H1 2015 in review: Best tablets
What's thin, light, and capable of keeping you entertained for hours at a time? That would be a tablet, of course – the gadget bridging the gap between laptops and smartphones with its portability and screen size. We've all seen one, we've all used one, many of us have one and use one on a daily basis.
Now, the tablet scene has been pretty quiet as of late, likely due to the rising popularity of large-screened smartphones. Top tech companies, however, are still producing newer and better tablets to meet the existing demand for them. And some of these tablets do deserve your attention if you're in the market for one. The following post is dedicated to the best tablet unveiled and launched in the past six months, as well as to a noteworthy runner-up.
Best tablet of H1 2015: Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet
It didn't take us long to agree that the Xperia Z4 Tablet is the best slate to come out in 2015's first half. With its specs, design, and features, Sony's tab just ticks all the right checkboxes, which makes it well worthy of the spot. One of the many things to love about it is the extremely thin and light design. At 6.1 millimeters and weighing just 389 grams, the Xperia Z4 Tablet is one of the thinnest and lightest 10-inch tabs around. And if that's not enough, Sony has made its flagship slate water-resistant.
Once you turn it on, the Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet greets you with its pixel-packed, 10.1-inch display. 2560 by 1440 pixels populate the screen area, together producing detailed, pixelation-free graphics. Under the hood of the slate you'll find plenty of processing punch delivered by the Snapdragon 810 SoC paired with 3GB of RAM. While 32GB of internal storage would be sufficient for a great fraction of users, the microSD card slots allows for extra gigs to be added when needed. On the back of the Z4 Tablet resides an 8MP camera that can come in handy whenever a better camera isn't around, and the 5MP front-facing camera is ideal for video chats.
The Android 5.0-powered Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet makes a great entertainment device thanks to the vast selection of apps, games, and media on the Google Play store. However, it may also serve as a versatile productivity tool when paired with Sony's BK B50 Bluetooth keyboard, which essentially turns the slate into a light-weight laptop.
Of course, the Xperia Z4 Tablet isn't perfect. That 6,000mAh battery inside it isn't one we'd call capacious, and the $600+ price tag seems a tad steep to us. Nevertheless, for anyone looking for the best of the best Android tablets, the Xperia Z4 Tablet would be a suitable pick.
Honorable mention: Microsoft Surface 3
Microsoft's Windows RT endeavors may have flopped, but the Surface line is still standing, holding on to its modest share of the tablet market. In fact, it was a few months ago when the latest member of the Surface family was revealed, and it isn't a bad device at all. First and foremost, the Microsoft Surface 3 runs the full-blown Windows 8.1 experience, with an update to Windows 10 coming in the near future. In other words, you have access to the full catalog of Windows software, including productivity applications like Microsoft's Office suite. However, one has to bear in mind that the Surface 3 isn't a powerhouse. It won't run heavy 3D games or demanding software well, but then again, that sounds more like a job for its bigger brother, the Surface Pro 3.
In terms of specs, the Microsoft Surface 3 packs a 10.8-inch display with a resolution of 1920 by 1280 pixels at a 3:2 aspect ratio. The rather odd aspect ratio of 3:2 is actually a good thing as it gives you more vertical area to work on. As we hinted above, the Intel Atom x7-Z8700 quad-core CPU doesn't scream with power, but it is supposed to deliver up to 80% of the performance of an i3 CPU inside the Surface Pro 3. Storage space starts at 64GB, with an optional upgrade to 128GB should you need the extra gigs. And when they're needed, the 8MP main and 3.5MP front cameras at at your disposal. All of this is packed inside a tough, magnesium body with a built-in kickstand.