If you visit eBay and look for the cheapest new tablet that you can buy, you will find a bunch of sellers selling tablets that all are re-branded versions of the same tablet. They have 4GB storage, 512MB RAM, and an A23 1.5GHz Dual Core processor.
Over the past few years I’ve had an ASUS TF101 Transformer, a Nexus 7, a Thinkpad Twist, and an iPhone 4s. I also have used the iPad 1 and 2 quite a bit at my summer job. I have to say that this $50 tablet is the best tablet that I’ve used. The problem that I have with expensive tablets is that you can get a used laptop and then install an SSD and have a much more functional machine. Obviously a laptop is less portable, but if that is your concern the the 12 inch Thinkpad laptops like the X200,X201,X220,Twist laptops can be found at iPad prices refurbished, and run full OSes.
Personally I have never liked Android, Assuming that you have hundreds of dollars to spend, If you want a tablet because you want a really light machine then the iPad is much more stable, and if you want a machine for “hacking” the Thinkpads mentioned above are a much better fit.
However, at $50, the story is completely different. Apple has no products in that price, and hold their values good enough that you won’t even find a working used device at that price. If you look hard enough, you can probably find a used laptop for that much, but it’s going to be slow, probably have a dead battery, and it’s going to be heavy.
For $50, I have a 7 inch device with Android 4.2 and the Play Store, so I can get pretty much any Android application that I want. It also has wifi (of course) and a nice touch screen. I’m not finding Android any better, it is still slow and freezey (compared to a laptop with Crunchbang and SSD), but this tablet works just as well as any other Android tablet that I’ve ever used. Then factoring in what you can realistically do on a tablet and the cost of an iPad, it’s easily beats them (IMHO). Now, if you read that right, you’ll find that I just said that a $50 tablet is that best one that I’ve ever used. But note, there are a couple of flaws with these tablets. First, the LCD has very bad viewing angles when held in portrait orientation. Second, as soon as I plugged in the AC adapter it made a popping sound and then smelled horrible and no longer works. The solution to this is to charge using the included USB cable.
In the next weeks I hope to post some pictures/answers to any questions.
I’m curious as to what you guys think of the mobile OSes/what portables have/do you use(d)?