ASUS offers a versatile selection of Android-based tablets like their Transformer Pad line of hybrid tablets and laptops. These feature a detachable, full-sized keyboard and touchpad, as well as capacitative touch-screen operation for a hands-on experience. The 13.3-inch Transformer Book Trio adds to the capabilities by converting from tablet to laptop via the PC station dock, which can also run as a full desktop computer capable of Windows 8, and ideal for photo- and video-editing needs, you can add an extra external monitor through the Micro HDMI and Mini DisplayPort video outputs. You can even use the computer and tablet separately at the same time. As a
tablet, the Trio runs Android 4.2 with up to a 64 GB solid-state drive. Connecting the keyboard converts the system into a fully functioning Ultrabook laptop with two USB 3.0 ports, up to a 1 TB internal hard drive and its own CPU processors, as well as 4 GB of RAM. System files and settings are shared between the two devices.
There are three other 10.1-inch Transformer Pad computers available in the line with similar transformative abilities, like the bargain-priced Transformer Book T100 with quad-core processing. Their Vivo Tab assortment of laptops will also separate into a tablet with accompanying Wacom Digitizer stylus, only both tablet and computer are based on Windows 8. (A Windows RT model is also available.) ASUS also manufactures a selection of portable MeMO Pad tablets in 10.1-inch, 8-inch and 7-inch models, including the new MeMO Pad 8, MeMO Pad 10 and the FHD 10. The MeMO Pad HD 7 offers many of the same features of the Google Nexus 7, which ASUS also manufactures, at $80 less in price. Unlike the Nexus 7, the HD 7 also has a microSD slot for expanding capacity.
|11.6-inch Transformer Book Trio
Resolution: 16:9 IPS Full HD (1920×1080) with 10-point multi-touch (optional)
Dimensions: 12×7.63×0.25 inches (tablet); 12×7.63×0.53 inches (PC station)
Weight: 1.54 pounds (tablet); 4.41 pounds (PC station)
Battery Life: 13 hours battery life in Android and 5 hours in Windows 8 mode (with separate batteries)
Camera: Rear 5 MP with autofocus and 1080p full HD video recording, front
720p HD camera
Available Models: 16 GB, 32 GB or 64 GB tablet and 500 GB, 750 GB or 1 TB HDD capacity in the Windows 8 PC Station/laptop
List Price: N/A
The Google Play store of applications and media for your mobile Android-based devices is also home to Google’s Nexus family of mobile products, including the first tablet to sport the latest Jelly Bean 4.3 iteration, the Nexus 7, which now includes multiple profile settings with parental controls. The Nexus 7 saw an update this year with a slimmed-down profile and very fast quad-core processing for this size of tablet, although it comes with a slight price bump over last year’s model. But that gains you wireless charging, incredibly high screen resolution and new stereo speakers at what’s still considered to be a bargain price for such cutting-edge capabilities. Several bands of LTE frequencies, GSM/EDGE and HSPA+ support are included for versatile carrier support, and there’s also a European option for worldwide use. For larger needs, the 10-inch Nexus 10 offers 2560×1600 resolution at 300 ppi in 16 GB or 32 GB models.
|7-inch Nexus 7
Resolution: 1920×1200, 323 ppi
Dimensions: 4.49×7.87×0.34 inches
Weight: 0.64 pounds (Wi-Fi), 0.66 pounds (4G LTE)
Battery Life: 9 hours standard usage
Camera: 5 MP rear-facing, 1.2 MP front-facing
Available Models: 16 GB (Wi-Fi only), 32 GB in Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi + LTE Unlocked
List Price: Begins at $229
Carriers: AT&T, T-Mobile
The Android-based Yoga Tablet from Lenovo is available in 8-inch and 10-inch models that are identical (including the screen resolution) except for the size. As the "Yoga" name suggests, they offer an ergonomic form factor for viewing media, with a battery cylinder situated in the spine of the device that centers the weight for handholding while also extending battery life. A "kickstand" is integrated into the spine for tilting or standing the tablet, and there’s also a microSD slot that will support up to 64 GB of additional storage. Most of the other specs aren’t as advanced as other current tablets, but the low entry price makes the Yoga a solid economical choice. An optional BKC600 Bluetooth wireless keyboard and cover is available for the Yoga 10 for $69.
Starting at just under $500, Lenovo also offers 10.1-inch and 11.6-inch Windows 8-based tablets including the Lenovo MIIX 10, Ideatab Lynx, Thinkpad Helix and Thinkpad Tablet 2. These tablets house laptop or digital pen capabilities in addition to better specifications. For straightforward media enjoyment, the Ideatab line of Android-based tablets is priced extremely aggressively, starting at $165.
|8-inch Yoga Tablet 8 and 10-inch Yoga Tablet 10
Resolution: 1280×800 (both); 209 ppi (Yoga Tablet 8); 167 ppi
(Yoga Tablet 10)
Dimensions: 8.4×5.7×0.1-0.3 inches (Yoga Tablet 8); 10.3×7.1×0.1-0.3 inches (Yoga Tablet 10)
Weight: 0.88 pounds (Yoga Tablet 8); 1.33 pounds (Yoga Tablet 10)
Battery Life: 18 hours of Wi-Fi web browsing
Camera: 5 MP rear camera, 1.6 MP HD front camera
Available Models: 16 GB or 32 GB (Wi-Fi only)
List Price: Begins at $249 (Yoga Tablet 8); Begins at $299 (Yoga Tablet 10)