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Lenovo Brings Us Into A New Era Of Affordable $99 Tablets

Lenovo TAB 2 A7-10

If 2012 was the year of the $200 tablet (Nexus 7, Kindle Fire, Asus MeMo, etc.), then 2015 may become the year of the $100 tablet. Android tablets that cost only $100 have been launched before and there are plenty of $100 options on the market right now, too. However, most of them are unreliable or they cut important corners, such as having a weak processor or low amounts of memory and storage, and it shows.

In the end, you may be paying half as much for a tablet, but having an experience that's much worse. Ideally, if price is an issue, people want to pay significantly less but not with too many compromises. Many felt that this was the case with the Nexus 7 and thought it was a tablet that punched well above its price category. At the time, if the price was any lower, then the experience would have been significantly worse.

It's been almost three years since the first Nexus 7 though, so by now OEMs should be able to recreate a similar device and experience at a much lower price tag.

Lenovo is one of the first to try that with its TAB 2 A7-10 tablet, which costs only $99 (half the price of the original Nexus 7). The device is powered by a quad-core 1.3 GHz MediaTek MT8127 processor, which is based on the Cortex A7 CPU core and the OpenGL ES 2.0-capable Mali-450 MP4 GPU. Overall, the chip is more or less comparable to Nexus 7's quad-core 1.2 GHz Tegra 3 processor and the same is true for its GPU.

The device also comes with 1 GB of RAM, 8 GB of storage (micro-SD support up to 32 GB), a 7" screen, 1024 x 600 resolution (the only area where it suffers most compared to the original Nexus 7 which had a 1280 x 800 resolution), Wi-Fi 802.11n, Bluetooth 4.0 and a 3,450 mAh battery.

The battery is quite a bit smaller than the 4,300 mAh battery inside the original Nexus 7, but the Cortex A7 CPU built on 28 nm should be significantly more efficient than a Cortex A9 CPU built on 40 nm. Lenovo is rating the battery life at 8 hours, which is a similar rating to what Google gave its tablet when it was launched.

The Lenovo TAB 2 A7-10 will also run Android 4.4 KitKat. The tablet is set to be released this spring, along with a slightly more expensive ($129) and better specs version, the Lenovo TAB 2 A7-30.

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Lucian Armasu
Lucian Armasu is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He covers software news and the issues surrounding privacy and security.