We compare two of the cheapest 3G, 7 inch Android tablets coming from two telecom biggies Bharti Airtel and Reliance Communications.
Close at the heels of Reliance Communications launching its Android Tablet, Bharti Airtel's subsidiary Beetel has also launched a tablet with similar though fewer features at Rs 3,000 less than the Reliance device. Is the cheaper one really a better bargain? Let's find out. Rankings are based on a scale of 10 for each feature.
Round One: Operating System
RCom 3G Tab is based on Android 2.3; whereas Beetel Magiq is based on the older Android 2.2. The Reliance device is a re-branded ZTE tablet so we expect the operating system to be upgraded regularly; while Beetel has chosen its own design and there is no upgrade option available. So, in this round RCom wins hands down.
Score: Beetel 7, RCom 10
Round Two: Processor
Reliance 3G Tab has an 800 MHz processor; while the Beetel Magiq has a more powerful 1 GHz processor. However, Reliance has an advanced version of Android which optimises processor use and therefore performance is affected less by the lower configuration. There is no denying that the performance of Beetel Magic will be better.
Score: Beetel 10, RCom 8
Round Three: Screen
Both the tablets are evenly matched in terms of screen resolution and size with 7 inch WVGA screens. However, the big difference lies in the fact that while Reliance 3G Tab has a capacitive screen, Magiq makes do with a resistive display.
The difference in touch technology is a big one as the touchscreen is where all the interaction takes place. Capacitive technology offers a much better interface with multi touch and pinch to zoom capabilities, and it also lasts longer with low fault rates. Though Beetel has put in a track pad and additional buttons for receiving and rejecting calls on Magiq, that fails to compensate for the difference between the technologies.
Score: Beetel 7, RCom 10
Round Four: Battery
The Reliance device uses a 3400 mAh battery; while Beetel has a 2200 mAh battery. Almost a third bigger, the longer battery life is a big advantage of the 3G Tab.
Score: Beetel 7, RCom 10
Round Five: Other features
Beetel offers better additional features, which include a stand at the back to watch videos, an internal memory of 8 GB versus none in the Reliance Tab (it does have some internal memory but that is just for the OS's components). Beetel Magiq has a 2 megapixel camera at both the front and the rear, while 3G Tab only has a VGA camera in the front.
Reliance 3G Tab wins when we compare its 32 GB expandable memory to the 16 GB of the Beetel device and is also offering 4 GB memory card free, but then Beetel has better internal memory and therefore optimises space as most people in this range do not invest much money on buying a 32 GB card anyway.
Score: Beetel 9, RCom 8
Round Six: Price
This is straight forward: Reliance is more expensive at Rs 13,000;
while Beetel Magiq costs Rs 10,000.
The difference gets amplified as Magiq's price is in MRP, which means there will be further discounts on this price (which is expected to finally settle at Rs 9,000). On the other hand, Reliance has given the actual sale price so there will be no further discounts.
Score: Beetel 10, RCom 5
Round Seven: Bundled offer
This one is tricky while Beetel offers 2 GB 3G data free for two months, Reliance is offering 2 GB data at a discounted rate of Rs 598 for 12 months (Rs 749 is the normal rate). So RCom users will save Rs 151 each month for 12 months, altogether saving Rs 1812. Beetel users, meanwhile, will save Rs 1498 in just two months. We have not taken the 12 month advanced rental plan into consideration as committing to a long plan is risky, and moreover 3G prices are expected to fall.
The big drawback with Reliance is that you get a SIMlocked device, which is a big turn off for many users (breaking the lock voids the warranty of the device). This reason alone means a lot of deduction in points.
Score: Beetel 9, RCom 7
All the other features of both the tablets are evenly matched. The score is that Beetel Magiq has managed 59 points out of the 70 on offer, while Reliance 3G Tab gets 58.
One more advantage is that Bharti has a wider network compared to Reliance. Moreover, Beetel will sell through various channels while Reliance is offering its Tab only at Reliance World outlets. So here too Beetel manages to win.
Reliance 3G Tab is certainly the better of the two devices purely on technical terms, but we look at the price as the first point of consideration and that's what sails the Beetel Magiq through, but only marginally, in this contest.
If you can overlook the budget consideration slightly, Reliance is the one to go for.
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