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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 Android tablets for March 2014 – and there's a waterproof and dustproof tablet for those of you who need rugged dependability.
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.
One to watch: Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet
The Xperia Z2 Tablet is essentially features the Z2 smartphone expanded to tablet proportions.
Sony's Xperia Z2 Tablet is slated to go on sale in the UK and wider Europe in March, and Sony has yet to announce wider availability.
Not only is the tablet waterproof and dustproof, but this one is also thinner and lighter than Apple's iPad Air.
- KitKat (Android 4.4)
- 2.3GHz Snapdragon 801 processor with an Adreno 330 GPU
- 10.1-inch 1,920 by 1,200-pixel display
- 8.1MP rear camera
- 2.2 MP front camera
- 16GB and 32GB internal storage
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.