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I did not expect this $230 Android tablet to be as impressive as it is

If you're looking for a solid but cost-effective Android tablet, the Oukitel OT5 is a great option that won't break the bank.
Written by Jack Wallen, Contributing Writer
The Oukitel OT5 tablet.

The Oukitel OT5 is a great bargain for a tablet that can serve many needs.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

ZDNET's key takeaways

  • The Oukitel OT5 Android tablet is on sale for $230 on Amazon (with the clip-on coupon).
  • This tablet has an incredible battery life and a buttery smooth display that is sure to please any Android tablet user.
  • The cameras don't compare to those of costlier devices.

Android tablets get a bad rap -- and there's a reason for that. For the most part, Android tablet hardware simply cannot compete with Apple. 

Where Apple focuses on premium, flagship hardware, most Android tablets tend to lean heavily into the budget-friendly zone. And that approach is great because it makes Android tablets affordable. But for those people looking for a more advanced experience, Android tablets are a hard sell these days. Often they include underpowered CPUs, not enough RAM, or displays that do not impress.

Also: These are the best Android tablets you can buy

Every so often, however, I run into an Android tablet that punches above its weight. Don't get me wrong, I've never used a sub-$250 tablet that checked off every box. But once in a while, a tablet comes along that ticks most of the important items.

To be clear, I don't need a table with a best-in-class camera because I don't tend to use tablets for video or photo purposes. What I do need is a tablet with enough resources to function without lag and without crumbling under the weight of multitasking.

View at Amazon

I need an Android tablet that makes it easy to work with the Google suite of tools, read news, work with my teleprompter, and watch the occasional video. I also need a tablet with a solid battery life.

So, when someone from Oukitel reached out to me to review the OT5 tablet, I was more than willing to give it a go (assuming it would underwhelm). When I received the tablet, I fired it up, connected it to my wireless network, associated it with my Google account, and had a play.

Also: The best cheap tablets

To my surprise, this sub-$230 tablet really impressed me. 

No, it's not going to best Apple's flagship tablet, but the OT5 can certainly stand toe to toe with any mid-range Android tablet -- and even some flagship devices.

The specs

Before I dive into my experiences with the tablet, let's take a look at the specs:

  • 12" 2K display at 2000 x 1200 resolution that is TÜV SÜD certified
  • Corning Gorilla Grass 5 screen
  • MediaTek Helio G99 octa-core CPU
  • 86% screen-to-body ratio
  • 16MP main camera
  • Four 1217 speaker boxes
  • 11000mAh battery
  • 36GB of RAM (12 physical which can be increased to 36GB with virtual allocation via the Hybrid Memory section in Settings)
  • 256GB internal storage
  • 7.5mm thick and 560g weight
  • OS Android 13
  • The OT5 comes in gray, blue, or green, and includes a soft cover that doubles as a stand

My experience with the OT5

The first thing that grabbed me about the device is the display. It's quite beautiful, crisp, bright, and large. Even the Windows 11-esque default wallpaper didn't bother me. In fact, the display on the OT5 is probably the best I've seen at this price point. I'd go so far as to say it's better than other, more costly, tablets I've tested.

Next, came the smoothness of the UI. Thanks to the 12+24GB of RAM (12 physical and 24 virtual), the 8-core CPU, and Android 13, the OT5 interface is great. Apps open quickly and switching between them is as smooth as butter.

Also: The best large-screen tablets you can buy

What really struck me about the OT5 is the battery life. I've been using the device for nearly two weeks and have charged it once. Now, I'm not saying you'll get the same longevity from a single charge. If you're using the tablet for social media, watching a lot of videos, or video conferencing, I'm certain the battery life will drop dramatically. But for my general usage, the battery on the OT5 has been seriously impressive. 

Consider the Samsung Tab S8 Ultra (which typically sells for $900-$1,200), which has an 11,200 mAh battery. The OT5 (which sells for $216.89) has an 11000mAh battery. If battery life is a high priority, you certainly cannot go wrong with this tablet.

The caveat

Of course, a sub-$230 tablet is going to have a caveat or two. The big issue with the OT5 is the cameras. That's not to say they are bad. They actually take serviceable photos, so long as you have good lighting. In bad lighting, the cameras can't stand up to most modern phones. But if you can always have good lighting available, you'll find the photos aren't awful.

That's the case for both the front and rear-facing cameras. However, I was actually surprised that the lesser of the two cameras (the "selfie" camera) did a fairly nice job of capturing subjects, as long as the lighting was good.

A sample photo taken by the Oukitel OT5 selfie camera.

My best glamour shot with the OT5 selfie camera.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

My biggest issue with the cameras, however, is the lack of options. I've grown accustomed to the Pixel cameras (which, I know, is an unfair comparison) that include portrait, macro, and other modes to create stunning photos. Instead, the OT5 camera app is fairly generic. You get photos and videos and not much more. But this is a tablet, so you shouldn't expect the level of flexibility found on a phone, especially at the level of the Pixel 8 Pro

So, if your tablet photo needs venture toward the basic, you won't have any problem with the OT5.

ZDNET's buying advice

If you're looking for an inexpensive Android tablet for yourself or as a holiday gift for a friend or loved one, the Oukitel OT5 is an outstanding bargain that makes a strong case for the continuation of Android tablets.

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