iPad Air wins Best Tablet at Mobile World Congress, and it wasn’t even there

Interesting fact: the iPad Air won the GMA’s Best Tablet award at MWC 2014 despite not being in attendance. Silly, right? It’s not that the iPad Air isn’t deserving of praise. It’s actually a pretty fine device in its own right.

tim-cook-ipad-air-hed-2013

But the announcement that it won best tablet screams “automatic win,” “default victory,” and “handed to Apple on a silver platter.” With Apple’s reputation for being awarded brownie points based on sheer reputation, we wouldn’t blame anyone for thinking those things.

Some of you might be of the opinion that there are many more devices deserving that recognition and we wouldn’t be quick to disagree. Here are 5 tablets we feel are more deserving of GMA’s Best Mobile Tablet award handed out at Mobile World Congress given their performance and, you know,  the fact that most of them were actually at MWC.

Samsung Galaxy Note Pro

This might be the safest bet there is, but the Samsung Galaxy Note Pro definitely deserves to be talked about among the greats of yesteryear. The device comes in three different sizes — 8.4, 10.1, and 12.2 inches — yet all of them come with an astounding screen resolution of 2560 x 1600 (compare that to the iPad Air’s 2048 x 1536).

Samsung-Galaxy-Tab-Note-Pro-featured-large

Samsung’s decision to go with the 2.3GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 or, depending on the model, Exynos 6 chipset definitely stands out, and you aren’t going to find many other devices packing 3GB of RAM right now. Add to that the fact that it has a slimmer profile than that of the iPad Air’s and includes the Wacom-enabled S Pen technology the Note series has become famous for, and it’s stunning that Samsung didn’t get any recognition here.

We’re hoping the oversight is because GMA decided to go with what launched in the 2013 calendar year more than anything, because then at least this decision would make a lot more sense. Need more convincing? Maybe Samsung’s barrage of jabs at Apple in their latest advertising campaign would do the trick.

Nexus 7

The Nexus 7 always seems to get a few brownie points due to its status as a Nexus device and its ridiculously low price tag, but we can’t feel guilty for considering those things. You’d be hard-pressed to find another tablet worth getting for the money, and we’d venture to guess it’d attract a lot of attention even with a couple hundred more dollars tacked onto the cost of admission.

New Nexus 7 hand wm

Always on our minds when it comes to talking about the Nexus 7 is its 7-inch 1920 x 1200 display, though the rest of the tape reads just as nice. Under the hood is a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro clocked at 1.5GHz, 2GB of RAM, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, a 5 megapixel camera and more. You put this one on the ballet next to the iPad Air and you’d have our vote.

LG G Pad 8.3

LG’s G Pad 8.3 wasn’t the most powerful device among its Android-donning peers, though it can still go toe-to-toe with any tablet in terms of sheer performance. The combo of a Snapdragon 600 processor and 2GB of RAM ensure that, no doubt.

But LG’s main focus with the G Pad 8.3 was to provide a tablet that felt “just right” in your hands. The 8.3-inch form factor was received rather well from those who’ve used it, and LG certainly did do a fine job of striking a nice balance between ergonomics, looks and screen real estate.

lg-g-pad-8.3-3

It’s a tablet that feels “just right” in your hands, which is important for anyone looking to tote these around day-to-day.And you just won’t find multi-tasking features like Slide Aside, QSlide, and QRemote on an iPad Air.

Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet

This was a tablet announced just this week at Mobile World Congress, so we doubt its name was near any mega-tablet-voting-booth setup the GMA may or may not have used. The Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet is admittedly the first one that really got our attention from the electronics giant from Japan, and we’d definitely hold out for its arrival up against dropping $500 for an iPad Air today.

sony-xperia-z2-tablet-6

Reading off this thing’s specs would be like defining the American Dream for us tech geeks:

  • 10.1-inch 1920 x 1200 Triluminos display
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 2.3GHz quad-core CPU
  • 3GB RAM
  • 16GB internal storage with microSD slot
  • 8.1 megapixel rear camera
  • 2.2 megapixel front facing camera
  • 6,000mAh battery
  • 4G LTE
  • Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, MHL 3.0, and WiFi
  • Android 4.4 KitKat

Of course, specs alone don’t make or break a device. It’s the culmination of all of Sony’s various unique services and features, such as Music and Video Unlimited and all of the great camera features they take pride in, that make up what’s so special about the Xperia Z2 Tablet.

You can tell Sony has learned a lot from their early stumbles in the smartphone space, and this tablet is the first one we’d seriously put toe-to-toe with anything Apple has to offer. Peep our hands-on video from Mobile World Congress to see exactly what we’re talking about.

ASUS Transformer Pad TF701T

ASUS might not be the only OEM making major noise in the tablet world anymore, but they’re still putting devices out that are worthy of recognition. The Transformer Book Duet is one-such device. I mean, what more could you ask for from a device that allows you to switch between Windows and Android nearly instantly at the touch of a button? Mind you, it can do that in either tablet or laptop mode, whereas other hybrids typically force you to use Windows in laptop mode and Android in tablet mode.

transformer book duet td300 5

This concoction is made up of a 13.3-inch 1080p display, a 128GB solid-state hard drive, a core i7 processor and 4GB of RAM. It might cost a lot more than a base iPad Air model would, but the iPad Air doesn’t have a fully functional desktop operating system available to you at the quick click of a button, does it?

What’s your pick?

All of these are fantastic devices, and there are many more out there that we haven’t even covered. Would you take any of the devices above over the iPad Air? Would it be something else? Would it be anything at all? We want to pick your brains, so be sure to drop a vote and see if we can’t give some of these other great devices recognition for being outright beasts.

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  • Fel Pe

    Oh Boy, ipad air best tablet and HTC One best phone… I mean how serious can something like that be? LOL

    • aimetti

      Clearly you never used an HTC one

      • Fel Pe

        I have, it’s a nice design but the washed up screen, poor camera and lack of micro sd slot is just too much for me to take… Plus I hate the way the app menu is (vertical scroll and plain black background)… The phone also has bad battery life and way too small screen for my taste… best phone last year: Note 3, then G2, perhaps Nexus 5 considering its price tag, the Z1 is also superior to the One, in fact, the One can be the best looking phone but it ends there.

        • Tony T.

          I really hate how it handles multi-tasking and the fact that the HTC logo isn’t actually a home button… what were they thinking?

        • worldclassflame

          Washed out screen ? You must be high lol (jk about that) but seriously the htc one has hands down one of the best screens on any mobile device today !

          • Fel Pe

            Lol it has one of the best screens indeed, but when put next to the Note 3 it looks super washed out.

          • worldclassflame

            Oh yeah no doubt bro nothing pops like those colors on the Amoleds :p

          • Duong Duc Ngo

            It is not wash out, the word you are looking for is over saturated. AMOLED has alway been over saturated

      • Steve

        Fel Pe has hated the HTC One since launch. The fact that it out paces the Galaxy S4 it was launched to compete with, and the irrelevant fact that he brings up the Note 3 which is in a completely different category, says Samsung fanboy loud and clear. The HTC One is more fluid, solidly built, and offers one of the best listening and display qualities of any smartphone out to date. SD card slot and removable batteries are personal opinions, which are irrelevant in a professional review of a smartphone. Face it Fel Pe, the HTC One has more of what makes it good, and less of what’s bad, so therefore it won.

    • T4rd

      If you took the branding off of both devices and showed them to someone who didn’t know what they were, they would probably assume they were from the same OEM.

      • Fel Pe

        I will have to agree with you on that.

    • maysider

      iDi*ts are everywhere and there is a lot of according to the facts:

      “Study: iPhone owners have ‘blind loyalty’ and will buy anything Apple makes”

  • Lennatron

    Microsoft Surface!

    • T4rd

      Surface Pro* ;-)

      • Joshua Simpson

        Lol

  • Nathan Bryant

    It’s ecosystem keeps it at the top. Otherwise the specs and everything else are not. Still a solid device. It’s more then just specs obviously. You can give a device the best specs and best them yearly, but why keep doing what you’ve been doing faster and faster. You’re not moving anywhere. The content and usability is key. The way apps are developed for the iPad vs other tablets are above all.

  • robjackson81

    iPad Air is winning the poll (as of this comment)… on a site serving Android enthusiasts. I think that tells us a few pretty important things:

    (1) Our readers aren’t just fanboys, they’re smart, honest tech fans who can think for themselves.

    (2) The iPhone has taken a step back, but clearly many regard the iPad as the defacto industry standard. I’m sure the fact that the iPad Air is the biggest iPad upgrade to date doesn’t hurt. Plus… those pencil commercials.

    (3) One of the undeniable differences between iPhone/Android that isn’t apparent in the iPad/Android is screen size… if the iPhone came out with 4.5-inch, 5-inch, and 5.5-inch options, would a massive amount of people be more likely to defect to iPhone? Would that cause fragmentation that inevitably has those same people charging back?

    (4) I wonder what any Android Tablet manufacturers reading this should take away? How can they improve their offerings to better compete with the iPad? What would make an Android Tablet #1?

    Just some food/questions for thought!

    • uniquename72

      “iPad Air is winning the poll (as of this comment)… on a site serving Android enthusiasts.”

      It tells me that news of the poll was posted on an Apple site, so they’re spamming the poll.

      I actually think the iPad Air is a great device. But if you don’t go to the show, you don’t get the show’s award.

      • J Cav the Great

        I have to admit…as far as the iPad…its pretty dope…if I was to get an iPad..it would be the mini..simply because I do not want to give crapple that much money…but yeah..if they are too good to attend..then they they should not even qualify.

        • C-Law

          I have an ipad2 that I won in a contest back towards the end of 2011. That thing was pretty awesome and I liked it more than my touchpad running android and later my nexus 7 2012. But I definitely prefer my nexus 7 2013 now and rarely pick up the ipad2.
          I gotta say Apple wins hands down in standby time though. I dunno how they do it. I picked up my ipad2 yesterday and it was at 24% battery and said 45 days standby and who knows what the battery level was when it went into standby 45 days ago! . My nexus 7 could barely make two weeks standby probably

    • C-Law

      Poll is probably being spammed by an apple fan site

    • http://facebook.com/icecowboy Jim K

      Good comment. The tech religious wars bore me as the vapid political ones.

      I was bathed in the blood of the Steve way back in the ’70′s and have used both Macs and Wins for many years, but I’m not letting Jonny Ives tell me what screen size phone I need, and I think Apple’s been believing their own keynotes too much for a few years now.

      The iPad still kills as a total system though. Surprised how long they’ve had the best tab software to themselves.

    • Jody Schoolcraft

      POLL IS BEING MANIPULATED, I OPENED IE – VOTED, RESET IE ON RESTARTED VOTED AGAIN AND IT CHANGED RESULT. JUST AN APPLE FANBOY WHO IS PLAYING GAMES.

      • Steviemac

        It’s ok to cry my friend

    • http://www.DavidPat.com David Pat

      Honestly there aren’t any great Android tablet devices when you compare it against the value and diversity of owning an iPad Air.

  • ac

    Just a ‘bit of cleanup, but Q’s info is off. The Note Pro is only available in 12.2. The other sizes are for the “tab” pro series (no S Pen or S Pen features).

  • Alexei Watson

    Samsung Galaxy Note Pro: “you aren’t going to find many other devices packing 3GB of RAM right now.”

    Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet: “3GB RAM”

  • roberthenderson

    So, a non-multitasking tablet with a ticket profile and inferior screen beat the Galaxy Note tablet (which also sports a pen) and wasn’t even at the show? Boy those Russian judges sure get around.

    • http://facebook.com/icecowboy Jim K

      Specs-schmecks and learning an add-on OS plastered on top of an OS (that gives you a new learning curve if you want to change Android tabs) sucks.

      A full system of tablet-optimzed Apps is still what it’s all about in this device class.

      Well, not all – saw and held one of the new Sammys – looked ugly, plasticy and flimsy as hell.

      So I went Android for my last phone (Moto X), but plan to pick up this fall’s iPad…

      • roberthenderson

        flimsy as hell? What are you using it for, a moving ramp?

        • http://facebook.com/icecowboy Jim K

          I said, “looked,” genius. I was reacting as a shopper in a store, not taking a ball peen hammer to the thing.

    • http://google.com/+derekross Derek Ross

      The awards aren’t for show attendees nor are they for devices announced at the show. The awards are for products released over the past year. Last year the Nexus 7 won.

      • Knowles2

        That makes slightly more sense why Ipad Air won.

    • filaos

      You’re confusing multitasking (witch the iPad does quite well) and running two apps side by side (split screen).
      And talking about screens, do you really think Samsung’s pentile crap can compare to actual RGB screens like the iPad’s or the Nexus 7′s ??

      • Wayne Peterkin

        I love it when I’m in class and people with the iPad can’t do the work because it doesn’t support basic web standards. I just pull out my Asus Windows tab and start working. It’s always funny that the iPad costs so much more (yes more than double) and does so little. And no, IOS doesn’t multitask (as most modern OS do)

        • Duong Duc Ngo

          You never use iOS7 because it does multitask pretty will, better then android at times. The window is the only platform that support web standard now.

          • Wayne Peterkin

            That’s funny, I thought I was talking about my Windows tablet. And last I checked, app switching wasn’t multitasking

          • roberthenderson
          • Delmar

            ios can multitask such as having two apps on the same screen, look at samsung

      • roberthenderson

        Spoken like a true Apple sync offense. Unlike you, I go and compare all phones even if I’m pretty sure I’m not going to get them from the start.so if you could get off your knees from in front of the Steve Jobs statue and take a few minutes at the store you would see that they more than hold their own verses the screens from Apple. I’m sure you probably also had no idea that Apple got a lot of their screens from Samsung. Chew on that for a while. and I am NOT confused about multitasking as I have had an iPad forced on me at work. I have had to completely sync an application before moving on to another one because if I switched from the application I was trying to update it would stop.

  • roberthenderson

    Thicker

  • http://google.com/+derekross Derek Ross

    That’s not how these awards work. They are for products and services throughout the past year. Not devices that were announced at the show.

    • http://codeversed.com/ Steve Albright

      Why are you making good points?

  • Jody Schoolcraft

    I for one call BS, obviously Apple fanboys with insecurity of their own boring OS device have decided to play games. No biggy to me, love my Tab Pro 8.4″ and couldn’t care less about Apple.

  • Delmar

    My vote is for samsung… they always find a way to top themselves

    • lolwut

      Since when?

      • Delmar

        Since they always have a great specs for their tablets and Phones consistently, whereas ipad is only popular because its a fad like ios

        • BigPoppaPhat

          Its a fashion accessory, nothing more.

          • Delmar

            Specs area fashion accessory? lolololol ” i – anything” is a fashion accessory, give it a couple years and ios will disappear like blackberry

  • phinn

    iPad Air is too expensive and at the mercy of mediocre iOS, but it’s clearly the best tablet. Nexus 7 is the only one i’d buy if I didn’t consider all tablets to be utterly pointless.

  • Dan

    I’m all for android, but having tried several tablets, I can’t deny that the iPad has a lot going for it. The app selection alone is the reason why I chose iPad as my main tablet. I barely use my nexus 7 anymore tbh.

  • http://codeversed.com/ Steve Albright

    I don’t know who’s being sarcastic around here anymore.

  • mhmmd123

    Apple didn`t show at MWC! Maybe they preparing a case against Samsung GS5. Who knows..

  • shooter50

    tried the Gpad and it was a total lag fest, so returned it. Tried the Tab Pro 10.1 and couldnt believe it lagged too. ended up with the tab pro 8.4. runs so much smoother than the 10.1.
    snapdragon 800 definitely outperforms the Exynos

  • LandonVanBus

    I love my Moto X. Really liked my Nexus 7, but Apple has a tablet ecosystem that Android can’t touch. Not even close. The apps make the tablet and the lack of serious tablet apps on the Play store kill any tablet even competing with the iPad.

  • chuckles87

    ill probably get down voted for this but even the windows tablets deserve the spot

    • chris_johns

      ill up u…bc im a windows fan…the enemy of my enemy is my friend…android n windows should unite!

  • Steviemac

    Cry me a river Quentyn! I find it humorous you think the more deserving tablets just happens to be all Android tablets. Another thing I find funny on a Android website poll of which tablet should have won. iPad Air still was voted # 1 by the people by a landslide. How do you like them Apples!!!

    • Robabobbob

      It’s an Android blog and he’s talking about why Apple was chosen and what Android alternatives deserve credit, that’s pretty much his job so I don’t think you can say he’s crying about it. So far 41% of people voted for the ipad which means of readers 59% would prefer a different option. I think they are all good tablets and think it’s great we have a choice, it just so happens on Android we have a larger choice. I bet if you changed the poll to give Android Tablet over an Apple Tablet then it would be a different result and that result would be a polar opposite of the same poll on an Apple site so I don’t see anything surprising about the results. Do you really?

    • frhow

      Take away the spec difference the iPad Air is just a glorified bigger iPhone. Doesnt bring anything new to the table. Get out of here with that. All it takes is for someone to sit an iPad user down and show them ALL of the features with a Galaxy Pro tablet or almost any android tablet and see how quickly they fall in love with it. How do I know, well I did just that to a room of 20 and only 2 stuck with their iPad but they were over 60 years old, so I understood.

    • chris_johns

      i downvoted you…half for your comment and half for being a hipster

  • Benni

    How is the Galaxy Note pro?
    more tempted by that as i love the dedicated sylus on the phones.
    Family went for the Ipad Air, while we may just have been unlucky, but durability doesnt hold up. Got taken care of through http://www.theipadpros.com but wish Apple would include more protection

  • Duong Duc Ngo

    You guys need to cry me a river. For tablets the iPad is pretty good and is better then most if not all the android tablet. That is why even the iPad 2 is still selling because it is that much better. Windows tablet for the best if you want productivity, and iPad are best for casual user. Android does neither very well because there is no application for Android tablet.

  • Micha Ols

    I don’t know man. The iPad Air is a nice and pretty tablet.
    The sleek design with the small bezel size make it stand out. The fast SoC and the good speakers complete it.

    But I can’t understand the comments regarding the better iPad Apps and the missing Android tablet apps.
    I have owned the ASUS Padfone 2 and the New Padfone Infinity and I know from experience, that many apps automatically switch their layout and design when opened on the tablet. Same installation but differnet layouts when opened on phone and when opened on tablet.

    I prefer this over a separate tablet-app download. But apple users have to pay twice, which fits nicely into apples agenda.

    My mom has a Nexus 7 and an iPad4, my brother has an iPad Air, but I never saw ANYTHING on them, that would let me say “My Android tablet can’t do that”.

  • Bill Perrotta

    Apple clearly bribed the Judges. I thought Android was the top Dog in Europe?
    Tablets are light enough already. An air tablet is pointless. Pretty Retina Displays are for toys. I get a lot of Work done on my Galaxy Note 8, Since I take notes heavilly at work.

    • PhishyKris

      I’ve got a NOTE 8 and NOTE 10.1 and don’t use the 8 anymore. The screen is horrid.

  • Toss3

    The iPad Mini Retina gets my vote! Great battery life, great portability, and it’s just as fast as the iPad Air. The only thing lacking is 2 or 3Gb of ram (apps and tabs pause/refresh a bit too often).

    • GoAndroidForever

      Retina? something sh*t Apple made up name to fool idiots. Looks no better than other high end tablets.

      • endinyal

        Well then, I guess the millions of happy iPad “idiots” would tell you differently.

        When your entire debate revolves around insulting people for exercising their freedom to choose a product that they are happy with, you lose all credibility.

        Enjoy your hissy-fit.

  • Joseph Kool

    phuck apple

  • GoAndroidForever

    these idiots at MWC are Apple fan boys, so no surprise here.

  • chris_johns

    um…sonys new tablet absolutly SH*TS on any othe tablet out…id take it bar none over anything if i had the dough to blow on a 10″ tab…i mean im a nexus 7 guy(og) but if i ever wanted a big tablet i wouldnt buy samsungs crap with those fugly buttons there or anything apple which are just boring…sony gets it im so happy to see their current mobile direction being a long time sony fan

  • John Smith

    Well let see i will buy soon and than will share my suggestion with you.
    Thanks

    https://www.dallas-designs.com/

    • fourthletter

      Don’t advertise your website when you can’t even manage to spell simple words correctly.

  • NWJA

    Yo apple, im really happy for you and I’mma let you finish, but Samsung had one of the best tablets of all time!

  • Anfronie

    Hey ipad air! What about all those low memory crashes due to the buggy OS and the whopping 1 gig of ram?! ?..Google it…