Register for your free ZDNet membership or if you are already a member, sign in using your preferred method below.
LG hasn't made a big splash in tablets to date, but the Korean electronics giant hopes to change that with the G Pad 8.3, a rival to both the Apple iPad Mini and Google Nexus 7. Its screen size (8.3 inches) is a touch larger than the iPad Mini, while its 1,920x1,200 resolution is the same as the Nexus 7 (which packs those pixels into a smaller 7-inch display). It doesn't come with Android 4.3 like Google's latest (relying on 4.2.2 instead), but offers its own QPair feature that lets you sync your Android phone to the G Pad via Bluetooth. The tablet can then show you texts and calls from the phone. No firm release date has been announced, nor has LG said if the G Pad will reach North America or just be available to the rest of the world. More on the G Pad 8.3 .
Most of the Samsung hype went to but it also showed off a refreshed Galaxy Note 10.1 that features some powerful specs. Those include an eight-core processor, 3GB of RAM, and a 2,560x1,600 Retina-like screen. Samsung uses that display for what it calls a "magazine-style" interface, along with what it says is enhanced multitasking. It's also updated the S Pen digital stylus and given the Note a faux leather back cover for a little style boost. No pricing info or a specific release date beyond the third quarter of 2013, but you can get some hands-on info from our sister site CNET.
Sony is finally joining the Windows 8 tablet fray with the Vaio Tap 11, which will use an Intel Haswell processor and come with up to 4GB of RAM and 512GB of SSD storage. The 11.6-inch slate includes a detachable wireless keyboard complete with touchpad that doubles as a cover when attached. Other specs include 1,920x1,080 resolution, 8-megapixel camera, a digital stylus, NFC support, and a Windows 8 Pro option. Like Microsoft's Surface, the Tap 11 has a built-in kickstand to make it easier to see what you're typing on the keyboard. Again, no specific pricing or availability (beyond "autumn") has been announced yet, but you can learn more from CNET's hands-on.
Like the Tap 11, the Transformer Pad TF701T comes with a detachable keyboard and touchpad that also contains a USB 3.0 port, SDXC slot, and built-in battery to extend the tablet's time between recharging. It runs Android, however, and is powered by Nvidia's Tegra 4 quad-core processor. The 10.1-inch screen has an ultra-high resolution of 2,560x1,600, and it can be propped up for easier viewing with the optional TransCover case. Though price and release dates are still forthcoming, the premium quality of the Transformer Pad TF701T means Asus won't sell it cheap.
If you're looking for a premium -- and super-sized -- Windows 8 tablet for your business, Panasonic's new 4K Toughpad could be your answer. Announced back at CES, the massive -- and massively priced -- 20-inch Toughpad was presented in more detail at IFA. As its name suggests, it features 3,840x2,560 resolution and lets you use all 10 fingers on its touchscreen. An Intel Core i5 processor will power either of two configurations: one with 4GB of RAM and 128GB solid-state drive, the other with double the memory and storage. A digital pen is among optional equipment. A tablet for professionals through and through, the base 4K Toughpad will sell for an astounding $6,000 when it's launched in November, with the more powerful version obviously even more expensive.
Those in the market for something a little less expensive than the Toughpad might appreciate Acer's Iconia A3, a 10-inch companion to . As a cheaper alternative to Google's Nexus 10, the A3 pales in terms of resolution (a pedestrian 1,280x800) and, according to CNET's hands-on eval, build quality. But it also appears to be about $100 cheaper, though it may not reach these shores. Africa, Europe, and the Middle East will get a chance to purchase the Iconia A3 in October.
More budget Android options come from Asus, which displayed two new Memo Pads tablets. Going up from the Memo Pad 7, the Memo Pad 8 provides more screen real estate, though it's saddled with 1,280x800 resolution. You also only get 8GB of built-in storage, but the microSD card slot gives you a way to add capacity. The Memo Pad 10 offers a choice of 8GB or 16GB models, though the 8-inch flavor gets a 5-megapixel rear camera compared to its larger sibling's 2-megapixel cam. Either version comes in a choice of white, gray, or pink color choices. and Asus is selling an optional TriCover case, which, like the Transformer Pad TF701T's optional case, allows you to stand the Memo Pad up for hands-free viewing. No pricing yet, but given that , don't expect iPad-like -- or even Nexus-like -- price tags.
Like LG, Toshiba hasn't yet made a serious dent in the tablet market, but it's going to try its luck again with the Encore. This time out, the company is choosing Windows 8.1 -- instead of Android like for its Excite line of tablets -- and the Encore will use . The Encore is also noteworthy for its 8-inch size, which is smaller than typical Windows 8 slates but is part of the "mini" tablet trend. Resolution, unfortunately, is limited to 1,280x800, though the Encore does come with a decent 32GB of built-in storage. Priced similary to the iPad Mini at $329.99, the Encore will have the advantage of coming with a full version of Microsoft Office when it's released in November.
One more 7-inch Android tablet rounds out our IFA round-up. Lenovo hopes thin is in with its IdeaTab S5000, which tips the scale at just 0.54 pounds (a tenth of a pound lighter than the Nexus 7). Other specs aren't as impressive, ranging from a quad-core MediaTek 8389 processor to 1,280x800 resolution to 16GB of storage. At its announced price of 199 euros (roughly $262) for the base Wi-Fi-only model (due in the fourth quarter), the IdeaTab S5000 isn't the cheapest 7-inch Android tablet around (it's pricier than the new 16GB Nexus 7 with its far superior specs), but keeping skinny always requires some sacrifices.