“Which is the best Android tablet?” is a question that may be of significance for you because, like me, you’ve got someone special asking for one. It’s also a difficult question to answer. What are your criteria for rating the tablets on the market today? Is bigger better? Do you want more internal storage capacity?
Most professional reviewers can’t make up their minds either. Some like the offerings from Samsung more than others, while some like the Asus offerings. Still others tell you to wait for the Google Nexus. None of these guys gave me a free tablet to review, so I’m going to look at this question from a consumer’s point of view.
Searching for the Best Android Tablet
Samsung is probably the most notable name in the Android tablet game. This means that many people are going to think Samsung makes the best Android tablet. They do make what appears to be the most popular tablet line, as far as sales are concerned, which is the Galaxy Tab. You’ve got your choice of two main models when looking at Samsung Galaxy tablets: the Galaxy Tab and the Galaxy Note.
Both of these are excellent tablets. Both are available with 10-inch screens, and the Tab also has a seven-inch model. However, the Note has a cool feature that allows you to use the supplied pen to scribble and send quick handwritten notes quite easily. The Note is available in a Wi-Fi only model, as well as CDMA and GSM cellular capable models. Both come with your choice of either 16 GB or 32 GB of internal storage capacity.
The Galaxy Tab and Tab 2 come in either seven- or 10-inch screen models. Again, you have your choice of Wi-Fi only or GSM or CDMA cellular connectivity. The Tab comes with 2 GB, 8 GB, or 16 GB of internal memory (which is expandable to 32 GB using a Micro SD card) and Android 2.2 Froyo for its operating system. Battery life is rated at up to 10 hours of usage and 400 hours of standby time.
The Tab 2 gives you Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and your choice of 8 GB or 16 GB of internal storage capacity (expandable to 64 GB using a Micro SD card.) Rated battery life is up to 12 hours with the Tab 2 versions, with up to 26 days of standby time.
The Asus Transformer is unique in that it’s both a tablet and a netbook in one device. Open it up and it has a keyboard and a display just like a netbook. Open it and flip the screen around, and it’s a touchscreen-operated tablet. The keyboard, or Mobile Dock, is also removable. Either way, the display has an impressive 1920×1200 resolution capable of displaying movies in full HD.
As a convertible netbook, it also has a more powerful sound system, using what Asus terms SonicMaster technology to produce a much superior range of audio. The Transformer also comes in a wider variety of colors than many other tablets, with silver and red being the most popular.
Most tablets usually have 512 MB of RAM, but the Transformer doubles that to 1 GB. You also have your choice of 32 GB or 64 GB of storage capacity, plus another 64 GB using a Micro SD card. Some models also come with Asus Cloud Storage options (from 8 GB to unlimited). Connectivity depends on which model you buy with options being Bluetooth V2.1 (standard on all models), Wi-Fi (standard on all models), and GSM cellular.
From a pure productivity standpoint, the Transformer looks to be the best Android tablet on the market, since it’s much easier to type on a keyboard.
The Google Nexus
The newest Google Nexus is what many of the professional reviewers are calling the best Android tablet available. As far as integration of the apps and the operating system, this is to be expected, since Google is the author of the Android operating system. But checking the device out online, I can see other reasons, also. The Nexus comes in three sizes: four-inches, seven inches and 10 inches. The four-inch version is more of a cell phone than a true tablet, however.
The seven-inch devices come with 1 GB of RAM and 16 or 32 GB of internal storage. The 10-inch device comes with 2GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage. The video subsystem is powered by a quad core GPU (Graphics Processor Unit), meaning the video capabilities rival those of the Asus and iPads.
However, the connectivity options are where the Nexus really shines. By now, everyone has seen the commercials for Samsung cell phones where people transfer data by just touching phones. This is called Near Field Communication (NFC) and both Nexus devices have it. Also, neither of them lock you into a certain cellular provider. That’s right, they’re both unlocked and at least quad band. This also means that if you travel internationally, all you need is a SIM card once you arrive in your destination country and you can still have Internet access via cellular.
When considering the prices, capabilities, and options of the three mentioned here, I’ll be going out and buying a Google Nexus 10-inch tablet as soon as I’m able to. I consider it the best Android tablet on the market right now.