Top Android tablets (April 2014 edition)

Top Android tablets (April 2014 edition)

Summary: Want a tablet but don't want to buy a svelte iPad Air or the petite iPad mini because you want to stay away from the Apple walled garden? Not a problem! Here are my top Android tablets for April 2014 – and this month we have a couple of new entries.

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  • (Image: 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 and 16GB internal storage

    Price: from $139.

  • (Image: Amazon)

    Amazon Kindle Fire HDX

    To show how serious Amazon is about the tablet market the company unveiled a new addition to the Kindle Fire HD line-up — the Kindle Fire HDX.

    The HDX comes in two different flavors — a 7-inch version and a bigger, beefier 8.9-inch variety. Both are essentially the same hardware, apart from the fact that the 8.9-inch version features a bigger, better screen and a rear-facing camera.

    • Fire OS 3.0, a highly modified version of Android
    • 2.2GHz quad-core processor
    • 7-inch 1920 x 1200 (323 ppi) display | 8.9-inch 560 x 1600 (339 ppi)
    • Both feature a front-facing HD camera, while the 8.9-inch version also has an 8MP rear-facing camera too
    • +11 hour battery life
    • Dolby audio
    • Choice of 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB of internal storage

    Price: from $229.

  • (Image: Google)

    The Google Nexus 7

    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 4.4 "KitKat" operating system, and features an improved, very efficient software keyboard.

    Also, being a Google-branded tablet, you're 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, optional cellular, Bluetooth, NFC, and optional cellular — all 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 4.4 "KitKat"
    • 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 nine hours 

    Price: from $199.

Topics: Mobility, Android, Hardware

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27 comments
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  • Nexus 7

    Only thing I don't like about the Nexus 7 are the wide bezel at the ends. Makes the device overly tall when held in portrait mode IMHO. Hopefully the 2014 model is less "bezelly," I might consider upgrading my 2012 Nexus 7 if that's the case.
    dsf3g
    • And an SD card slot!

      I mean come on, let me have removable storage!
      brant@...
      • OTG

        Look into OTG support for USB devices.
        bunkport
        • Great idea but

          Not only does OTG have to be enabled on the device, but so does USB Mass Storage. Like it or not, Google has a bit of a penchant for removing one or both of these things.

          I retrieve my information about which devices are supported from the Meenova product Web page, and do my research from there.
          Robot9001
        • otg is a bit of a barnicle

          OTG works well enough but does end up sticking out and catching on things. A micro sd slot practically disappears.
          stone-cutter
          • More New Tablets In April

            Three other new tablets launch this month worth considering

            The new Pipo T9 - is an 8.9-inch tablet priced at $274 and is the first tablet on the market with a true Octa Core processor (MT6592 2.0 GHz - 2GB/32GB) with performance comparable to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 -- the Pipo T9 also features a 3G HSPA+ SIM card slot with both Internet and Voice Calling (U.S carriers AT&T, T-Mobile & Straight Talk); plus offers a 1920X1200 HD screen, Bluetooth 4.0, MicroSD, GPS, a 7300 mAh battery (9 hrs) and premium speakers.

            Also launching is the Ramos i10 Pro ($399) - the first Windows-Android Hybrid on the market with access to both Windows 8.1 and Android O/S on the same device - and features a high performance Intel BayTrail CPU, a 10-inch HD display, 8000 mAh battery, Bluetooth and GPS.

            Plus this week the Ramos i12 becomes available, one of the first mega 12-inch Android Tablets and compares in size to the Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2.
            The Ramos i12 features an Intel Z2580 processor, a 11.6" HD display, a 10,000 mAh battery and multi-window viewing - priced at $299.

            One of the first U.S. sites to carry these new models is -- iProTablet
            astonmechael
  • Nexus 10

    I'm still crazy about my Nexus 10. It's fast, has stunning display, and NEVER crashes. I also like the larger size, instead of the mini-page feel.
    wmayo444
  • shocking list

    i shocked at this list as the kindle's are the bottom and so are most of this list
    lenovo doesn't even feauture and they have done some stunning work with their roms and at their price point i think it is a potential winner A3000 indestructable; yoga classy built in stand and asus made our list this year given they all have gremlins but so does all of these in this articel still waiting to find the perfect tablet somehow we need the engineers to sit with the man on the street and ask them what works for them as it doesn't seem like they do lenovo MIIX 2 is a good example levely windows tab good price but they put the data port at the bottom where it docks dumb move
    allister@...
    • First...

      ...learn English.... then learn to write in English. Sheesh!
      ryork272
  • So, which do you think is more important

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

    The 'optional cellular', or the 'and optional cellular'?
    timspublic1@...
  • You can't knock Apple's Walled Garden

    And then put two Kindle Fire tablets on this list. It's just opting for a crappier walled garden with Android bones.
    d20dad
    • Exactly

      Couldn't have said it better
      $vix
    • While

      I agree with you about walled garden, but crappier, besides not being able to access the google play market I would put Amazons ecosystme up against Apple's anyday
      Amazon has a much larger ebook library, larger r movie and TV, it's on par with iTunes with music throw in it's intergration of shopping an Prime then it's not exactly crappier than iTunes in fact it's much MUCH better.
      jonandkelly
      • I'll give you the media consumption part

        but it's not a full tablet if it's only good for reading, listening, and watching. Which it is. Don't get me wrong it does these things great, but you get as good an experience on any of the others with the benefit of an app store that's not total crap.
        d20dad
  • No Amazon

    The kindle does not have access to the google play store. You talk about apple's walled garden- what about amazon's. Amazon's tablet is designed to do one thing- get people to buy overpriced merchandise on amazon ( thats right, search the internet for the next item you want to buy and you'll see how many vendors have far better rpicing and free shipping without having to pay a fee for it)
    The kindle does not provide a rich user experience- its a portal to amazon's site. Its slow, quirky and poorly built.
    After trying many tablets, the ipad air is truly superior with respect to user experience, build quality, apps which are tablet oriented,reliability, quality of ecosystem, etc, Facetime, siri and imessage work flawlessly and are invaluable. It just works everytime, all the time.
    Another excellent tablet is the Microsoft Surface Pro 2. It has the beauty and build quality of the ipad combined with the power and ports of a full blown computer. Its fast, fluid and rock steady stable. Its a very unique product in a league of its own. Its replaced our laptops and its truly the only tablet that can replace a pc
    $vix
    • agreed...mostly

      I agree about the kindle. I'd probably buy one for my mom as she mostly uses her tablet as a reader anyway but it wouldn't suit my needs at all.
      The ipads are great devices but I'm not a big fan of their phones anymore. I switched to a samsung and prefer the screen ratio and general usability. Won't knock the iphones as they're still good devices... just not my favourite.
      So having an android phone I switched to an android tablet. It just made sense. Same app store, shared apps and settings etc.
      I haven't really had a chance to check out the MS Surface yet. As for laptop/PC replacement, the only thing that my Asus tablet doesn't have that I need occasionally is an ethernet port. Once or twice a year I need to connect directly to a router for configuration. (Since it has a USB port in the keyboard dock I could just get a USB ethernet adaptor but I haven't bothered yet). If I want more of a desktop feel, I can plug in a keyboard/mouse and use the microHDMI to connect a monitor. Granted, it's still running android and not a desktop OS but that hasn't bothered me yet. I stopped using my laptop over a year ago.
      justanotherpaul
    • Agree and disagree...

      $vix: I agree with you on the Kindle. However, I have an iPad Air and a Samsung Galaxy Note 8 tablet. The Note 8 is a better tablet. The Air is still a relatively heavy device and once you add in the weight of a case, it's approaching Ultra Portable PC weight.

      The Note 8 has a beautiful screen, is super light and yet very durable. The apps, in my opinion, are superior to the Air. I get constant app crashes on the Air. Very frustrating. The dimensions of the Air is a total let down when watching movies. You either have the letterboxing going on or you full-size the screen and cut off 25% of the picture. After 3 years and Apple insists on staying with an outdated screen size. I will say though, the resolution on the Air is fantastic but its really good on the Note 8 too.

      After using both devices for some time now, I find myself consistently going with the Note 8 for its portability and apps.
      ryork272
  • Asus

    You mention SD slots on some but you forgot on the Asus. The TF701 has a microSD slot on the tablet, a full sized SD slot on the keyboard as well as a USB 3 port on the keyboard.
    Even their older models have SD and USB support.
    justanotherpaul
    • Also, the Asus MeMO Pad FHD 10 32GB‎

      This Android tablet give me everything I need and at an affordable price point.
      stealth94rt
  • I'm sure they all have their GPositive points and negative points...

    ...I bought a Galaxy Tab 3 8-inch which for me does everything I want it to do, and combined with my Galaxy S4 I don't need anything more. I got it for a great price which also swayed my decision.
    If I need more computing power for my interests I use my laptop. All this is done for fun and my enjoyment, being retired.
    kfengler