RCA Voyager Returns to Try to Extinguish Amazon’s Fire

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The continuing voyages of the RCA Voyager. Source: RCA.
The continuing voyages of the RCA Voyager.
Source: RCA.

We’ve had the pleasure of reviewing the second RCA Voyager tablet, and now it’s back for a third iteration. The big news is that this time there is an Intel chip powering the 7″ tablet. This gives one a very responsive device.

Let’s not beat around the bush – the Voyager is aimed squarely at Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablet. Like the Fire, the Voyager is priced at just $49.95. Unlike the Fire, the Voyager ships with actual Android (version 6.0, aka Marshamallow), not Amazon’s highly skinned Fire OS. You get the full Google experience, Android App store, and no settling for an OS that many love, but really feels like training wheels to me. More importantly, there’s no annoying “Special Offers” keeping the RCA Voyager’s price down. That’s how Amazon keeps their price down , but RCA doesn’t stoop to that level.

The Fire has a few things over the Voyager on paper. If you are one of those people who actually likes to take photos with your tablet, then the Fire’s rear facing camera is a plus I suppose. However, the lack of an SD card slot and only 8 GB of storage on the Fire makes that a poor solution. RCA gave the Voyager 16 GB of base storage and also included an SD card slot that takes up to 128 GB. It also has a 1 year warranty vs the mere 90 days on the Fire.

There’s one feature of the Voyager that is not as great as I would like. While the screen is the same 1204 x 600 of the Fire, it’s an old school TFT screen, not an IPS. That means that there are angles where the screen can appear washed out and colors don’t pop as much as I have gotten used to. When making a budget tablet, something always has to give, and in this case it was the screen. It’s certainly not the worst screen I have ever used – it’s just very much a one person tablet.

Source: RCA.
Just the right size for one, too. Source: RCA.

The single speaker on the back of the Voyager works fine for basic use. If you’re going to do serious media binging or even use it in a noisy environment, you want to get a set of headphones (just don’t ask me to review one for ya).

I’ve been telling people for a few years now that the Kindle Fire tablets are less tablets and more portal devices to Amazon’s services and storefront. The RCA Voyager, however, is an actual, 100% standalone tablet. If you’re looking for a budget tablet that’s well-made and don’t want to be sequestered into the Amazon Market, it’s your best choice.

Note: RCA provided me with a Voyager to review. Said tablet has been donated to The Laptop Project – a charity I run that gives computer equipment to those in need.

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