There is no doubt that tablets continue to make an impact on the lives of users worldwide. More manufacturers are producing a wide variety of tablets to cater to different user needs – and this causes confusion amongst consumers.
Samsung today said that “the volume of Tablets entering the SA marketplace more than doubled when compared to the previous year” – which just shows there is still a huge demand for portable computing power.
But what brand is best? How should users go about making a selection? IT News Africa hopes to eradicate some of the confusion by highlighting 10 popular tablets that are readily available in South Africa.
1. iPad with Retina Display
The fourth generation of arguably the world’s most popular tablet shifted millions of units within the first week of sale.
The 10.1” device launched with iOS 6.0, and sports a 1.4 GHz dual core Apple Swift CPU with an Apple A6X chip on the system.
Unlike the previous versions of the iPad, this version makes use of the Retina Display technology – which makes images and videos clearer and crisper than before.
In terms of storage size options, it comes in 16 GB, 32 GB, 64 GB, and 128 GB flavours, and connectivity options include Wi-Fi only; and Wi-Fi and Cellular with LTE capabilities.
2. Sony Xperia Tablet Z
Sony’s latest sleek tablet entered the market a few weeks ago, and even though it looks like an executive’s toy, it has been built tough for the African market.
The device is waterproof in up to one meter of water for up to thirty minutes and is completely dust-proof – making sure that no unwanted particles creep into the electronics.
Running on a 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core processor, the 10.1-inch tablet is one of the world’s thinnest devices – measuring in at only 6.9 mm thick and 495 grams. Making use of the Android 4.1 Jellybean operating system, users will be able to access the Google Play market, as well as the dedicated Sony market place.
The device also comes pre-installed with a number of Sony-proprietary apps.
3. Samsung Galaxy Tab 3
Samsung has created a range of products under their Built for Africa banner, which makes sure that products released on the continent can actually withstand the harsh conditions.
While the Galaxy Tab 3 does not necessarily fall in the Built for Africa category, users can be sure that Samsung products are generally built fairly tough.
The newly-launched Galaxy Tab 3 series comes in three different sizes – namely a 7”, 8” and a 10.1”. The largest of the versions make use of an Intel Atom Z2560 chipset, Dual-core 1.6 GHz CPU, and for the graphics, is powered by a PowerVR SGX544MP2 GPU.
The device runs on Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean), and weighs just 510g.
4. Asus Transformer Pad Infinity
Asus took the idea of a tablet, and created their own version that turns the Transformer Pad Infinity into a mobile home theatre.
With a clip-on keyboard, the device sports a 1920 × 1200 resolution Full HD screen, SonicMaster audio technology, Super IPS+ Panel and the most powerful NVIDIA Tegra 3 Quad-core CPU.
In terms of computing power, it runs a Qualcomm MSM 8260A Snapdragon S4 Krait Dual-core 1.5Ghz to power the 1080p HD video playback.
Weighing in at 598g, the 10.1″ WUXGA Full HD LED Backlit screen features the ability to allow for 10-finger multi-touch input, and a rear 8MP Auto-focus camera. While slotted into the keyboard dock, users will be able to get approx. 14 hours of usage, while without the dock drops down to about 9.5 hours.
5. Way-C tablet
Africa’s first tablet to be engineered on home soil is the creation of 26-year-old Congolese national Verone Mankou. The device, roughly the size of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab, measures 7.4″ x 6.7″ x 0.5″, and weights only 380g.
Way-C means “the light of the stars” in a northern Congolese dialect, and the device has a 1.2GHz processor, 512MB of RAM, 4GB of internal memory and supports Wi-Fi. Battery life is 6 hours. While the specifications are not exactly on par with other offerings in the same class, it is a lot cheaper than most.
Last year Mankou said that he plans to market the device in 10 countries in West Africa, as well as in Belgium, France and India.
6. HP Elitepad
Launched at the beginning of the year, the device makes use of Windows 8 Pro and runs on a 1.80GHz Dual core Intel Atom CPU.
With a 1280 x 800 multi-touch display (with Corning Gorilla Glass 2), the device weighs 630g and is only 9.2mm thick.
HP BIOS Protection and Microsoft Defender Security Essentials 9 comes pre-installed on the device, that keeps users up and running with enhanced defence against viruses and other threats. Purposefully built as a business-focussed tablet, the Elitepad has been designed to work with any company’s existing IT environment.
For that purpose, that device has a 1080p HD Front-facing camera, 8.0 MP rear-facing camera and features SRS Audio with a dual-array of digital microphones for teleconferencing with integrated stereo speakers.
7. Samsung Galaxy Note 8
Launched just before Samsung’s Galaxy S4 smartphone, the Galaxy Note 8 is yet another product in Samsung’s stable that fall into the Galaxy range. As the name implies, the device is an 8-inch tablet that can be comfortably held in one hand.
Making use of a Quad Core Application Processor at 1.6GHz CPU speed, the 345g device has a TFT display with 16M Colours depth and 1280 x 800 resolution. Running on Android Jellybean 4.1.2, it comes packed with a lot of Samsung’s pre-installed apps such as Game Hub, ChatON, ActiveSync and Readers Hub 2.0.
With the accompanying S Pen, users will be able to make notes, draw pictures and edit text with a high degree of accuracy not afforded by using one’s finger. Air View also lets users take a peek at any file just by hovering over it.
8. Lenovo ThinkPad 2
Lenovo might not be one of the biggest players in the tablet space, but the company does have an established range of tablets to cater to their ever-demanding users.
Just as with the HP ElitePad, the ThinkPad Tablet 2 is more geared towards being a business device, than one on which Angry Birds will be played. With an Intel Atom processor with Dual Core 4-thread (up to 1.80 GHZ processor), the device runs on Windows 8 x86.
Focussed on business, the pre-installed apps include Office Home & Student 2013 and a trial version of Microsoft Office.
The 10.1″ (1366×768) LED backlight screen features anti-glare technology and allows for 5-finger multitouch.
“The ThinkPad Tablet 2 is a truly practical business solution, weighing only 565 grams and lasting more than 10 hours on a single charge,” Lenovo explains.
9. Acer Iconia W7
Slightly bigger than the standard tablet, the 11.6″ Iconia W7 Series tablet and cradle combo sports a Intel Core i3-3217U 1.8 GHz processor, 4 GB RAM Memory and up to 9-hour battery life.
“Every detail is crisp and easy to see on the Full HD display, and a 178-degree wide viewing angle lets you share the experience with colleagues or friends. Enjoy fast, clear, 10-point touch control of documents and multimedia,” Acer explains.
Making use of Windows 8, the Bluetooth keyboard is easily popped underneath the tablet, which gives users an easier way of interacting with their favourite apps. The 11.6″ screen is Full HD and comes with CineCrystal LED-backlit multi-touch technology, which allows for a 1920 x 1080 display.
10. Apple iPad Mini
An almost identical but smaller version of Apple’s iPad, the Mini has proven to be just as successful as its larger version. Together with the iPad with Retina Display, the Mini has sold over three-million units in the first week of release.
The Mini features a 7.9-inch Multi-Touch display, FaceTime HD and iSight cameras, ultrafast wireless performance and 10 hours of battery life. It is available in a number of sizes, such as 16GB, 32GB and 64GB.
Running on Apple’s famous iOS, the device is powered by a new Apple-designed A6X chip, and the Wi-Fi version comes in either white & silver or black & slate. It also features dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi support for speeds up to 150 Mbps, which is twice the Wi-Fi performance compared to previous iPad models.
Price: $329 for the 16GB model
Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor