Contrary to some rumours, Google didn't announce a refreshed Nexus 7 at I/O a little while back, but up-and-comers HiSense just announced a pretty good alternative. Its new Sero 7 Pro — the companies first foray into the tablet space — is basically a Nexus 7, but at only $US150.
The Sero 7 Pro has all the Nexus 7-y features you want. A 1200x800 resolution screen, a Tegra 3 quad-core processor, 1GB RAM and stock Android 4.2.2. All for $US150. The compromise is that storage is capped at a meagre 8GB, but to ease the blow, the Sero 7 Pro comes with an MicroSD expansion slot. And, it even has the Nexus 7 beat by including a 5MP rear-facing camera and HDMI output. HP's Slate 7 has been pushing in on the Nexus 7 a bit too, but it's a shade more expensive at $US170, and doesn't pack in some of the perks that the Sero 7 Pro has.
We got a little hands on time and the Sero 7 Pro doesn't feel like a cheap tablet. It's got a solid build, remeniscient of the Nexus 7 it's trying so hard to app. The back is hard, textured plastic that feels less than premium, but not all out bad. The performance is smooth, thanks to Nvidia's Tegra 3, and running stock on pretty much the exact specs of a Nexus 7 delivers a pretty comparable experience. The OS does come UI-skinned, with a few pack-in apps (like Walmart) but those are all easily removed. It's better than you'd expect for a $US150 tablet.
We're due for a Nexus 7 refresh here sometime soon, and chances are it'll be a pretty nice overhaul of the existing model, but things like a MicroSD slot are very very unlikely to ever show up in a Nexus device. HiSense may not be the biggest name, but it's first tablet offering seems pretty damn good for the low end of the spectrum.