Top 5 best gaming tablets (late 2015 edition)
Nvidia Shield Tablet K1
Recently, Nvidia has announced the new Shield Tablet K1. The new slab maintains most of the hardware and software features available on the original Nvidia Shield Tablet, but the manufacturer has removed the bundled stylus from the entry-level model and has shaved $100 off the price tag. At $199, the Nvidia Shield Tablet K1 offers great value for the money, and, in many ways, is the best tablet for gamers currently available.
As the name suggests, the Shield Tablet K1 is based on the Nvidia Tegra K1 SoC. The chip integrates a GPU based on Nvidia's Maxwell architecture, one that is able to cope with any modern Android game at the 1200 by 1920 pixel resolution of the 8-inch display. The screen comes with a PPI density of 271, which is high enough for immersive graphics, but the raw pixel count is low enough as to not overburden the SoC, an equilibrium that Android gamers should have absolutely no grudge against.
On the software side, the Nvidia Shield Tablet K1 currently runs a customized version of Android 5.1 Lollipop, but the manufacturer has promised to deliver an update to Android 6.0 Marshmallow by the year's end. In terms of game selection, the Shield Tablet K1 has several advantages over any other Android tablet. Aside from the huge selection in the Play Store (some titles are "Made for Tegra"), the tablet can also stream PC games from Nvidia's cloud gaming network or from a PC with a compatible Nvidia GeForce graphics card.
Apple iPad Mini 2
Although the Apple iPad Mini 2 was released back in November 2013, the tablet's specs and price make it one of the best tablets for games currently available.
Priced at an affordable $269, the Apple iPad Mini 2 comes with a 7.9-inch display with a resolution of 1536 by 2048 pixels at a PPI of 324 PPI. The Apple A8 chipset that powers the slab integrates a 1.3GHz dual-core CPU and a PowerVR G6430 GPU, and is able to maintain fluid FPS levels in any iOS title you can find in the App Store. On the downside, 1GB of RAM may not be enough to fuel your multitasking needs.
Speaking of the App Store, the vast selection of mobile games available for the iPad Mini 2 is probably the main advantage of the slab in the context of this article.
Other specs include 16GB of internal storage (32GB, 64GB, and 128GB versions available at higher prices), a 5MP primary camera, a 1.2MP secondary shooter on the front, as well as a 6470 mAh battery. For more details, head on over to our Apple iPad Mini 2 review.
Apple iPad Air 2
If you're willing to spend a bit more on a gaming tablet, make sure to consider the Apple iPad Air 2. Priced starting at $499, the iPad Air 2 is almost twice as expensive as the iPad Mini 2, but the extra punch may be worth the difference if you can afford it.
Compared to the iPad Mini 2, the Air 2 comes with a larger 9.7-inch display that maintains the 1536 x 2048 resolution, a beefier Apple A8X chipset with a 1.5GHz triple-core Typhoon CPU and a PowerVR GXA6850 GPU, an extra GB of RAM (for a total of 2GB), and a crisper 8MP primary camera. If you need a more detailed analysis, check out our Apple iPad Air 2 review.
Acer Predator 8
If you're looking for a gaming tablet with an edgier design, check out the Acer Predator 8.
Priced at $300, the Acer Predator 8 is an Android-based gaming tablet that makes use of an Intel Atom X7-Z8700 chipset with a 1.6Ghz quad-core CPU and an 8th gen Intel HD Graphics GPU. For an Android tablet, the chipset should offer more than enough processing power to ensure that Android games run smooth as silk. Just like the Nvidia Shield Tablet K1, the Acer Predator 8 comes with an 8-inch display with a fullHD-class resolution of 1200 by 1920 pixels. Other specs include 32GB or 64GB of onboard storage, 2GB of RAM, a 5MP primary camera, a 2MP secondary shooter, and a 4420 mAh.
Aside from high-end processing power, the Acer Predator 8 also comes with a few features aimed directly at Android gamers. One of these are the four front-facing speakers. The slab also features a tactile feedback that Acer calls the Predator TacSense, which, in theory, should allow for more immersive gaming sessions.
Google Pixel C
The Google Pixel C is not currently available for purchase, but once the slab finally launches over the next few weeks, it will probably become one of the best Android tablets for gamers.
Although the 10.2-inch display raises slight maneuverability and portability problems (from a gamer's perspective) compared to more compact Android tablets, the Google Pixel C has top-end specifications that will be put to great use in games. The display runs a resolution of 2560 by 1800 pixels, which allows for more details compared to other Android tablets, but this increase in PPI would all be for nothing without a powerful chipset to back it up. Fortunately, the Nvidia Tegra X1 chipset promises to double the graphics performance compared to the Tegra K1, and there is early evidence to back up these claims. Speaking of the display, Google says that the Pixel C screen has a maximum brightness of 500 nits, which should mean that using the tablet outdoors in direct sunlight will not be a problem.
Other specs include 3GB of RAM, 32GB or 64GB of integrated storage space, and Android 6.0 Marshmallow on the software side. The 32GB version of the Google Pixel C is priced at $499, while the 64GB model will set you back $599.