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Five Nexus 7 alternatives: 7-inch Android tablets under £200

The Nexus 7 has rapidly become the hottest tablet around - but if you don't want to put your cash towards the Asus-manufactured Nexus 7, then what else can you get for your £200?
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By Ben Woods, Contributor on
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The Nexus 7 has done a fine job of delivering an impressive set of specs at a thoroughly affordable price, albeit at the sacrifice of mobile data — it has Wi-Fi but no 3G. So is there anything else out there that offers a similar experience for about the same amount of money, or even less?

As a baseline, it's worth noting that the Nexus 7 brings with it a 7-inch 1280x800 pixel HD display, 1.2-megapixel front facing camera, Tegra 3 quad-core processor, 1GB RAM and the choice of 8GB or 16GB of internal storage.

Kobo Vox tablet

The Kobo Vox tablet is a mid-point between an e-reader and a full-blown tablet. Its strength lies in the Vox Kobo e-reader application.

Hardware-wise the Kobo Vox brings a 7-inch 1024 x 600 pixel touchscreen display and 8GB internal storage, expandable by a further 32GB via microSD support.

The addition of microSD support obviously gives the Kobo a slight advantage over the Nexus 7 and the devices are equally matched in the connectivity department — neither has 3G. The Kobo also now comes with access to the Google Play store.

However, the lower resolution screen, 800MHz processor and 512MB of RAM don't work in the device's favour. Neither does the virtually ancient customised version of Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) found running on the device or the omission of front or rear cameras.

The specs may not quite measure up to the Nexus 7, but this is at least reflected in the price: it's available now for around £140.

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The Versus Touchpad 7

The Versus Touchpad 7 (not to be confused with HP's now defunct TouchPad) is even cheaper than the Kobo Vox tablet, at just £99, but manages to deliver a generally better spec list.

Spec-wise the Versus Touchpad 7 delivers a 1GHz ARM Cortex A8 processor, 512MB of RAM and 8GB of internal memory, with support for an additional 32GB via microSD.

Given its name, it should come as no surprise that the tablet also has a 7-inch screen 800 x 480 (WVGA) multi-touch display.

Like the Nexus 7 the Versus Touchpad has a forward-facing camera for video calling, unlike the Nexus 7 the resolution of the camera maxes out at 640 x 480 pixel (VGA) resolution.

With a selling price currently at £100 or less, the Touchpad costs less than half as much as the Nexus 7, and brings with it the Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) 4.0 version of Android and access to the Google Play store.

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The Ainol Elf II

With a price tag (£90- £115) closer to the Versus Touchpad's than the Nexus 7's, the Ainol Novo 7 ELF II delivers a lot of tech for the cash.

Under the bonnet it has a 1.5GHz dual-core AmLogic ARM Cortex-A9 processor, 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage, which can be bolstered by a microSD expansion card.

The resolution of the 7-inch display (1024x600 pixels) also delivers more than some of the other tablets on this list, though not the Nexus 7.

Like the others, wireless data connectivity is omitted but the ELF II does come with Wi-Fi, and is the first on the list to offer a mini-HDMI out port for connecting to external devices for big screen playback. It also has a 2-megapixel front-facing camera that bests the Nexus 7's 1.2-megapixel affair.

Unlike some other budget, non-Google certified Android devices, the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich OS also brings access to the Google Play store.

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The Archos Arnova G7

The Archos Arnova 7 G3 offers the smallest amount of internal storage at 4GB but like every other device here — aside from the Nexus 7 — it will support high-capacity microSD cards.

Display resolution is comparable with other devices on the list, but falls far short of the Nexus 7's, or even the Novo 7 ELF II, at just 800 x 480 pixels.

Hardware-wise the Arnova 7 fares better, with an ARM Cortex A8 1GHz processer, 1GB RAM and a mini-HDMI output.

While the Arnova 7 G3 can be applauded for including a current version of the Google Android operating system (ICS), it is somewhat hampered by not including certification for the Google Play app store, meaning that app downloads on the Arnova G3 come from the AppsLib marketplace.

Nevertheless, priced at less than £100, the Arnova 7 G3 is a tough one to leave out of a bargain Android tablet round-up.

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The Samsung Galaxy Tab 2

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 is probably only the second tablet on this list that's widely recognised, and builds on the popularity of the first 7-inch Galaxy Tab, slimming it down a little second time around.

The device offers the Ice Cream Sandwich version of Android, a TI OMAP 4430 1GHz dual-core processer, a 7-inch display with a 600 x 1024 pixel display and 8GB of internal storage, expandable by up to an additional 64GB.

It also provides cameras on both the front and rear, offering a 3-megapixel snapper on the back and a VGA resolution forward-facing camera for video calls.

With a price tag slightly above others on this list (£199) and also the Nexus 7, the Galaxy Tab 2 could be a tough sell if it's sat next to the Google Nexus 7 on the shelf. Nevertheless, its better specced than many tablets and comes with a miniHDMI port, Wi-Fi Direct and Bluetooth 3.0.

After looking at the 7-inch Android options on the market, it's clear that for me the Nexus 7 out-performs most equivalently priced tablets, especially when you consider that some don't even give access to the Google Play app store due to lack of Google certification.

For me the only device on this list that comes close is the Galaxy Tab 2, and even then I'd only consider it if I really wanted that expandable storage and a camera on the rear.

Of course, none of the options above will bring you a healthy dose of Android Jelly Bean when you open the box, either.

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