Let’s Get Small – The RCA 7″ Voyager II Tablet

voyager iiFifty bucks can buy morning coffee for all your cube-mates, an ugly sweater for your holiday party, hell, even a budget-priced new console release, and now, thanks to RCA, it can also buy a fully functional 7″ Android tablet.

Skeptical? Of course you are. Unless you’re a diehard fan who only pays top dollar for the latest Nexus or Galaxy, you’ve likely been burned by barebones tablets before. With that in mind, let’s take a look at what RCA’s Voyager offers for its positively paltry price.

Overall, the Voyager II is a decent looking piece of kit. While the back of the system’s casing, with its rigid plastic and single speaker pass-through, feels a tad sketchy, it does offer a number of color options, which is nice if you’re looking to pick up multiple tablets for various family members. More importantly, its 7″ touchscreen offers a lovely 1024 x 600 display that’s also nice and responsive.

Under the hood, the Voyager II sports a 1.3GHz Quad-Core processor, which manages to keep up nicely despite its single GB of DDR Ram. I generally used my review unit for light reading–okay, mostly comics–and your standard email and web browsing. Still, to my surprise it did hold its on in the gaming department, even with more resource intensive titles like Shadowrun Returns and its sequel, Dragonfall.

Multimedia was a bit of a mixed bag, with video quality in apps like YouTube and Netflix appearing universally solid, though sullied slightly by the tablet’s tinny, insufficient speaker. I do give the Voyager extra points for including physical volume buttons (as opposed to limiting you solely to finicky virtual controls), but you’ll definitely want to use headphones for your listening pleasure.

This little RCA tablet is Google-certified, which means you have a myriad of Google Play apps at your disposal–as opposed to Amazon’s similarly-priced Kindle equivalent, which primarily ties you to Amazon’s own app marketplace. It runs Lollipop (5.0) and supports Bluetooth (4.0), which, while not exactly bleeding edge, seems more than acceptable in such a low-priced system.

Still, despite being impressed overall, I do have a couple of gripes. The Voyager’s front-facing 1MP camera, for example, is all but useless in not only dim light but often indoors as well. I understand that cameras are standard on pretty much all touchscreen devices at this point, but I’d have preferred no camera at all to one with such obviously limited functionality.

My only major complaint, though, concerns storage. My review unit came with slim 8GB onboard, but I wasn’t particularly concerned due to the inclusion of a MicroSD expansion slot. The tablet recognized and mounted every card I put in it, and even let me set this extra space as the default storage location. Sadly, I quickly discovered that removable storage only works for files (and not app installations) on the RCA Voyager II.

But, even with that caveat, I’m inclined to recommend the device for those looking for an affordable but still functional tablet for kids or easy on-the-go use. Why? Well, currently Wal-Mart is offering the 7″ Voyager II 8GB model for an unbelievable $35, with its 16GB big brother still coming in under the magic $50 price point. While it’s neither a speed demon nor a workhorse, this RCA tablet offers an impressive amount of functionality–especially at those prices.

With the holidays coming up, you’re likely in the market for some budget-friendly tech, and the Voyager II definitely fits the bill for young (or even older) users in need of a reliable tablet. Or maybe, like me, you’re just looking for a perfectly portable way to enjoy your Comixology or Marvel Unlimited collection in a nicely unobtrusive footprint–in which case the diminutive RCA Voyager II 7″ tablet is a perfect fit.

Review materials provided by: RCA

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