Tablets Review

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Tablets are a must-have for any tech lover, but many people aren't sure what a tablet can do that their trusty laptop can't. Mainly, they're more portable than a tablet, and with touch screen technology, some applications are easier to use. A tablet is ideal for taking to a meeting where you need to take notes, or if you get a little bored and want to play Candy Crush. Just don't forget to turn down the volume. If your laptop is a couple of years old, you'll quickly find a tablet that has more storage space and a faster processor.

When flying, or doing any type of travel, you'll find it convenient to pull out a tablet instead of a bulky laptop. They double as an eReader and a television so you can watch your favorite shows, movies and YouTube videos. The best tablet will have more than twice the battery life of any laptop on the market. You can easily take a fully charged tablet on an overseas flight and never have to plug in. Your cell phone provider may even offer tablets with built in 3G/4G capabilities so you can have access to the internet wherever you have phone coverage.

The most difficult part of the process is deciding which tablet to buy. Tablets are all similar in many respects, but the best ones have defining features. Take for example, the latest from Microsoft, Amazon and Apple. The Microsoft Surface has more storage space than any other new tablet on the market. You can pick up a device with 512GB that can store thousands of work documents, countless hours of video and a ridiculous amount of photos, too. In other words, it'll take a lot of work to fill up the storage space in this tablet. The Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9" has one of the best display resolutions and an impressive 12-hour battery life. The Apple iPad Air is the latest, sleek version of the popular tablet. Apple has included the new A7 chip, which is extraordinarily fast so you can jump from app to app seamlessly.

Be sure to visit our tablet reviews for recommendations on the best tablets, including the Toshiba Excite, Google Nexus and Sony Xperia. We also offer many different articles on tablets for your reading pleasure.

Tablets: What to Look For

Deciding which tablet is best for you is relatively simple. All you have to do is consider for what purpose you'll be using the tablet and what features are most important. Several tablets offer entertainment features with high screen resolution, HDMI ports, video chat capabilities and strong graphics. Others include multitasking capabilities, a fast processor, long battery life and multiple inputs and ways of connecting to the internet. Our side-by-side comparison chart and objective reviews can help you find a tablet with the features you're looking for.

Below are the criteria we used to compare the best tablets.

Features
This section examines what functions you'll want to look for in a tablet. Top-rated products include features such as a high camera resolution, long battery life, a music player, video chat and HD recording capabilities. The operating system is an important aspect, as it's what makes your tablet run. If you're familiar with the Android or Windows operating systems, you'll enjoy a smooth transition to tablets that use them.

Battery life is significant because it adds more freedom to any small, lightweight device. Tablet batteries last hours longer than those in laptops and most smartphones, so bringing along your bulky charger or searching for an outlet won't be an issue. The battery life on a good tablet will last up to nine hours, at least, whereas most average laptop batteries run out of juice after just four hours.

The best tablets come with both front and rear cameras and can record HD video. The main reason you'll want a good front-facing camera is to video chat. Rear-facing cameras are designed for taking still shots and recording video. The best tablets are capable of taking 8MP photos. While this can't compare to top-of-the-line smartphone pictures, remember that the primary use of tablets isn't taking photos. While it's likely you won't be using a tablet to record videos more than a couple of minutes long, it's nice to have those memories preserved in a high-quality format.

Hardware
The tablet's hardware is what makes it run. You need to look at the processor to ensure it offers the speed you need. Overall, a quad-core processor will run faster than a dual-core. You may see a tablet with 2.5GHz processor and think that seems fast, which it is. However, if it's a dual-core, it won't run nearly as fast as say a 1.8GHz quad-core processor.

Also, you want to consider how much RAM and storage space a tablet has. On average, tablets come with 1GB of RAM, though 2GB is quickly becoming the norm, with some even going as high as 8GB. More RAM means your tablet will run faster and be more responsive. The best tablets feature expandable storage space up to 64GB with an SD card so you can store more music, movies, photos and files, but a few do not. If you don't expect to store a lot on your tablet, this won't be an issue. If, however, you're a big music fan, or takes thousands of photos, it'll be an inconvenience when you have to delete media or move it off your tablet to create space.

Another thing to pay attention to is the extra hardware on the tablets you’re considering. Look for items such as speakers, a microphone and USB and HDMI ports. These are generally standard, but there are some tablets that don't have these extras.

Display
The display is often the deciding factor of a tablet, since it affects the way your experience looks and feels. Some people require a fast processor, but for many the display is most important. If you use your tablet to read, watch movies or play games, then you'll want a dynamic resolution so everything is vibrant and full of brilliant color. iPads now offer Retina display, which is amazing, but what you might not know is that other companies have surpassed this with resolutions of up to 2560 x 1600.

Though a lightweight device is an obvious choice, you want to decide what screen size and shape work best for you. Some of the tablets we reviewed have extra-large screens that are great for reading or watching movies, while others are smaller and can fit easily into a purse or backpack.

Communication
No Wi-Fi connection or mobile broadband on your tablet? Congratulations, you just purchased a pricey paperweight. A tablet is at its best and most useful when you can quickly look up information and use the internet no matter where you are. Tablets that can connect to the web via a cellphone provider are even more portable and useful on the go.

Help & Support
Having customer support when you need it is critical. It's also preferable to have support options that are comprehensive and easy to use. Look for a manufacturer with customer service and tech support available via email, phone, live chat and social media such as Facebook and Twitter. Many manufacturers have video tutorials on how to use their devices posted on YouTube, as well as downloadable user manuals. FAQs are always helpful, and generally, those pages have the answers you're looking for.

Choose a tablet with all of the best features listed here, and you'll have a device that provides instant communication, organization and entertainment in one slim package.

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Rank #1#2#3#4#5#6#7#8#9#10
10-9  Excellent
8-6    Good
5-4    Average
3-2    Poor
1-0    Bad
Toshiba Excite Google Nexus Sony Xperia Kindle Fire Lenovo Yoga Tablet Lenovo ThinkPad iPad Air Microsoft Surface Dell Latitude Samsung Galaxy
Toshiba Excite Google Nexus Sony Xperia Kindle Fire Lenovo Yoga Tablet Lenovo ThinkPad iPad Air Microsoft Surface Dell Latitude Samsung Galaxy
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Ratings
9.40
9.30
9.25
9.20
8.80
8.75
8.40
8.25
8.15
7.75
10
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
9.88
9.75
10.00
6.25
8.75
9.50
9.25
10.00
6.25
10.00
9.75
9.63
9.63
5.00
10.00
9.63
8.50
8.75
10.00
10.00
10.00
8.25
8.75
7.50
8.00
9.38
9.00
7.50
10.00
8.00
9.25
6.25
9.25
10.00
7.50
10.00
9.75
6.25
5.00
7.50
9.75
7.13
5.75
10.00
10.00
8.50
6.50
6.25
10.00
10.00
 
Features
Operating System Android 4.2 Android 4.2 Android 4.2 Fire 3.0 Android 4.2 Windows 8 Pro iOS 7 Windows 8.1 Windows 8 Android 4.2
Rear Camera 8MP 5MP 8MP 8MP 5MP 8MP 5MP 5MP 8MP 3.2MP
Front Camera 1.2MP 1.9MP 2MP 1.3MP 1.6MP 2MP 1.2MP 3.5MP 2MP 1.3MP
Battery Life (hours) 10.5 9 9 12 18 10 10 11 10 10
Bluetooth
Music Player
Video Chat
HD Video Recording
Dedicated Content
Removable Keyboard      
    
Hardware
Processor Speed 1.9GHz 2.5GHz 1.5GHz 2.2GHz 1.2GHz 2.80GHz 1.3GHz 1.7GHz 1.8GHz 1.6GHz
Processor Cores Quad-Core NVIDIA Tegra 4 Dual-Core Cortex A15 Quad-Core Cortex A9 Quad-core Snapdragon Quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 Intel Atom Z2760 Dual-Core A7 Quad-Core Intel i5 Intel Atom Z2760 Dual-Core NVIDIA Tegra 2
Storage 16/32GB 16/32GB 16/32GB 16/32/64GB 16/32GB 64GB 16 / 32 / 64 / 128GB 64 / 128 / 256 / 512GB 32/64GB 16GB
RAM 2GB 2GB 2GB 2GB 1GB 2GB 1GB 8GB 2GB 1GB
Expandable Storage 64GB   64GB   64GB 128GB   64GB 128GB 64GB
Built-in Speakers
Built-in Microphone
USB
 
HDMI
    
 
Display
Screen Size (inches) 10.1 10 10.1 8.9 10.1 10.1 9.7 10.6 10.1 10.1
Screen Resolution 2560 x 1600 2560 x 1600 1920 x 1200 2560 x 1600 1280 x 800 1366 x 768 2048 x 1536 1920 x 1080 1366 x 768 1280 x 800
Height (inches) 10.3 10.38 10.47 9.1 10.3 10.1 9.4 10.81 10.8 10.1
Width (inches) 7.0 6.99 6.77 6.2 7.1 6.9 6.6 6.81 7.0 6.9
Depth (inches) 0.4 0.35 0.27 0.31 0.3 0.34 0.29 0.53 0.4 0.3
Weight (pounds) 1.48 1.32 1.09 .82 1.33 1.3 1 2.0 1.6 1.25
Communication
Wi-Fi
Integrated Mobile Broadband    $
 
 
Help & Support
Warranty (years) 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Phone
Email
 
Live Chat
 
Social Media
FAQ
User Manual
Video Tutorials