Review: Next3 Android Tablet

Last Updated Jan 12, 2011 12:27 PM EST

Beware cheap Android tablets.

First came the $188 CherryPad America, which never overcame its myriad performance and operational problems. Now, having spent some time with the $229.99 NextBook Next3 tablet, I have newfound respect for my iPad. The latter is fast, versatile, and effortless -- traits that do not, I'm afraid, apply to the Next3.

It does make a solid first impression, starting with a colorful 8.4-inch screen and slim, 1.1-pound physique. I really love the form factor -- not too big, not too small.

Alas, it has a resistive touchscreen, not a capacitive one. That means input requires a bit of pressure -- not much, but tasks like scrolling and tapping feel awkward and unnatural. Plus, no multi-touch.

Though powered by Android 2.1, the Next3 doesn't include Android Market, instead saddling you with the vastly inferior AndAppStore. It has a sparse selection, and many of the apps I tried wouldn't run properly on the tablet.

I suspect Nextbook is trying to position the Next3 as a Kindle or Nook competitor, as it comes with built-in links to the Borders bookstore and a couple dozen public-domain books. But I found the reader app limited and unwieldy, and I couldn't even access my Borders account to download previously purchased titles.

I could go on, but what's the point? The Next3 has an attractive design and price tag, but functionally, it's a train wreck. It has no place in business and doesn't really work as a consumer tablet, either. (I could argue that Android itself is not yet ready for tablet duty, but that's a topic for another day.)
  • Rick Broida On Twitter»

    Rick Broida, a technology writer for more than 20 years, is the author of more than a dozen books. In addition to writing CNET's The Cheapskate blog, he contributes to CNET's iPhone Atlas.


Market Data

Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.

Watch Now

Market News

Stock Watchlist

New Android App

For your Android phone and tablet, download the FREE redesigned app, featuring CBSN, live 24/7 news.

The all new
CBS News App for Android® for iPad® for iPhone®
Fully redesigned. Featuring CBSN, 24/7 live news. Get the App