Wow, I don't think I can make a suggestion. Just way too many options. My tablets in this size range are 3 HP Touchpads (still love those things) and a Toshiba Thrive. So I'm not exactly on the cutting edge. But they all do everything I need in a tablet. I haven't done a chinatab yet, but I follow Slatedroid every day and there a lot of interesting options.
I will say that I prefer 9.7 to 10.1, just find the 10.1 a bit too big to hold comfortably. I like the portability of 7" but don't like it for watching movies or even surfing the net for any real length of time. My next tablet will probably be an 8 or 9"
Not the size you asked about, but I do find this Lenovo A2109 9" tablet interesting for $135 shipped:
In the More Buying Options section, see TechTurn, LTD. Don't know much about them, but they have 4.6 user rating on Amazon (337 reviews) so they seem legit.
this is refurbed of course. Also, the specs are messed up in the listing, but this is the Tegra 3 model. The main complaint I've seen is poor viewing angles.