Ematic announces 8-inch Android tablet priced at $129.99

In case you're keeping score, that's a full $200 less than Apple's 8-inch tablet. How does it compare? On paper, surprisingly well.

The Ematic EGP800's specs rival the iPad Mini's, but the price sure doesn't.
The Ematic EGP800's specs rival the iPad Mini's, but the price sure doesn't. Ematic

Looking for a tablet that's a bit larger than, say, a Google Nexus 7 or Kindle Fire HD ? The poster tablet for "slightly bigger" is, of course, Apple's 7.9-inch iPad Mini , but it starts at $329.

Today, low-cost tablet maker Ematic launched the EGP008, an 8-inch model priced at $129.99. How does it compare with the Mini? You might be surprised.

The EGP008 measures 7.9 inches by 6.1 inches by 0.4 inch -- wider and thicker than the Mini, but not by much. It is, however, definitely on the heavier side at 1 pound.

Surprisingly, Ematic's tablet matches up pretty closely when it comes to the screen, at least in terms of specs: 1,024x768 pixels, same as the Mini, and 160 pixels per inch (versus 163 on the Mini). Ematic also promises the same 10 hours of run time on a charge from the EGP008's 3,000mAh battery.

Unsurprisingly, the Mini has the faster processor in the form of Apple's A5, though I'd say the EGP008 is no slouch with its 1.6GHz dual-core ARMv7 and quad-core GPU. Ematic offers only 8GB of onboard storage, but that's easily expandable (in 32GB chunks) thanks to the tablet's microSD slot. There's even an HDMI output for connecting to an HDTV.

The only real hardware limitation appears to be the fairly low-res cameras: 2 megapixels in back and just 0.3 in front. The latter may be sufficient for Skype calls, but I wouldn't count on this tablet for a lot of photography or videography.

The EGP008 runs Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean), and unlike some low-cost Android tablets, it includes full access to Google Play. That puts it on a fairly level playing field with iTunes.

Because I haven't had any hands-on time with Ematic's latest, I can't say how the user experience really compares with the Mini. I can say that it's priced a full $200 less and offers hardware that's comparable in some areas and superior in others. (Update: It's available for purchase now via Walmart.)

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