Android Tablets have come a long way from the earlier days, and are now packing specs that not only make the iPad weep in shame, but also make your notebook feel nervous, too. At CES 2012, we were privileged to witness tablets with full 1900×1200 resolution 1080p eye popping displays, quad (actually 5 core) CPU’s, incredibly thin form factors, and much more. We’ve assembled what we think are the best Android tablets of 2012. Also, this post will be updated as more and more tablets start coming to market in 2012. Read on to find out what the best Android tablets of 2012 are!
Asus Transformer Prime 700T
The Asus Transformer Prime 700T is the cause of both joy and sadness for many, for it represents the best of breed in many ways. While certain design compromises had to be made to achieve its incredibly thin 8.3mm profile, such as the lack of a full USB port and a full sized SD card reader, the sheer beauty, responsiveness, and overall appeal of the device itself are more than enough to make up for it. Packing the ridiculously powerful quad core (5 cores, actually) Tegra 3 SoC, it features an astonishing 1900×1200 resolution 10.1 inch display. With its matte metallic finished back, it is both thinner than the iPad and has more than double the resolution. Further to this, it is also compatible with ASUS’ latest keyboard dock, which extends its battery life to nearly 20 hours. On the keyboard dock, you will find a full sized USB port, as well as a full sized SD card reader, which work to truly extend the utility of said device. Among all the devices we encountered at CES, this was one of our absolute favorites because it’s quite simply shockingly beautiful, lightweight in the hand, borne out of high quality materials, and features an eye popping 1080p+ 10.1 inch display. Plus, with the keyboard dock you aren’t relegated to being a passive consumer of media, but rather can actually get some pretty serious work done on the device itself.
Tegra 3 @ 1.3Ghz
12 core Tegra 3 GPU
Quad Core ARM A9 @1.3Ghz
10.1″ screen w/ Gorilla Glass1920x1200
224.17 Pixels per Inch
Super IPS + display panel
USB, HDMI, Headphone Jack, SD, MicroSD Reader
Rear 8MP with LED flash, front facing @ 1.2MP
Android 4.0 out of the box
Q2 2012 release date
16/32/64GB with MicroSD, SDHC/XC in keyboard dock
10 hours on tablet, up to 20 hours with keyboard dock
The Lenovo K2010 / K2, as it is likely to be known, demonstrated several things to us. Firstly, Lenovo makes quality products. Their line of ThinkPad laptops are known the world over by business mavens and students alike, and for good reason. Their laptops are among the industry’s best, and are built with durability, power use, and quality in mind. In the time that I was able to spend with Lenovo’s Tegra 3 speed demon, it really demonstrated that it has what it takes to be a leader among the crowded forum that are Android tablets. With industry leading specs and utility, this is the world’s first Android tablet with 2GB of RAM, and it has the Tegra 3 Quad (5 core) SoC clocked at a ridiculous 1.7Ghz. Not to worry though, this is the absolute max that the CPU’s are capable of running at. Tegra 3 employs extremely aggressive power gating to ensure that as much power is saved as possible. With its fifth companion core, normal, common tasks like reading web pages, or an RSS reader, or email will consume barely any power at all. In fact, it’s significantly better on power consumption than its contemporary and predecessor, Tegra 2.
But down to business. This is a tablet that is packing a 1920×1200 10.1 inch display in an 11mm thin profile, and features a full USB port as well as a full sized SD card reader on the tablet itself. From our probing we were able to gather that the SD card reader will support SD, SDHC and even SDXC cards, resulting in potentially unlimited storage as 128GB and 256GB SDXC cards come to market with lower prices in the near future. Additionally, you will be able to purchase a keyboard dock, much like what the original Transformer, Transformer Prime, and Transformer Prime 700T have. It’s actually quite a good keyboard, and aside from having a bit of flex, will boost the units total battery life into the 20 hour range. Very impressive. If you are concerned about having as much flexibility, power and utility out of your tablet as possible, then this may be the one to get.
Bluetooth 3.0+ WiFi a/b/g/n, SIM card slot for 3G or 4G connectivity
Tegra 3 @ 1.7Ghz
12 core Tegra 3
Quad Core ARM Cortex A9 1.7Ghz
10.1″ screen with a 1920×1200 resolution display
224.17 pixels per inch
11mm thin profile
Full SD Card reader, full sized USB port, SIM card (4g?), Micro USB, HDMI, 3.5mm headphone jack
5MP rear with LED flash, 1.3MP front camera
Android 4.0 out of the box
Q2 2012 release date
32GB, 64GB, expandable to 128GB or even 256GB with full sized SD/HC/XC
10 Hours, 20 hours with keyboard dock
2GB of RAM – the most of any Android tablet in the world
The ASUS MeMo 370t caught me a little off guard when they announced it at NVIDIA’s press conference. NVIDIA’s CEO was rightly excited when he and an ASUS rep announced that they had figured out a way to produce a premium quality product at such a low price point. With its 8MP camera, extremely bright display, and lightning fast performance in a convenient 7 inch profile, the ASUS MeMo 370t is sure to be a smash hit, permitting they can produce enough of them, quickly enough. I think ASUS learned the hard way with the launch of the original Transformer, wherein the demand vastly exceeded the supply. It’s important to strike the iron while it’s hot, as they say, and the price point, performance and feature set of this device are the magical cocktail for millions of happy consumers (and shareholders). For anyone that’s ever owned a tablet, the seven inch form factor is appealing because of its profile. Never cumbersome, never too much in one hand, it is likely a form factor that is here to stay. With Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich on board, the performance of the device was superior to that of any of the Ice Cream Sandwich tablet I had the privilege of experiencing at CES. Perhaps its due to the fact that the display is only of the 1200×800 variety, or because ASUS and NVIDIA are working closer than ever before, but really, it doesn’t matter. Check out the video below to see what i’m talking about!
$249 – an amazing price for a quad core device
Bluetooth 3.0, WiFi a/b/g/n
Tegra 3 Quad (5 core) SoC clocked at 1.3Ghz
12 core Tegra 3 GPU
1200×800 IPS display with 178 degrees of view-ability
215.63 pixel per inch display
USB, Mini USB, HDMI, Headphone Jack, SD, microSDHC
As you will probably know by now, this is the only device on our list that doesn’t have Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich on board. It’s also the only device that isn’t packing a Tegra 3 quad core processor either. Does that mean it’s not one of the best tablets of the year? Absolutely not. As the first and only tablet on the market with a Super AMOLED Plus display, it’s packing the same technology we all know and love. With its super svelte 7.89mm thin profile and 7.7 inch 1280×800 AMOLED display, it sits marvelously in the hand and is one of the lightest tablets I’ve ever held.
It’s no secret that i’m a sucker for Super AMOLED displays, and personally I can’t wait to get my hands on this one. Ice Cream Sandwich will come for sure, too, and with Verizon’s lightning quick 4G LTE network connectivity built right in, it’s going to be blazing fast. Furthermore, the device itself is able to play video for up to 10 hours non-stop, making it the perfect companion for long flights, unless you’re one of those people that likes “getting to know others” on the plane. But in all seriousness, the display alone is reason enough to put it on the list of the best Android tablets of 2012, and the hardware is more than powerful enough to run all but the most demanding of tasks, but even then, it can still hold its own among some of the other heavyweights on this list. What say you? Also, there will be a WiFi variant coming to market shortly as well, for those of you that are averse to two year contracts.
So, I did this for you. I did this for the tech lovers of the world. I did this to make sure you aren’t suckered into buying last years hardware, today. With so much ridiculously fast Android tablet tech right around the corner, savvy consumers like you would be wise to hold off on any major purchases for a few months. Additionally, all of the major tablet manufacturers are bidding on the next set of innovations out of Toshiba, LG and Samsung, which include significantly faster RAM, 2560×1600 resolution 10 inch displays, and better batteries. It’s no secret that NVIDIA is also actively working on Tegra 4, as they have been for several months.
This time next year will finally a herald devices a whole new generation of devices that are capable of such tremendous tasks, that really, it will be up to the developers to produce apps capable of utilizing such fantastical amounts of processing capability.
Are there any tablets that you feel deserve to be on this list? With Google open sourcing Android 4.0 for several months now, dozens upon dozens of companies are aggressively coming to market with $100+ Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich tablets, that might not be half bad, as Google’s Android development team was able to clean up millions of lines of code, to create the most fluid, most robust, and most secure version of Android yet – a version of Android for all devices! So stay tuned as we bring you the best of Android, every day!