Have some fun with a “beater” tablet

Looking for cheap geeky fun? One of the ways I amuse myself is by getting cheap “beater” tablets. It’s pretty amazing how much sophistication you can get for $50, and with such choice! This is hardware that would have gone for close to $1,000 just six or seven years ago, running the latest version of Android or Windows 10 and complete with multitouch screens, upgradeable storage (something iPads still don’t have) and a full suite of apps. You can e-mail, browse, and even stream video with these little wonders and they won’t cost you much at all.

Generally the big tradeoff is battery life… expect 1.5 hours of battery or even less from devices like this, and since most aren’t powered by the USB port you’ll find that you can’t use a powerbank or anything like that for extra juice.

When you’re looking at a cheap tablet like this, there’s practically nothing you can’t do. They’re great alarm clocks. Mount them to the wall for weather stations. Turn them into super-remotes for your TV or satellite unit.

Or, give them to your kids, or your friends’ kids when they visit. Pair them to a wireless “guest” network and they’ll have fun doing whatever they do with the apps you have already preinstalled and you won’t have to worry about them touching your tech.

Personally, I set up a separate user account and a separate app store account linked to a visa gift card. This way I don’t worry about any site stealing money and I can feel comfortable visiting some of those dicier locations that you always hear about.

When you really think about it, there’s nothing you should be afraid of doing with a sub-$50 tablet. I mean, it’s not like you really want to flush the money down the toilet, but how upset are you going to be if a $50 tablet stops working, if your little one beats too hard on it or if it catches some sort of malware? Just don’t store anything personal on it and keep it away from other devices on your network and who cares?

Shop now for tablets from Solid Signal and choose one to have around… just for fun!

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.