Nextbook Premium 8SE: Low Cost Doesn’t Have to Mean Cheap

Smaller than an iPad, bigger than a Kindle (and cheaper than both), the Nextbook Premium 8SE is an example of what today’s budget Android tablets can and can’t do

The Nextbook Premium 8SE is perfect for students (Image: E Fun Inc.)

Like other low-cost Android tablets, the Premium 8SE can’t connect to Google Play (formerly called the Android Market), the premier online store for Android apps. Instead the unit comes with an app for GetJar, which houses thousands of Android apps, but many popular titles are missing. (Tip: Go to Amazon.com and download the Amazon Android App Store app, which opens the door to even more Android apps, including the Amazon Kindle e-bookstore app.)

Other preinstalled apps include the Barnes & Noble Nook e-bookstore app (Canadian units get Kobo instead), Fring, a video chat and phone service, and Office Suite, an app that lets you open documents saved in popular formats like Microsoft Word and Adobe PDF.

The Premium 8SE has a Wi-Fi adapter and stereo speakers. The tablet comes without Bluetooth capabilities, which means you won’t be able to connect to wireless headsets or speakers. Wired headsets will work fine in its headset jack. The unit has a motion sensor and flips the screen image as you rotate it, but it lacks a GPS receiver, relying instead on Wi-Fi to provide location data. The Premium 8SE’s single front-facing 0.3-megapixel camera is more practical for video chats than for casual snapshots.

So will this tablet work for you? With medium power and acceptable, but substandard graphics, the Premium 8SE is well-suited for a student or family; its low cost makes it a viable choice for vacations or commuting when you don’t want to travel with expensive gear. The tablet will debut in Kmart in June, and arrive at other popular retail outlets  later.

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