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iPadAlternative.com — out to back up a brash claim

By: 6 December 2011 One Comment

The Ainol NOVO 7 -- a 7" capacitive touch screen, dual core 1.5 GHz CPU, 512MB of RAM, Android 2.3.4 and 1080p video for $169.99.

If you name your company iPadAlternative.com, you’d better bring a quality product to the table.

What’s the company out to prove? That its tablet PCs – most of which are powered by Google’s Android operating system — offer more bang for the buck than just about anything on the market. How much do the tablets cost? They are available from $89 to $479. Even the most expensive tablet sold by iPadAlternative.com is $20 less than the $499 list price for the entry level model of the industry leading Apple iPad 2. But, are the tablet PCs the company sells truly iPad alternatives?

The company is British-based in Taiwan and offers tablets from China, Korea and Taiwan (which, to be fair, is where most electronics are made these days). But, how do the tablets hold up after consumers purchase and use them? What makes the company from all the other ones manufacturing budget priced tablets made in China?

First Arkansas News asked those questions – and more – of James Ball from iPadAlternative.com and here’s what he had to say (questions and answers edited lightly):

Question: The prices on the tablets your company sells are impressively low. Does that tend to pull in customers or make them wonder about the quality of what they are buying?

Answer: Let’s first take a look at your desktop computer, more often than not it doesn’t have a brand on it but the parts (the hardware) inside do – for example the CPU is made by Intel and the graphics card is made by ATI or Nvidia. If it does have a brand, it will more often than not have the same branded hardware inside it that a non-branded Desktop PC has.

An iPad is merely a branded device with the name Apple on it. It’s not made by Apple, and in fact the iPad itself … is made in China and is using the same hardware as many of the tablet PCs currently available at iPadAlternative.com for a fraction of the price.

Many Tablets that come out of China are copies of other Chinese made tablets. They look exactly the same but what’s inside is basically junk. You receive a Tablet PC through the mail that is no more useful than a paperweight or something to put your coffee on! This, of course, gives Chinese tablets and their brands a bad name. At iPadAlternative.com all our tablets are brand certified so you can be assured you are getting the real deal and not some tablet has been constructed from parts made out of a trash can made in someone’s backroom in China.

Question: As for the quality, the specs on a number of those machines are impressive. While some may not pack the most current technology, it’s hard to deny that capacitive touch screens, fast single-core CPUs, etc. look great when one considers how little these tablets cost. How is your company able to achieve such a savings?

Answer: We are a British company, but we’re based in Taiwan. We cut out the middle man and the huge costs that most western companies need to pay for import VAT (value-added tax) and duty and pass the savings on to you, the customer. Our tablets come direct from the manufacturer. Many of these tablet manufacturers are new companies that are the result of the rising economy in China, are able to sell in large quantities and have access to everything they need right on their doorstep.

Question: I see that most of these are Android tablets, and that leads to a question a lot of people might have – is the “market” listed as a feature on the tablets the honest-to-goodness Google Market for Android or something else? If the “official” market isn’t available, should people be discouraged?

Answer: Some of our tablets have access to the full Android market and some do not but this is no different form many other big brand Android based Tablet PCs on the western market today. For example Archos and Motorola, whose tablets with earlier versions of Android needed to be hacked to allow full market access. It needs to be noted that pre-3.0 Android systems were not initially made for tablet PCs. This of course all changes with Android Honeycomb 3.0 that is made with tablet PCs more in mind. It is the shared opinion of staff at iPadAlternative.com that when Android Honeycomb starts to go mainstream, it will be the beginning of the end for the iPad and its iOS Tablets. The Ainol NOVO 7 (with Android 3.2) is a good example of a next generation Android 3.2 Tablet PC, for the price of $159 the specs are simply awesome.

Question: I once rooted a budget, Chinese tablet so I could get a ROM with the Google Market built into it. I noticed on one of your tablets that your company points to custom ROMS. I take it, then, rooting those tablets is encouraged by your company. Is that the case?

Answer: I am sure you have heard that rooting your tablet has to be done correctly or you will brick the device. This is true. We recommend rooting our cheapest tablet, the EKEN m009s, as it ships with awful firmware. After rooting it with the recommended firmware it has a huge performance gain, so in effect you get a decent tablet for a price that should be criminal but you have to a little work in to gain the benefits. It should also be noted that rooting the tablet does indeed void the warranty! So do so please at your own risk! You have been warned.

Question: Ah, good ole customer support. Since your company is in Taiwan, what kind of customer support can a buyer expect. ROM updates? Email support for those with questions? A return policy? In general, how is customer support handled?

Answer: iPadAlternative.com is based in Taiwan but we also have a customer support number in the UK – if demand exists in the states we will act accordingly. In addition to that we offer a live chat system on our site for any niggling queries or small tech support issues. iPadAlternative.com offers a 12-month warranty on electronic devices unless specified otherwise. If you experience a technical problem with an item within 30 days of its arrival, we will replace the item or offer a full refund with no questions asked.

Question: How many employees does your company have and how long has it been in business?

Answer: Our company currently has six full time team members based in the UK and Taiwan. Founded in 1997 initially as a reseller of desktop and paptop PCs, the company has grown into what is now known as iPad Alternative. We are a British company based in Taiwan with over 14 years experience in the I.T business.

Question: What would you tell a customer who is looking at an expensive tablet such as an iPad 2? What does your company offer that might make them decide to give your products a chance?

Answer: Why pay more? Our Tablets are made in the same place as the iPad and will probably end up on the shelves in the USA and Europe but under a different brand name. Basically get them while they are cheap. Try one of our tablets. If you don’t like it send it back and we’ll refund you no questions asked.

About: Ethan C. Nobles:
Benton resident. Rogue journalist. Recovering attorney. Email = Ethan@FirstArkansasNews.net.

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