour to everythinbg.
Light web browsing, social media, Netflix all work without too much issue. You may struggle with multi-tasking or if you attempt to run almost any premium game.
Price and competition
If you want a cheap tablet, there is an extensive number of options, but not that many that are better than this based on price and specification.
The obvious two options are the Amazon Fire 7 (£50) and Amazon Fire HD 8 (£109.99). I have not used the HD 8, but the Fire 7 feels like it has the same sort of performance as this tablet, if not a little worse. The Mediatek MT8127 has the same CPU spec but a better GPU, it has half the RAM though. The Amazon Fire HD 8 has a superior spec with a better CPU and GPU. Neither of these have easy access to Google Play Services, though you can sideload it.
For normal Android tablets with Google Play there is:
- Fusion5 104Bv2 PRO for £99.96 – a bit more expensive, but the Meditek MT8163 should offer superior performance (though still poor).
- Huawei MediaPad T3 10 9.6″ £108.25 on Amazon £89 on Currys – This offers a superior chipset but it has less storage and looks like you may be stuck on Android 7
- Tianyida TYD-108 for £64.49 – Bigger display, more RAM, and lower price. The Mediatek MTK6580 will offer the same performance but the higher resolution display will likely negatively affect performance. It has quite poor reviews too.
If you want the best bang for your buck then buying a grey import for the likes of GearBest would likely get you something that performs a bit better. The Teclast P10HD can be bought for just $105.99, which is £85. This uses a Spreadtrum SC9863A chipset with 8-cores, and you get more ram and a better screen. You basically get no customer support, easy returns or warranty going down this route though.
I think it was obvious that this was never going to be classed as a good tablet; performance is not good by any definition. But, it is 80-quid, expecting anything more would have been naïve.
Factoring in the price, it is not a bad tablet, and there is almost nothing from a UK seller offering a superior specification at this price.
It is usable, you can watch Netflix, YouTube, you can browse the internet and social media. The UI can be a bit slow, but it is doesn’t free or hang and is generally usable. In general, it just works, assuming you don’t try and run demanding applications such as games.
It is something I could happily use when I go on holiday, watching media on flights then light web browsing or reading during my downtime, and it is cheap enough that I won’t be too upset if I break or lose it. I don’t have kids, but I assume it would work well for them too, assuming they are old enough to be using fragile electronics.