A few weeks ago I wrote that using a cheap tablet as an e-reader to read digitised nineteenth century texts made a lot of sense financially compared with buying old second hand copies, or print on demand versions.
Now I've always been a believer in eating one's own dogfood - if you say something like this you should damn well go and try it out.
So that's what I did.
I searched ebay for the cheapest most basic brand name tablet I could find. My only requirement was that it should run a recent version of Android.
What I found was a refurbished Lenovo Tab e7 for $75 (including shipping) running Android Go 8.1.
For comparison you can find the latest Lenovo budget tablet for around a hundred bucks from the usual suspects, but of course you'd have to go and collect it, which is a consideration if you live in a rural area - there's no popping down to Officeworks or Bing Lee, it's an 80km round trip.
So, assuming $10 for delivery, my Tab e7 cost me around $65. For comparison, here in Australia, Amazon will currently sell you a basic kindle with a backlit screen for $139.
For my $75 I got a fairly basic tablet with 16GB storage. Performance is not lightning but adequate, and the touchscreen is sharp and reasonably responsive.
It's never going to let you run a scad of apps, but if you're using it as an ereader, basically you need the google books app and a pdf reader. You could also add an epub reader, but for offline reading digitised books from google books, acrobat is probably the best solution.
So how was it in practice?
Well I went to get a flu shot this afternoon, so I took it along with me to Terry White's chemists in Albury. Emphatically no public wifi.
After my flu shot they asked me to wait for fifteen minutes in case I turned green and started foaming at the mouth. (I didn't.)
Rather than watch the guys building extra vaccination cubicles in advance of the Covid vaccine rollout, I pulled out my tab e7 and started on James Clark Ross.
It was pretty pleasant in use - as nice as using a recent model kindle, with no embarassing pauses when you scrolled forward or back through the text.
Battery life seems good enough to get you through the day.
The unit itself is not particularly heavy in the hand it's listed as weighing 271 grams and being about 10mm thick which makes it a tad bulkier than a kindle, but not ridiculously so.
I'm sure you can get a case for it if you look, but I havn't - the protective sleeve that I bought for my old Cool-er ereader fits just fine (The Cool-er of course recently went to the ewaste people for recycling).
As with all these things one needs to live with them for a while to be sure, but I think this might be one of my better ideas ...