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2012 was the year that saw the end of the iPad's dominance in the tablet sphere, with many Android devices of all shapes and sizes taking the quintessential tablet on. Sheer processing power and a tablet-optimized OS finally gave Android a chance.
We have come a long way since the launch of the first generation iPad. Today we have tablets with fantastic displays; some great power under the hood and the gap between the iPad and the competing tablets has vanished, dramatically.
2012 saw the launch of a slew of tablets that have made us question, which is the best tablet out there, and that is a good thing. The iPad may still have the largest number of tablet specific apps, but Android is closing in.
So, here’s a list of the top five tablets in the Indian market that made us turn our heads and drool in 2012:
Simply put, the iPad is the best performing tablet available in the market today. Apple’s dual-core A6X processor and quad-core graphics powers the current generation iPad (4th gen). Add to that the fact that the device has a Retina Display – 9.7-inches with a 2048x1536 pixel resolution, and the largest tablet app ecosystem, then you literally have the best tablet that money can buy. It comes in three storage options – 16GB, 32GB and 64GB. It also comes in two variants Wi-Fi only and Wi-Fi 3G.
A fantastic display coupled with fantastic hardware under the hood makes this the best tablet available in the market today. The third generation iPad brought with it the Retina Display. And today in India we have three 9.7-inch Apple tablets available, the third and the fourth gen iPad, as well as the iPad 2. But we recommend you take a look at the 4th gen iPad as your first purchase option.
Read our compete review of the device here.
Asus Transformer Prime
If iOS isn’t your preferred platform and you are one who prefers the Android OS, then the Asus Transformer Prime is the device for you. The Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core 1.3 GHz Cortex-A9 CPU, ULP GeForce GPU, and 1GB of RAM power the device. The 10.1 display on the tablet has a 1280x800 pixel resolution, which isn’t as crisp as the iPad but is still very impressive. The Transformer Prime is premium priced at Rs. 50,000 but it does come with a keyboard docking station included.
There is absolutely no doubt that the Transformer Prime is possibly the best Android tablet you can buy at the moment. It has the functionality, the blazing performance, an excellent overall package and to top it off, a brilliant battery life. We will only be nitpicking if we find anything to criticize about the tablet. Except the price, which is quite impractical we feel. At Rs. 49,999, this one is also by far the most expensive Android tablet. The performance and the overall package does justify all that to a certain extent, but the moment you come into this price territory, the consumer inevitably thinks – “why not pick up the iPad, and be done with it?” An answer to that question is rather difficult to give, trust us.
You can read our complete review of the device here.
Samsung Galaxy Note 800
The Note 800 too boasts of some great specifications under the hood. Like the Prime, it too has a 10.1-inch display with 1280x800 pixel resolution. Under the hood, a 1.4GHz quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM power the device. One unique thing about the Note 800 is that it shows off the ability to run two apps simultaneously, side-by-side. It also comes with Samsung’s S-Pen, which is capable of some interesting features especially with note taking, drawing and Photoshop apps. The Note 800 is capable of running all the apps from the Google Play store and we are still waiting to see some interesting games launch that take advantage of the S-Pen.
The tablet has everything going for it - fantastic power under the hood, a great display and good battery life. The only thing it has against it is an underwhelming build that can be overlooked considering the overall package. If you are in the market to pick up a premium Android device, go ahead and pick this one up. It is cheaper than the Transformer Prime and is a value for money Android tablet.
You can read our review of the device here.
Google Nexus 7
If a 10-inch tablet is too big for you, then we suggest you take a look at the Nexus 7. Under the hood, the Nexus 7 is a beast with the Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core 1.2GHz CPU and ULP GeForce graphics. It also has 1GB of RAM. The 7-inch display has a resolution of 800x1280 pixels making it really crisp and sharp for gaming and browsing. The device runs on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and can be upgraded to 4.2 as well. It is the best 7-inch Android tablet money can buy.
Jelly Bean has really made the Android experience much smoother. With the Tegra 3 processor keeping things fast on the Nexus 7, the IPS panel ensures a great display with the highly reflective screen being the only drawback. Taking into consideration its US pricing, the Indian pricing has almost a Rs. 5,000 premium, which is a lot of money. Also the 8GB version will offer you only 5.92 GB of usable space, so if you are the kind who like to store their content on their devices, opt instead for the 16GB version.
If a small screen Apple tablet is what you are gunning for, then the iPad mini is the weapon of choice for you. Its display is 7.9-inches with a resolution of 768 x 1024 pixels. It has the Apple A5 dual-core 1GHz processor, PowerVR SGX543MP2 GPU and 512MB of RAM. The specifications are the same as the second-generation iPad and that isn’t a bad thing considering that the device can still play all the games and run all the apps from the app store, well. Its compact form factor makes it a great device for an iOS experience.
The iPad mini takes the performance of an iPad 2 and a body that looks like the iPod touch and you have a device that is an eye candy as well as a performer.
You can read our hands on with the iPad mini here.