Five great Android tablets you can buy today instead of waiting for the iPad Mini

Discussion in 'Android Tablet News Depot' started by Spider, Oct 4, 2012.

  1. Spider

    Spider Administrator Staff Member

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    Summary: Just because Apple appears to be releasing the iPad Mini is no reason to ignore the Android tablets that forced Apple to enter the 7" tablet space.

    [​IMG] By Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols for Linux and Open Source |October 3, 2012 -- 20:20 GMT (13:20 PDT)

    I like iPads. I own one and often use it. That said, I never cared for its size; Apple's locked-in, proprietary software ecosystem; and lately Apple's iOS updates have been including a lot of sloppy mistakes. So it is that more often than not I've been using a variety of 7" Android-powered tablets instead of my iPad. And, you know what? Just because it seems almost certain there will soon be an iPad Mini, I don't see any reason to be rushing out to buy one.

    Why not? From the top: Price. Whatever Apple ends up charging for the Mini, it's a safe bet it's going to be more than the 7" Android tablets. Apple's never been anyone's idea of an affordable brand.

    Next, I really don't appreciate Apple's Big Brother approach to third-party software. For example, the reason you can't watch most Website videos on an iPad is that Steve Jobs decided he didn't want Adobe Flash on iDevices. I also really don't like Apple's patent lawsuit happy ways.

    Last, and to the point, over the last few months, Android and its hardware vendors have finally gotten their tablet act together. In 2010, Android tablets weren't competitive at all with the mark one iPad. In 2011, the Barnes & Nobles' Nook Color, while still primarily an e-reader, became a reasonable Android tablet. In late 2011, the small, 7" Android tablet took off with the introduction of Amazon's Kindle Fire. Then, as far as I'm concerned, the first Android tablet came along that was actually better than an iPad: the Nexus 7.

    Heck, ZDNet's own Jason D. O'Grady, an Apple fan even said there was only one thing wrong with the Nexus 7: it's lack of an Apple logo. Me? I can live without an Apple logo.

    So, what are the best alternatives to the forthcoming iPad Mini. Here's my list from least to most attractive:

    [​IMG]
    Samsung's Galaxy Tab 7.7 is pretty, fast, and pricey.

    5) Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7

    Gosh, the Samsung 7.7's AMOLED (active-matrix organic light-emitting diode) display is pretty. As pretty as an iPad 3's Active Matrix? No, probably, but it is eye-catching.

    Under the pretty screen, you'll find a 1.4GHz dual core processor with 16GBs of storage and a GB of RAM. It started with Android 3.2, Honeycomb, but it was updated in July to Android 4.04, Ice Cream Sandwich. It also supports, with the right contract of course, 4G.

    I only have one problem with it: the price tag. At $400, it's a little much for a 7" tablet.

    [​IMG]

    If you like Amazon, you'll love the new Kindle Fire,

    4) Amazon Kindle Fire (2012)

    You can't beat the new model Kindle Fire's price: $159. It also comes tied at the hip with Amazon goodies. That's both a virtue and a vice.

    I like Amazon, but I'd rather not have them as both my software gateway and, thanks to its Silk Web browser, my portal to the greater Internet. I also really, really don't like being forced fed ads if I don't cough up an extra $15.
    The hardware is OK for the price. It uses a dual-core 1.2GHz OMAP 4430 CPU, a GB of RAM, and comes with 16GBs
    of storage. For its operating system, the Kindle Fire uses a highly customized version of Ice Cream Sandwich. On the other hand, it still doesn't have HD video support... or a camera, … or storage expansion slot... or physical volume buttons.

    All that said, it's still a good tablet for the price. If I wanted to buy a tablet for a relative or friend this holiday who just wanted to read books and watch movies, I'd seriously consider the updated Kindle Fire.

    [​IMG]

    The new Nook Tablet isn't out yet, but the old one is still pretty darn good.

    3) Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet (2011)

    The next generation of the Nook Tablet won't show for a few more weeks, but that's OK, because I'm still fond of last year's Nook Tablet at $179.

    It uses a TI OMAP 4 dual-core 1 GHz processor along with 8GBs of storage, a GB of RAM and can handle addition storage with its microSD slot. Like the Kindle it uses a modified version of Android. In the Nook's case that's Android 2.3, GingerBread.

    Older hardware and software and all, I still prefer the old Nook Tablet to the new Kindle Fire and I'm really looking forward to getting my hands on the 2012 Nook. Why? Because it just works better. It delivers smoother performance and I find its interface to be easier to use. Now, if only Barnes & Noble and Amazon both would make it easier for us to get fuller access to Android programs I'd be even happier.

    [​IMG]
    It's not quite as fast as the Galaxy 7.7, but the Galaxy Tab 7 is nice in its own right.

    2) Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0

    It's not quite as good as its big brother, the Galaxy Tab 7.7, but at $350 I can live with the newly 4G LTE-enabled Galaxy Tab 2.

    It comes with a a 1.2GHz dual-core OMAP 4430 CPU, 1GB of RAM, and 8GB of storage. And, like the Tab 7.7, it uses Android 4.04. It is, as you would have guessed, slower and less full-featured than its high-priced relative. The most noticeable difference is that it has a front-facing VGA camera instead of a 2 megapixel front facing camera.

    If you decide this is the tablet for you, check to make sure that you're getting the model you want. The earlier Galaxy Tab only Wi-Fi model is still available at a price of about $250. It's a trifle slower than the new model and of course doesn't support LTE, but it's otherwise a winner.

    [​IMG]
    The best tablet of all, including the iPad, is the Nexus 7.

    1) Nexus 7

    And, I've saved the best for last. The Nexus 7, at $199, is simply the best tablet out there. It runs like a dream and it's become my go-to tablet.

    With a quad-core Tegra 3 CPU, 1GB of RAM, and 8GBs of storage the Nexus 7 runs very, very fast. How fast? Faster than any of its competitors. It's also the only one currently running Android 4.1, JellyBean. This is easily the best version of Android to date.

    The result is an outstanding tablet. If I could only have one tablet, it would be a Nexus 7.

    Mini iPad? I'm sure it will be nice, but nicer than these? Maybe. In the same price-range as them? I can't see that. And, as for being nicer and more afforable than the Nexus 7? I don't think so.

    The tablet wars are now on in earnest.
     
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  2. arcone

    arcone Senior Member

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    I really really could not agree with more. You have given a list of some ace tablets. I also think the n7 is the best of the bunch, I mean Jelly Bean has to be the best choice.

    The other android tablets are also up there. Did you mention that the previous kindle fire has a new processor and appears to be at the reduced price of £130, what a bargain.

    As for apple, I for one did once have an iPhone, when I want to sync my dates and address I do not want to connect to iTunes.
    This is one thing I really miss about palm and their desktop.

    I use Thunderbird (couple of plug ins) which I sync via Google.
    Calendar and contacts are synced.
     
  3. Tom T

    Tom T Senior Member

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    the Nexus is a decent tablet with a lot of compromises in order for it to Sell at a competitive price with the Amazon Kindle offerings. To imply that it is the equal to, or better than, an iPad 3, let alone some of the even more amazing Android tablets now available, is a bit delusional. It is a fine, probably a bit more, budget tablet, but it doesn't come close to comparing to the higher end offerings available.
     
  4. Natey2

    Natey2 Senior Member

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    I bought a Nexus 7 last week.
    Things to know about the N7 before buying one:

    No micro-SD slot.
    No HDMI-output port.
    No rear-facing camera.
    No separate AC Adapter/power port to charge it with; uses the USB port, so charging might be slower if you can't find a decent USB connection and don't have the Asus AC to USB adapter with you.

    Note: Look for a SSN that begins with "C8" or later. There is a frequent occurrence of the "screen lift" manufacturing defect on older SSN units, though some newer ones might have it too. Google it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2012
  5. minnieusa

    minnieusa Member

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    galaxy 7 $239 at costco and $249 at bes t buy with dock. great great tablet
     
  6. minnieusa

    minnieusa Member

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    left out galaxy tab 2 7"
     
  7. arcone

    arcone Senior Member

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    I think you miss the point it,s Google. Don't care about SD card slot, best selling tab does not have one. Photography has been my hobby for some 35 years and today use a digital SLR , the last thing I want is a camera other than the one used for video chat , I have a decent camera on my phone which is still pants compared to my SLR.


    When I hear the megapixel count on tabs or phones getting higher it just makes me laugh , that's just to fool Jo public, its a tiny part of what makes a good photo, that actually just makes a larger image and in turn slower to work with.

    I also have a HD video camera. So my tab is for media consumption. Today for that purpose the N7 is awesome . Let's get this clear , I could go out and buy a 64 gig I pad, like my son has, I can not have a tab that connects to iTunes . I love the N7, I am not saying that the iPad is not the best tab in the world, in fact I think it is, there is not a tablet out today or in the near future that matches up to the iPad, I just can not get on with the OS, believe me I have tried , I just hate ios., seeing what is available on it, I wish I could get on with it, something about it makes me feel that I have to comply , like I've been assimilated.


    When people list what the N7 is missing , what? Don't buy it, millions of people will.
    It does not make tea or coffee , does not have a 500 gig hard drive.

    Going to Malta soon, taking my SLR, lenses , N7 & 32 gig USB stick loaded with movies, my kindle stuff is already on it.
    Oh and of course my android phone.
     
  8. Tom T

    Tom T Senior Member

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    Have to disagree about nothing comparing to the iPad, I would buy an Asus Infinity or an Acer A700, e en the Sony Experia S over an iPad, and the Galaxy Note 10.1 has a faster processor, the more advanced Amdroid OS including multitasking, not to mention the Wacom digitizer. Apple, with its iPad and iPhone, are falling behind Android.
    The Nexus is designed as a media consumption device, along the lines of the very successful Kindle Fire but certainly more advanced. I was actually a supporter of th original Kindle Fire because it did what it intended to do very well, as does the Nexus 7. It was never really meant to compete with high end Android tablets.

    ......
     
  9. arcone

    arcone Senior Member

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    What you have just said, I pretty much agree with. Apart for the screen on the iPad 3, don't know if anyone has matched it's very high resolution.
    Hardware wise the iPad is not the fastest etc etc, but like the web os that HP killed off, android is still behind iOS on the app front. HP threw in the towel as they felt on apps they were just too far behind.

    Android is not as far behind, but having seen some of the apps my son has on his tablet , say, pages, this to me looks like DTP, there are just no apps like this on android, the iPad is just closer in what it can do to a PC, than Android.

    Instead we are likely to have on line offerings, which just will not do, as there will always come a time when on line is not available.

    I don't know why, maybe sun spots.

    The touchpad hardware was very good, faster than most tablets at the time, adreno 220 which was said to be twice as fast as the tegra2 and faster than the Mali 400. CPU duel core running at 1500mghz. 64 gig ram. Yet HP dumped it, not the OS, anyone who has used webos knows it is really nice to use, features in android today come straight off webos, which has a huge portfolio of patents.

    App support was very poor.
    So what android needs is awesome apps, bit like having a Ferrari and a little lane to drive it on.
    Android is not this bad, but still way behind on apps and I don't mean games.


    I think there are already a few super cars running android, now they just need some roads like the ones on the apple Island.
     

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