Tesco has launched a cheap Android-powered tablet to take on the iPad mini and Amazon Kindle. We've had a play with the new device at the launch event in London.
The new tablet - which is incredibly basic, but will be good enough for most people who aren't fussed about the latest and greatest - will be aimed at letting those who aren't surfing on the sofa do so.
In the hand the device, which has a large, thick bezel and an okay but not amazing screen, comes with a soft rubberised back. There are front and rear-facing cameras for Skype calls and the like, although both were very grainy even in bright "office" lighting conditions.
Tesco has left the Android 4.2.2 OS pretty much untouched, but has added a "T" in the bottom left-hand corner as a shortcut to the dedicated Tesco apps, complete with Tesco widgets that tell you about your Clubcard account. Those services include Blinkbox video, music and of course the online shopping site. That's handy because, as our demo guy explained, it means you can just delete them and move on if you want and still be left with a Google Play-enabled tablet for the home to shop with Sainsbury's.
As for the speed and performance, there isn't really much to write home about: opening up applications was quick, but not lightning fast, and we suspect that the moment you begin to do anything demanding you'll start to struggle, based on our quick play.
But then none of that really matters, this isn't a device for the average Pocket-lint reader who wants a Nexus 7 or even an iPad. This is a device for someone who wants to surf the internet and stream movies around the home and can't stretch the budget too much.
That's an appealing proposition to many and while the Amazon Kindle Fire is still £20 cheaper we can see this appealing to Tesco users, especially Tesco Clubcard users who, with the voucher system, will be able to get it for £60.
Tesco, like Amazon, see a huge benefit to giving its customers a digital catalogue to access its services in the home, and this is just the device to deliver that. Whether you agree with a two-tier technology approach - the iPads at one end and the cheap Android tablets at the other - like the Kindle Fire in the US, the Tesco tablet will probably sell very well in the run up to Christmas. It won't excite, but it will please those who want to do a bit of sofa surfing until they can save up enough to get an iPad mini or a more potent Android tablet.