It’s been a strange year for Android tablets. There’s been some updates to Android making the software side of things better but, a lot is the same on that front and nothing has changed too much. Hardware, however, is where we’ve seen a lot of change over the past 12 months. With 2011 being the year of the dual-core packing tablet, 2012 has been the year of quad-core in the form of the Tegra 3. We’ve even seen Google themselves get in on the tablet game – not once, but twice. So, while it hasn’t been a revolutionary year for Android on tablets, but the hardware certainly stepped up and with Google bringing a 2560 x 1600 resolution panel to the market, Android tablets certainly grew up this year.
Read on to see what made Android Headlines’ Top 10 Power Rankings of 2012 when it comes to Android Tablets.
10. Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0
Towards the beginning of the year Samsung made some waves when they introduced the successor to the first Android tablet. It was to be a mid-range tablet with everything you’d need day-to-day at an affordable price and – at the time – it was up-to-date with Android 4.0. It’s since been update to Jelly Bean (4.1) and there are a lot of accessories out there to augment your experience. This is one of the only 7″ tablets to come packing an OK rear-facing camera as well so if you really have to have one then the Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 is perhaps your best option.
- Dual-core 1Ghz TI OMAP 4430
- 1GB RAM with 8, 16 or 32GB of Storage
- 7″ 1024—600 LCD Display (an okay 170 ppi)
- VGA front-facing camera and a 3.2MP rear-facing camera
- Dual-band WiFi b/g/n, GPS, WiFi Direct and DLNA
- 4000 maH battery
9. Acer Iconia Tab A700
I know what you’re thinking: Acer, on a list for the whole year?! Well, Acer have made OK Android tablets for some time now and with the A700 they did step up their game a little bit. It’s got the same Tegra 3 that will become familiar throughout this whole list and has a stunning resolution of 1900 x 1200 – that’s not Nexus 10 territory, certainly but, it is great for Full HD movies and everything looks a lot crisper than it would at 1280 x 800. Unfortunately though, this features the same questionable build quality from Acer and it’s a pretty thick and heavy tablet. If you’re only going to be watching a lot of films or TV on this then it’s a really good option – especially considering the Nexus 10 is still out of stock.
- Quad-core 1.3Ghz Tegra 3
- 1GB RAM with 16, 32 or 64GB of Storage with room for microSD card
- 10.1″ 1900—1200 IPS Display (giving you 224 ppi)
- 1.3MP front-facing camera with 5MP rear-facing camera
- WiFi b/g/n with GPS
- 9800 maH battery
8. ASUS Transformer Pad TF300
There’s one Tablet that you’re not going to find on this list, and that’s the Transformer Prime. While it might have been a stunning tablet, it was far too expensive and was riddled with GPS problems and WiFi issues. The TF300 however, is the same tablet brought down to be a little more affordable. That’s not to say that the TF300 isn’t as good, Tegra 3 is still here and the display is still an IPS panel. You can also get the TF300 in different colors – making people think you have a cool red laptop when really, you’re still just rocking Android.
- Quad-core 1.2Ghz Tegra 3
- 1GB RAM with 16 or 32GB of Storage with a microSD card slot
- 10.1″ 1280—800 LCD (149 ppi)
- 1.2MP front-facing camera with 8MP rear-facing camera
- WiFi b/g/n, GPS
- 22 Watt Hour Battery overall
7. Sony Xperia Tablet S
When Sony announced their latest Tablet there were high hopes for the machine as it seemed that Sony were ready to bring a stunning product to market. However, things took a turn for the worse and sales were halted due to a manufacturing problem – the tablet went back on sale late last month and it should be available at the usual places. The main feature of the Xperia Tablet S is the 9.4″ display, making it a nice compromise between a 10″ tablet and something smaller. However, there’s little added to Sony’s tablet that isn’t available elsewhere and it’s also pretty pricey as well.
- Quad-core Tegra 3
- 1GB of RAM with 16, 32 or 64GB Storage with room for a microSD
- 9.4″ IPS at 1280—800 – giving you 161 ppi
- A 1 MP front-facing camera with a rear-facing 8MP camera
- WiFi b/g/n and GPS
- 6000 maH battery
6. Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1
This offering from Samsung was a little disappointing, it was released with little fanfare and didn’t even pack in a Tegra 3 CPU but just a dual-core processor and a 1280 x 800 display. So, why is it in this list? Well, the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 is now available on all four major carriers now and you can even get 4G LTE on Verizon and Sprint, which is certainly better than worrying about free WiFI. Availability is what makes this the perfect “everyday” tablet and something that you can take all over the place and still get access to the internet. It’s just a shame that the specs really aren’t that good.
- Dual-core 1Ghz TI OMAP 4430
- 1GB RAM with 16 or 32GB of Storage with room for a microSD card
- 10.1″ 1280—800 LCD Display (again at 149 ppi)
- VGA front-facing camera and 3.2MP rear-facing camera
- WiFi b/g/n, GPS and WiFi Direct
- 7000 maH battery
5. ASUS Transformer Pad TF700
Some of the best Android tablets are made by ASUS and the TF700 is still their flagship product, for good reason. There’s a high-resolution 1920 x 1200 display as well as higher-clocked Tegra 3 and stellar build quality to boot. It’s the keyboard dock that you’ve been waiting for with an aluminium build to it and brilliant battery life. If you’re looking for a tablet to maybe get a little work done on it, the Transformer Pad series are your best and the TF700 is the crown jewel. The resolution might not be up to the Nexus 10’s but the keyboard dock and added battery life will make you hardly miss it.
- Quad-core Tegra 3 clocked at 1.6Ghz
- 1GB RAM with 32 or 64GB of Storage + a microSD slot (remember those?)
- 10.1″ 1920—1200 Super IPS+ (that’s a healthy 224 ppi)
- A 2.0MP front-facing camera as well as an 8MP rear-facing camera
- WiFi b/g/n, GPS and a full-sized USB port on the Keyboard Dock
- 25 Watt Hour overall battery
- An added bonus: Have a Transformer Prime? Use its keyboard dock with the Infinity
4. Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1
The Note 10.1 has had a long road to our shelves, we first saw a janky version of the tablet shown off at MWC way back in February and then there was word that it would be upgraded to a quad-core packing tablet. The tablet finally hit our shelves as an impressive piece of hardware indeed and the true pen input certainly benefitted from the improvement in speed. It might not have the best design in the world but it’s an okay looking tablet and is pretty well built. Samsung have done a good job with the additions to the S-pen suite on here as well, helping you get a little work done on the go as well.
- Quad-core Exynos at 1.4 Ghz with Mali400MP GPU
- 2GB RAM with 16, 32 or 64GB of Storage
- 10.1″ 1280—800 LCD Display (that’s 149 ppi)
- 1.9MP front-facing camera and a 5MP rear-facing camera
- WiFi B/g/n, GPS and a 3G capable model
- 7000 maH battery
3. Amazon Kindle Fire HD
To see an Amazon tablet in amongst these great Android tablets might seem strange but, the fact of the matter is that these latest tablets from Amazon present stunning value, no matter which of them you get. There’s a 7″ version with a 1280 x 800 display and then there’s a slightly larger version at 8.9″ and a 1920 x 1200 resolution. If you’re an Amazon Prime member as well then there’s even more reason to go with these pair. There’s a lot of value when you buy one a Kindle Fire and now that the hardware is up to par with everything else out there they’re very much a viable option. I can see a lot of these being sold over Christmas.
- A TI OMAP 4470 – which is pegged to outperform the Tegra 3
- Dual-band WiFi with a pair of antennae and MIMO Support
- Stereo Speakers
- HD Front-facing camera with a custom Skype application
- HDMI Out
- HD IPS Displays – 1280 x 800 for the 7-incher and 1920 x 1200 for the 8.9-incher
- Laminated Touch Sensors – said to decrease glare by 25%
- 4G LTE on AT&T for the 8.9-inch Version
- 16 to 32GB of Memory
2. Google Nexus 7
What hasn’t been said about the Nexus Tablet that hasn’t already been said by now? We all knew it was coming – there were enough leaks for anyone to figure that out – and we were all waiting for it as well. To see how Google would bring their own tablet into the market is something we’ve wanted to see pan out for years. It seems that Google Play was the key to the launch and the Nexus 7 was – and still is – positioned very much as a device to enjoy content with and as newer storage models became available, as well as a 3G version, it’s only gotten better and better. It doesn’t hurt that you can hack it open and do what the hell you want with it either, right?
- 7″ 1280—800 HD IPS Display (that’s 216 ppi)
- Quad-core Tegra 3 Processor
- 1GB RAM
- 16GB or 32GB of Storage
- 1.2MP Front-facing camera
- WifFi b/g/n, NFC and GPS
- A sizable 4325 maH battery
- HSPA+ on AT&T, T-Mobile and most GSM carriers.
- Corning Gorilla Glass
1. Google Nexus 10
Of all the tablets that came out this year, the Nexus 10 was the best. A lot of you aren’t going to agree and I’d understand if you didn’t however, the Nexus 10 has the best screen on any tablet out there – besting the iPad’s retina display – and it’s got a wicked fast CPU. The design might not be to everyone’s tastes but the curved edges make the device look a little smaller than it really is. The Nexus 10 is certainly a big show of just how good Android hardware can be and it should entice a number of new developers to come to the platform. Aside from all of that though, the Nexus 10 is just as well priced as it’s little brother – it might be more expensive but it’s still excellent value for what you’re getting. A tablet like this with updates for a lot longer than most others in this list is well worth buying, just a shame that Samsung can’t make them quick enough.
- 10.05-inch “True RGB Real Stripe PLS” at 2560 x 1600 (298.9 ppi compared to the iPad with Retina display at 263.92 ppi)
- Dual-Core Cortex A-15 CPU – Exynos 5250 with a Mali T604 quad-core GPU
- 2GB RAM
- 16GB storage with no room for microSD
- 5 megapixel rear-facing camera with flash and 1.9MP front-facing camera
- WiFi, Dual NFC Chips, one at the front and one at the back, Bluetooth 4.0
- Android 4.2 Jelly Bean
- microUSB as well as microHDMI
- 9000 mAh battery for 10 hrs of HD video