Top Android tablets (February 2014 edition)

Top Android tablets (February 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 February 2014 – and this month we have a couple of new entries. And for those of you with limited carry space, there's a phablet for you to lust over.

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TOPICS: Mobility
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  • Introduction

    Tablets are everywhere, and while Apple's iPad – along with its little brother, the iPad mini – commands the most media attention, there's no shortage of excellent Android alternatives to choose from.

    Here are my top nine Android tablets for February 20142014 – and this month we have a couple of new entries.

    All of the tablets features here are very capable, powerful workhorses, and are ideal not only for home users, but also for enterprise users or those looking for a BYOD tablet. Any one of these will give you an excellent Android experience, and, when combined with the right apps, will allow you to get a lot of work done when you're away from your desk.

  • (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 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, optional cellular, 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 4.4 "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 9 hours

    Price: from $199.

Topic: Mobility

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35 comments
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  • 11 pages

    All on one page please. This format is quite annoying ... as you have heard many times, yet will not change. I would have read it if on one page, but will pass if spread across multiple pages.
    Integratefulness
    • I'm in the same boat.

      About 9 times out of 10, I stop after the first page if the article is laid out as a series of multiple page loads. All free consumer sites want to "page hits" and most try to figure out how to inflate pages hits to demonstrate "reader engagement." On Engadget, that means I get to scroll down 5-7 article lead-ins and if I want to read the full article, I have to click through (their extra page hit). Plus to cover each day's releases, I have to click to the next page, usually about 4-5 worth of pages. I can deal with that. But ZDNet has the SHORTEST lead-ins, then punishes me with up to 7-10 click-ons and page loads. Hey guys, making the pain-points too painful is counterproductive. Do you have to click through to scroll down Facebook? No. Are they starving for engagement/ads? No.
      NorCal1953
    • they'll never change

      it's a trick for them to get more revenue. each page you click gives them another set of ad revenue, so they got 11x more money from this article than a regular article. it's hugely obnoxious but money talks. they'd only stop if we stop coming to the website.
      theoilman
    • MORE ON THE BOAT... SEND'M A BILL!

      I to HATE!!!!!!! having to open multi-pages.
      I'm sure like me, you pay for your ISP.
      .
      Start sending all the idiots a bill for using and abusing our PAID service.
      They make more money by us clicking thru which opens and reopens the averts, they can spread that wealth!
      .
      fm-usa
    • Don't do multiple pages

      I agree. I don't like the multiple page format either. As soon as I see it, I close the window. If they keep doing it, I'll unsubscribe.
      Jean-Paul Van Belle
    • Top Android tablets 2014

      Samsung Galaxy NotePRO 12.2 (64GB, Black)
      http://goo.gl/QdE8Ta
      JACKJAES
  • What are specs without RAM?

    Why make your readers look up how much RAM is found in each model when you could just tell them? A modern OS needs at least 2 gigs of RAM. I suspect that the Kindle Fire HD is not the only tablet that comes up short.
    paul613
  • good but limited by google

    rooted so very hard to install apps that are important
    BearCanyon
  • HATE this format

    I went to express my dislike for this multipage horizontal scroll format, and what did I see? Another person expressing the same. I know it seems cool, and with you sitting on T1 on the same network as this web server, sure it's instantaneous. Here's a hint to you and all the magazine writers: EVERYONE IS NOT ON THE SUPER FASTEST NETWORK! A lot of people are using mobile devices that are on (gasp, can it be true) 3G or slower! I know magazine writers have quit talking about anything but the latest and greatest, but it's still here. And for slow mobile lines, this format is not just annoying, it's impossible to use.
    stevet@...
    • and Spare a thought for satellite connections.

      On satellite broadband it took me 41 seconds to open the first page (so many dns lookups).
      Needless to say I didn't bother with pages >= 2.
      andyh@...
  • same her

    Stopped reading after second page change...extremely annoying and dumb.
    Besides, some of these "best" tablets are so stinking costly for what you get...might as well buy an apple product.
    Paul on the Mesa
  • Worthless

    Sorry. This really does not help me decide on a new tablet. In fact it is not clear what the point of the article is. I haven't the time to wade through ten or so pages trying to remember what I read three or four pages back in order to compare models. Off to TechRepublic to get a more informed opinion.
    martin@...
  • Finally adding my voice that I HATE the multi-page format

    In fact, I'm already waiting for the next ZDnet survey so i can blast them on it. In the meantime, I quit this article after three screens and went to see what Cnet has to say - they have a beautiful summary, all on one page, with all the specs, and links to detailed reviews. Ah, the simplicity, the customer-focus... goodbye ZDnet!
    Randy.earl@...
  • Have to spend above $200 to get a good tablet?-WRONG

    I have a great Android tablet that can do everything these tablets can do except for maybe one or two. Mine does not make phone calls without Skype. But, then, I did not buy a phablet. And I did not spend but $150 total with case and an external keyboard and mouse for when I need to do productive work. This article is very misleading. I don't have to spend above $200 to get a great working tablet.
    RobertMoore12@...
    • Many are Overpriced & Over-rated.

      There's heaps of Chinese Android tablets just as capable that often offer more features costing up to $200.
      Why spend more on a limited lifespan, easily damaged device you then throw away?
      grump-a1eeb
    • Your Tablet

      What tablet do you have? What would you recommend?
      Midknight76
  • Have no time to click through the pages

    Have to agree, I would have read the article. . . but I am tired of having to read a few sort of informative paragraphs, then onto the next page and equally non-informative information, and have to go to another page. What is the point, just advertising other articles? Forget it. Used to enjoy reading ZDNet.
    Jashryn
  • The lineup is the usual cast of characters.

    I would add the Lenovo tablet 10. Its not for everyone, but $279 at best buy with a cool hinge stand, super battery life and decent performance. The screen is not the highest res but good enough.
    drwong
  • Asus Memo Pad FHD 10

    That Asus tablet offers a very nice package at an affordable price. 1920x1200 FHD resolution, 16 or 32 GB versions, 2 GB RAM, microSD for expansion, microUSB, and HDMI output. I picked up a new 32 GB version for about $300 and have been enjoying it for the past few weeks. While it is probably not ideal for hardcore 3D gaming, it more than fits the bill for all other tablet-based activities. I've also been doing some Real Racing 3 on it.
    stealth94rt
  • ASUS, not so great

    I just wanted to comment that I bought an Asus TF700t and regret it. It gets very glitchy at times, ignores my taps at crucial times. For the price I expected a top notch tablet (mind you still $120 less than an Ipad) but it wasn't what I expected. I have also recently (two months ago), bought a Cube U30GT at $210.00, It has 2 gig ram with 32 gig storage, quad core cpu, mini USB & HDMI, Retina display and has been running flawlessly. It is simply that best tablet I have ever used, at the best price I have seen for a 10" tablet. I think the big names in tablets should be very worried about the coming Chinese tablets. About the only con was, it's a bit heavy, but very solid so I guess it's worth the extra weight.
    Laurentian Enterprises