Best sub 8-inch tablets (February 2013 edition)

Best sub 8-inch tablets (February 2013 edition)

Summary: There's never been a better time to buy a sub 8-inch tablet. Here is a selection of the best sub 8-inch tablets on offer, starting at only $149.

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TOPICS: Tablets
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  • Apple iPad mini

    More column inches have been devoted to Apple's iPad mini than any other sub 8-inch tablet in existence. If hype is what counts, this is undoubtedly the king of the small tablets.

    Apple has released a no-compromise product. It is a full-sized iPad that's been hit with a shrink-ray. Anything you can do on the 9.7-inch iPad you can do on this 7.9-inch device.

    • Processor: A5;
    • Operating system: iOS 6;
    • Screen: 7.9-inch, 1024 x 768 resolution;
    • Battery life: 10 hours.

    Pros:

    • Solid, well made;
    • Incredible array of apps;
    • Excellent camera and speakers.

    Cons:

    • Pricey;
    • On-screen keyboard a little cramped;
    • If you dislike iOS or have an Android handset, it’s probably not for you.

    Price: Starting at $329 for the 16GB Wi-Fi only model.

    Image source: Apple.

  • Amazon Kindle Fire HD

    Over the past few years Amazon has come from nowhere to become a major player in the hardware sector. It started out with the Kindle e-book reader, and has now extended its reach with the Kindle Fire range of tablets.

    While the Kindle Fire HD runs Android, it is a heavily modified version of the operating system.

    • Processor: 1.2 GHz dual-core ARM Cortex-A9;
    • Operating system: Modified Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich";
    • Screen: 7-inch, 1280 x 800 resolution;
    • Battery life: 11 hours.

    Pros:

    • Android, but not Android, which works for a lot of people;
    • Superb screen;
    • Excellent selection of apps;
    • Vastly superior speakers to any tablet.

    Cons:

    • If you want a pure Android experience, this is not for you;
    • Amazon products and services are pushed at every turn;
    • No support for expandable storage.

    Price: Starting at $199 for the 16GB model.

    Image source: Amazon.

  • Google Nexus 7

    Android is Google's operating system, so who better to design a tablet for the platform.

    The Nexus 7 offers the purest Android experience of any of the tablets here, running the stock Android 4.2.1 "Jelly Bean" operating system, free from third-party customizations and crapware.

    • Processor: 1.3 GHz quad-core Cortex-A9;
    • Operating system: Android 4.2.1 "Jelly Bean";
    • Screen: 7-inch, 1280 x 800 resolution;
    • Battery life: 10 hours.

    Pros:

    • Pure Android experience;
    • Quad-core power;
    • Price.

    Cons:

    • No support for expandable storage;
    • Some build quality complaints.

    Price: Starting at $199 for 8GB model.

    Image source: Google.

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Topic: Tablets

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32 comments
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  • How about

    These lists always have the same devices. The best tablet in this class is the Toshiba Excite 7.7. Gorgeous 7.7 inch Super AMOLED display, Nvidia tegra 3 quad core processor, metal chassis, micro sd, Android Jellybean. you can find this tablet as low as $340.
    SunFire23
    • Toshiba Excite 7.7 tablet

      I saw the Toshiba Excite 7.7 at a store right after I had bought my Nexus 7, and I was sorry I didn't see it first. The Toshiba Excite 7.7 is a beautiful tablet. I hope that Toshiba keeps it in their lineup of tablets.
      kandella
  • Hmm

    Did you really call the 1024x768 with iPad 2 internals iPad Mini a no compromise Tablet?

    Wow, we have differing opinions of no compromise.
    slickjim
    • Lucky they mentioned anything other than iPad-mini

      Like how the Nexus 7 sudden has quality issues compared to what? Oh yeah they are manufacturing defect if it is Asus, but Apple screen bleeding is a feature and you should live with it. I would say what happen to fair and unbiased reviews of products, but that left CNET awhile back.
      alex_darkness
      • Please, this isn't 2005

        Apple manufacturing faults = design consideration or UE
        Anything else with manufacturing fault = reason not to buy
        Little Old Man
      • what is hilarious...

        What's hilarious is the fact that I know 6 people who bought or recieved the Nexus 7 in december and they love it! It is over and away far superior to the iPad Mini in my opinion.

        Oh and another note, he stopped at 8" tablets because the Kindle Fire HD 8.9 would have made the iPad mini look embarrasing for the money and specs.

        Other than that, he really still didn't manage to create a piece worth reading!
        slickjim
        • exactly

          My thought too - how about sub-9" Adrian ?
          archangel9999
      • The problem is not Adrian's review

        Yes, he is a fanboy and biased. The fault is ours, for reading and commenting this type of articles. He'll keep writing this stuff and zdnet will keep paying as he is driving traffic. So as stupid as his analysis usually are, he is clever in what he is achieving. I have even make it a game to read a title and guess whether it is written by AKH or JVN; They are probably the worse on ZDNET, and usually the title follow their mostly wrong analisys.
        Coremail Rx
  • Can you please

    Add to the cons of iPad that it has no expandable storage. You seem to have done that for all other tablets, but somehow you missed the iPad. Happens to the best of us. You are welcome.
    kirovs@...
    • Also,

      He missed the fact that the screen has the same resolution as the others and yet on other models that's a con.
      benched42
    • it seems

      That he needed to come up with more flaws for the minis competitors, has to make it look better (even if the criticism is hypocritical at best).
      icyrock
    • oh and the N7

      He has price starting at $199 for the 8 Gig which Google doesn't even make anymore!
      slickjim
  • Storage

    As above, lack of external storage only seems a con for anything but the mini? I'd remove the stupid line about android and replace with external storage so it actually appears a comparison.
    Related to this is the fact that the N7 can handle external storage although it does require a UOTG cable and app to activate the functionality.
    Little Old Man
    • Apple

      Didn't you know that everything Apple does is a feature not a deficiency and it's the most magical thing Apple invented - to Appleistas like Adrian nothing exists until Apple uses it (and then as Lord Steve brainwashed them - Apple invented it)
      archangel9999
  • A tablet is a tablet

    Just remember that a tablet, of any size, is just that--a tablet. Attempts to represent them as an alternative to a laptop or desktop should be viewed with the greatest of skepticism.
    TsarNikky
  • NOOK HD?

    what about the Nook HD? Pretty Nice tablet.
    brian8t
    • Yes, Nook should have been mentioned

      Barnes and Nobel's Nook created the 7" tablet market, long before Google, Amazon or Apple even considered it a market. A 7" tablet comparison is incomplete without including the Nook. Shame, shame, shame.
      nookvine
  • Load of BS

    "Apple has released a no-compromise product."

    I like the iPad Mini very much, but AKH is full of it. The screen is a 7.9" compromise and anyone who states otherwise is a fool or liar.
    Regulator1956
    • Very Poor article

      This blog is poorly written and very biased toward the minipad. A good comparison article would be in a spread sheet format where each device is compared on all the same features, ie memory expansion, screen resolution etc. I believe this author should be taken to task by the editors from ZDNet. Two generation old tech IS a compromise, why doesn't the minipad have a retina display, like the smaller iphone or larger maxipad.
      I think "regulator1956, left out the word "Shill".
      Now what ZDnet needs is a Fxxx Off button for this blogger.
      NirodacYar
  • Actual Galaxy Tab 2 7" customer experience

    Bought on sale for my daughter for Christmas because it's fast and has two cameras and ICS (tried the ultra cheap route with older Gingerbread tablet... no starter) . However, after less than 2 months, I'm sick of constant pop-up ads and crashing apps. Wish I'd saved my money and gotten the iPad mini instead. Not because I like Apple... I hate iTunes and Macs and have last year's Kindle Fire... but the iPads just work.
    JimboNobody