Top Android tablets (March 2014 edition)

Top Android tablets (March 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 March 2014 – and this month we have a couple of new entries. And for those of you who have to take your tablet into harsh conditions, there's also a waterproof and dustproof tablet.

TOPICS: Mobility, Hardware

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  • (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 screen and 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: Samsung)

    Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014 edition)

    The Galaxy Note 10.1 is Samsung's 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 4.3 "Jelly Bean" operating system, bu an upgrade is coming soon.

    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.

  • (Image: Asus)

    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 is 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 4.3 "Jelly Bean" operating system.

    The battery life is also excellent, with the tablet and dock combo capable of 17-hours or 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.

Topics: Mobility, Hardware

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  • Another one

    I find the Huawei Mediapad X1 interesting because of its tablet size while also being a phone. Its probably just small enough to be pocketable yet just large enough for full size desktop webpages to be legible. I also like the idea of the Talkband with its detachable headset in the wristband. But hows its display? its camera? its agility? It doesnt have the highest ranking specs but nor the highest ranking price. Perhaps its good enough. Reviews will tell.
    • yup

      I'd love to see them release a reasonably priced WiFi only version of this device. Don't want it to replace my phone, but I'd love the smallest 7" tablet possible.
      • More Tablets Becoming Available from CES and MWC

        Here's a few noteworthy tablets to Launch at CES 2014 and MWC that are available in March -

        - Tegra Note 7 Android tablet - 4G edition ($299) - offers world's fastest processor for a 7-inch device and offers innovative photo-taking technology and stylus features.

        - Ramos i12 ($339) – features a 12-inch 1920X1200 HD screen display and powered by an Intel Z2580 2.0 GHz processor; with specs that include Bluetooth 4.0, MicroSD Memory and 10,000 mAh battery--compares to the new Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 but more competitively priced.

        - Ramos i10 Pro ($399) - Hybrid Android/Windows 8.1 Dual Boot tablet with 10-inch 1920×1200 HD display and powered by an Intel Baytrail Z3770D processor - 2.0 GHz – 2GB/64GB Storage and 10,000 mAh battery.

        - Pipo M7 Pro - 32GB edition ($229) compares to the LG-G Pad and Kindle Fire HDX 8.9" but priced considerably less - features a Quad Core processor - 2GB/1.6Ghz, a Samsung brand 8.9" 1920x1200 HD screen, Bluetooth and GPS.

        - Hisense X1 MAXE Mega-phone - 4G LTE ($389) -- 6.8-inch phone with 1920X1080 HD display and powered by a Snapdragon 800 CPU - 2.3 GHz /2 GB RAM. Phone calls handled through speakerphone or Bluetooth headset. The X1 features Android 4.4 Kit Kat, Bluetooth 4.0 / NFC, GPS and 13MP camera -- and also offers a mini 2.5-inch Bluetooth phone add-on that works with the X1.

        TabletMaxx-- is one of the first U.S. sources to offer these new products
  • Add this article to the list of articles I and others won't read…

    …because clicking through 11 pages for such a short read is not worth the hassle.
    • time management

      I can understand a desire for immediate information, but I suspect the reason this is broken into separate graphics is to keep clear which device the text is about. I think it might have been convenient to put this in sort of a spreadsheet format, for comparison, but between 7 in and 8+ and 10 inch form factors, there would have to be 3 different spreadsheets and those do not leave much room for commentary (for example, if new models are expected soon, which can create an attractive second-market. Bottom line: if you want technical details which is what Adrian is trying to provide, you have to read thru them.
      Nice job on the article. a few minor typos but they did not interfere with the content clarity. A couple of times it was not clear what the form-factor/size was but mostly that was stated.
    • What you really want is...

      A menu driven selection system.

      Start by selecting screen size, memory, WiFi / Bluetooth, expansion options. Each selection reduces the number of candidates. At any time, you can show a list of machines matching your specs.

      Every electronics company I know has a version of this, to help you choose parts. With all the reviews on ZDNet, I would have expected a move to a similar setup.
  • Please…

    Quote off-contract prices, so we can compare apples with apples.
  • Physics - Nexus 7

    "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."

    I don't understand your claim. The weight acts as though it were at the center of the device if the weight is evenly distributed. Therefore, what you feel will be affected by the total weight and the distance from where you hold the device (size of device) that causes overall leverage. IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH SCREEN RATIO.
    • 16:10

      Is a poor screen ratio for a tablet. I have both a Nexus 7 and an iPad Mini and the iPad is much more enjoyable to use.
      • Each to their own

        I find 4:3 to be a poor aspect ratio for as tablet, having used both a Nexus 7 and an iPad Mini.
  • I would add 2 more

    12.2 inch Samsung Note - the largest and the most expansive tablet ever. Lenovo Yoga Tablet HD+ - even with a junk camera and low res screen legacy Lenovo Yoga Tablet provided fantastic experience of cuteness and convenience comparable to the terrific airiness experience of iPad Air, but the later disappeared if a cover is used while Yoga was self sufficient.
  • Expansion Slot

    Although the Google Nexus 7 (2nd Gen) does not have an expansion slot, you should have mentioned it capable of OTG with a simple and cheap cable and usb drive. Use it all the time and it's very effective. Also you can connect a USB keyboard with it.

    • That's a point, sure.

      Nearly every Android tablet or phone supports USB OTG, it's a standard feature of Android. With a cheap ($1.50) OTG cable, you can hook up basic Android storage devices like USB sticks (depending on file systems), hard drives (on some Android systems), cameras (photo transfer protocols are standard in Android), etc.

      A USB stick or a full-sized SD card are typically used for file transfer, aka "Sneakernet", offloading media from audio/photo/video devices without tying up that device in the transfer, etc. A few of the recent Galaxy devices from Samsung support this with USB 3.0, so it can be pretty fast.

      On the other hand, the microSD card is really meant as a semi-permanent expansion memory. While you can swap these, that's not usually what most folks do. The size of media: photos, eMagazines, video, large game assets, etc. is generally well in excess of that of applications. So the microSD Card slot is the perfect solution to expand a stock device, without running up the price of that device (in these quantities, the cost is usually under $0.50).
  • Entry for One to Watch!??

    Now you list vaporware on your Best-of list? You seriously shake my confidence in your abilities Adrian.
  • Which the top?

    I mentioned Acer Liquid & ZTE Grand

    you can visits at androidstablets sites
  • Any comments about Dell tablets?

    Dell offers tablets and noone talks abou t them on their reviews. Is it poorly made or lacks anything that mames it not a good product? I'm thinking of bjying one and would like the author's opinion on it as well as the rest of tge community.