Cheap tablets are tempting buys during holiday sales. From Black Friday sales to Boxing Day, it’s ridiculously easy to buy a cheap tablet these days.
Unfortunately, cheap tablets are rarely all they’re cracked up to be. They’re often made with low-quality components or they’re extremely fragile. Some have disappointing battery life, while others have worse resolutions than 1990s-era TVs.
Thinking of buying a cheap tablet? Today, I’m going to give you 5 reasons why cheap tablets aren’t just awful: they’re downright dangerous to use.
5) Many tablets don’t have malicious app protection
Cheap tablets have some serious security flaws. One of the most serious flaws is that they have malicious app protection turned off by default.
That means anyone can pick up your tablet and download apps from third-party websites outside of official app stores. The only reason you should turn this off is if you’re about to download an app from a third-party source that you know is legitimate, and then you’ll immediately re-enable this setting afterwards.
Leaving this setting turned off by default opens your tablet to a wide range of vulnerabilities – especially if you let children or the elderly use it. All it takes is one click on a shady popup and you’re in big trouble.
Fortunately, it’s easy to turn this setting back on again. To do that, go to Settings > Security in Android and then scroll down to the unknown sources box. Check that box to re-enable protection if it’s not already enabled.
4) Some tablets come pre-rooted
Many cheap Android tablets come pre-rooted out of the box. This is a good thing if you’re an Android power user and are comfortable installing a new custom ROM over top of your existing ROM.
But if you’re not, and you leave your Android unrooted as-is, it could be easily hacked by even a lazy hacker. Rooting Android may speed up your operating system and come with many other benefits, but it also leaves you open to be exploited due to unpatched security holes.
3) They’re slow, buggy, and have poor battery life
If you can find a cheap tablet that offers fast performance, good battery life, and excellent resolution, then you might as well buy it because that tablet is like a unicorn: so rare that it might as well not exist.
Truth be told, when you’re paying less than $150 for a tablet, you can’t expect to find good hardware inside. Manufacturers have to cut costs somewhere, and they often start with RAM, processor speed, and display quality.
Making matters worse is that these tablets often use buggy versions of the Android Open Source Project, which is the version of Android that is free for anyone to use. This version is often modified by third parties and is often lacking critical security features or functions.
2) Custom version of games you don’t need
One of the annoying parts about buying a new computer or tablet is that it comes pre-installed with “trial” software you probably will never use.
Well, cheap tablets often take this idea a step further: they customize classic mobile games like Angry Birds using self-serving code. Instead of buying in-game items from official manufacturers like Rovio, for example, you might end up submitting your credit card information to a malicious third party.
Soon afterwards, you might find that you’ve lost access to your bank accounts or credit card information.
1) Pre-installed adware
Most tablets come with some form of pre-installed software or apps. Samsung’s ChatON, for example, comes pre-installed on most Samsung smartphones and tablets, as does S Planner and the Samsung Camera.
But cheap tablets need to make their money somehow. And unfortunately, they often make their money by selling hard drive space to the highest bidders. Tablet manufacturers might make space available on the tablet for a certain malicious app.
When testing tablets, we’ve found that as many as 65% of tablets under $150 come pre-installed with some type of malicious or advertisement-based software.
Ultimately, you can buy a tablet for as little as $50 or $100 today. These tablets may look all right. They could have decent specs and, after all, you’re just going to use it to browse the internet, so you don’t need anything too fancy, right?
I’m not here to tell you that buying a cheap tablet is something you should never do. But just consider the 5 points listed above before you make your purchase. You’ll avoid disappointment in the future.