The iPad isn’t the only tablet on the market with a 9.7 inch, 2048 x 1536 pixel display anymore. It’s just the most expensive.
Last month Chinese tablet maker Cube announced plans to launch the Cube U9GT5 Android tablet with a Retina-style display. Now it’s available for pre-order from the Cube website for $266. Or if you’re looking for something in-stock now, Pandawill is offering the Chuwi V99 Retina tablet for $290.
In fact, a quick scan of AliExpress shows plenty of tablets with 9.7 inch, 2048 x 1536 pixel displays — although most of them seem to be labeled Cube U9GT or Chuwi V99. Most are already shipping and cost less than $300 — although not all sellers offer free shipping from China.
On paper there’s no much difference between the Cube and Chuwi tablets. In fact, they may be based on the same design, because that’s the way these things tend to get built in China.
Here’s a run-down of the specs that are common to both models:
- Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
- 9.7 inch, 2408 x 1536 pixel display
- 1.6 GHz Rockchip RK3066 ARM Cortex-A9 dual core CPU
- Mali 400 quad-core graphics
- 1GB RAM
- 16GB flash storage
- microSD card slot
- 2MP front camera
- 2MP rear camera
- 802.11n WiFi
- Bluetooth 2.0
- 10,000mAh battery (up to 10 hours)
- Google Play Store
Cube says its tablet also has an HDMI port, and at least one of the listings I’ve seen for the Chuwi tablet says there’s one on that model as well.
Most Android apps are designed for phones and tablets with widescreen displays, while these two tablets have iPad-like 4:3 aspect ratio screens. But as I saw when I reviewed the Lenovo IdeaPad S2109 this summer, that’s not much of a problem these days, since most Android apps can scale to fit multiple screen sizes.