Introduction, Budget and Mainstream Picks
There’s no doubt that tablets have revolutionized the way many of us consume media. The tablets on the market today have developed to fill many niche categories and are beginning to rival notebooks in terms of performance. We see everything from the venerable iPads, to the upcoming Amazon Kindles, to a wide variety of Android slates and the latest installments of the Surface line from Microsoft. So, how do you know what is right for you?
As is the case with most devices, there just isn’t a single “best” tablet anymore. A more useful start is to determine what kind of user you are. Broadly speaking, are you a mainstream user whose primary interests are web surfing, movie-watching and photo-viewing, with a dash of social networking thrown in? Or are you a gamer who needs to see those pixels sizzle? Perhaps you're a professional trying to be as productive as you can on the road? Or maybe you are just trying to find something passable on a shoestring budget?
Fortunately, here at HotHardware we have taken the liberty of categorizing some of today’s top picks. The current list is what we have on the market today and it will be updated as more devices hit store shelves.
Let's start off with some affordable, value-priced picks. While there are a myriad of cheap Android slates on the market, most will fail to impress. The upside is a $200 price tag -- or less -- doesn’t have to doom a user of an affordable tablet to a frustrating experience.
Highlighting the above thought is the Acer Iconia Tab 8 at $199. The Iconia 8 doesn’t try to be anything more than it needs to be. It has a mid-range Intel processor inside, that's perfect capable of handling any day-to-day tasks, a nice looking FHD IPS display with great viewing angles, and is not stuffed with bloatware unlike many others devices in its price bracket.
Next up, we have some do-it-all, well-rounded, versatile tablets. These devices will appeal to the broadest possible audience with great displays and powerful SoC, which make them well suited to a variety of taks. These tablets can cover a wide swathe of the market, and may command a premium price or make intelligent trade-offs to ultimately bring down the price somewhat, while still offering a premium feel and feature set. Unless you know you need something specific not offered by one of these devices, they'll probably appeal to the largest audience.
The Venue 8 7000 is a much better value proposition, with a starting price of $399. The Venue 8 can be paired with the Dell Cast dongle to make mobile presentations a breeze or switch the dongle to productivity mode and give yourself a lightweight desktop experience just by plugging in a keyboard and mouse.