It's hard to tell whether CES 2012 beat out last years show for tablet numbers, but there were plenty of slabs less likely to throttle your wallet in 2012. Coby has leapt onto that very bandwagon, with a whole slew of tablets. Several, but not all, made their first appearance at this year's CES and we were itching to see how they would stack up against some very price-savvy devices. We were informed (several times) that these were still prototypes, but user experience differed substantially between models. Budget tablet fans can check out our impressions and a brief video summary of the Coby clan right after the break.
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Coby Ice Cream Sandwich tablet family hands-on at CES 2012


We first went for the MID9742 -- the 9.7-inch offering -- packed a pretty respectable screen. The software remained pretty laggy -- thus the prototype proviso -- but it seemed the least temperamental of the bunch, with pricing likely to be around $275. All of Coby's Android 4.0 tablets pack the same ARM A8 1GHz processor, which makes it difficult to explain why the MID8042, Coby's eight-incher, likely to be priced at just over $200, seemed to struggle during simple navigation and crashed several times during our hands-on time. However, it was refreshing to see ICS arrive on these smaller form factors. The seven-inch MID7042 was more like an e-reader, which has decided to hold onto a physical home button despite its defunct status on Android's convergence OS. The screen here was pretty underwhelming, but with pricing likely to be around $150, it's not a massive surprise. Finally, Coby had another petite tablet (MID7014) that packed a similar seven-inch display, Android Gingerbread, an unusual mini-USB (yes, we got that right) port, a micro-SD slot and no HDMI-out found on the other tablets. A spokesperson told us that this lower-specced model was likely to hit stores at around $100. Release dates for the whole Coby bunch haven't been decided just yet, but you can check our lukewarm impressions in the hands-on video below.

Sean Cooper and Sean Buckley contributed to this report.

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Coby unveils its family of Ice Cream Sandwich slates, we go hands-on (video)