Here’s a surprise: You can now buy a tablet for $100. Here’s a bigger surprise: It won’t necessarily be terrible. WSJ-Logo.jpgCheap Android tablets have been on the market for a while, but most were barely worth turning into cat toys. Now, four years after the first iPad, Amazon’s $99 Fire HD 6 has brought a new baseline of quality to tablets that are inexpensive enough to be essentially disposable. This means two things: First, you don’t have to lay out big bucks for an iPad or Galaxy Tab for everyone in your family. Second, your cheap tablets aren’t necessarily going to last as long, and you must be better prepared for what to do with them when they die. Wall Street Journal personal technology editor Geoffrey Fowler joints digits and reviews the new Amazon Fire HD 6. Photo: Amazon. Amazon’s new tablet caught my attention because it doesn’t skimp on core specs. It is as speedy as the top of the line from 2012, which is to say decent. And its 6-inch screen is sufficiently bright and visible from most angles. (A 7-inch version costs $139.) Even the battery holds up to more than 11½ hours of video playback. So I put it to the test, alongside two other Android tablets from big brands, Acer ’s Iconia One 7 and Asus ’ MeMO Pad 7 (whose $100 price has since risen to $120). I also threw an ultracheap tablet in the mix, the $55 Tablet Express Dragon Touch 7, which has garnered thousands of rather divided customer reviews online. All four of these tablets represent compromise. If you’re a no-compromises kind of person, take a look at the Samsung Galaxy Tab S or tune in Oct. 16 when Apple is expected to unveil new iPads which will surely make last year’s models feel ancient. But thanks to the persistent drumbeat of manufacturing efficiency, it’s now possible to get 80% of the functionality of a full-featured tablet for 30% of the price. Amazon’s Fire makes a fine children’s playtime machine, pocket-size video player, Web browser or e-book reader, if you don’t mind that Amazon subsidizes the $99 version with ads on the tablet’s lock screen. And if you don’t want to be locked into Amazon’s store and Prime service, Acer’s Iconia One is a passable alternative, albeit one with a weaker battery and camera. Read more… Source: The Wall Street Journal By Geoffrey Fowler