South African consumers are increasingly spoilt for choice when it comes to budget tablet computers with Vodacom and MTN both releasing their own low-cost devices in recent months. Now Microsoft has entered the ring, too, with its 8-inch and 10.1-inch Nextbooks, priced at R1 499 and R2 999 respectively.
While Vodacom’s Smart Tab 3G and MTN’s Steppa both run Google’s Android operating system, Microsoft’s Nextbooks run Windows 8.1, which Microsoft is no doubt hoping will appeal to Windows users looking for a familiar experience on a tablet.
Microsoft is offering the new tablets in conjunction with South African retailer Makro. The devices will go on sale this month.
Both tablets are powered by an Intel Atom 1.8GHz quad-core processor and include 1GB of RAM. The 10.1-inch Nextbook includes 32GB of memory while the 8-inch Nextbook offers 16GB. Both tablets have microSD card slots that allow users to add up to an additional 64GB of storage and both offer a USB port.
Each device includes a 2MP rear-facing camera and a 0.3MP front-facing one. The screen resolution of both Nextbooks is 1 280×800 pixels, which makes for a higher pixel density on the smaller, 8-inch version. The 10.1-inch Nextbook includes a 6 000mAh battery while its smaller sibling offers 4 000mAh.
Consumers buying either Nextbook will get a one-year subscription to Office 365, unlimited OneDrive storage and 60 free Skype World Call minutes per month for as long as they keep their Office 365 subscription paid up.
The larger Nextbook also includes a hard cover with a built-in keyboard and trackpad that Microsoft says makes it an excellent substitute for a full-blown laptop.
“The affordable price points of the Nextbook devices make tablets much more accessible to a larger section of South African consumers,” says Kevin Maier, Makro South Africa’s merchandise manager. “The 8-inch model will appeal to customers who want to hold their device in one hand whilst consuming media on-the-go, whilst the 10.1-inch tablet will find a home with road warriors that want to stay productive wherever they find themselves at a limited budget, without being limited in functionality.”
Stuff will have a full review of the devices up as soon as we get out grubby little paws on them.