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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.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014 edition)
The Galaxy Note 10.1 is Samsung 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 but updates are inbound.
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" (Android 4.4 "KitKat" coming soon)
- 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.
Asus Transformer Pad TF701T
The Asus Transformer Pad TF701T is one of the slimmest and lightest 2560x1600-resolution, 300 pixels-per-inch, full HD Android tablet on the market, but it's also stylish and very well put together.
The display also supports 10-point multitouch.
The 10.1-inch 2560x1600 resolution display is backed by a powerful Nvidia Tegra 4 quad-core processor that is packed with a very capable 72-core GPU. This hardware runs the Android 4.2 "Jelly Bean" operating system.
Still a favourite of mine.
The battery life is also excellent, with the tablet and dock combo capable of 17 hours of work.
At a glance:
- 10.1-inch 2560x1600
- Nvidia Tegra 4 quad-core processor
- Android 4.3 "Jelly Bean"
- 5 megapixel rear camera, and a 1.2 megapixel front camera
- Choice of 32GB or 64GB of internal storage
- Battery life of up to 17 hours
Price: from $449.