This year has been very busy for the Android tablet makers and a lot of slates running on Google’s operating system have been announced. Not all of them are great, not all of them are affordable, so deciding which one is the best for you is a pretty tough decision.
The tablet PC market is still dominated by Apple and its iOS-powered iPads, but the Cupertino-based company is slowly losing market share and its fall has begun last year when Amazon launched the affordable Kindle Fire, a gadget that rapidly climbed to the top of best-selling Android-powered tablets. A lot of things changed on the market since the debut of Kindle Fire, as new and impressive Android tablets were introduced in the meantime.
The top was made based on the price, display size and resolution and technical specifications of each tablet, but also on the price / specifications ratio. But let’s cut the chitchat and see which are the top 10 Android tablets of 2012.
#10 Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 was announced at Mobile World Congress 2012 in February 2012 and hit the market three months later. With prices starting at $249 for the 8 GB WiFi only version the tablet comes pre-loaded with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, but is upgradable to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.
Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 sports a 7-inch PLS LCD with a resolution of 600 x 1024 pixels and is the only tablet in our Top 10 that doesn’t come with an HD display. The slate is powered by a dual-core TI OMAP 4430 processor clocked at 1 GHz and sports 1 GB of RAM and 8, 16, or 32 GB of internal flash storage. The rear-facing 3.15 megapixel camera is capable of recording HD videos, while the front-facing unit has a VGA sensor.
The 7-inch Samsung tablet holds the last spot in our top because is definitely outmatched by even cheaper tablet that come with quad-core chipsets and HD displays.
#9 Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1
Introduced at the same trade show as its smaller brother, Galaxy Tab 2 7.0, the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 is powered by the same dual-core 1GHz TI OAMP CPU, which isn’t enough to propel the tablet on a more respectable place in our top 10 Android tablets of 2012. The Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 is simply incapable of coping with the strength of quad-core tablets that are currently dominating the Android tablet market.
Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 comes with 1 GB of RAM, has 16/32 GB of internal storage, 3.15 megapixel primary camera with HD video recording support and a 10.1-inch display PLS TFT (800 x 1280 pixels). The price starts at $399 for the 16 GB WiFi-only model, which is amazingly high for a slate with technical specifications which are below average.
Even though Samsung promised to update the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, the tablet loses points because of its dual-core processor and its unjustified price.
#8 Toshiba Excite 10
Even though it has the same price as the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1, Toshiba Excite 10 features a quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 processor clocked at 1.5 GHz, which will make the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich experience smoother than on the Samsung slate. The WiFi-only model with 16 GB of internal storage has a price of $399. The terminal developed by the Japan-based tablet maker has 1 GB of RAM 16/32/64 GB of internal storage and 5 megapixel camera with LED flash and HD video recording support.
The 10.1-inch LED-backlit LCD with a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels is below some of its direct-price competitors, but above the technical specifications are placing the Toshiba slate above the last two devices of Top 10 Android tablets of 2012.
#7 Acer Iconia Tab A701
The Acer Iconia Tab A701 comes right on top of the Toshiba Excite 10 and even though is only $50 more expensive than the 10.1-inch Samsung tablet, it brings an Nvidia Tegra 3 chipset based on four Cortex A9 cores clocked at 1.3 GHz, helped by a ULP GeForce GPU plus a display that has 1920 x 1200 pixels making it a pretty good deal. It comes pre-loaded with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and boasts 1 GB of RAM and 16/32/64 GB of internal storage. The front-facing camera handles the video calls, while the primary 5 megapixel camera with LED flash is capable of recording HD videos.
Acer Iconia Tab A701 has a 10.1-inch LCD capacitive touchscreen with a resolution of 1920 x 1200 pixels and a pixel density of 224 ppi.
Even though its technical specifications aren’t far from what the competition offers, the Iconia Tab A701 couldn’t make it higher in our top because the Taiwan-based company haven’t announced the availability of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean update, even though many companies in the business already did.
#6 Sony Xperia Tablet S
The cheapest Sony Xperia Tabet S model has 16 GB of storage, WiFi connectivity and a price of $399. With a 9.4-inch LED-backlit LCD display (800 x 1280 pixels) with Sony Mobile BRAVIA Engine technology and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich on board, Xperia Tablet S makes it on the 6th place in our Top 10 Android tablets of 2012.
The Japanese company promised that the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean update for Sony Xperia Tablet S will drop before the end of 2012, making the quad-core tablet score precious points in front of the other tablets. It features 1 GB of RAM, 16/32/64 GB of storage and is underpinned by a quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 CPU clocked at 1.3 GHz. With a profile of only 8.8 mm, Xperia Tablet S is one of the thinnest Android-powered slates on the market.
The primary 8 megapixel camera supports full HD 1080p video recording while the front facing 1 megapixel camera records HD videos and is ideal for video calling.
Cheaper than the Iconia Tab A710 and upgradable to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, Xperia Tablet S outruns terminals coming from manufactures with more experience in the field.
#5 Amazon Kindle Fire HD
Amazon Kindle Fire HD is the successor of the most prolific Android tablet of all times, the Kindle Fire. Kindle Fire HD is running on a highly customized version of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and is underpinned by a dual-core 1.2 GHz OMAP 446 CPU manufactured by Texas Instruments. It has 16 / 32 GB of internal storage and 1 GB of RAM with prices starting at only $199.
The successor of the most popular Android tablet comes with a 7-inch IPS TFT display with HD 800 x 1280 pixels resolution and with a 1.3 megapixel camera mounted on the back of the case.
Because of its price of only $199 and its HD display Amazon Kindle Fire HD is lays on the 5th place in our top, overtaking tablets with better technical specifications.
#4 Amazon Kindle Fire 8.9 HD
Driven by the success of its first tablet, Amazon also launched an 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD model. Since the tablet sports an amazing IPS TFT display with 1920 x 1200 resolution and a pixel density of 254 ppi that gets it close to iPad 3′s Retina Display, the online retailer giant wasn’t able to keep its price as low as the one of its 7-inch brother. Still, getting a terminal with dual-core 1.5 GHz TI OMAP 4470 CPU, 1 GB of RAM and 16 GB of internal storage for as much as $299 sounds like a pretty good deal.
Kindle Fire 8.9 HD has an 1.3 megapixel camera. The success of the first generation Amazon tablet could also boost the sales of the Kindle Fire 8.9 HD, as well. Why didn’t the Kindle Fire 8.9 HD made it in Top 3 Android tablets of 2012, since it has so many strengths? Well, mostly because Amazon won’t update it to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, and because it will come with lots Ads directly in the US, that sometimes become pretty annoying.
#3 Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 is the most expensive tablet that made it in our Top 10 Android tablets, with a starting price of $499. Even though it didn’t received the best reviews from the tech publications, Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 has the most impressive technical specifications in the list.
The Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich-powered slate that will soon receive the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean update, is underpinned by the mighty quad-core 1.4 GHz Exynos 4412 borrowed from the Samsung Galaxy S3, has 2 GB of RAM, 16/32/64 GB of storage and 5 megapixel camera with LED flash and HD video recording, while the front-facing camera is a 1.9 megapixel unit.
As its name suggests, Galaxy Note 10.1 has a 10.1-inch display based on PLS TFT technology and with a resolution of 800 x 1280 pixels. It also packs the S-Pen that debuted along with the first Galaxy Note and the Premium Suite pack for Android 4.0 ICS.
The $499 price has stopped Galaxy Note 10.1 be the best Android tablet of 2012.
#2 Google Nexus 7
The search engine giant quickly figured out that the success of the first Kindle Fire is based on its low price and high-end technical specifications. Therefore, using Amazon’s recipe Google teamed-up with ASUS and the result was a quad-core tablet with HD display and a price of only $199.
Google Nexus 7 was world’s first terminal to come pre-loaded with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and is underpinned by an Nvidia Tegra 3 chipset based on four Cortex A9 cores clocked at 1.3 GHz. But Nexus 7′s ace up the sleeve is the 12-core GPU that makes the 7-inch tablet the perfect tool for gaming. The tablet also boasts 1 GB of RAM and a user-facing 1.2 megapixel camera for video calls.
The LED-backlit IPS LCD with 800 x 1280 pixels resolution is protected against scratches by Gorilla Glass coating.
Google Nexus 7 will always be among the first wave of devices that receive the new Android updates, just like it happens with Galaxy Nexus and Nexus S and corroborated with the low price and the amazing graphic performance makes the 7-inch tablet the runner-up.
#1 ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity 700
Well, it seems that we have a winner here. With a price starting at $488 ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity 700 holds the number 1 spot in our Top 10 Android tablets of 2012.
But let’s have a look at the technical specifications of ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity 700 and see whether it’s worth almost $500. It packs a 10.1-inch Super IPS+ LCD display with a resolution of 1920 x 1200, quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 CPU clocked at 1.6 GHz, 1 GB of RAM and 32 or 64 GB of internal storage.
The 8 megapixel camera on the back has LED flash and 1080p video recording support while the 2 megapixel front-facing camera handles the video calls. The tablet also has an optional mobile dock with standard QWERTY keyboard and trackpad.
ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity 700 is also the thinnest tablet in on our list and overmatches its competitors on almost all aspects. ASUS is also popular for its promptitude when it comes to upgrading its products to the latest Android versions, thus the tablet’s operating system will always be up to date.
This was our Android-powered tablets top 10, but I am pretty sure that each of you has a top of his own, therefore fell free to tell us if we should have included a specific tablet or if any of aforementioned tablets is worthy of a better spot.