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Maxell MaxTab Tablets Hands-On: Sleek Android Slates at Attractive Prices

Who knew that Maxell, a company famed for its VHS and Cassette tape business, has its own line of budget-oriented Android tablets? Today at IFA Berlin, we got to go hands-on with the five different Maxell slates, which range in size from 7 to 9.7 inches and in price from an affordable 199 Euros (for the largest tablet) to a dirt cheap 99 Euros for the smallest device. 

Two of the the tablets, the MaxTab C7 and MaxTab C8 are aleady available for sale with the 99 Euro E7, 169 Euro H8 and 199 Euro H10 all coming to market later this fall. Unfortunately, Maxell has no plans to release its tablets in the U.S., but if you're in Europe, these Android 4.0-powered Slates are definitely worth a look.

All five of the MaxTabs run stock Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. However, a Maxell rep told us that they don't come with the Google Play market, but instead offer a third-party market. The demo units we tested still had Google Play on them, however.

MaxTab H10

This 9.7-inch tablet is powered by a 1.5-GHz Rockchip 3066 dual-core CPU with 1GB of RAM and 4GB of internal storage, along with MicroSD and mini USB ports. With its 7,800 mAH battery, the MaxTab H10 is said to last up to 8 hours. Its 1280 x 800 IPS panel was not too bright, but it did seem quite colorful.

We particularly liked the glossy black bezel and the home button on its right side. Though Android 4.0 has a home button built into the OS, it's always nice to have a hardware button that sits apart from the display. The back of the H10 looks identical to an iPad's back. The MaxTab will be available for 199 euros when it comes out this fall.

MaxTab H8

The MaxTab H8 features the same 1.5-GHz dual-core RockChip 3066 processor, 1GB of RAM and 4GB of storage as its big brother, but it has an 8-inch, 1024 x 768 resolution screen instead. Its front bezel looks a lot like the H10's, but its back does not resemble an iPad's. The MaxTab H8 will cost 169 euros when it comes out.

MaxTab C8

Our favorite of the MaxTabs, the 149 euro MaxTab C8 has a unique, brushed plastic bezel which is emblazoned with a silver Maxell logo. A luxurious soft-touch back felt good in our hands, but we were most intrigued by the C8's colorful 8-inch screen, which sports an 800 x 600 resolution that we haven't seen on an Android tablet before.

The MaxTab C8 is powered by a 1.2-GHz Rockchip 2918, 1GB of RAM and 4GB of external storage. In addition to its mini HDMI, micro SD, and mini USB ports, the MaxTab has a full-size USB port you can use to copy files from / to your thumb drive. The MaxTab C8 is already available for sale.

MaxTab C7

The currently-available MaxTab C7 has a 7-inch, 800 x 480 screen but is powered by the Rockchip 2918 CPU and otherwise offers similar specs to the C8. Howevr, the glossy bezel and back were not particularly attractive and the screen seemed somewhat washed out to us. The MaxTab C7 goes for 129 euros.

MaxTab E7

The 7-inch MaxTab E7 is pretty similar to the C7, but it has a different processor, the 1.2-GHz Rockchip 2906 and its industrial design is a little different. The glossy black bezel has three capacitive buttons on it, which reminded us of older Android 2.3 tablets that needed these buttons like the original Samsung Galaxy Tab or the HTC Flyer.

However, like its siblings, the E7 runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. The MaxTab E7 will cost just 99 euros when it ships later this fall.