11 December 2014

REVIEW: Aldi Medion Lifetab Tablet

A lifebelt for budget tablets

The budget tablet market has grown in scope and popularity this year, with the big boys of Samsung and Apple being increasingly threatened by smaller, cheaper brands. Supermarkets have famously jumped on the bandwagon, with Tesco's Hudl 2 doing rather well with both critics nad consumers. Now it seems that Aldi, themselves a budget shop, have launched their own trimmed-down slate... but without trimming much off. We check out the Aldi Medion Lifetab.

It may be being pushed by Aldi as their tablet, but neither the box, nor the tablet itself, features Aldi's logo or branding. That in itself seems to be an advantage over Tesco's tablet range, which very much carries the sense of being a supermarket product. We know for a fact that that would put many people off (including us), so - and we mean this with no offence to Aldi - no mention of the parent supermarket is already scoring points.

The outside also feels surprising expensive, with a brushed metal back plate and iPhone-like top plastic bar around the camera. We were sent the white version (black also available, as you might have imagined) and it genuinely does look like a quality product. There's a micro USB port for charging, a microSD card slot, a HDMI port (which was also a welcome surprise), and a standard headphone jack. Apart from that, the main camera has a 5MP sensor, while the selfie-cam on the front is capable of 2MP. Oh, and the stereo speaker grills are forward facing. More points, Aldi.

But what is on the inside, eh? This is where budget tablets can really let themselves down, with low-spec components and software. Well, the Aldi Medion Lifetab features a 1.83 GHz quad core processor, a 10.1 inch screen boasting 1920x1200px (which blows the Hudl 2 out of the ocean!), an internal memory of 32GB (expandable via the SD port), 2GB of RAM, and Android 4.4.

Seriously? We know; all of that doesn't sound like a budget tablet, and the memory and RAM inclusion is up there with some Samsung tablets which would be twice as expensive. Add all the above to the fact that Aldi are claiming that the Medion Lifetab's battery will see you happy for up to 13 hours and we start to question reality itself: how can they be asking just £149 for this?

Running Android KitKat on this is a pretty standard and usual affair, meaning we encountered no glitches, lags or freezing, but then again it didn't run like a hyper-powered new iPad either. That processor and RAM combo seem to work perfectly well together however, and as this is aimed at the supermarket crowd, and also those who may be looking for a cheaper tablet just before Christmas - there's not much chance that the internals will be pushed toward breaking point. We played a few heavy  rounds of Star Wars: Galactic Defense on it (or current go-to testing game) and not once did the tablet lag, not even when the screen was literally filled with marauding Wookies.

Hey, and get this: the Aldi Medion Lifetab comes with its own... wait for it... STAND! Yes, included in the box (which contains the usual USB wall charger and wire, as well as a pair of pretty okay headphones and USB extender) is a triangular plastic stand which actually works! Hooray! And it doesn't look like crap either. We would actually use it, in public, without being embarrassed. Nice touch.

There isn't much else to say about the Aldi Medion Lifetab. If you're familiar with Android 4.4 KitKat you're going to get a pretty conventional but solid user experience. Those for whom this may be the first foray into the world of Android tablets, you really won't get much of a better introduction - at a better price - than this. We heartily recommend it.

£149 (stocks will be limited so snap one up, pronto!)

© The Test Pit

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