Summary


There are loads of internet tablets running the Android operating system, starting from as little as 50 quid. Scroll down the article to find users faves.

Where to get one


Amazon UK, John Lewis, Play, Tesco Direct, Comet, Currys, Dixons and Argos all sell Android-based internet tablets.

More reviews


Read more reviews and information on our news pages or via our products pages.

Taking the tablet makes your radio experience better

Listening to the radio by traditional means - that DAB receiver in your kitchen or an old FM tuner in your study - is still the most popular way of getting your daily fix. But, with the increasing affordability of touchcreen tablets and the benefits of the BBC's catch-up service, Android tablets are fast becoming the new stop on the dial.

If the thought of pressing buttons and scrolling through a long list of internet radio stations on a screen size just a few lines deep is putting you off searching out music you like to listen to - help is at hand with a burgeoning batch of cheap Android tablets. Perhaps you'd like to learn a new language by listening to broadcasts from around the world or catch up with news from Down Under? An internet tablet makes this a cinch.

Great for browsing news websites and accessing Facebook, tablets are fast becoming the popular way to consume media.

With their high resolution screens and a version of Android (Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0.x) packing BBC iPlayer (and YouTube) support via Flash and headphone and Bluetooth connectivity, there has never been a more compelling reason to switch from a box that sits on your mantlepiece to the immersive experince of choosing and selecting stations from an internet tablet via its colourful touchscreen interface.

With access to Google Play (Android market for apps), giving you catch-up of radio shows and more via BBC iPlayer and BBC iPlayer for Radio, an internet tablet also lets you connect to a host of music catalogues from last.fm, unlimited video streaming of your favourite artists via YouTube, downloads of MP3s from Amazon and a plethora of playlists from Spotify: What's not to like?

Leading the pack with its 7 inch hi-res screen form, Google Nexus offers Bluetooth connectivity. When paired with a Bluetooth receiver, you can have any manner of audio playing through your hi-fi system. If your stereo system has a spare 3.5mm or RCA phono inputs - and your wi-fi signal is reliable where you plan to use your tablet - you'll be able to hook your receiver up for internet radio without problems.
Google Nexus tablet
Both Google's Nexus - manufactured by Asus - and Amazon offer quality tablets with hi-res capacitive screens

If the Nexus seems too expensive, check out the NATPC M009S Android tablet. With its built-in headphone socket, you'll be able to connect a lead from it to your powered speakers or home audio system. Or, if you prefer, just plug in your favourite headphones.

There's host of other tablets around; if you're planning on using a streaming app like tunein, which gives free and instant access to thousands of internet radio stations from around the globe, you don't need a particularly recent version of the Android operating system - here at radio-now roundhouse we use a rather lowly Archos minitablet with a headphone socket, which runs the tunein app perfectly well. However, if you want access to the lovely BBC iPlayer interface and the 7-day and series catchup service, you'd be better off getting one of the latest tablets.

Amazon's Kindle Fire HD offers a 1280x800 pixel high-resolution screen and headphone socket - including Dolby HD audio. It's also Bluetooth enabled - ideal for wireless music streaming to your audio kit. As Amazon's servers will be holding copies of the most popular websites from around the world, the browser should be fast. Apps, such as tunein will be available, as the tablet runs a modified version of the Android operating system (Ice Cream Sandwich).

Whilst it's important to note that Flash support is missing from the latest version of the Android operating system (Jellybean 4.1), a version of iPlayer that uses the HTML5 standard rather than Flash has just been released by the BBC, to enable users of the latest devices to access catchup services. Experienced users can also sideload (add) Flash support to their Jellybean device by tracking down the application files on the web.
Inexpensive Android tabletsCheap internet tablets running Google's Android O.S. start from just £50

If money is tight, there are countless tablet starting from around £50 from Allwinner, NATPC and Archos.

You'll find loads of highly reviewed, higher-spec tablets from Ainol (excuse the name), epad and Cloudnine.
Archos 35 home connect internet radioIf you'd like to dispense with 3.5mm audio cables and Bluetooth connectivity, one or two models are available that use the Android touchscreen interface.

If you want a more powerful built-in amplifier and speakers, there are one or two models available that use an Android interface - ideal where your wi-fi signal is robust.

If you're after a cheap internet radio for Christmas, an Android tablet - with the flexibility of Bluetooth or the connectivity of a universal 3.5mm audio jack - may be the answer. Catching up with your favourite programmes on both radio and tv is suddenly a much easier experience without all that knob-twiddling, with the added benefit that you'll be able to fast forward and rewind shows on BBC iPlayer. One for the Christmas list, perhaps?

news index | home