The Five Best Android Tablets Reviewed
Which one suits your needs?
Nexus 7 Tablet 2nd Gen
Excellent value and superb performance combine to make the Google
Nexus 7 Staples' current Android tablet of choice. With its
razor-sharp, uber-bright screen and compact, lightweight design,
the Nexus 7 is the complete package.
Measuring just 4.5" x 7.8" and 0.34" thick, the Nexus 7 is the
perfect tablet for use on-the-go. At a measly 0.64 pounds, it's the
lightest tablet to date, and fits as comfortably in one hand as any
smartphone. Its design is sleek, simple and minimalist: all black,
with a high-gloss Gorilla glass front, curving around to a matte
plastic back. The tablet's 1.2 megapixel front and 5 megapixel rear
cameras are discreetly incorporated, as are the surround sound
One of the Nexus 7's biggest selling points is its first-rate
screen, which features a staggering 323 ppi, so images are razor
sharp and viewing angles are impressive. Its excellent brightness
also means it can even cope admirably outdoors, whether you're
gaming or sharing videos with friends. The tablet incorporates
SlimPort, which allows you to use the Micro-USB port as an HDMI
port via a $30 adapter.
Specs include a 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro CPU, responsible
for the tablet's fast, responsive performance; an Adreno 320 400
MHz graphics card, for sharp, smooth game play; a 3950 mAh battery
life, which equates to roughly 10 hours of standard use; and 16GB
With regards to user experience, the Nexus 7 comes equipped with
the easy-to-navigate and intuitive Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, which
features Multi-User Restricted Profiles – great for ensuring
kids browse safely – and OpenGL ES 3.0, which significantly
improves polygonal graphics.
Overall, whether you're using it for home, school or the office,
the Google Nexus 7 offers premier performance. This, coupled with
its reasonable price, make it difficult to leave on the
Galaxy Tab 3 Tablet
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 is a top-notch tablet, with a bright,
colorful screen, comfortable design and intuitive user
Measuring 4.8" x 8.2", the Galaxy Tab 3 is compact and slim and
fits comfortably in the palm of one hand. Again, at just .7 pounds
it's extremely lightweight, only marginally heavier than the Nexus.
This tablet features a simple and straightforward design, with a
7", 189 ppi Multi Touch Capacitive LCD screen and well-calibrated
home, menu and back buttons on the bottom bezel, which together
provide quick access to options like search, settings and recently
used apps. Other key features include a 1.3 megapixel front and 5
megapixel rear camera, Dolby Surround speakers and a microSD port
– perfect for expanding the tablet's 16GB of storage.
Where the Samsung Tab 3 stands apart from its competition is in its
operating system, Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, which works quickly and
smoothly and offers excellent apps and media through Google Play.
The user experience is further boosted with the integration of
Samsung’s TouchWiz UI skin, which helps make the tablet more
accessible to novice users.
Features include display optimization options such as Reading Mode,
which adjusts the screen to prevent eye strain, Dual View for easy
multitasking, and Pop-up Video, which lets you watch a movie while
performing other small tasks. Together, these features contribute
to considerably improved convenience.
When it comes to multimedia, the WatchON feature is another unique
benefit of the Galaxy Tab 3 – an easy to setup remote
control/TV guide component that allows you to search for programs
and play content on your TV with one click.
Spec wise, the Samsung Tab 3 houses a 1.5GHz dual-core processor
and a 4000mAh battery, which equates to up to 7 hours of standard
All in all, this is a great little tablet with some extremely handy
features, if at a slightly heftier price tag.
Arc 7 Tablet
The KOBO Arc 7 epitomizes the evolution of the eReader. You can be
sure that this stylish and durable device is equal to its tablet
competitors when it comes to core performance and value.
The KOBO Arc 7 measures 7.4" by 4.7" and weighs just under 0.8lb,
so it’s one of the heavier Android tablets on the market. The
7", 215 ppi capacitive touch display has a 1280 x 800 HD resolution
and an extra-wide viewing angle. At 0.5" thick and featuring
interchangeable back covers, there are many reasons why this may be
an appealing choice for younger (or clumsy) users.
With regard to hardware, the KOBO Arc performs admirably against
its competitors. Specs include a 1.5 GHz dual core processor, 16GB
storage, and a 4200mAh battery for up to 10 hours of use. It also
features a microSD port – great for expanding memory.
The KOBO Arc 7 again runs Android 4.1, but with a customized UI
that offers users a lot of great features. The KOBO homepage is an
extremely user-friendly dashboard that’s tailored
particularly to readers, with KOBO Reading Life giving users the
opportunity to curate collections and switch to Reading Mode to
minimize interruptions from social alerts. Those who'd rather a
straightforward tablet experience, however, can access their
favorite Android apps with one touch, and the Arc 7 comes preloaded
with a wide range of social, productivity and multimedia apps such
as Skype and Gmail, so it’s ready to go as soon as you get it
out of the box.
Although the Arc 7 only features one front facing 0.3 megapixel
camera and mono speaker, the price tag more than makes up for this
minor downfall. For email, browsing, reading and basic mobile
multimedia use, it's an excellent tablet for first-time
Slate 7 Tablet
The HP Slate 7 is an excellent value. Perfect for beginners, this
straightforward, easy-to-use Android tablet fulfils all the needs
of most tablet users – without breaking the bank.
Sturdier than other Android tablets (measuring 4.7" x 7.4", and
weighing in at just over 0.8lb), the Slate 7 has a rubberized grey
back and stainless steel frame, making it both comfortable to hold
and durable at the same time.
This tablet's unique selling point is its audio capabilities: it
comes equipped with USP Embedded Beats Audio for excellent sound
quality, especially when used with earbuds and headphones. The
device also incorporates a microSD card to enable users to boost
its 8gb storage – great for saving music, films or photos
taken on the 720p HD front-facing 1.3 megapixel camera, which
features Autofocus, Face detection with Face Unlock. There is also
a convenient 3 megapixel rear camera. Best of all, the Slate 7 is
Skype Certified, so it's great for chatting to friends or
Feature- wise, the Slate 7 runs on the excellent Android 4.1 Jelly
Bean OS. The only HP added feature is Beats Audio, so users can
listen to all of their favorite tracks while they browse with
Google Chrome, enjoy the wide array of pre-loaded apps, or take
advantage of useful features like wireless printing.
The Slate's Arm A9 Dual Core 1.6GHZ processor is plenty for this
tablet, which also supports integrated Bluetooth. The one cell
13.4WHr 2 Ah lithium-ion battery offers 5 hours of video
Although the Slate 7 lacks some of the features available on some
of the more expensive Android tabs, all in all, the Slate 7 is a
good entry-level tablet that's perfect for the everyday user, at an
extremely affordable price.
The Toshiba Excite Pure is an excellent budget tablet that stands
out for its ThinkFree Office Mobile app. Whether it's for word
processing, data management or general productivity tasks, the
Excite Pure offers fantastic value for the more business-minded
The Excite Pure stands out from the crowd with its clean, modern
design. It's a sturdy device, quite large compared to the others
reviewed here, but this can be overlooked due to its more robust
capabilities. It measures 10.3" x 7", and features a textured back
for extra grip. At 1.39lb it's quite heavy for a tablet, but can be
used easily when rested on a lap or other surface.
The screen is large and features a high-res, AutoBrite HD display.
This, coupled with its 1.2 megapixel front facing camera with dual
mic, make it great for video calls – perfect when you can't
make it into the office.
The Excite Pure's hardware is mid-range. A NVIDIA Tegra 3 mobile
quad-core processing allows for smooth multitasking and the 32GB
memory, while sufficient, can be expanded with microSD via the
built in port. The tablet also features a micro HDMI port to extend
the display if need be – excellent for sharing presentations
at school or work. With a 25Wh capacity battery, you need not worry
about the Excite Pure running out of battery – it offers 9.5
hours of video playback.
But again, it's the software that sells the Excite Pure. The
ThinkFree Office Mobile for Android productivity app, which allows
users to create Microsoft Office compatible documents, is extremely
useful for school or office use. When used with the Toshiba
Bluetooth keyboard cover and stand, the Excite Pure offers laptop
All in all, the Excite Pure is an excellent business tool, perfect
for getting the job done.