Gearburn’s early 2015 tablet buyer’s guide

Apple ipad

After the release of Apple iPad, tablets have become an integral part of our lives, especially for someone who like to consume a lot of media, bet it web browsing, or videos, or even games.

A tablet is a great device for such usage, and it even lasts much longer than smartphones.

The 2015 is here and you might be looking to gift a tablet to someone in your family, or a friend, or even to yourself.

Best compact tablet: Apple iPad Mini with Retina Display

I think the Apple has reached a perfect tablet screen size for most people. The Apple iPad Mini with Retina Display features a 7.9-inch Retina Display (1536×2048 pixels), a 64-bit dual-core Apple A7 processor, 1GB RAM, and 16/32/64GB of internal storage.

There’s a 5MP camera on the back which can autofocus, and record 1080p videos as well as click HDR images. The 1.2MP front-facing camera is useful for carrying out FaceTime calls in HD. There’s 4G LTE, Wi-Fi, AirPlay, and Lightning connector as connectivity options.

iPad Mini

Its 6470mAh battery means over 10 hours of web browsing or over 12 hours of video playback on a single charge. It not only performs well, it is a looker. There’s a new iPad Mini 3 but with its only upgraded bit being a Touch ID fingerprint sensor, I wouldn’t recommend it as the iPad Mini 2 is being sold at a lower price. If you want an iPad experience on the cheap, grab a 16GB Wi-Fi only iPad Mini 2 for as low as US$299.

Read more: iPad mini with Retina display on sale today despite ‘supply issues’

Price: US$299 – US$479

Best budget tablet with calling features: Asus FonePad 7

Asus Fonepad 7

If you are looking for a cheap tablet with voice calling option (yes, such people do exist, especially in India), you should have a look at the FonePad 7 from Asus.

It features a 7″ HD display, a 5-megapixel primary camera with 1080p video recording, and a 1.2MP front-facing camera. It is powered by a 1.6GHz dual-core Intel Atom Z2560 CPU, 1GB RAM, and 8/16/32GB of internal storage space (which can expanded using a microSD card).

It runs Android 4.4 KitKat, boasts 3G connectivity and a decent battery life. It even comes in a dual-SIM variant.

Price: US$175 – US$310

Best value-for-money tablet: Asus MemoPad 8

ASUS Memopad 8

In 2015, most of the smartphones and tablets will shift to 64-bit processors for better performance and battery efficiency.

The 7.5mm thin Asus MemoPad 8 is one of the first Android tablets to rock a 2.3GHz quad-core Intel Atom 3580 processor with a powerful PowerVR G6430 GPU, 2GB of RAM, and 16/32GB of internal storage space.

It has an 8-inch 1080p display, stereo speakers, a 5MP primary camera with 1080p video recording, and a 1.2MP front-facing secondary camera. With Android 4.4 KitKat, 42Mbps HSDPA, dual-band Wi-Fi ac, and microUSB 2.0 connectivity, the device looks like a decent high-end no nonsense Android tablet.

Price: US$99 – US$199

Best tablet for gaming: Nvidia Shield Tablet

Nvidia Shield Tablet

The Nvidia Shield tablet is a powerhouse.

It features an ultra-powerful quad-core Tegra K1 processor with a 192-core Kepler GPU, 2GB RAM, and 32GB internal storage space. It has a 8-inch 1920×1200 display, a stylus (Direct Stylus 2 with faster input recognition), dual-stereo speakers, a 5MP camera on the front and the back.

It currently runs Android 4.4 KitKat but Nvidia has promised to push an Android 5.0 Lollipop update as soon as it’s available. You can buy a game controller and stream PC games to this tablet if you have a compatible Nvidia graphics card in your PC too.

Read more: Nvidia Shield review roundup: great specs but lacking content

Price: US$299 – US$399

Best life-compatible tablet: Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact

Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact family

Image: Maurizio Pesce via Flickr

If you want a thin, stylish, water-resistant and surprisingly rugged tablet, the Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact might be your best choice.

It features an IP68 certified body for water and dust resistance, an 8″ Full HD display with a shatter-proof glass and oleophobic coating. Similar to that of the Sony Xperia Z3, There’s a powerful Snapdragon 801 SoC under the hood, along with 3GB RAM, and 16GB internal storage.

It can become a serious multimedia powerhouse thanks to its compatibility with up to 128GB microSD cards, DLNA, wireless screen mirroring, and the super cool WALKMAN media player.

Price: US$499

Best Android-based tablet: HTC Nexus 9

HTC Nexus 9

Google recently announced the next best Android tablet, the HTC Nexus 9.

HTC decided to move on to a 8.9″ display with 4:3 aspect ratio and a resolution of 2048×1536 pixels, which coincidentally, is exactly similar to that of an iPad Air 2.

This is the first tablet to run Google’s latest Android 5.0 Lollipop operating system. It is powered by an ultra-powerful 64-bit dual-core Nvidia Tegra K1 SoC, 2GB RAM, and 16/32GB of internal storage space.

There’s an 8MP camera with 1080p video recording on the back, and a 2.1MP secondary camera on the front. There’s Wi-Fi only and Wi-Fi with cellular variants too, and the tablet can easily hold a charge for around 10 hours.

Read more: The next best Android tablet: Nexus 9 expected to arrive Q4 2014 says HTC (accidentally)

Price: US$399 – US$599

Best budget Android alternative: Lenovo Miix 8 2

Lenovo Miix 8 2

If you want a Windows 8.1 based tablet for multimedia consumption, the Lenovo Miix 8 2 is one of the cheapest, yet good performing Windows 8 tablet.

It features an 8-inch HD IPS LCD display, which is bright, even for outdoor use, and a loud set of stereo speakers. It is powered by a quad-core Intel Atom Z3740 processor, 2GB RAM and 32GB on-board storage.

It boots up faster than competing Windows tablets, and even lasts longer. You can hook it up to your flat screen TV and enjoy multimedia files when you want to. It can last more than 10 hours of continuous video playback or web browsing.

Price: US$399 – US$599

Best tablet for productivity and business: Microsoft Surface Pro 3

Microsoft Surface Pro 3

When it comes to productivity, no other tablet operating system can match Windows 8.1. If you are someone who doesn’t want to carry a full-fledged laptop but want to get work done on the go, the new Surface Pro 3 from Microsoft might be your best tool.

It features a 12″ screen with 2K (2560×1440 pixels) resolution (that’s as good as a MacBook Air) and a 3-level kickstand so that you can use it with the keyboard cover on a table, or your lap without it falling away from you.

Its entry-level variant comes with an Intel Core i3 processor with Intel HD 4200 GPU, 4GB RAM, and 64GB storage space. If you want more power and storage, you can opt for an Intel Core i7 processor with Intel HD 5000 GPU, up to 8GB RAM, and up to 256GB storage.

It can be turned in to a full-fledged desktop when needed by connecting it to a monitor using its Mini Display Port, and a keyboard and mouse through its USB 3.0 port

Heck, it even has a capacitive stylus for creative people and a microSD card slot for storage expansion or data transfer.

Price: US$799 – US$1949

Best tablet of 2014: Apple iPad Air 2

iPad Air 2

Apple has recently upgraded the original iPad. The new iPad Air 2 comes with the same 9.7″ Retina display, now with oleophobic coating, but it is even thinner.

It is equipped with an upgraded A8X triple-core processor (a variant of A8 which is used in the Apple iPhone 6, which is faster than the ultra-powerful Nvidia Tegra K1 processor.

There’s 2GB RAM, for a better support of all those extra features such as extensions, widgets, and continuity, which were introduced in the iOS 8. Apple has upgraded the camera as well. There’s an 8MP iSight camera with an ability to shoot HDR images, panorama images, 1080p videos, and 720p slow-motion videos.

It even comes with a Touch ID fingerprint sensor for enhanced data and device security. Even with such a powerful processor, a better camera, and a thinner body, Apple claims that the battery life hasn’t gone down. Its price starts from US$499 for the entry-level 16GB Wi-Fi only variant, and goes up to US$829 for a 128GB Wi-Fi and cellular variant.

Price: US$299 – US$829

There you go, according to us, these are the best tablets of 2014 you can buy in the new year, no matter what your preferences or use cases are. Do you own any of these or planning to buy them?

Do share your experiences or doubts with us in the comments section below. And if you think we’ve missed a device, make your feelings heard as well.



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