Best Android tablets (October 2013 edition)

Best Android tablets (October 2013 edition)

Summary: Don't want to get locked into Apple's ecosystem by buying an iPad or the petite iPad mini? No problem! Here are my top Android tablets for October 2013. For those of you with limited carry space, there's a phablet for you to lust over.

TOPICS: Mobility, Android

 |  Image 3 of 9

  • Thumbnail 1
  • Thumbnail 2
  • Thumbnail 3
  • Thumbnail 4
  • Thumbnail 5
  • Thumbnail 6
  • Thumbnail 7
  • Thumbnail 8
  • Thumbnail 9
  • (Source: Google)

    The Google Nexus 7

    My favorite Android tablet just got better!

    The new Google Nexus 7 is the much-anticipated follow-on to the highly-successful original Nexus 7. The hardware, once again manufactured by Asus, consists of a 7-inch display with a resolution bumped up to 1920x1200 HD display and a pixel density of 323 pixels per inch, a 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core processor, an Adreno 320 GPU, a choice of 16GB or 32GB of storage, a 5 megapixel rear camera, and a – somewhat limited – 1.2 megapixel front-facing camera.

    The main downside of the Nexus 7 continues to be that it does not feature a card slot to allow you to expand the storage.

    The hardware runs the very latest – and highly capable – Android 4.3 "Jelly Bean" operating system, and features an improved, very efficient software keyboard.

    Also, being a Google-branded tablet, you're also guaranteed software updates, rather than having to rely on the goodwill of the hardware maker to make them available.

    The tablet also features Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, and optional cellular, and all this is powered by a battery that can give 10 hours of usage under normal conditions.

    A powerful tablet in a small, easy-to-carry form factor.

    About the only thing I don't like about the Nexus 7 is the 16:10 screen aspect ratio, which makes the device feel awfully top-heavy in portrait mode.

    At a glance:

    • 7-inch, 1920x1200 HD display and a pixel density of 323 pixels per inch
    • 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core processor
    • Adreno 320 GPU
    • Android 4.3 "Jelly Bean"
    • 5.0 megapixel rear camera
    • 1.2 megapixel front-facing camera
    • Choice of 16GB or 32GB of internal storage
    • Stereo, surround speakers
    • Battery life of 9 hours

    Price: from $199.

  • (Source: Samsung)

    Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014 edition)

    The Galaxy Note 10.1 is Samsung's is a flagship tablet that commands a flagship price. And it just got better with this latest update

    The hardware is all top-notch, with a 10.1-inch screen with a 2560x1600 resolution display, a 2.3GHz quad core processor on the LTE version (the Wi-Fi/3G version has a 1.9GHz quad-core CPU and a secondary 1.3GHz quad-core CPU), a choice of 16GB, 32GB or 64GB of storage, an 8 megapixel rear-facing camera, a 2 megapixel front-facing camera, and a 10-hour battery pack.

    The software is Android 4.2 "Jelly Bean" operating system.

    For times when a finger just isn't precise enough, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 comes with a nifty stylus called the S Pen specifically designed to work with a number of applications. This really comes to its own when doing fiddly things like working in a spreadsheet, or knocking out a doodle.

    The stylus makes the Galaxy Note 10.1 a great machine for taking notes, planning, and sketching out ideas. This can be a hugely useful for BYOD usage.

    There are two drawbacks to this device. The first is the price. This is a premium tablet, and has a premium price tag to go with that. But at $50 more than the iPad, it's hard to recommend the new Galaxy Note 10.1, especially when you factor in the second drawback – performance. While the hardware baked into the new Galaxy Note 10.1 is top-notch, the tablet still suffers from a sluggishness that makes it annoying to use. Perhaps this will be fixed by a software update, but for now it plagues what should otherwise be a flagship device.

    At a glance:

    • 10.1-inch, 2560x1600 display
    • 2.3GHz Exynos quad core processor on the LTE version
    • Android 4.3 "Jelly Bean"
    • 8 megapixel rear-facing camera, a 2 megapixel front-facing camera
    • Choice of 16GB, 32GB or 64GB of internal storage
    • Battery life of 10 hours

    Price: from $549.

  • (Source: Amazon)

    Amazon Kindle Fire HD

    Amazon, a company that rose to fame by making it easier and cheaper to get your hands on the books you wanted, has been aggressively getting into both the hardware and digital content markets over the past few years. And the recently updated Kindle Fire HD is testament to how serious Amazon is about disrupting the tablet market.

    • Fire OS 3.0, a highly modified version of Android
    • 1.5GHz dual-core processor
    • 7-inch 1280x800 HD display featuring a pixel density of 216 pixels-per-inch
    • Dolby audio
    • Dual-band Wi-Fi
    • 10 hour battery life
    • Choice of 8GB and16GB internal storage of internal storage

    Price: from $139.

Topics: Mobility, Android

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • They all fail..

    All fails. No GPS.

    Best avoid. You will be completely lost without it.
    • stupid

      samsung galaxy tab has gps so does the nexus 7. I think most of the others do also.
    • use your phone

      A tablet in the car is generally a novelty - you try it when its new then you stop. Like using it as a camera.
      • give it a hard mount

        Add a hard mount w/power and things change. Its the holding and/or the laying it down in an odd and less than useful orientation that make it novelty followed by irritating. Not suitable for all vehicle cabin configurations, but where it works, its spiffy.

        GPS & Bluetooth 4 are absolute requirements for anything with the label "best" in Oct 2013. There's just no good excuse to leave that functionality out.
    • Albionstreet fails.

      The Nexus 10 also has GPS.
  • All Old News!

    It would be much more interesting if you researched the myriad available non-name tablets that are so ubiquitous in Asia. Maybe you can find a gem or two at much lower cost.
  • Gallery? No Watch

    When will ZDNet quit using this backward mode. The Article subject matter is interesting to me, but I will no long use Gallery. I know a lot of Readers agree.
    Put them inline; much better.
    • 100% agree with you

      Their gallery software is terrible. Seems like a thing of the 90s
  • Jelly Bean is impressive....

    As an iPad Mini user which has been transformed by iOS7. I decided today and splurge on a 8" Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 just so I can make first hand comparisons. I am open minded when it comes to tablets even though I sway towards Apple from the iPhone to the MacBook Pro. with the iPad Mini in between.

    So I splurged. My previous experience had been with a Galaxy 10.1 and although impressive was too much of a handful which is the same reason why I got rid of the iPad 3 opting for the iPad Mini instead.

    I have always had a big hang up with the all plastic Samsung smartphones and tablets . In this respect the 8" Galaxy Tab 3 is no different. However once I looked past the build quality appreciated the outstanding screen and I set myself to discovering Jelly Bean.

    I now appreciate what all the fuss is about. Jelly bean is not better than iOS7 but its certainly on par.

    • Agreed!

      After owning an iPad 2 from its inception and finding little to get excited about in iOS 7, I sprung for TWO Galaxy Tab 3’s,... one for me and one for my wife. Always a learning curve, but Jelly Bean on them impresses me. See two apps running at the same time...never happen with Apple. Why not? ”We don't copy anyone. We are the masters of the universe! Don't give us customer feedbak. We tell you what you can and cannot have!"
      Personally, I am tired of it. Bye, Apple. I'm saving my money for something else I want to do with my life!
      Richard Lighthill
  • You will be assimilated.

    We are the Droid. You will be assimilated. Your financial and informational distinctiveness will be added to our own. Your devices will adapt to service us. Resistance is futile.
  • Do side-by-side comparsion

    Its better to do side-by-side comparison to check out the best tablet.

    Here is the link for comparison :
    Compare Android Tablets 2013
    • Link
      • Thanks for top!

        Great site - thanks for the information
  • Incorrect Information - once again

    Regarding the information provided about the "Asus Transformer Pad Infinity TF700T",
    Not only does the link to the ASUS site not work but the claim that this is "The slimmest and lightest 1920x1200 resolution Full HD Android tablet on the market ..."is incorrect.

    According to the specs at the ASUS US site, the ASUS Transformer Pad TF700T weighs 598 grams against the figures from the SONY US site of 595 grams for the Sony Xperia Z. Only a minute difference but the dimensions are more of a contrast:

    263 x 180.8 x 8.5 mm

    266 x 172 x 6.9 mm

    In addition, the Xperia Z has Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, the newer Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro APQ8064 Cortex-A9 Quad Core 1.5 GHz processor and is also waterproof.
  • Do you know how to do maths???

    Quoting from the Kindle Fire HDX specs:

    •7-inch 1920 x 1200 (323 ppi) display | 8.9-inch 560 x 1600 (339 ppi)

    So, the 8.9 inch is larger and has a lower resolution, but a higher pixel density?

    Please try to actually proofread instead of just Ctrl-V...