Sunday, September 2, 2012

15 best Android Tablets

Best Android tablets for 2012

If you're looking for a tablet and don't fancy an iPad, then Android is currently the way to go. (Don't know what an Android tablet is? Check out: what is an Android tablet?)
There are other options out there; Windows 7 tablets are available, Windows 8 tablets are coming soon, the BlackBerry PlayBook is on sale now and the HP TouchPad has come and gone in a flurry of £99 ($150) panic-buying. But Android 4.0 (soon to be Android 4.1) is currently the main OS rival to the iPad, and the products are still making their way onto the shelves.

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We saw the launch of Nvidia's next-generation Tegra 3 chip, which takes 2012's quad-core Android tablets to new heights. The likes of the Asus Transformer Prime and Transformer Pad Infinity are beckoning in the new era, and the iPad is starting to feel the heat. Some tablets have 10-inch screens, others seven, and there are big differences in battery life, processing power and onboard RAM. So while we wait for the likes of the Amazon Kindle Fire 2, let's see what the current best tablets are...

1. Google Nexus 7

Best Android tablet for: quad-core power on a shoestring
Manufactured by Asus to Google's specifications, the Nexus 7 ushers in a new era of affordable, quality Android tablets. Packing a Tegra 3 quad-core processor, 12 core GPU, 8GB and 16GB internal storage and 7-inch 1280 x 800 screen, the Nexus 7 certainly has the skills to pay the bills, but at a highly attractive price point.Laughing in the face of its closest rival, the Amazon Kindle Fire, it looks like Google has got the budget end of the tablet market all wrapped up. Until the Kindle Fire 2 and iPad Mini come to the fore, at least.

Quick verdict
A quad-core processor, beefy GPU and the first device to run Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, the Nexus 7 certainly packs a punch. It may not tread a lot of new ground, but the Nexus 7 is a solid performer and easily the best tablet a couple of hundred bucks/pounds can buy.

2. Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime

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Asus wowed us when it launched its Eee Pad Transformer TF101, and with the Transformer Prime it managed to go one better.The Transformer Prime packs a mighty 1.3GHz quad-core processor into a super-slim 8.6mm chassis and although it shipped with Android 3.2, the Prime was the first Android tab to receive the upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich.That huge processor means using the Transformer Prime is a breeze, with it able to process Full HD movies and multiple apps with ease.You also get a super-crisp 10.1-inch IPS display (1280 x 800), a surprisingly good 8MP camera capable of recording 1080p video, and 32GB of internal storage, with a microSD card slot available if you need more space.

Quick verdict
It's a close run battle for the top Android tablet accolade, but the Transformer Prime just pips the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 with its super fast Tegra 3 quad-core processor, slender style and additional keyboard dock.

3. Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

Best Android tablet for: the out-and-out tablet experience
While the Asus Transformer and Slider offer something a little different at an unbeatable price, our number 3 - the Galaxy Tab 10.1 - offers a direct alternative to Apple's iPad 2 - although it's found lacking when put up against the new iPad. Sporting the Tegra 2 dual-core CPU, it's both marginally thinner and lighter than the iPad 2. This was some achievement, especially when you consider the fuss Apple made about how thin and light the iPad 2 was on launch.

Quick verdict
As an out-and-out tablet, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is brilliant. It matches the performance of other Tegra 2-based tablets while beating the pants off them in the portability stakes. This tablet is lighter and thinner than the iPad 2. So unless that keyboard dock of Asus' Transformers is a serious draw for you, this is one to consider.

4. Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9

Best Android tablet for: portability and power
In at number four is the Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 - and it's a funny little thing. It's essentially the same as its older brother, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, but with an 8.9-inch screen. It's slightly thinner and lighter, and consequently more convenient for anyone wanting to stuff it in a bag. Apart from these physical attributes, the internal components are basically the same. So you get the same slick performance and overall tablet experience. We've put this above the 10.1 because of the increased convenience owed to its slightly smaller size, but that shouldn't put you off going for the 10.1 if you're after a bigger screen.

Quick verdict
It's ideal for anyone who thinks 10.1 inches is just slightly too big for a tablet, but also finds 7-inch options a tad too small. A great screen, and premium features across the board make it a superb option.

5. Asus Eee Pad Slider

Best Android tablet for: doing things a little differently
The Apple iPad is the daddy. It doesn't matter what the arguments for Android are, the fact is that the iPad is still just about the best out-and-out tablet out there. And that's why the Slider is such a compelling option - it's not a straight iPad competitor, it offers something different. The slide-out keyboard offers flexibility and functionality not on offer elsewhere. It's a different prospect to the Transformer Prime above, in that it cannot be disconnected from its keyboard, nor does it pack the Tegra 3 innards. But what it does do is make it easier to work on the train, type emails and documents with the convenience of not needing a dock or peripheral. What's more, the screen is the best we've seen on a 10-inch Android tablet, and it's also the most responsive.

Quick verdict
It's not for everyone, but it's one of the best tablets for showing off everything that Android can do.

6. Asus Eee Pad Transformer

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We love the Asus Eee Pad Transformer. It's been around for a while now, and in our opinion, it's still one of the most compelling Android tablets available. Not only is it powerful and well featured, it's designed to work with a keyboard dock that turns it into a fully-fledged Android-powered netbook. The fact is that Android as an operating system is still lagging behind iOS in terms of tablet usability, so products need a USP. And on that score, this is the tablet that changed the game.

Quick verdict
With the release of the Transformer Prime and Transformer Pad 300, you may well find this tablet at discounted prices. And thus the Asus Eee Pad Transformer could be had for a bargain if you search hard enough.

7. Asus Transformer Pad 300

Best Android tablet for: Transformer Prime power on a budget
The Transformer Pad 300 offers up the power of a quad-core Tegra 3 processor, a 10.1-inch display and 12 hour battery life in a device that's cheaper than the Transformer Prime. A big plus point for the 300 is the fact that it comes running Android Ice Cream Sandwich out of the box – keeping it bang up to date with the Android OS – even if Android 4.1 has just popped up. However, the price difference is noticeable when it comes to the materials used to build the 300, with its plastic body not feeling as premium or solid as the more expensive Prime – that said, the Transformer Pad 300 is still a great tablet.

Quick verdict
Individual needs and budget will determine if the Asus Transformer Pad TF300 is right for you, but we applaud Asus for marrying value and performance, and the TF300 comes highly recommended.

8. Sony Tablet S

Best Android tablet for: PlayStation gaming
As a veritable mega-giant in the consumer tech universe, Sony's landing on Planet Tablet was always going to be interesting. Blasting off alongside the fold-in-half Sony Tablet P, the Sony Tablet S has a unique wedge-shaped design and top-end specs.

Quick verdict
It's a very decent and refined tablet, and has the unique feature of having access to original PlayStation games. The only issue is that it's not as tidy as the Galaxy Tab 10.1 and not as versatile as the Transformer. Apart from that, it's one of the best Android tablets out there.

9. Toshiba AT200

Best Android tablet for: 10-inch portability
The AT200 is extremely thin, clocking in at a super slender 7.7mm thin, which means you can slide it into your bag without issue - and at 535g, you probably won't notice it's in there. You get a 10.1-inch 1280 x 800 TFT display, 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 5MP rear camera, 2MP front camera and a decent array of ports including microSD, USB and HDMI. Toshiba has also dropped the price of the AT200 just a few months after launch to keep it competitive in the market, but it's exclusively at Carphone Warehouse in the UK for the time being.

Quick verdict
The Toshiba AT200 is a good, solid and portable device, delivering everything you'd expect from an unfussy Android slate. If you're looking for a standard tablet experience, the AT200 is certainly worth a look.

10. Acer Iconia Tab A510

Best Android tablet for: cheap ICS and quad-core action For your financial outlay, the Acer Iconia Tab A510 represents a shrewd investment, especially for people willing to accept a few minor flaws.

Quick verdict
There are cheaper tablets out there running Android Ice Cream Sandwich, but these budget offerings do not offer the sheer power of the Tegra 3 platform, and the lightning-fast Android 4.0 experience.

11. Huawei MediaPad 7

Best Android tablet for: keeping in your jacket pocket
Seven-inch tablets are a much better fit for the human hand than bigger ones. Huawei's new MediaPad 7, unlike the iPad, is so small that you can comfortably stick it in your inside jacket pocket, making it a fully portable no-brainer. Huawei made much of this being the first Android 3.2 Honeycomb tablet, but that's not much of a big deal now that Android 4.0, aka Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS), has landed.

Quick verdict
Admittedly, tablets aren't quite there yet as a full-blown work tool, but the Huawei MediaPad 7 takes a big step forward towards convincing us this is the form factor of the future. If it has a challenger it would be the easier to hold and even smaller - but no less capable and considerably more costly - 5.3-inch Samsung Galaxy Note.

12. Motorola Xoom

Motorola XOOM videoWatch more videos like this01:54
Best Android tablet for: sleek good looks and solid performance
The Motorola Xoom was the first Honeycomb tablet to hit the shelves, and is thus the grandfather of the Android stable. Current prices are starting at about £300 ($470), which is great value for a 10-inch tablet of this calibre, and it's thus worthy of your attention.

Quick verdict
Solid build quality, decent battery life, good performance and the Xoom is fast enough to keep pace, so gets our nod over some other Android tablets. Beware though, the Motorola Xoom 2 is already here.

13. Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 ReviewWatch more videos like this01:41
Best Android tablet for: budget 7-inch tablet performance
If the idea of a capable, portable, fun and comparatively low cost tablet appeals enough to you to make you part with £200 ($300), then this is your tablet. However, those who strive for the best experience, the sharpest screen and the most slender, curvaceous build will see that Samsung has cut corners with the Tab 2 7.0.

Quick verdict
Samsung has kept costs down to offer something affordable to recession-hit customers, and still make a margin for itself, and to be honest, we don't blame it one bit.

14. Acer Iconia Tab A200

Best Android tablet for: basic tablet usage
Although the market for budget tablets is getting increasingly crowded, the Acer Iconia Tab A200 offers a lot for its relatively low price. It's replicating some of the policies that have made its laptops increasingly popular. That is, an unremarkable chassis with a brief smattering of necessary ports and a concentration on offering decent power at a very attractive price.

Quick verdict
If you want a budget media tablet for the house, that everyone in the family can use, then this is one of the better choices available.

15. Orange Tahiti

Best Android tablet for: new users already on Orange
The Orange Tahiti is a great own-branded tablet from a retailer that is looking to push the device much in the same way as it would a handset, with a small one-off payment plus monthly contractual fees. But there are certainly better devices on the market that, in the long run, would prove better value for money.

Quick verdict
An up and down collection of hit and miss features, Orange's first foray into the tablet market is one that will appeal greatly to those with few high-end expectations of their first tablet. But it'll similarly fail to fully impress the hardened tech fan more comfortable with the tried and trusted hardware brands.


sabkon wells said...

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