by Umair Ahmed
The popularity of tablets comes with a lot of headaches. Having so much choice, it becomes difficult to decide what is the right pick for you. Do you give up on Apples’ helter skelter prices or join the Android brigade and figure out the best iPad alternative?
We’ve made it simple to you by pulling together those top-notch 10 tablets that have people talking at this minute around the world. It’s troublesome to figure out where to put each for these phenomenal tablets in our list, thus we rate this bunch by considering different factors including performance, battery life, camera, screen quality and more.
Price is a major factor, Likewise, an older tablet that’s been replaced by a sequel will slide down the list as you can buy better alternatives with all the same great features.
Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2
(Samsung has put almost everything into the unique widescreen category)
- Bigger and better quality screen.
- Much improved and swift UI.
- Age-old design and build quality.
- Weird form factor.
Obviously, the 12.2-inch display is not all this slate has bragging for it, as the Note Pro 12.2’s 3GB of RAM and quad-core processor match it’s huge size with solid performance, while the S Pen is a useful accessory in combination with the tablet’s wide, sharp screen.
It’s an irresistible choice for digital artists or anyone else who fancies a gadget they can be prolific on. Web browsing and watching videos are effortless making it a portable entertainment hub.
On the downside the extravagant size makes it a little weird and the build quality is a touch age-old thanks to the larger chassis, but the sheer expanse of screen to play with make up for it.
Lenovo Yoga 10 HD+
(A Lenovo that is flexible enough to do some yoga)
- Satisfactory battery life.
- Good quality screen.
- Battery cylinder is inconvenient.
- Heavy and chunky.
The cylinder-shaped ridge of the Yoga 10 HD+ make it easy a to grip in portrait or as a stance for viewing media and the 1920 x 1200 pixel screen resolution won’t disappoint.
While its screen quality won’t compete with an iPad Air 2 or a Samsung Galaxy Tab S, it is still great to use and has plenty of brightness, a welcome upgrade on the old model.
Nvidia Shield Tablet
(An ultimate Nvidia tablet that gamers crave for)
- Phenomenal specs.
- Modest price.
- Less handy than the first one.
- Controller isn’t fittingly well.
If you’re searching for a new tablet and five-star gaming performance, the Shield Tablet is by far the top choice today.
It may not be boasting the looks of the iPad, or the plethora of features other brands are offering, but the Shield’s strength is its commitment to its gaming core.
The controller is a much-needed extra for gaming, which is to some extent bothersome, but taking the price of the tablet in view, it’s less of an issue.
Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet
(Lighter, rapid, waterproof… this is an actual iPad Air 2 competitor)
- Exquisite display.
- Modern revamped layout.
- Inconvenient UI.
- Price is unconvincingly high.
Sony’s Xperia Z4 Tablet is one of the finest Android tablets you can buy today and it’s one of the few tablets that can compete with the iPad Air 2.
It’s got a captivating screen, premium design and all the Sony details you’d look for with the right combination of power to keep it on the front foot.
Being waterproof, it an enticing option over the less powerful tablets on the market, even though it would take time to adjust to the UI and the price tag is a fortune to pay.
(The next big thing from Google’s camp is bigger and pricier)
- Optimal 4:3 aspect ratio.
- Android 5.0 Lollipop.
- Pricier than before.
- Substandard display quality.
The Nexus 9 is a bit of an awkward one – it’s both the successor for the Nexus 7 and the Nexus 10, without really being virtue of the unique 8.9-inch screen it features.
Now selling around for much less than when it first came out, it is incredibly affordable compared to before. It’ll possibly be succeeded in the next month when Google comes forward with a new toy – in the meanwhile it’s a real bargain.
It’s resembling the iPad range by going for a rare 4:3 screen ratio (which means ample viewing for web browsing, but black bars up and below when viewing movies are a real nuisance) so you’ve got a spacious device that’s big enough not to be grasped in one hand.
But that doesn’t mean it’s not a strong tablet. It’s made by HTC and has the trademark Boom sound speakers on the bezels for crisp front facing audio and the screen is fairly sharp too.
iPad Mini 2
- Amazing screen.
- Brilliant design.
- Similar-spec competitors offer better value for money.
It’s the iPad Mini 2… right next to the Mini 3? There is a sense in it: they’re pretty much similar, except from last year’s model not having TouchID and now only available in 16GB and 32GB variants.
It’s also has a noticeable price drop, for which it’s been listed this high in the list – in fact, if people are searching for a smaller iPad and the same power and display specs as the current model in less price, they should go for it.
Having access to renowned Apple apps running on top of iOS 8 makes it a good option.
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
(Compact and a gem to have)
- Exceptional battery life.
- Light and premium design.
- Screen not as sharp as of competitors.
- Not impressive value for money.
Sony’s gone a bit unique in the naming department, but the Z3 Tablet Compact is still a pretty decent device despite the obvious attempts to rotate the word ‘tablet’ to make it more familiar with the smartphone.
Let’s get direct to the first con: the screen isn’t as sharp as the competition, with Sony pretty much committing to a squeezed out smartphone display on the exhibit. And the price isn’t as affordable as some of the other options here.
But that doesn’t deny the fact that Sony is undeniably good at manufacturing these tablets. Using its Bravia technology in making the screen, it looks detailed and colourful, and the sleek design makes the Z3 Tablet Compact easier to hold than you’d expect.
It’s also waterproof, which is useful afforded by its Kindle-like dimensions, so you can happily use it outdoors.
iPad Mini 3
(Small but a worthy upgrade over iPad Mini 2)
- As always well-designed.
- Nifty OS.
- Not much different from Mini 2.
- As always overpriced.
The iPad mini range is still a brilliant flagship, offering the good of the iPad but compacting it down into an elegant package.
Well, that’s the story of last year – this year Apple has actually relaunched the Mini 2, put TouchID on the front, made it gold and called it a new tablet.
It’s only a bit different in terms of specs from the previous version (a cheaper option while boasting the same specs except the biometrics). While it’s the best mini tablet from Apple, it’s still not offering a lot more value for money than last year’s model.
All is not doom and gloom since it has its own goods: iOS 8 works very well on the Mini 3, and the overall speed and compact size is still a very good combo to have, even at the higher price.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S
(If you crave for eye-popping display you are in the right place)
- Exceptional display.
- Poor design.
- Less built-in storage.
Samsung has been pushing hard into making a really solid iPad rival, and that strategy has seen some weird decisions (such as launching the Tab Pro and then replacing it quickly with the Galaxy Tab S).
But this strategy has finally bearing fruits and the epitome of it is the brilliant tablet in the shape of this Super AMOLED-shod Tab S duo. Available in both 8.4- and 10.5-inch screen sizes, Samsung has made the most of its OS and technology ability, complementing them with the icing on the sugar display on a tablet and created something special.
The battery life is great, it takes a while to realize the screen is that good (excellent for media and internet viewing) and the price is reasonably a par with the rest of the industry. Swift job, Samsung.
iPad Air 2
(The predecessor was already brilliant and somehow Apple has made it even better)
- Superbly powerful.
- Volume silencer goes missing.
The iPad Air was an incredible product and yet remarkably, Apple has topped it with the iPad Air 2.
It is thinner and lighter than its predecessor, the screen is better and with more vibrant colors. A8X processor makes it a powerhouse and the battery power is just adequate. Having the benefits of Touch ID and Apple Pay, these smartphone-specific features are still nice to have.
In a nutshell, Apple has done an all-around remarkable job to keep the goods of the original iPad Air and enhance them perfectly.
The original iPad Air is still a milestone to achieve for other manufacturers and yet Apple has pushed the stone a little ahead by launching iPad Air 2 last year.
If it remains the same, iPad Air 2 will likely remain at the top spot but the iPad Pro will likely be making a very strong challenge to enter the top 10 list.