The Evolution of Tablet Devices
Would it be business or entertainment, there is hardly a better thing for both purposes than a good tablet. The tablets have come a long way since their mass-market inception in 2010. Back then, first tablet models were somewhat like bigger versions of smartphones but today they can successfully rival popular high-end laptops. However, with not that much of a difference in performance between recent laptops and tablets, the latter are obviously more convenient to carry since they are more compact and will take less space in your bag or backpack.
Anything you can do using a PC or a laptop you can do on a modern tablet as well which gives you the convenience of portability and provides a valuable benefit of unmatched flexibility when you are free to accomplish your tasks wherever you are. You can use these compact, yet, highly functional devices literally anywhere, be it your office, a cafe you drop in for lunch or a subway train on your way home. Where most laptops would be just too bulky to use the tablets can truly shine. With a well-rounded tablet, you will be able to play the latest mobile games, edit photos and videos or experience internet browsing at its full capacity.
Before making a final decision on which model to buy, you might be interested in taking a look at the top models available on the market today. Making up this comparative guide, we tried to highlight the best aspects and features of both budget and premium models.
Even though a lot of different specifications vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, there are basic features common for most models, so let’s make a quick break down of the aspects characteristic of each model and making each model stand out.
A smooth interaction between the key elements of the device is what determines its consistently high performance. Thus, the RAM, GPU, and CPU need to be well-optimized to seamlessly work together and bring you the best possible level of performance for an ultimate productivity.
The response time of the device as well as the ability of the tablet to run multiple applications simultaneously is basically what RAM (random access memory) does. The amount of RAM determines how fast your device will respond to your commands with a number of applications activated. Alternatively, the DDR class of the particular model will define its ability to process more data at once. Although it is not advertised as the main selling point of any tablet, RAM still is a crucial feature that will help you figure out whether your gadget will be fast or not. Hence, to avoid performance drops, it is essential to select the RAM in compliance with your tasks.
Although dedicated graphics processor units are not common for the majority of tablet models, regular discrete GPUs are still capable of delivering steady FPS in modern games in case they are backed up by a sizeable amount of RAM and a good CPU. However, if you are looking for a gaming model it’s advisable to consider purchasing a tablet with a dedicated GPU. On the other hand, with a duly optimized gadget hardware, you can still enjoy the latest titles for years to come.
The linchpin of any mobile device, the central processing unit is another crucial element in achieving the top performance. The main features of the CPUs are the number of cores and their clock speed. The multi-core multithreaded architecture of the modern mobile CPU models can deliver an unrivalled power comparable to that of the latest PCs out there. Although still inferior to top-rated PCs in terms of power, portable models are getting there each year. By having two processors instead of one, you can simultaneously listen to the music and browse the internet or your Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook news without any hiccups or stuttering.
The tablet connectivity to multiple data transfer sources is also an extremely important feature of any mobile device, without doubt. Thus, the tablet compatibility with recent Bluetooth and WiFi protocols and versions is a must. The latest interface versions are distinguished by the lightning fast data transfer rates.
All in all, tablets are offered at two basic screen sizes of 7 inches and 10 inches accordingly, with a number of models falling somewhere in between. Smaller screens provide greater portability while bigger displays are easier to read and stand out for a longer battery life. Yet, while a screen size is an option that totally depends on your needs and preferences, the quality of the display is something that determines the tablet usability and is defined by several features. These features are the aspect ratio, resolution, and the pixel density, all contributing the ease and convenience of use as well as to the clarity of the screen.
Other hardware such as camera and microphones cannot be underestimated since they are essential for using various applications that allow users to communicate, play and record videos and audio files. In case you are looking for a device that will make Skype, Facebook, and other calls a smooth ride – look for a good microphone and camera combination.
When picking items made of metal or plastic, one should consider should consider reliability and better damage protection against more lightweight and portable construction. While metal devices are certainly more rigid and can withstand a hit or two, the plastic models make a much more lightweight option even though you install a protection glass to avoid screen cracking in case of accidental drops. Alternatively, the models made of aluminum alloy offer the safety and damage resistance of metal in a combo with the light weight characteristic of its plastic counterparts.
- Unrivalled performance, thanks to the integration of an all-updated 64-bit A10X
- Fusion chip that powers this particular iPad model.
- High-resolution camera and patented retina display.
- Exclusive Apple services and applications.
- Responsive and accurate touch controls.
- Fragile elements of the housing and screen (you might want to install an additional protection glass on top of the standard one).
- A somewhat limited memory capacity as compared to other models in its class.
- Additional hardware is a bit expensive.
- Poor quality of charging cables (third-party products with better quality might be preferable in this case).
While Apple products definitely stand for a number of exclusive top-of-the-line features, there are still some minor drawbacks that are worth considering when purchasing an iPad. One of them is the quality of the lightning cables, which leaves something more to be desired. If not handled with care, these cables are prone to damages and wear. It is something that Android users rarely encounter, so hopefully, this problem will be fixed in the next generation of Apple tablets.
Speaking of performance and other useful features of the tablet, the iPad Pro has it all, so let’s make a quick run down the list to see what makes it one of the most popular models, shall we? As th name suggests, the device has a 10.5-inch display that boasts a 2224×1668 resolution. Moving on, this model from Apple features a 15 MP iSight Camera that can compete with some of the top-rated smartphone models.Optionally, the device can serve as a drawing tablet even if you don’t have an Apple pen. A high touchscreen sensitivity will allow you to create true masterpieces simply using your fingers.
Though not totally perfect, the iPad Pro 10.5” still remains one of the best models in its price range (if not the top one), and to be frank, it’s downsides in no way compromise the gadget performance. Thus, in case you want a powerful wokrhorse, look no further – iPad Pro is the top pick for you since it basically has no rivals in terms of performance quality and interface smoothness and responsiveness.
- Slim design
- The model features one of the best screens on the market. Even when used in direct sunlight, an AMOLED display is clear and easy-to-read.
- Fitted with one of the latest versions of Snapdragon CPUs, the gadget will deliver the level of performance close to that of more expensive Apple counterparts.
- Somewhat low battery life.
- Unplugging the keyboard will automatically turn off the device, a controversial design choice that will leave some customers unsatisfied.
The Samsung Tab S3 utilizes one of the latest iterations of Snapdragon processors, and its 820 CPU model really shines in this case. Fast, intuitive, and quite resilient, the tablet core can really hold a punch or two. No matter how many applications you are running at the same time, the device will handle them. What’s more, a special CPU architecture allows you even to run some applications in a split-screen mode, just like on laptops!
This model comes complete with an accurate S-Pen that will turn your device into a drawing tablet and a branded Samsung keyboard.Attached to the tablet via a magnetic connection, powered by the tablet itself, and doubling as a case when not in use, the keyboard is definitely a neat and attractive accessory. However, compact in size, the keyboard can’t accommodate all standard keys and its functionality is limited to a certain extent. Besides, the price of this accessory is ungroundedly high that considerably bumps up the entire price tag.
As for the basic specifications, the Tab S3 features a 9.7-inch display that will meet the needs and requirements of the most exacting users out there. Furthermore, instead of two speakers, the gadget offers four AKG speakers that will automatically detect the direction you hold the tablet in to ensure a proper stereo sound. With such a powerful sound system onboard, you will enjoy an excellent audio quality essential for online calls.
If you are looking for a quality Android pad for regular daily use and the image and sound quality are your top priorities, this model will tick all the boxes in your checklist.
- Exclusive access to Microsoft Office products.
- OneNote integration – a perfect tool for students to write down and record lectures in college or at school.
- Supports virtually any format and application, thanks to the integrated Windows 10 OS.
- The keyboard cover is not included in the package
- Over time, the display is prone to losing pixels (a hardware issue that, unfortunately, cannot be fixed without the expert help).
First off, the Surface Pro 4 is a large 12.3-inch tablet that will impress you with a gorgeous design in elegant matt aluminum body. A built-in kickstand it comes complete with is highly convenient and supportive will keep the gadget in place at whatever angle you need that often appears a problem for other large tablets. Another thing definitely worth your attention, is the Surface Pro 4 screen. The so- called PixelSense screen delivers crisp and bright image and boasts wide viewing angles. The only negative is that over time, display might suffer from dead pixels (though not necessarily) which is rather a hardware drawback that needs expert help.
As for the tablet performance, packed with the Intel Core i5 CPU, it performs really great at can compete with laptops that was the main manufacturer objective. However, to use it as a laptop, you will have to buy a keyboard which is not included in the set and add some extra cost to the unit price. Running Windows 10 Professional OS, the gadget is capable of dealing with most Office applications and will be a good pick for those who rely on the software from Microsoft and need it wherever you want to go. Additionally, the device can be integrated with the OneNote organizer, a useful option for students who make notes at classes. While you are writing, OneNote can also record an audio file to be used later on to check if you miss anything.
All in all, Microsoft has finally managed to squeeze a functional laptop into a tablet design and stuff it with decent software and hardware. Set aside some minor flaws, the Surface Pro 4 is a perfect choice for ordinary users and students. Yet, it still lacks some power to meet specific needs of gamers and graphic designers.
- Premium-grade housing materials that give this model a gorgeous look and even better touch.
- The device doesn’t support 4G network protocols limiting the autonomous abilities of the tablet outside WiFi range.
- Pretty low battery life and long charging process.
- Screen sensor tends to lag after prolonged use, thus, some false presses might appear over time.
What will catch your eye from the first sight is the lavish looks the lavish looks of the Asus pad coming encased in an aluminum housing. Not only does it look swanky but also it is much sturdier than plastic. Notably, a metal housing is not a common feature for the tablets in this price range.
From the hardware perspective, the ASUS features a Hexa-core (yes, it is a thing) combination of CPUs, just like a regular computer. This cores combo can work in a multi-thread mode in order to overclock their base cores’ clock rate from 1.7 GHz up to 2.1 GHz in a matter of seconds. Paired with a 4 GB of RAM, this mid-range monster really shines when used with modern mobile games. No more stuttering or long loading screens, with ZenPad 3S, you will beat your opponents in no time (subject to some practice, of course).
While the combination of the CPU and RAM can definitely provide a smooth gameplay experience, the ASUS TruVivid technology offers a colorful and detailed image that can rival the premium models with ease. Hencey, watching stream videos and your favourite TV-shows on this tablet will definitely be a delightful viewing experience.
To sum up, the ZenPad from ASUS is a true mid-range warrior delivering premium quality and performance at half the price of top-rated models.
- Amazingly short charging time of less than two hours.
- Features one of the sturdiest bodies on the market, which makes it a great device for everyday use and traveling.
- Both WiFi and Bluetooth use the same antenna, thus, hindering one another when in use.
- The lack of 3.5 mm jack. However, this connection issue can be easily solved, thanks to a USB-c to 3.5 mm adapter that is supplied with the tablet.
For a start, the Huawei Media Pad M5 features eight cores that ensure an absolutely stunning performance, especially considering a modest price of the tablet. Furthermore, the unit is fitted with a true 2K screen with a 2560×1600 resolution. The 359 PPI display has an 82% screen-to-body ratio, which basically means that you will be able to see what’s going on the screen from any angle without color or contrast distortion.
Traditionally, the tablet has both a rear (13 MP) and a front (8 MP) camera. Notably, the rear one can deliver truly stunning photos close in quality to pictures taken with a real DSLR device. Along with an up-to-par main photo processor, the front camera also doesn’t trail behind and you can stream high-quality selfie videos without breaking a sweat.
Speaking of streaming, the device uses a single antenna both for Bluetooth and for WiFi and there can be some hiccups when the tablet is connected with wireless devices such as headsets or hands-free earphones. Put it simple, with Bluetooth headphones on, WiFi stops working.Thus, this model is not well-suited for streaming video and definitely not the best option for music addicts who can’t imagine using a tablet without listening to their favourite tracks. On the other hand, though, thanks to the good performance of the octa-core system, this Android tablet from Huawei is a good choice for gaming, video editing, and general entertainment purposes.
- A multi-user system that makes this Lenovo model a great pick for the whole family.
- A quad-core processor from Snapdragon that adds multitasking abilities.
- Extremely lightweight design (less than 2lbs).
- 4G support is only available in a premium package.
- 2GB of RAM might be not enough to run some demanding mobile applications.
The all-rounder from Lenovo is advertised as a family model since it is ranger a mid range-device far from high-end models favored by demanding users that tend to edit or stream videos from their devices or by professionals who need a gadget for accomplishing some specific complicated tasks. However, it has its merits as well and offers really good value for the money you pay. Dual-stereo front speakers delivering high-fidelity voluminous sound make it a great choice for watching your favourite YouTube videos or a TV show while doing something else. Meanwhile, thanks to the Snapdragon CPU system that can be overclocked up to 1.4 GH, you can still enjoy the latest gaming applications from Play Market. On the negative side, though, it should be said that 2 GB of RAM might not be enough for the latest games out there and you can face some stuttering or extended loading screens. This minor downside set aside, the Lenovo Tab 4 will definitely be a good starter choice for those who are on a budget but still want to be able to enjoy the latest versions of their favourite apps.
Alternatively, the device is also available in a special ProCase designed specifically for kids. The case will firmly protect both the body and the screen from cracking and denting even if the tablet is accidentally dropped on a hard surfaces. So, if you need a well-rounded tablet for your little toddlers this is a go-to pick for them. Strong, reliable, and easy-to-use – there is not much more you could ask from a budget model.
- You can expand the internal memory up to 256 GB with a microSD memory card.
- Support of the official Amazon software (Alexa, Echo, Kindle and more).
- A voice control option is available.
- Modest camera specifications don’t leave much room for improving the quality of taken photos and videos.
- The Micro-B USB connector is a questionable design choice (if the cable breaks you won’t be able to use a standard Android cable and will have to purchase a new one).
- An Operating System takes pretty much of the device storage capacity (more than 6GB).
A flagman device from Amazon, the Fire HD tablet has a lot of features that make it a kind of unique tablet. To start off, the device is powered by the Fire OS designed specifically for Amazon services and products. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t be able to enjoy your regular mobile applications such as Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. On the contrary, the developers of the OS have made it possible for you to have exclusive versions of your favourite mobile apps that were made expressly for Fire OS. As for the Amazon services, you are free to use Alexa, Echo Spot, and Show via your Fire HD tablet even when you are far away from home. The integration of most basic services will let you browse the Amazon shop, your favourite Showtime or Netflix shows and films (if you are subscribed to them), and more as long as you have an internet connection.
Services aside, let’s take a glance at the specifications of the tablet. This version of the Fire HD has 32 GB of internal storage that can be expanded with a microSD card up to 256 GB to store all your media and data. On top of that, an 8-inch display ensures a true HD viewing experience, while the 1.3 GHz quad-core CPU will provide a lag-free operation.
To wrap things up, at a fraction of the price of more sophisticated and expensive models, the Fire HD offers more bells and whistles than you expect and is a top choice for fulfilling your daily Amazon Prime needs.
- Lightning-fast battery charging process (it takes around 2 hours to get the gadget fully charged).
- High performance, thanks to the 8-core CPU system.
- Rare updates from Google reducing your data security
- The display is quite fragile and, as a result, is prone to scratches.
Being one of the latest models from Samsung available on the market, this mid-range tablet features an octa-core CPU system that puts some premium models to shame when it comes down to performance tests. On top of that, 3GB of RAM will definitely make multitasking easy as pie allowing you to switch between several apps without any lags or hiccups.
What makes this Android tablet so appealing apart from hardware is a 16:10 10.5-inch display capable of delivering a truly immersive visual experience. Furthermore, four speakers with Dolby Atmos sound system make it easier to watch any movie or TV series, no matter where you are. But how long can you enjoy all these cool features after all? Just two hours of charging will provide you with up to 15 hours of pure joy, be it the latest game from Play Market or the newest Netflix show episode.
The Galaxy Tab A from Samsung is a good lightweight model that has a lot of premium features such as face recognition, Google Assistant, and Samsung Kids App. All things considered, the Tab is a rightfully solid choice if you are looking for a true family-friendly model for common use.
- Surprisingly good display and speaker capabilities.
- High-quality keyboard with a touchpad.
- Exclusive access to Microsoft software and products.
- The Windows 10 S does not work flawlessly at all times (freezes and stuttering are quite common, unfortunately).
The model from Microsoft that is built for users who want their device to be both portable and versatile at the same time. The gadget comes with a stylish docking station, keyboard, mouse, and a USB-C charger, all in one package. What makes the model attractive for on-the-go users is a high-capacity battery ensuring 9 hours of continuous runtime per charge in a high-power consumption mode which is quite impressive for a pretty compact 1.15-pound device.
The 10-inch display of the tablet delivers an amazingly crisp and detailed image that is crucial for those who seek a drawing tablet. With a highly responsive screen, you can use a standard digital pen that comes with a tablet to create your own digital art with no trouble.
As for the operating system, the Surface Go is equipped with a specially designed Windows 10 S meant to squeeze the most out of the Pentium Gold CPU. Yet, that’s in theory. In reality, however, the 10 S fails to efficiently perform multiple tasks at the same time that, as a result, might lead to system freezes and tablet rebooting. On the other hand though, when the system runs in a high-power consumption mode, the little computer would wisely allocate the 4 GB of RAM more modestly to ensure a smooth performance without hiccups. In addition, a word processing unit of this model makes it a great choice for students and simply for all aspiring writers out there.
The Surface Go is a nice little machine from Microsoft that will serve as a truly great media-consumption tablet.
- Sturdy housing. This model for kids can endure quite a beating.
- Multiple accounts support allowing you to use the gadget together with your kiddies.
- Free year of Fire Kids Edition is included in every version of the Amazon Fire for Kids.
- The charging port is somewhat flimsy and prone to malfunction over time.
- The power button is a bit hard to reach without additional tools even for adults.
As the name suggests, the Amazon Fire 7 Kids Edition is one of the best models for children. With a 7” screen, it will comfortably fit into little hands and the housing of the tablet is completely child-proof. It doesn’t mean that it can be used as a mini throwing ball, but it can withstand hard kicks and falls on the solid surfaces quite well.On top of that, the child mode engages kid-safe internet browsing, so, your kiddo won’t encounter any unwanted content.
The Amazon specific Fire OS automatically updates to the latest version and can be used to access any possible content for kids available on Amazon. This includes books, movies, TV shows, and much more. For example, you can use educational applications and other forms of multimedia together with your child or your little toddler can play his or her favourite games from time to time.
To make the right choice and select the best tablet you’ll be fully satisfied with, you should closely consider your specific needs. Rather than opting for a certain model guided by the price tag only, check whether the gadget will fit your lifestyle and suffice your needs.