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Saturday, December 6, 2014

Cheap Tablets are Never Good

Everyone secretly wants an iPad. No matter what people say, they would gladly take and use a free iPad, if given one. Unfortunately for most people, an iPad's price is not reasonable enough. Corporations know this and have taken advantage of this market, thanks to Google's open-source operating system, Android.

A co-worker at work asked me to take a look at her Coby Kyros MID1125 tablet because it won't turn on for her. She told me about how she bought this tablet about two years ago and it worked for about a week then suddenly stopped. She said she contacted Coby to get a replacement, but Coby told her that she'd have to pay $15 and ship it herself to get a replacement. She never went through with it because it wasn't worth it to her. But since meeting me, she felt like maybe I could fix it for her. I agreed and took it home tonight.

I'm going to let you guys in on a secret of mine, but when people come to me with issues with their electronics, I usually first Google (Bing) the device's name, model number and/or name, and the issue I'm experiencing. Unfortunately...there's not a lot of information on this particular tablet model and many more Coby tablets like it. No manuals, and not much other information such as rooting, but lots of people with similar stories like my co-workers'. It's really aggravating, to be honest.

I found a lot of other people who are seeing the same issues with their Coby tablets and them just not turning on. There's a reset button on a lot of these tablets that's supposed to fix issues like this, but it does no good for me or many others seeing these issues. Knowing about Android devices and button combinations, I tried a few button combos as well as long-pressing buttons for 5+ minutes with zero luck. I'm guessing the issue must be hardware-related and my friend said I could open it, so I opened it.

Boy oh boy...by looking at the price tag on these things (not cheap cheap, but cheap for tablets), I wasn't expecting a top of the line processor or other hardware, but mannnnn, this is some straight up garbage! Wires are taped all over the place, with stationary tape, no less, old, sticky glue stuck all over the place and my hands, a battery that's soldered onto the board...just crap on top of crap on top of crap...

Feeling sorry for my friend, I decided that I'd personally see if Coby would make an exception and give her a replacement for free. I was going to raise hell even for a 2 year old device because I think their business standards are pretty crummy. I Bing'd "Coby" and came up with, what appears to be their official website, www.cobyusa.com only to find this:
There's absolutely nothing else on the page except this logo. No links, nothing. And after inspecting the webpage, there's no other designs or links, even hidden in the page. So I did some extra digging.

I came on this news website that had some shocking details for me about the company: http://www.wcpo.com/money/consumer/dont-waste-your-money/coby-electronics-warranties-now-worthless
I suppose that it's not entirely shocking or surprising, but it was pretty disappointing. A company as disgusting as this was allowed to just go away under bankruptcy and leave all of these disappointed customers with broken devices and no hope of any reimbursement or replacement. Another company buys the brand name but doesn't have any obligation to take over the concerns and complaints of the prior company.

Coby isn't the only company out there like this. There are many more companies out there making cheap tablets and poor design and quality isn't the only concern, unfortunately.

Over the past holiday after Thanksgiving came Black Friday and Cyber Monday which are supposed to offer great deals on various products. Many of these products were cheap tablets from makers like Coby and it seemed like each of these stores had their own cheap brand.

News media outlets got wind of the news and spread it like wildfire during the two deal-days. One of the other concerns besides these being poor quality devices is that they also pose security risks. Not to sound discriminatory, but a lot of these cheap tablets are made in China and Chinese electronic devices aren't known to be made well or to be trustworthy in not containing some sort of malicious software like adware that either spams you with advertisements and/or attempts to steal your identity. It's the price you pay for a cheap device. The company feels like they need to make their money back and then some.

The next time I see my co-worker, I'd like to recommend to her, and to anyone else considering these cheap devices: do not purchase these. Save up for a more decent one or choose to safely buy a used device from Craigslist. And if you do buy a cheap device, use it cautiously and don't rely too heavily on it. Use it just for gaming and light web browsing. Do not ever use it to log on to your bank account, to make any purchases of any kind, and I wouldn't even recommend you to log into any e-mail accounts or even social media websites like Facebook.

The cheap tablets were a nice idea to help customers who want an iPad but can't afford the price tag, but the execution is extremely flawed and ends up hurting these people who just wanted a little premium entertainment.

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