Feb, 25 2014

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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.