My first thought when I held the Prestigio MultiPad 7.0 Prime Duo was “This isn’t an iPad mini”. But my second thought was “but this is pretty good”. The MultiPad is surprisingly well built – it’s shocking what less than £200 can get you these days but the casing feels durable and is reassuring to tap away on. The smooth metallic finish on the back gives the illusion of quality and the glass and plastic combine happily to great something that never feels like a budget knock-off that your gran found at the market. It’s crowded at the bottom-end of the tablet market. There are countless 7″ value tablet, which is driving innovation and benefiting recession-hit consumers.

The hardware is fairly rewarding on the bang/buck index and there’s at 1.5 Ghz dualcodual-coree processor, 16 Gb of memory (micro-SD expandable once you pop off the little cover by the micro USB charging port) and a 7.0″ IPS display. You can video chat via the low res front and back cameras and play back full HD video. Not too shabby for under £150 quid. Android Ice Cream Sandwich runs just fine and you can upgrade to Jelly Bean if that’s your thing – but I don’t expect most people using a budget Android 7″ tablet to know or care much about OS upgrades. The cameras aren’t great – but you shouldn’t be taking snaps with any size tablet.

The MultiPad is zippy enough for certain tasks. The size means it’s easy to pop into a pocket or bag and casually browse or play simple games. Processor intensive gaming isn’t this tablet’s forte as the slight lag can be maddening, but there are more than enough high quality casual games that are fun to pass the time with. It was great to have on the side whilst cooking, or for browsing on the sofa whilst something meaningless was playing on the TV. If you produce a lot of content this probably isn’t the tablet for you – but if like most people you like to consume the vast, vast array of content online – books, magazines, music or video then it works pretty well. The MultiPad is thin, light and can be comfortably held with one hand, so is idea for casual browsing – it has a real magazine feel to it. The USB host mode means that you can easily add a mouse, keyboard, external hard drive and more so you could actually create a little portable office using the MultiPad but that would be a tad cumbersome in practise.

The Prestigio MultiPad 7.0 Prime Duo is part of a confusing range – The website lists the MultiPad 7.0 Pro Duo, MultiPad Prime Duo, MultiPad Ultra+, MultiPad Ultra, MultiPad Prime 3G, MultiPad Prime+, MultiPad Prime, and MultiPad PRO. If you can tell which of these is best then you’re a more perceptive person than I.

If you’re on a budget and want some casual tablet computing on the go the you’ll find pretty much all you’re looking for with the Prestigio MultiPad 7.0 Prime Duo. If your needs are a little bit more spend slightly more on one of the higher-end tablets.

Check out the Prestigio MultiPad 7.0 Prime Duo