Shopping for a tablet? Among 7-inch models, the Google Nexus 7 has a stellar reputation and a reasonable starting price of $199.
If you like the hardware but don’t want to spend quite that much, there’s another choice that’s arguably a bit better–for less. The Hisense Sero 7 Pro sells for $149 and matches–or even exceeds–the Nexus 7 at nearly every turn.
For example, like Google’s flagship tablet, the Sero 7 Pro features an Nvidia quad-core processor, a 1,280×800-pixel IPS display, Android 4.2, Bluetooth, GPS, and even Near Field Communication (NFC) technology.
Unlike the Nexus 7, it adds a microSD slot for memory expansion, a rear-facing camera (one that can shoot 5-megapixel photos and HD video), and an HDMI output. It’s a surprisingly well-equipped tablet for the price.
So what’s the catch? The Sero 7 Pro comes with just 8GB of storage, versus 16GB on the entry-level Nexus 7. Thankfully, that’s easily remedied via inexpensive microSD cards. For example, I routinely see 16GB cards selling for around $10, which would bring your total storage to 24GB and total price to $159.
To look at this another way, the Sero 7 Pro is a better Nexus 7 than the Nexus 7, and for less money. Ah, but is it really better? I haven’t had any hands-on time with it yet, but I place a lot of stock in user reviews. As of this writing, the Hisense tablet has 15 of them–12 of which give it five stars. Two more rate it four stars.
Thus, I think if you’re in the market for a powerful Android tablet, but your budget won’t swing as high as $200, the Sero 7 Pro is a mighty compelling choice.