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Best Android tablets of 2014

Loie Favre
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A few weeks back, our news pages were graced with the best Android phones of 2014, and now it’s time to turn to the big boys: here are what we consider to be the best Android tablets that you can buy in 2014.

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What is the best Android tablet of 2014? / © ANDROIDPIT

Just like smartphones, tablets allow you to play games, watch videos, listen to music, and do work-related/productivity type things, all with the advantage of a bigger screen. When considering which tablet you should buy, there are a lot of things to keep in mind, like CPU and RAM (for an idea of how slick the performance will be), weight, features, and more!

1. Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014)

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Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014). / © Samsung

Design, power and portability: these three deciding factors are the reasons why the Samsung jewel has landed at the top of our tablet food chain. It measures less than 8 mm thick, can run any game or app your heart desires, and most importantly, has a great feature called "multi-window" which lets you have up to 4 of them open at time. Once you get your hands on the Note 10.1, you’ll notice that it comes with the S Pen, which great for writing and many other extra functions. Now, imagine being able to enjoy all of this on a 10.1-inch screen!

Display 10.1-inches, 2560 x 1600 pixels, Super Clear LCD
Processor WLAN/3G: Octa-core, 1.9 GHz / LTE: Quad-core, 2.3 GHz
RAM/Interal Memory 3 GB / 16/32/64 GB + microSD
Camera 8 MP (rear), 2 MP (front)
Connectivty Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth 4.0, USB 2.0, GPS
Dimensions 243.1 x 171.4 x 7.9 mm
Weight 540 g (Wi-Fi) / 535 g (3G) / 547 g (LTE)
Battery 8220 mAh
Operating System Android 4.3 Jelly Bean

Verdict

The Galaxy Note 10.1 is the best the world of Android tablets has to offer at the moment. This, however, comes at a price, and what a price it is! If you consider that most of today's mobile technology has been crammed into one singular device, you’d understand why Samsung charges such big bucks: its Note-specific functions (S Pen, Air Gesture, etc), connectivity, performance, and portability puts this tablet in direct competition with laptops.

2. Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2

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Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 with its cover/keyboard. / © Samsung

The first place runner up is another large Samsung tablet: it comes with the same powerful performance, and even more space for content, with the disadvantage of a slight loss in sharpness and portability. Want a keyboard? No problem! Samsung has included a physical Bluetooth keyboard that can be used as a cover or support base.

Display 12.2-inch Super Clear LCD, 2560x1600
Dimensions and weight 295.6 x 204 x 7.95 mm, 750 g
Internal storage 32GB/64GB + microSD slot up to 64 GB
Memory 3 GB RAM
Processor Quad-core 1.9 GHz Snapdragon 800 (LTE), quad-core 1.9 GHz Exynos 5420
Battery 9,500 mAh
Cameras 8 MP + LED (back); 2 MP (front)
Connectivity and networks Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, microUSB 3.0 port with microUSB 2.0 compatibility, NFC, GPS
Operating system and UI Android 4.4 KitKat with TouchWiz UI

Verdict

You won’t feel like you are missing out on anything with the Note Pro 12.2: in addition to its many features, it has a huge visual impact thanks to the big screen (multi-window mode is also available here). But there are also some disadvantages, one of which is due to it weighing 215 grams more (than the Note 10.1) and of course its large size, This makes handling a bit more cumbersome than the 10.1 inch model. In addition, the cover, included keyboard, and 64 GB of memory make the price even less inviting. That being said, there’s also a 32GB version which seems slightly more accessible.

3. Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 

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Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5. / © Samsung

First and foremost, this tablet deserves massive props because of its sleek design which combines slick plastic with luxurious and unique copper edges. The Galaxy Tab S, besides being the lightest 10-inch tablet produced by Samsung, has hardware which ensures top-class performance. You’ll be able to run resource-hungry applications with minimal delay. But all of this is peanuts next to what really took our breath away: the Tab S series were bestowed with seriously incredible Super AMOLED screens, which according to DisplayMate, one of the most reliable sources when it comes to screen quality, is the best tablet on the market. This was concluded after considering multiple aspects, including color fidelity.

(You can also find a simirlarly awesome 8.4-inch variation of the device with almost the same specs, only differing in the dimensions and pixels-per-inch.) 

Display 10.5-inch Super AMOLED 2560x1600 (288ppi) / 8.4-inch Super AMOLED 2560x1600 (~359ppi)
Dimensions and weight 177.3 x 247.3 x 6.6 mm, 467 g / 212.8 x 125.6 x 6.6 mm, 294 g
Internal storage 16 GB/ 32GB + microSD slot up to 128 GB
Memory 3 GB RAM
Processor Exynos 5 Octa 5420 Cortex A15 / Cortex A7, 1.6 GHz Octa Core
Battery 7,900 mAh
Cameras 8 MP (rear); 2.1 MP (front)
Connectivity and networks Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, microUSB 2.0 port
Operating system and UI Android 4.4.2 KitKat with TouchWiz UI

Verdict

The new series of Samsung tablets revisits what was offered in the Tab Pro series: what came out of it was less powerful hardware offset by their incredible new Super AMOLED display. All of this, combined with its incredible lightness and unique design land the Tab S 10.5 in third place on the tablet podium.

Read our Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 review.

4. Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet 

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Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet. / © Sony

Sony cracks the otherwise Samsung-laden list: The Sony Xperia Z2 immediately draws attention with high class OmniBalance design which ensures for perfect weight distribution and incredible thinness (just 6.4 mm), enabling it to become the world's thinnest tablet. Also, Sony’s been pretty on the ball with making waterproof devices: the Tablet Z2 has IP58 certification which makes it resistant to dust and water. Lastly, its hardware specifications are hard to beat, and provide for a fluid user experience.

Display 10.1-inch, IPS, 1920 x 1200 pixels
Dimensions and weight 212.8 x 125.6 x 6.6 mm, 294 g
Internal storage 16GB + microSD
Memory 3 GB RAM
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, Quad-Core, 2.3 GHz
Battery 6,000 mAh
Cameras 8.1 MP (rear); 2.1 MP (front)
Connectivity and networks LTE, UMTS, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, MHL 3.0, USB 2.0, Wi-F
Operating system and UI Android 4.4 KitKat with Xperia UI

Verdict

Despite the lower screen resolution and battery capacity compared to other tablets in the list, the Sony Xperia Tablet Z2 achieved fifth position thanks to its beautiful looks and water-friendliness. Moreover, its performance is amazing, seeing as it has the second fastest Qualcomm processors to-date, the Snapdragon 801 (the Note 4 has the latest processor with a Snapdragon 805).

Read our hands on Sony Xperia Z2 tablet review.

5. Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 12.2

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Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 12.2. / © Samsung

After our little Sony glitch, the list is back on track with yet another superb Samsung tablet: the ‘’older’’ generation of the Tab series. This tablet was only released mere months before the newer ones, and thus is much more attractive when it comes to price, which has fallen drastically since the newer arrivals. The Tab Pro exists in three versions boasting different screen sizes: 12.2, 10.1 and 8.4-inch. The 12.2-inch version comes with 1 GB of RAM more than its siblings, and also increased battery capacity, but otherwise the hardware is the same. 

Display 12.2-inch, Super clear LCD capacitive touchscreen 2560 x 1600 pixels (~247 ppi)
Dimensions and weight 295.6 x 204 x 8 mm, 732 g
Internal storage 32/64 GB + microSD up to 64 GB
Memory 3 GB RAM
Processor Quad-core 1.9 GHz Cortex-A15 & quad-core 1.3 GHz Cortex-A7
Battery 9500 mAh
Cameras 8 MP (rear); 2 MP (front)
Connectivity and networks Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, Infrared, Micro USB 3.0, GPS
Operating system and UI Android 4.4 KitKat

6. Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1

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Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1. / © Samsung

Display 10.1-inch, Super clear LCD capacitive touchscreen 2560 x 1600 pixels (~299 ppi)
Dimensions and weight 243.1 x 171.4 x 7.3 mm, 469 g
Internal storage 16/32 GB + microSD up to 64 GB
Memory 2 GB RAM
Processor Quad-core 1.9 GHz Cortex-A15 & quad-core 1.3 GHz Cortex-A7
Battery 8220 mAh
Cameras 8 MP (rear); 2 MP (front)
Connectivity and networks Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, Infrared, Micro USB 2.0,
Operating system and UI Android 4.4 KitKat

Verdict

Except for increased RAM and battery capacity, the Tab Pro 10.1 and 8.4 devices are identical to the 12.2-inch version in all but the dimensions and they all offer excellent performance. Though it does come with a super sharp LCD screen, it’s no match for the Super AMOLED Tab S display, which is why it’s landed further down our list.

Read our Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 review.

7. Sony Z3 Tablet Compact

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Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact. / © Sony

The Sony Z3 Tablet Compact is currently the world's "most powerful and lightest waterproof tablet". It houses an impressive looking full-HD screen which makes use of Sony's Triluminous and X-Reality technologies. In real terms, all this means is that it looks more vibrant than it otherwise would, but it's more than just some marketing terminology, the screen is bright with great color depth. The Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact will also be able to take advantage of Sony's PS4 remote play feature, turning your tablet into an alternative screen for all your PS4 games, if you wish to do this when it is released. 

Read our Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact review.

Display 8-inch, LCD, 1,920 x 1,200 pixels, 323 ppi
Dimensions and weight 213 x 123 x 6.4 mm, 280 g
Internal storage 16 GB + microSD up to 128 GB
Memory 2 GB RAM
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, quad-core, 2.5 GHz
Battery 4500 mAh
Cameras 8.1 MP (rear); 2.2 MP (front)
Connectivity and networks HSPA, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0
Operating system and UI Android 4.4.4 KitKat

The Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact isn't quite as powerful as the fantastic Z2 tablet, with less RAM and lower battery life, but if you're looking for something a little smaller, without a huge sacrifice in quality, this is a great option. Plus, it still retains some of the neat features like water resistance, Snapdragon 801 processor, and expandable memory up to 128 GB. 

8. Nvidia Tegra Note 7

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Nvidia Tegra Note 7. / © Nvidia

This is a great tablet for users who want a device for high performance gaming. When comparing the Tegra Note to other tablets in its class, there is no competition when it comes to cost / benefit. When taking a look at the tech specs below, you can see they’re actually quite good, this thanks to a partnership between Nvidia and the EVGA.

Display 7-inch, IPS LCD, 1,280x800 pixels, (216 ppi)
Dimensions and weight 199 x 119 x 9.6 mm, 320 g
Internal storage 16 GB + microSD up to 32 GB
Memory 2 GB RAM
Processor Nvidia Tegra 4, Quad-Core, Cortex-A15 CPU and 72-core GeForce GPU
Battery 4100 mAh
Cameras 5 MP (rear); 2 MP (front)
Connectivity and networks Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, Micro USB 2.0, GPS
Operating system and UI Android 4.2 Jelly Bean

Verdict

This gadget is excellent. It has hardware which keeps up with the times, and allows you to play any game in the Play Store, regardless of how demanding it is. You’ll never have the frustration of not being able to download your favorite game and be restricted by hardware capacity. In addition, you won’t need to turn off other apps to stop a game from crashing. The Nvidia Tegra Note 7 tablet is a very attractive buy.

9. LG G Pad 8.3

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LG G Pad 8.3. / © LG

The LG G Pad 8.3 has an aluminum casing making it an ergonomic tablet which is a pleasure to touch, and definitely feels unique amid the plastic centric industry. The LG G Pad was released in 2013, but still offers features and performance that deserves respect.

Display 8.3-inch LCD, 1920 x 1080 pixels, 283 ppi
Dimensions and weight 216.8 mm x 126.5 mm x 8.3 mm, 338 g
Internal storage 16 GB + microSD
Memory 2 GB RAM
Processor Snapdragon 600 Quad-Core 1.7 GHz
Battery 4,600 mAh 
Cameras 5 MP (rear); 2 MP (front)
Connectivity and networks Bluetooth 4.0, USB 2.0, Wi-Fi, GPS, QPair
Operating system and UI Android 4.4.2 + Optimus UI

Verdict

Though the tablet is a tad older than the others mentioned above, the LG G Pad 8.3 is a great choice within the huge plethora of current Android tablets. Its main disadvantage is the screen resolution, which is somewhat low for 8.3 inches. This means a lower pixel density and less than perfect clarity. But you might not be too bothered when you consider its great price.

Read our Samsung Galaxy TabPRO 8.4 vs LG G Pad 8.3 comparison.

10. Google Nexus 7

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Google Nexus 7. / © Google

Thought we'd forgotten about the Nexus 7? It’s been placed in last position because of the older tech specs, but there’s no beating the price/performance ratio this Google tablet has to offer.

Display 7-inch, IPS LCD, 1,920x1,200 pixels, 323 ppi
Dimensions and weight 200 x 114 x 8.7 mm, 290 g
Internal storage 16/32 GB, not expandable
Memory 2 GB RAM
Processor Quad-core, Snapdragon S4 Pro, 1.5 GHz
Battery 3950 mAh
Cameras 5 MP (rear); 1.2 MP (front)
Connectivity and networks LTE, WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC
Operating system and UI Android 4.3 Jelly Bean

Verdict

The Google Nexus 7 was built by Asus in 2013, and you can definitely feel its age. Its processor performance is one of the lowest on the list, nonetheless it’s still a fluid device. Another disadvantage is the absence of a microSD slot. As for the positive side of this device, it has a nice Full HD resolution, which is a good choice for its 7-inch screen size, resulting in tight pixel density and high detail sharpness. Portability is great thanks to its small size, and the price has dropped considerably since its launch.

What do you think of our list? Which device did we miss?

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Comments

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  • Robin Scully 2 months ago Link

    Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 matches the excellent screen quality that it offers with a powerful processor chip that ensures that the device operates at very fast speeds as well as they are worth of your money.

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  • plck74 2 months ago Link

    nvidia shield tablet? can have review tablet for game?

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      Scott Adam Gordon 2 months ago Link

      Beg pardon?

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    • Simon P 2 months ago Link

      I was wondering why its not on the list. Nvidia 7 is about a year old and the Shield blows many of the tablets out of the water. Not the most up to date list.

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  • Tristan Isaac 2 months ago Link

    I hope the Dell Venue 8 7000 will be in the next list :) It really looks nice

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  • CJ Brown 2 months ago Link

    Nvidia Tegra Note 7 - enjoying mine and hey all you need to do is #GoogleIt to find out what its like to play games on this device (I hope a 2nd generation comes out with better cameras) ...

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  • spaceweasel 2 months ago Link

    Once you own a few Samsung devices with their stupid TouchWiz and locked bootloaders, you'll want to stay away. What a PIA!

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    • Simon P 2 months ago Link

      With you on that one. Samsung killed my Tab 3 8.0 with the 4.4.2 update. Worked fine before that. An unlocked boot loader could have fixed it. Will never own a Sam tab again. Love my Nvidia Shield Tablet. Which oddly isn't on this list.

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  • Grateful Sam 4 weeks ago Link

    HTC m8 has already taken the crown. GalGalanote and some others have to wait till next year for an award. Even then m9 May take the spot..

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