Advice on buying an android device

Monkey Archive Forums/Digital Discussion/Advice on buying an android device

Lindsay(Posted 2014) [#1]
I'm firmly welded to iOS but I'd like to build my games for Android too so that'll mean buying an Android device for testing.

I don't need another phone so I was thinking tablet, but there are so many out there, and then there's all these versions of Android, and I don't mind admitting I'm a bit lost. I also don't want to spend a lot (the less, the better, actually).

I don't need 3G but I do need Wifi, obviously!

Any advice as to how to select an appropriate tablet just as a test platform would be appreciated :)

therevills(Posted 2014) [#2]
I really like my Nexus 7 :)

Lindsay(Posted 2014) [#3]
I'm sure it's awesome, therevills, but that's a bit more than I wanted to spend :)

I've seen Android tablets for as little as $59, I'm wondering if they would do the job?

therevills(Posted 2014) [#4]
Would you trust them? What version of Android do they run?

Your profile says you are from Aus, so you know all about Aussie Tax :)

Dick Smith has the Samsung Galaxy Tab3 for $200:

JB has the Nexus 7 for $199:

Lindsay(Posted 2014) [#5]
OK, that's not too awful! I have no idea what version of Android they *should* run. Methinks I need to learn about android and the android SDK before proceeding.


AdamRedwoods(Posted 2014) [#6]
stay with the major players, they will keep the Android OS up-to-date better then the cheaper ones.
does Australia have a reliable ebay? i buy tablets second-hand using the buy-it-now from ebay in the US. i got my nexus 7 for US$150.

Danilo(Posted 2014) [#7]

Just be aware it is the old model with 1GB RAM, 1280x800 screen, nVidia Quad Core Tegra 3 T30l 1.3GHz CPU.

Nexus 7 2013 has 2GB RAM, 1920x1200 screen, Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro 1.5GHz Quad Core CPU.
There is also a version with 16GB HDD available, and it's round about 160-170 Euro.

Lindsay(Posted 2014) [#8]
Does it matter what version of Android it's running, when all I want is for it to be a test platform for Monkey games?

Experience tells me it's always good to test on a minimally specced machine - if it runs fine on something low end, slow, with minimal memory etc, then it'll (theoretically) run fine on the newer models.

Danilo(Posted 2014) [#9]
Quote from Monkey X help, "TARGET SDKS" > "THE ANDROID TARGET"
Make sure to install at least "Android SDK Platform-tools" and "Android 3.2 (API 13) SDK Platform".
I would think it means minimum requirement is Android 3.2.
Monkey X apps also work on newest Android 4.4.x

Lindsay(Posted 2014) [#10]
Thanks Danilo :)

Gerry Quinn(Posted 2014) [#11]
A cheap and cheerful tablet for $100 should be fine for testing most things. Ideally you would have several different ones. But you can also use the emulator to test various screen sizes and Android versions, albeit it will run too slowly to test gameplay for many games.

Samah(Posted 2014) [#12]
@AdamRedwoods: stay with the major players, they will keep the Android OS up-to-date better then the cheaper ones.

Once you're more experienced with Android and want to do more with your device, this is a bit of a moot point. However for someone new to the platform, I would agree.

smilertoo(Posted 2014) [#13]
Also happy with nexus7 2013 edition.

Supertino(Posted 2014) [#14]
You'll be hard pressed to find any device even the cheap £60 tablets running anything older than Android 4.0, targeting 2.3 is perfectly acceptable and will catch 99% of all devices, May fragmentation numbers

The only time to worry about what minimum OS version to target is when you're using 3rd party add-ons that require a more recent google API, out of the box monkey will run just the same on a 2.3 device than on a 4.3, ofc the CPU\GPU will have an effect on performance.

My #1 tip is don't use images\textures more than 1024x1024 most recent devices should be ok with 2048z2048 but older and cheaper devices wont support 2K images.

For a tablet I'd recommend getting one with a min res of 1024x600 and 960x540 res for phone I would also recommend.

Nobuyuki(Posted 2014) [#15]
there are a number of tablets out there on the market, a few of which were already mentioned in this thread -- though you may not need another phone I thought I'd mention that the target audience of your games (if device agnostic) will most likely be playing from a phone. This makes a difference because there's often a large variation in density between the larger and smaller devices and this can affect your UI in ways you wouldn't expect if testing only on a tablet.

That being said, I'm sure your existing phone would probably fit the bill for that testing scenario. If you are still open to a phone-like device, however, I'd recommend the Moto E as a baseline. It's cheap ($120), the specs are "okay", and it's likely very easy to set up for development. If something runs smoothly on this device, it'll most likely run decent on most Android devices.

Ferdi(Posted 2014) [#16]
At Coles they are selling the 10 inch Pendo for $129, until next week Tuesday. That one is running Android 4.2. I have seen the Pendo 7 inch for $79, I think it was 3 weeks back. The 7" is running Android 4.4 Kit Kat. You have to wait, until it is on sale again at that price.

The other place is

There is an Australian site for that which is

I have bought stuff from them, they are pretty good. But yeah, you have to wait. And it also depends on Australia Post! Sometime, I get stuff within 3 weeks, some other time, it is 3 months.

4 things, I should warn you.

1. Battery life will be crap.

2. It will not be upgradable. You will be stuck on whatever android version it is.

3. Don't expect much for that price, if you give it to a kid, they will break it with in a day or two. It is not Nintendo or Apple quality, they use cheap plastic and everything else to cut cost.

4. Since you won't be buying a Nexus, the usb driver installation will be rather tricky. If you buy the Nexus there is already a tutorial on how to install the driver etc. So you can compile in ted, and it will create an apk, and automatically upload the apk into the tablet. If you buy one of these tablet, there will not be a tutorial, and you need to play around to get it going. Unless you want to compile in ted to create the apk, then put the apk into a micro sd, and put the micro sd into the tablet, and install the apk.

Just a warning. Anyway, hope it helps.

Gerry Quinn(Posted 2014) [#17]
You can get tablets of various no-name brands cheaply on eBay. Battery life is admittedly terrible and they are fragile. But they will do the job for testing.

In my experience they all come with USB drivers and connectors that you just plug into your PC port. Then you can copy the APK to the Android and install it from there. With Monkey you can test on a different target anyway.

Lindsay(Posted 2014) [#18]
So much good advice, thank you all!

I hasn't even considered the issue of drivers. I'm on a Mac, although for desperate times I'm also running Win8.1 via Parallels. I'd rather stick with the Mac though. In addition, I don't want something that breaks in a week or can't be upgraded, so at this point I'm much more comfortable justifying buying something decent (which is to say, I can explain it to my wife!)

The advice about testing on a phone is a very good point indeed. I might compromise and go for a 7" tablet, as that will nicely fill the middle ground between my iPhone and iPad. There seems to be a Google Nexus 7 and an Asus Nexus 7 - I'm guessing the former is what you're all referring to?

Danilo(Posted 2014) [#19]
I was referring to the Google Nexus 7 2013 (2nd generation), manufactured by Asus.

It's the same device/hardware, although I am not 100% sure if Google or Asus
make some modifications to the OS or add additional apps. I don't think so, and
sometimes it is also referred as "Google Asus Nexus 7" or "Google/Asus Nexus 7".

See both company logos on the package:

I use it with my Mac and did not need to install any drivers. Just had to enable developer-mode on the device and allow the option "USB-Debugging".
When the device is connected to the Mac by USB, Monkey X apps start directly on the device when compiling with Android target.

Lindsay(Posted 2014) [#20]
Thanks Danilo, that sounds like the best way to go :)

degac(Posted 2014) [#21]
Well considering that China phones are widely sold I would get one of this to test software.
If it runs on a cheap tablet it sure runs on branded one.
I ve a 10" tablet and a smartphone both no brand, quality sure is not the top but both still perfectly works (android 4.x are common). No driver problem and probably you can root them if you want/need to update.
Branded phone not always allow to update... You need to buy s newer version

smilertoo(Posted 2014) [#22]
Buying low end turds is only worth it if you can afford to buy multiple devices. I got the nexus7 cos it's pretty decent and i wont be getting another for at least 2 years.

tiresius(Posted 2014) [#23]
I just bought a low end turd, a ZTE Valet for Tracfone for $50. No data plan, I only use WIFI & the apps. It works well for me even though it has the Heartbleed vulnerability with 4.1 so I guess I have to be careful in some way.

I doubt I'll use it as a phone since I just get 2 little bars in my house (middle of suburbia), but just to finally get the Google Play store apps available and see the look & feel of the other mobile games is worth it. I already set it to Developer Mode and look forward to hitting F5 and seeing my Monkey game right the phone!