You wait years for one retail giant to put its name on a tablet and another follows suit within a month. Arriving hot on the heels of Tesco’s Hudl is the Argos MyTablet – a 7-inch device that runs on Android and comes with an eye-catching £99 price tag.
The MyTablet’s specs are focussed on the cheap and cheerful with little to dazzle fans of the iPad Mini and other premium devices. But then not everyone wants to spend around £300 on a tablet. The Argos tablet is designed to compete at the growing budget end of the market – alongside the Hudl, Kindle Fire and the £100 more expensive Google Nexus 7.
Is the Argos MyTablet’s spendthrift-friendly price too good to be true? We take a look at its key features to find out if it could be destined for test lab success.
Tablet reviews – our verdict on the latest models
Argos MyTablet – design
It’s no coincidence that the Argos MyTablet has launched in time for Christmas. Available in pink or silver, this 7-inch device is firmly targeted at a teenage audience of first time tablet owners. This means corners have been cut to reach that eye-catching £99 price. For example, its touchscreen’s 1024×600 resolution means it’s not capable of playing HD movies or TV shows. The MyTablet’s weight and dimensions weren’t available at the time of writing.
Argos MyTablet – five key features
An Android tablet – like the Hudl, Nexus 7 and many more 7-inch tablets, the Argos MyTablet runs on Google’s Android operating system. This means you’ll have access to hundreds and thousands of compatible apps like Netflix and Spotify through the the Google Play Store. Naturally, the official Argos app comes pre-installed too.
Five hours of battery life – Argos is claiming its MyTablet offers just five hours of battery life. Hopefully this total refers to video playback, otherwise you’ll really struggle to get much use out of it. In contrast, the new Nexus 7 and iPad mini offer 11 hours of video playback from a full charge – our lab tests will reveal how the MyTablet compares against them.
A budget processor – the MyTablet features a 1.6GHz dual-core processor, whereas Tesco’s Hudl features a 1.5Ghz quad-core processor. More cores in a chip means it should be better at multi-tasking across apps, so we’d expect the Hudl to be a faster tablet in testing.
Lacking in storage space – most tablets offer 16GB storage as standard but Argos has skimped with the MyTablet to offer just 8GB for apps, music and video. Some of this will already be used by its pre-installed Android operating system, so you’ll want to take advantage of the device’s Micro SD card slot to add up to 32GB more storage space.
Not for tablet photographers – tablets aren’t great for taking photos at the best of times. You’re better off using your phone or a compact camera. The MyTablet features a 2-megapixel camera, which unlikely to produce anything you’d want to frame for your living room.
Which? expert verdict – ‘A budget tablet with its focus firmly on ‘budget”
I’m all for the likes of Tesco and Argos releasing their own tablets, especially if they can spur on Google and Amazon to offer better value devices at the budget end of the market. On paper, Tesco’s Hudl looks like a great 7-inch buy and I can’t wait to see if it emerges from our test lab with a worthy score.
In the case of Argos’ MyTablet, alarm bells were ringing in my head as soon I delved into its specs. Five hours of quoted battery life is really poor and 8GB of storage won’t be enough for most users either, although you can at least expand this. It’s as though Argos started at that £99 price point and then figured out how to make the MyTablet.
Given its own-brand CnM tablets have failed to impress in the past, I’ll be interested to see whether the high street retailer has raised its game this time around.
While I wouldn’t write off the MyTablet before it’s been through our test labs, on paper the Tesco Hudl and Kindle Fire HD look like better tablets.
Both those tablets are priced at a slightly more expensive £120, so it may be that spending a bit more money on your Christmas tech purchase will make for a happier New Year of tablet ownership.
Rob Leedham – writer