9/04/2014

iPad or Nexus 7? Here are some tablets that you can consider buying

While a number of good Android tablets are available in the Indian market, iPads still retain their charm. ReutersTablets may not be as powerful as a laptop or as multi-functional as a smartphone, but they do have some appeal. They are good for consuming content. You can relax on your sofa after a stressful day at office and watch a movie on a tablet. Or you can take it out while you are waiting for your flight and read a book on it.
Then, there is the matter of casual gaming. Tablets are excellent devices to play casual games like Angry Birds or even racing games like Need For Speed.
A tablet is not a necessity like a laptop or a smartphone. But it is a handy device to carry.
In Indian market, hundreds of different models of tablets are available. Some of these are sold for as cheap as Rs 2,500 while some cost over Rs 50,000. So, which of these tablets are worthy of your attention, and importantly, your hard earned money?
Before we tell you about the tablets that we believe are better than the rest, here are some general points about buying a tablet:
-- Try not to buy a tablet for its call making or call receiving abilities. If you need a device that can make and receive calls, get a "phablet", or in other words a large-screen phone.
-- If you are mostly going to use a tablet while travelling, get one that supports 3G connectivity. The tablets that support 3G connectivity cost more than the ones that support only Wi-Fi.
-- If you have Wi-Fi at home, a Wi-Fi only tablet is a value for money option.
-- If you already have a smartphone, a Wi-Fi only tablet is a value for money option because you can always use the cellular network in your phone for the tablet through Hotspot feature. Windows Phone, iOS and Android support Hotspot feature.
-- Tablets with big-screen size (9-inches or more) are better for watching videos and web browsing. Smaller tablets (screen size of around 7 inches) are more portable and easier to hold when you are in mood to snuggle in your blanket and read a book.
Now, the tablets that stand out in the crowded Indian tablet baazar:
Cheapest tablet we recommend
Let's make it clear -- we are not big fans of cheap tablets. Unlike cheap smartphones, which are somewhat usable, most of the cheap tablets are junk. Buying them is akin to throwing your money in a rubbish box.
That said, there is one tablet that is better than the rest. And it is because this tablet belongs to an older generation and has recently received a significant price cut. No, we are not talking about the Nexus 7 (2012) which was once sold for as low as Rs 8,999. That is no longer available. But you can get the Xolo Play Tab 7 for around Rs 6,000. For this price, it is decent tablet. It has a 7-inch IPS screen with 1280 x 800 pixels resolution, Tegra 3 processor that is rather old but still quite capable, 8GB internal storage, 1GB RAM and support for microSD card. The device runs Android 4.1. This is a Wi-Fi only tablet and 3G is not supported. If you want a cheap tablet on which your young kid can sketch and on which you can play Angry Birds, the Play Tab 7 is a nice option.
Best tablet for less than Rs 10,000
There is a dearth of good tablets in the sub-Rs 10,000 category but Dell's Venue 7 is one reliable option if you are in no mood to spend even a paisa more than the 10 grand. The Venue 7 too is a Wi-Fi only tablet. But other than the lack of 3G, it packs in decent hardware. The tablet is powered by Intel Atom Z2560 processor running at 1.6GHz. This is a dual-core processor with support for hyper-threading that allows it to work as a quad-core processor. There is 2GB RAM in the device and 16GB internal storage. Micro SD cards are supported so you can expand the storage if you are going to store a lot of movies or music on the device. The 7-inch screen uses an IPS panel and has a rather respectable resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels (a little more than 720P). The Venue 7 costs around Rs 9,700.
Cheapest tablet with calling feature
If you are someone who needs to make or receive calls on a tablet, the Lenovo A7-50 is an affordable and yet decent option. Be careful about the model number of the tablet here. Lenovo also has the A7-30 in the market. The A7-30 is cheaper but not so nice. The A7-50 costs around Rs 14,000. It packs in a quad-core processor running at 1.3GHz, 1GB RAM, a 7-inch IPS screen with resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels, 16GB internal storage and support for microSD card. The device runs Android 4.2 out-of-the-box but Lenovo says that it can be upgraded to Android 4.4. Though, we haven't tested this claim. the A7-50 has two cameras -- the rear camera can shoot 5-megapixel images while the front camera sports a 2-megapixel tag. The device supports Wi-Fi and 3G. And yes, you can make calls or receive them using the A7-50.
Cheapest tablet for gaming
If you are looking for an affordable tablet primarily to play games, look no further than XOLO Play Tegra Note. Available for around 14,499, the Tegra Note is actually a tablet made by Nvidia, the company that makes graphics cards and processors. Xolo is Nvidia's partner for Tegra Note tablets in India but the device is based on a reference design. It is powered by quad-core Tegra 4 processor, which is an astoundingly fast chip and is capable of handling even demanding mobile games like Dead Trigger 2 with ease. Rest of the hardware is the standard affair. The tablet has 1GB RAM, 16GB internal storage, support for microSD card, a 5-megapixel rear camera, a 0.3 megapixels front camera and a 7-inch IPS screen with the resolution 1280 x 800 pixels. One extra feature with the Tegra Note is the support for a stylus. Though, in the grand scheme of things it doesn't matter much.
Best value for money tablet
Where is the Nexus tablet in this list? Well, here it is. The Nexus 7 (2013), made by Asus and marketed by Google, was launched at a price of Rs 20,999. In fact, this is the price at which it still sells on the Google Play Store. But if you look around, you can get it for less than Rs 18,000. This is a very good price for a tablet that is extremely fast, functional, portable and capable of providing polished Android experience. The cheapest version of the Nexus 7 (2013) supports only Wi-Fi and has 16GB internal storage. The highlight of the Nexus 7 is its vibrant 7-inch screen with FullHD (1080P) resolution. The device is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 quad-core processor running at 1.5GHz and 2GB RAM. It has a surprisingly decent 5-megapixel rear camera and a 1.2-megapixel front camera. The tablet is well-optimised for latest versions of Android -- it is the official Android tablet -- and offers lag-free and smooth Android experience.
Cheapest iPad
The first iPad Mini was launched in November 2012. So, you can say that it is pretty old. But don't go by the date of manufacturing. Almost all iPads are fantastic tablets. And the iPad Mini is no exception. Powered by a dual-core A5 processor and 512MB RAM, the iPad Mini is capable of providing users a polished experience, which is better than what they will get with most of the Android tablets. The main reason why the iPad is so good is because of the tablet-specific apps that are available for it. Apple is also a company that believes in seamless integration between hardware and software -- it makes its own hardware and writes almost all core software for the device -- and that gives the iPad a performance edge over most of the Android tablets. For example, the iPad Mini will receive iOS 8 update despite its age. In comparison, most of the Android tablets run one-year-old version of Android. If we have to choose between the Nexus 7 (2013) and the iPad Mini (2012), we will go with the Nexus 7. It is a better and more powerful tablet. The Nexus 7 also has a better screen. But if you have a thing for anything Apple, you can't go wrong with the iPad Mini that sells for around Rs 17,000.
A tablet that is almost perfect
Did we tell you that iPad is a fantastic tablet? Yes, we did. Among all iPads we believe that the iPad Mini (2013) aka the iPad Mini 2 is arguably the best tablet. With a price of around Rs 28,000 the iPad Mini 2 offers almost everything you can ask for in a tablet. It has a sleek aluminum body, the powerful A7 processor, 1GB RAM and a fantastic screen with a resolution of 2048 x 1536 pixels. Yes, the iPad Air is more powerful and offers a screen that is better than the one in the iPad Mini 2. But the size of the iPad Mini -- the screen size is 7.9 inches -- is just perfect. The iPad Mini 2 is compact and portable and yet big enough to offer great web browsing or movie experience. In comparison, the iPad Air feels a little too big. The cheapest version of the iPad Mini 2 supports Wi-Fi but not 3G. It also has 16Gb internal storage. The 3G model or the one with more internal storage costs more.
What about iPad Air?
If you are a fan of big tablets and don't mind spending Rs 35,000, go ahead and get the iPad Air, which has a 9.7-inch screen. It is a (slightly) better tablet than the iPad Mini 2 in technical terms. But the iPad Mini 2 is more user-friendly due to its compact size and feels more balanced.

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