Review: Sony Xperia Z Tablet

Sony Xperia Z tabletSony Xperia Z Tablet $500
If you want a 10-inch tablet that’s light, waterproof (up to a point) and performs almost as well as an iPad, Sony’s Xperia Z may be it.

The 1920×1200 display may not be as good as the iPad’s Retina but it knocks spots off the competition. With a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor and 2G B of RAM, an 8 megapixel camera, and running Android 4.1, it is very capable, and, bought from Sony direct, has a bundled 8 GB micro SD card to for expanded storage.

Interestingly this one has an infrared emitter for controlling your TV, so we’re starting to see the convergence and the use of tablets as a domestic controller. Expect to operate your heating and microwave over Bluetooth soon. Continue reading

Review: Microsoft Surface RT

Microsoft Surface RTMicrosoft Surface RT $350

Remember the first Surface RT a few months back: ads full of clicky covers and no description of what the heck it was? For $500? Now with a prices cut of $150 down to $350, this may be worth another look – but take note – this is NOT the Surface 2 running Windows 8.1. Confused? Join the club…

The Surface has a unique 10.6inch screen running at 1366×768 pixels, in between the average 10inch tablet but smaller than 11.6inch laptops. With a Quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3, 2GB RAM and 32GB storage, the hardware is generally admired – which is just as well since there’s a lack of apps and the RT software’s not robust. Added to that, both cameras – front and rear – are only 1.2 mega pixel. Continue reading

Review: Apple iPad Mini

Apple iPad Mini 2013Apple iPad Mini $330

We’ve been looking at the tablet market and all anyone’s commented so far is ‘what about the iPad?’ Well, here it is.

Apple more or less defines the tablet market – despite Bill Gates’ ahead-of-its’ time tablet in the ’90’s. Yes, Microsoft was there first, and we’ll look at the fight back, the Surface, next time.

For now, $100 more than a Nexus 7, gets an iPad Mini. Not the ‘maxi’ iPad with Retina Display that’s $500 for the base model. No, in this list, the Mini is much better value, although the $170 saving means you lose the iPad with larger Retina Display and A6X processor. The Mini uses an A5 processor in a much lighter and thinner device – 0.68 lbs (309g), which is slightly heavier than a Nexus 7, but has an inch more screen space. Continue reading

Review: Google Nexus 7 Autumn 2013 Tablet

Google Nexus 7 (2013) from AsusGoogle Nexus 7 (2013) $230

If you’re looking for a cheap, small, performance tablet, look no further than the Nexus 7. This is a step up from the 2012 model.

Thinner and lighter than last year’s model, the new Nexus 7 features a swift 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor and 2 GB of RAM (found in the Nexus 4 smart phone) . Despite it’s low cost, this is still a performance tablet. If you want your tablet for media viewing, then the dual stereo speakers produce great sound for such a small device. It weighs only 0.64 lbs (290 g) and battery life is excellent, but that’s not the best thing about it. Continue reading

Review: Lenovo IdeaTab A1000

Lenovo IdeaTab A1000Lenovo IdeaTab A1000 $130

If you can get it at the most affordable price of $130, Lenovo’s IdeaTab A1000 is very much the entry level. Sold under the tag-line “optimised for music” you know the screen and performance won’t be great…

With a 7-inch, 1024×600 screen, a the 1.2GHz MediaTek MT8317 dual-core processor, 1 GB of RAM, 8 GB of memory, front and rear cameras, and dual front-facing speakers, it also it has a Micro SD card slot for expanded storage. Pretty thick by current standards at 0.42 inches (10.7 mm), it’s easy to hold, if heavy. Continue reading

How-to: Buy a Tablet Autumn 2013 Part 1

1st gen Comparison iPad Mini & Google Nexus 7 & Kindle Fire Wikipedia screen, Tablet comparison: Amazon Kindle Fire (left), Apple iPad Mini (center) and Google Nexus 7 (right), Own work by Mariordo (Mario Roberto Durán Ortiz) via WikimediaCommonsThe tablet is here. It’s not just a fad. It’s here to stay. You can claim that Apple created a market out of nothing, or you could say that Captain Kirk showed us the way back in 1967.

What’s true is that the tablet is now a massive market. Every device manufacturer is making one, from the me-too iPad wanabees to the genuine attempts to beat Apple with something better, cheaper, faster. Everyone from doctors, lawyers, students, plumbers, the PC-averse to the couch- potato is finding a use for tablet devices (I’m not even going to call it a PC).

Which is why, on a visit to a recent trade show, I discovered how diverse the tablet market now is… Continue reading