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Holiday Shopping and Gift Guide: Tablets

Holiday Shopping and Gift Guide: Tablets

I was walking around SM Megamall during the weekend and I was shocked to find a lot of people buying low-cost but crappy tablets. They were forking out good hard-earned cash for overpriced Android tablets that were running Ice Cream Sandwich but had crappy specs which led to compromised performance. I even saw one person who bought a Honeycomb Android tablet (I almost shed a tear)! If you guys will buy a tablet, don’t settle for the ones that have lousy specs. You’ll just regret it later on. Better just keep the money, wait a little longer, save more, and get the ones that offer the best value for money.

Anyway, that’s the reason why we decided to add another list to our Holiday Shopping and Gift Guide. This time around we’re tackling tablets. Read on for our recommendations! As usual if we missed any good ones please do sound off in the comments section below. I’m sure we won’t be able to get all the good brands.

Google Nexus 7

Google Nexus 7

The Google Nexus 7 is arguably one of the best buys when it comes to Android Tablets. In fact a lot of international tech sites consider it as the “best Android tablet ever”. There are actually 3 models available with different storage options: 8GB, 16GB, and 32GB. Since this tablet will primarily be a media player (games, video, music), we suggest you go for at least 16GB but better if you can shoot for the 32GB. The good news is that you can buy the 32GB from Smart at 0% for 2 years provided you also get a Pocket WiFi device. That comes out to 1,200 a month. Not a bad deal if you ask me!

Read our review of the Google Nexus 7 here.

Ainol Novo 7 Crystal

Ainol Novo 7 Crystal Tablet

We just wrote about this a few days ago. The Ainol Novo 7 Crystal already sports the latest Android software, Jelly Bean 4.1. It also has very competitive specifications. It has a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, 1GB RAM, and a 7-inch Capacitive IPS Display with 1024ร—600 resolution. My only concern would probably be the battery since it’s just 3,700mAh. Read more about this tablet here.

Starmobile Engage 7HD

One of the sezziest 7-inch local tablets

Up next is the Starmobile Engage 7HD. This tablet actually isn’t in the market yet but Starmobile representatives have confirmed to us that it will come out this December. Arguably the best looking local Android tablet, the Engage 7HD has a brushed metal finish which really makes it look sleek and professional. It also happens to have one of the best displays since it has a 7-inch capacitive IPS iscreen with 1280 x 800 resolution. Under the hood you’ll find a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, and 8GB internal storage (expandable via microSD). It runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich but the 1GB RAM gives me hope that this might get updated to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. No word yet on the pricing but it should be less than Php10,000 as per our contact in Starmobile. Read more about the Starmobile Engage 7HD here.

Pipo U1 Pro


This is a rather unheard brand but it’s actually gaining traction on online auction sites like Sulit. The Pip U1 Pro has a very friendly Php6,000 price tag but it actually packs quite a punch with what’s inside it. The tablet has a 1.6GHz dual-core processor, quad-core graphics, 1GB RAM, 16GB internal storage (expandable), and it runs on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean! Definitely worth considering. This is a much better buy compared to the other tablets that are being sold for Php5,000 and less. Read more about the Pipo U1 Pro here.

iPad Mini

The iPad Mini!

You can’t have a “best tablets” list without the iPad Mini! This tablet is probably the best designed and “awesomest” looking tablet out there. Everything from the quality of the materials used to the subtle and slim form factor is just so appealing! Anyway, official Apple resellers aren’t selling them yet locally but there are a lot of online stores that do. The going price right now for the base 16GB WiFi only model is anywhere between Php18,000-Php21,000.

We’ve written an exhaustive review on the iPad Mini already and you can read that here.

iPad 2, 3rd Generation or 4th Generation


If the 7.9-inch for factor of the iPad Mini is too small for you then you’re better off with the 4th Generation iPad. However we will go as far as recommending the iPad 3, and even the earlier iPad 2. When it comes to tablets the iPad really is still king because of the design and the number of apps that you can find only in the App Store (not yet in Google Play). You can read more about the iPad here.

And that wraps up our list. Our main advice is this: don’t settle for the crappy sub-5k tablets. It is much better to just wait a little, save up more, and go for the ones we listed above. Top two options would definitely be the Google Nexus 7 and any of the iPads. ๐Ÿ™‚

Advanced Merry Christmas folks! Dahan-dahan lang sa Christmas bonus! ๐Ÿ˜›

Carlo Ople

Carlo is the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Unbox.ph. During daytime heโ€™s the Managing Director and Partner of a Digital Marketing Agency in the Philippines and by nighttime heโ€™s living out his passion as a gadget enthusiast and story teller through Unbox.

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3 Comments

  1. hopefully a local company will release a tablet with built-in analog/digital tv tuner. I was hoping if ubox can ask someone from Starmobile to try using a usb digital tv tuner on their engage line of tablet.

  2. Could you guys review Acer’s Iconia Tab A110,
    -4.1 jellybean
    -1.2Ghz Tegra3 cpu
    -microSD support

    seems to have the same specs as Nexus7 as well as support for external memory

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