Best Android Tablets [July 2014]

best-tablets-april-2014

The launch of several new tablets this month has led to a bit of a shakeup at the top of our Android tablet rankings. Where do newcomers like the Samsung Galaxy Tab S and a refreshed LG G Pad lineup land? Read on to find out.

Previously: June | May | April

5. Nexus 7

New Nexus 7 hand wm

Despite persistent rumors, last month’s Google I/O conference came and went without the introduction of a new Nexus Tablet. With no proper successor, the N7 maintains a place on our list almost by default. It’s hard to argue against the tablet’s affordable pricing, solid hardware package including HD display, and direct-from-Google software support (likely including a quick upgrade to the recently previewed Android L). Chances are a refresh is still in the works, but for now Nexus 7 makes a perfectly sensible choice of Android tablet.

4. LG G Pad

lg g pad family

LG’s G Pad refresh is on sale this month, starting with the currently available (in Europe) 7-inch model. Over the coming weeks LG will also introduce the G Pad 8.0 and G Pad 10.1. All three models feature a similar hardware complement, including a 720p display and quad-core processing. The tablets strike a balance between affordability (the smallest model sells for about $150), portability, and utility, and share many software features and enhancement in common with the highly praised LG G3. This includes a simplified user interface and the ability to unlock the slate with a so-called “Knock Code.”

3. Samsung Galaxy NotePro

Samsung Galaxy Note Pro DSC05107

Samsung’s tablet strategy is a bit all over the place. It seems that one stellar slate isn’t good enough, resulting in devices like the Galaxy NotePro being pushed to the wayside as even newer tablets are announced only months later. The NotePro reigned at the top of our list for some time, but its high price and potentially unwieldy size are beginning to look less and less appealing. Despite this, the NotePro still offers unique stylus input and high-class hardware that will appeal to a certain niche of users.

2. Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet

sony-xperia-z2-tablet-1

We’re still amazed at what Sony managed to cram into the 6.1mm-thick frame of the Xperia Z2 tablet. You get a Snapdragon 801 processor, beautiful display, and more in just about the classiest package to ever call itself an Android tablet. Its waterproof design means you can take the Z2 Tablet with you practically anywhere you go.

1. Samsung Galaxy Tab S

galaxy-tab-s-software

Samsung’s latest tablet is one of their best to date. The first to feature a Super AMOLED display — and in the process the first to earn the flagship S designation typically associated with the Galaxy smartphone line — the Galaxy Tab S is a media machine. Regardless of whether you go with the 8 or 10-inch models, the Tab S is equal parts entertainment and productivity device. With competitive pricing, the Galaxy Tab S should be considered right up there with Apple’s iPad line.

Honorable Mentions

Amazon Kindle Fire HDX

The presence of a couple new tablets on our top 5 means some other great options have migrated to our honorable mentions category. In many cases, deciding between one of the tablets below and one from our main list is a matter of mincing hairs. Here are five more Android slates to consider.

  1. Amazon Kindle Fire HDX — Amazon’s best tablet option features a great HD display and easy access to oodles of digital content via the retailers online storefront.
  2. LG G Pad 8.3 — LG might have recently refreshed the tablet lineup, but the G Pad 8.3 remains an appealing (and readily available) option that an be had for a great price.
  3. Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 — Samsung’s budget-oriented lineup of tablets, the Galaxy Tab 4’s 7-inch model starts at $199 and offers a modest hardware compliment for those seeking a lightweight companion device.
  4. Samsung Galaxy TabPro — This “pro” version of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab most resembles the NotePro minus its stylus.
  5. Lenovo Yoga HD 10+ — The Yoga HD 10+ can contort itself into several different positions thanks to its built-in kickstand.

Tablets to look forward to

The summer months have brought us several great tablets, but the fun ain’t done yet. Here’s a look at what you can look forward to during the second half of the year if you can’t hold off on making that tablet purchasing decision for just a bit longer.

ASUS Transformer Book V

ASUS Transformer Book V_PR02

Five devices in one might seem like a bit of overkill, but ASUS pushes those limits with their upcoming Transformer Book V. While it isn’t a tablet exclusively, the mode will likely be the preferred method of interaction for many users. The Transformer Book V can also act as an Android smartphone or notebook as well as a Windows tablet or notebook.

Rumor Mill

While the below tablets don’t have solid release dates on the docket, the rumors say they will eventually become a reality. While you shouldn’t put too much stock in these devices showing up any time soon, here is a look at what folks have been buzzing about.

NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet

NVIDIA-Shield-9

Rumors of a new gaming-oriented tablet from NVIDIA are fairly fresh and quickly denied, but a recent sighting at the Global Certification Forum leaves us with little doubt as to the slate’s authenticity. The Shield was NVIDIA’s bold attempt at creating an Android-based gaming device, but it saw little success after launch. Transitioning the concept to a tablet form factor is a wise move that could greatly expand the target audience for the device.

Nexus tablets

google nexus devices

As mentioned previous, Google I/O brought no news of a refreshed Nexus tablet lineup, but the team behind Android isn’t done with the line of pure Google devices. Buzz persists and it’s almost a guarantee we will see a Nexus 8 or similar slate launch at some point this year. The next likely opportunity would coincide with the public release of the recently previewed Android L.

What say you?

Does the newly released Galaxy Tab S earn its place at the top of our rankings? Did we leave out a tablet you think deserves more attention? Let us know your picks for top Android tablets of July in the comments below.

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  • Lennatron

    How is the Sony tablet ahead of the Note Pro which has tons of features plus the S-Pen? Sony’s only big feature is water resistance with little to no extra software customized for the big screen.

    • solidpig

      Only a handful of those features are moderately useful.
      For the Sony you missed premium build quality, beautiful design, almost stock ui/ none of that Samsung bloatware, thin and light. Just overall making it a great tablet.

    • Arnold Hider

      I have to agree with u on this one

    • Martin Lane

      Agreed, the Note Pro tablets are just as good and they have the addition of the S-Pen and higher resolution displays.. Yet they are somehow not as good, author of this article is trolling us imo

    • 3rdflyleaf

      The tons of features are tons of bloatwares for some.

  • dean clarke

    Yeah I would I’ve put the note pro above the Sony but If that galaxy tab s had spen well that would have blown the rest away.why no spen on the s?

    • Arnold Hider

      Cause only the note come with s pen. The Tab Doesn’t Come With one. Same way with the samsung phone only notes come with s pen not the galaxys.

  • Fel Pe

    I’m still waiting for the Note 8 2014 version……

  • Socalnathan

    Still loving my LG g pad 8.3 GPE. I have no need to change it out. It does everything without a hicup

    • jfelts

      Same here. I just got the gpad from Verizon. Of course I’m still waiting on kitkat update.

  • Da Fuq

    I’d like to have a MiPad :D

    • drobimorrisonnsw

      i P r o T a b l e t — is one source worth reviewing with many new models in July — including the Pipo P1 ($295) 9.7-inch tablet which launched this week and is the first Android device on the market with the new RK3288 high performance processor from Rockchip Technologies which has demonstrated benchmark testing with better performance than the Apple iPad as well as upcoming tablets that feature Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 801 processor; the Pipo P1 is also the first tablet available to support 4K video output — and overall offers impressive specs, including a Retina-quality 2048×1536 display, Android 4.4 Kit Kat, Bluetooth 4.0, built-in GPS, and a powerful 10,000 mAh battery with 8+ hours use.

      Also to be released next week is the iFive Mini4 ($219) — which is the first 8-inch Android tablet to offer a retina-quality, 2048×1536 display; plus features long battery life, Bluetooth, GPS, and the RK3288 processor.

      iProTablet also offers the Ramos i10 Pro ($399) Windows 8.1 – Android hybrid… the first Dual Boot tablet on the market that makes it easy to use both Windows software and Android Apps on one device — and offers an Intel Bay Trail 64 bit CPU plus a 10″ 1920×1200 HD display, Bluetooth, and GPS.