Best Android tablets (July 2013 edition)

Best Android tablets (July 2013 edition)

Summary: Don't want to get locked into Apple's ecosystem by buying an iPad or iPad mini? No problem! Here are my top 7 Android tablets for July 2013. And if you're looking for budget Android tablets, there are two here you might be interested in.

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TOPICS: Mobility, Tablets
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  • Asus Transformer Pad Infinity TF700T

    The Asus Transformer Pad Infinity TF700T is not only the slimmest and lightest 1920x1200 resolution full HD Android tablet on the market, but it is also stylish and very well put together.

    The 10.1-inch 1920x1200 resolution display is backed by a powerful Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core processor that is packed with a very capable 12-core GPU. This hardware runs the Android 4.0.3 "Ice Cream Sandwich" operating system, which is now showing its age, but is nonetheless a very capable and robust platform.

    The tablet features an 8 megapixel rear camera, and a 2 megapixel front camera, and the battery can go for 9.5 hours between recharges.

    At a glance:

    • 10.1-inch 1920x1200 display
    • Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core processor
    • Android 4.0.3 "Ice Cream Sandwich"
    • 8 megapixel rear camera, and a 2 megapixel front camera
    • Choice of 32GB or 64GB
    • Battery life of 9.5 hours

    Price: from $499.

    Link/image source: Asus.

  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7-inch

    Now that Apple has released the iPad mini, this seems to have rekindled interest in smaller tablets. For those who are looking for a highly-portable tablet on a budget, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 is worth a look.

    The 7-inch screen with 1024x600 resolution display is a little meagre compared to the Nexus 7, but offsetting this is the micro-SD card slot that allows you to bump the storage up from the stock 8GB for a few dollars. For those wanting to carry around a lot of data, that little card slot is worth its weight in gold.

    The tablet is powered by a dual core Texas Instruments OMAP processor and a 3 megapixel rear-facing camera. The stock operating system is Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich" but you can upgrade to Android 4.1 "Jelly Bean".

    At a glance:

    • 7-inch, 1024x600 display
    • 1GHz Texas Instruments OMAP processor
    • Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich"
    • 3 megapixel rear camera, and a VGA front camera
    • Choice of 8GB, 16GB, and 32GB
    • Battery life of about 5 hours

    Price: from $200.

    Link/image source: Samsung.

  • Ainol Novo 9 Spark

    Looking for a cheap and cheerful tablet that has plenty of power to handle even the more demanding apps? The Ainol Novo 9 Spark is worth a look.

    You might not have heard of the manufacturer before, but the tablets are well worth taking a look at.

    At a glance:

    • 9.7-inch 2048x1536 retina IPS display
    • Allwinner A31 quad-core CPU with SGX544MP2 GPU
    • Android 4.1 "Jelly Bean" compatible with 4.2
    • 5 megapixel rear camera, and a 2 megapixel front camera
    • 16GB storage

    Price: from $229.

    Link/image source: Aniol.

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Topics: Mobility, Tablets

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72 comments
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  • Can't believe you left off the Ainol Novo 9 SparK

    Ultra high resolution 2048x1536 screen, beautiful and bright - easy to read in sunlight, screen that is 10" in size, great battery life, unadulterated Android 4.1, quad core CPU with 8 core GPU. And all of this goodness can be had for about $325 through Internet sources. Downsides include no bluetooth and no GPS receiver. Sill a heck of a tablet IMHO
    lkarnis@...
    • No bluetooth?

      No bluetooth is a dealbreaker for me. That means no keyboards, no mice, no gamepads.

      And the lack of GPS makes Google Maps less rather useful.
      dsf3g
      • This isn't an Apple product

        As long as it has a USB port wouldn't it have access to wireless keyboards, mice and gamepads?
        John238
      • Deal Breaker

        I agree - deal breaker
        Clemson Nosnep
    • nexus 10 bluetooth

      I use a bluetooth keyboard with my Nexus 10.
      rdspafford
    • Looks like Adrian meant to include this one...

      ... since the photo is of the Ainol Novo 9 Spark, not the Google Nexus 10.

      That said, I'd be a little leery of purchasing either one (or any) of the Ainol tablets. Just be sure you buy from a reputable seller and check reviews. There are horror stories out there.

      For my money, I'd lean more toward the Hisense Sero 7 Pro if I'm talking about an inexpensive alternative. A buddy who previously had a Nexus 7 (but broke the screen) bought one of these and loves it.

      I have both a Nexus 7 and a Transformer Infinity myself (and an iPad 3 that replaced a dropped-on-the-highway iPad 2) and I'd highly recommend either one. My personal favorite was the Nexus 7 before I broke the screen (pattern here?), but all three get their respective jobs done, even if the iPad does end up in my kids hands more often than not (thank you Otterbox).
      katscoyote
      • Nothing against Apple

        "...an iPad 3 that replaced a dropped-on-the-highway iPad 2..."

        I've got nothing against, Apple, per se... but I would loved to have seen that... and admit it, so would you.
        dsf3g
      • Hisense Sero Pro 7

        I got the Hisense Sero Pro 7 rooted it changed ROM installed gl to sd (root ) app to move app data to 32 GB external sd its a great tablet
        Rstgo
      • Screen

        If you still have your nexus 7 you can buy a replacement screen on ebay for anywhere from $40 to $60 they are not to hard to replace just get a special tool to open it it should be to screws and cord. That is if it only broke that touch screen if it broke the lcd too then it is more work and money but still fixable and definitely worth it to fix such a nice device.
        m.a.x.i.m.512
      • Nexus 7 ?

        No hdmi out.

        Not having access to Hdtv big miss factor for tablet entertainment value. Or is that possible another way ?

        Was impressed otherwise.
        dave365
    • More New Models Worth Considering

      One new Android tablet that packs in the latest technology that became available a few weeks ago is the Pipo M6 ($279)... a 9.7-inch, full-size tablet with a Retina display along with Android 4.2.2 and the latest Rockchip Quad Core processor. Its 2048X1536 IPS screen is comparable to the iPad display; and the Pipo M6 also features Bluetooth 4.0, WIFI with a 5G module , HDMI, Quality Dual Cameras, a 7000 mAh battery, along with premium front Speakers; and Google Play preinstalled. It's also one of the first tablets to work with Miracast TV - HD Wireless (like Apple Airplay).


      Also launching this week is the new X10 Mini Pro by Ramos Electronics ($229) -- the X10 Mini Pro features 3G HSPA+ for voice calling and internet... along with Bluetooth connection that with a wireless headset makes it easy to make phone calls. The X10 Mini Pro offers the same 7.85" size as the Mini iPad and features a built-in 3G SIM slot, a Quad Core processor, WiFi, and Bluetooth connection; along with built-in GPS, HDMI, a 2 Megapixel Front and 5 Megapixel Rear Camera, 16GB Memory, MicroSD, Android 4.2.2, Miracast HD Wireless, and Google Play store preinstalled.

      Both of these models and a few others are available at T ab l e t S p r i n t -- which also offers a $25 Bonus Apps package that includes a Microsoft Office suite and several popular 3D Games.
      WillCWill
    • Coodination prob. Left off Ainol Novo 9 and put Nexus 10 in twice

      As many have mentioned, these galleries are problematic... even for the writers/editors
      JimboNobody
  • On the cusp...

    This list remains largey unchanged from several months ago. Still, we're on the cusp of some exciting new tablet releases, including a Tegra 4 Transformer and the first Samsung Android tablet running on Intel processors. Eagerly awaiting reviews on those when they're out.
    dsf3g
    • 8, 16 & 32

      Don't knock it, at least he's updated the entry for the Nexus 7 from 8 &16 GB models to 16 & 32. That took a while.
      DJL64
  • no bluetooth

    that is a huge dealbreaker. I can live without slots and even GPS but not that. Also such an obscure device will not have many accessories. Also these sorts of "no-name" tablets are more of a quality control crap-shoot. If I wanted a 10", would pay $399 for the nexus 10. There you are guaranteed the latest software and well supported by the modding community.
    drwong
    • I meant to reply to lkarnis

      drwong
  • Nexus 10...?

    Why's it on here twice?
    MatrixClaw
  • Unfinished list

    Nexus 7
    Nexus 10
    Novo 7 Venus
    Galaxy Note 10.1
    Transformer TF700
    Galaxy Tab 2 7"
    Nexus 10 again?

    You only list 6 tablets and at least 2 arguably shouldn't be there. The Sero Pro 7 takes the Nexus 7's specs and adds expandable memory (something people have been slamming it for not having since it debuted). The 7" Tab 2 is outdated and offers no real benefit to new buyers. The Galaxy Note 8 would have been a much better choice since it actually offers something unique. The Sero would be another better choice (or even throw the Nook HD in there if you're looking for a bargain tablet to list).
    421dave
    • Good observation

      Now that Nooks have access to the Play store, they're worth a second look. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the Nook HD is the only 7" Android tablet available with a retina-class screen.
      dsf3g
      • Nook

        Trouble is that the nooks are being discontinued as tablets, going to ereaders only for now. B&N may at some future time explore having someone else make a tablet for them.
        dhays