Holiday Guide 2012: Best Android Tablet of the Year
2012 could very well be called The Year of the Tablet. OK, so maybe that’s a bit dramatic. But if you think about the sheer number of competitive, quality tablets, you would be hard pressed to think of a different moniker. Tablets like the Asus TF700 and TF300, Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, Google Nexus 7, Amazon Kindle Fire HD, and Sony Tablet S offer an unbelievable range of options guaranteed to fit your every need. But there’s one that we left out, and that’s our overall winner for Best Android Tablet Hardware of the Year.
Overall Winner: Google Nexus 10
With a retina-besting 2560 x 1600 PLS display, the Samsung-built Google Nexus 10 is the world’s highest resolution tablet. And at 10.055 inches, this equates to 300 ppi. It is powered by the latest generation Samsung Exynos 5250 processor, which features two ARM Cortex A15 cores running at 1.7 GHz and a powerful ARM Mali T604 GPU.
The latest ARM Mali GPU delivers enough horsepower to power through 3D games, even at the tablet’s absurdly high native resolution. The device comes with 2 GB of RAM, and either 16 or 32 GB of internal storage. Most importantly, the Nexus 10 is one of the two lead devices for Android 4.2, the revamped version of Jelly Bean.
Although it packs the absolute latest in specs and display technology (and is also our most hackable tablet for 2012), the Nexus 10 isn’t for everyone. Some people would prefer more expandability, a device geared towards productivity, or something a bit more wallet-friendly. Worry not, however, as there are plenty of great options.
Most Expandable: ASUS Transformer TF700
With a 1.6 GHz Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core processor, up to 64 GB of internal storage, a 10.1-inch 1920×1200 IPS Display, 8 MP rear-facing and 2 MP front-facing cameras, and 1 GB of RAM, the Asus Transformer TF700 leaves very little to be desired. Perhaps more impressive than the raw specs is the device’s expandability. With the available keyboard dock, users can transform the Transformer into a fully-fledged Android-powered laptop.
Docking the device into the laptop dock not only increases utility with a full-size keyboard and additional ports, but it also provides the TF700 with additional battery power, making the Transformer + Dock combo perfect for road warriors in search of a good Android tablet that is capable of more. While the tablet can hardly be considered a true PC replacement, the Transformer comes close for basic tasks.
Most Productive: Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1
Packing a quad-core 1.4 GHz Samsung Exynos 4412 processor, 2 GB of RAM, 5 MP rear-facing and 1.9 MP front-facing cameras, and up to 64 GB of internal memory, the Note 10.1 means business. While the 10.1 1280 x 800 PLS display offers a rather low pixel density by today’s standards and many are quick to criticize both the speed and build quality of the device, the tablet’s integrated S-Pen helps those actually looking for a productivity-enabling device.
Giving the user the ability to draw with amazing accuracy and smoothness, keep notes just like on paper, and annotate images and PDFs, this is a tablet that can be used in a variety of situations. And let’s not forget that the Note 10.1 can function as an IR remote, allowing you to control your TV/DVD/Media Center device from your couch.
Best Budget Tablet: Google Nexus 7
As we mentioned previously when covering the most hackable tablets of 2012, the Nexus 7 is quite the popular device. Google’s first official tablet is no slouch. It packs a 1.3 GHz quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 T30L processor, a 7-inch 1280×800 IPS display, 1 GB of RAM, and up to 32 GB of internal storage. While not the very ceiling in terms of specs, you can’t go wrong at its starting price of just $200 US.
With so many great options, we’d really like to know your pick for best Android tablet of 2012. Vote in the poll below!
Access our entire Holiday Guide 2012 by clicking the links below!
- Android Apps / Utilities of the Year
- OEM of the Year
- Best “Other” Device
- Best Windows Phone
- Most Hackable Phone
- Most Hackable Tablet
- Best Android Phone
- Best Android Tablet