Top 10 Tablets – September 2012

10/18/2012 9:20:37 AM

Price: $ 625.9

The most important feature of any tablet is the screen, mainly because there’s not a whole lot else to it. And the screen is what marks the third iPad apart. Yes, it looks like an iPad 2 (with holiday weight), but everything you do on it is now rendered in glorlous 2048 x 1536 on its 9.7in Retina Display. Photos, games and movies look incredible and text is eggshell-smooth, making reading, communicating and browsing a richer, less fatiguing experience. A faster dual-core chip and quad-core graphic make it slicker and more user-friendly than ever, and given the unparalleled riches of the App Store, it’s still the most fun, too.


Apple iPad

Killer feature: Did we mention the screen? It really is a bit special

Stuff says 5/5 stars

Does everything the iPad has ever done, but now it looks four times as good. An amazing piece of kit

Google Nexus 7

Price: $316

Value: 5/5

The Asus-built, Android Jelly Bean-running Nexus is simply astonishing value. A passable 7in HD IPS screen sits in front of a mighty Tegra 3 processor, making it brilliant for gaming, but there’s also next gen toys such as NFC and the all-seeing Google Now to play with


Google Nexus 7

Asus Transformer Pad Infinity

Price: $972.5

Value: 5/5

Don’t underestimate the keyboard dock. The Infinity uses it not just for its trackpad and keys, but also for connections and battery extension. Along with its quad-core power, that makes this full HD screen-packer a netbook beater. The $713 Prime is similarly brilliant.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7

Price: $575

Value: 5/5

If you can stomach the price, this slim Samsung is a mid-size Android tablet par excellence. Its 7.7in AMOLED screen is ultra-vibrant, and it’s clad in lustrous aluminium. If it all seems too much, the Galaxy Tab 27.0 is $324, or there’s always the Nexus…

Description: Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7

Toshiba AT300-101

Value: 4/5

Inside the 10.1in Tosh’s inauspicious plastic shell beats the heart of a warrior. It has the same Tegra 3 chip as the Nexus 7 and Acer A700, so everything runs super-smooth on its decent 1280 x 800 screen. Loads of connections, too. Just don’t expect excitement.

Description: Toshiba AT300-101

Acer Iconia Tab A700

Price:  $623.9

Value: 4/5

On paper, this Acer is nothing short of awesome: it has a 10.1in, full HD screen, loads of connections and a quad-core Tegra 3 brain. Oddly, though, it’s a bit laggy in use and the shallow, gadgeteer will note that it’s fatter and uglier than its foes. Not us, mind you.

Description: Acer Iconia Tab A700

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1

Price: $486

Value: 4/5

It’s had a year, and all Samsung has done to the Tab is given it a facelift, downgraded the front-facing camera, added an SD card slot and cut $162 from the price. Which actually, is Ok by us, as the screen’s excellent and it’s acceptably quick in operation.

Motorola Xoom 2 Media Edition

Price: $324

Value: 4/5

The Xoom 2 ME trumps its sister tablet by virtue of its smaller 8.2in screen. This makes it light, pocket able and, as its name would suggest, great when you’re kicking back on the sofa. The downside to this is the fact that battery life does tend to suffer as a result.

Description: Motorola Xoom 2 Media Edition

Motorola Xoom 2 Media Edition

BlackBerry Play Book

Price: $210.5

Value: 4/5

A viable alternative to the Nexus 7 if price is key, but while its dual-core, 7in hardware is beautifully made and PlayBook OS 2.0 adds some (but not quite enough) Android app support, only BlackBerry devotees should choose it over Google’s tablet.

Description: BlackBerry Play Book

Sony Tablet S

Price:  $470

Value: 4/5

A quirky, wedge-shape design and super-sharp 9.4in screen make Sony’s Tablet S stand out. It’s just been updated to Android Ice Cream Sandwich and is a bargain at this price, especially given IR blaster, which turns it into a handy universal remote.

Description: Sony Tablet S

Instant expert

Will Findlater etches his commandments

A chasm has opened in the ranks of tableteers. On one side are the big screen gang, brandishing their 10-inchers, and on the other there are the men-about-town, sliding 7in slates in and out of jacket pockets. Us? We’re at the bottom of the chasm, playing with both in the dirt. The iPad – the 10in standard-bearer is better than any small tablet for browsing and apps. It has the space for complex interfaces (Korg’s iMS-20), coffee table reference (Road Inc.) and office apps (numbers) alike. But for books, music or gaming, the Nexus 7 in a better size. Hardly surprising, then, that Apple is rumored to be releasing a cheaper 7.85in iPad ($tba, later this year. That’ll give it supremacy on both sides of the chasm and Apple loves supremacy.

“Us? We’re playing in the dirt with both 7in and 10in tablets”

What look for

1.    Operating system

The OS determines how good a tablet’s interface is, what it’s compatible with and how many apps are available for it Android 3.x, 4.x and iOS provide PC-like power; the smartphone-centric Android 2.x is Ok for browsing; BlackBerry’s OS multitasks well; and the Windows tablet experience needs a touch-friendly update which will arrive with Windows 8

2.    Processor

Dual-core ARM processors such as Apple’s A5X Nvidia’s Tegra 2 are Ok, but quad-core chips such as Tegra 3 are the future.

3.    Size

Screen dimensions and aspect ratios affect video cropping and how each device feels to hold, so try before you buy. Bigger is better for productivity, 7in is perfect for media.

4.    Connectivity

Wi-Fi and Bluetooth usually come as standard: useful sockets such as HDMI and SD do not, 3G can prove pricey.

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