Criticized largely for a high starting price point only $50 less than the Apple iPad mini with Retina display, the 8.3-inch LG G Pad 8.3 Tablet is otherwise highly regarded for its great specs and unique features. For photographers, the tablet offers a couple of interesting camera functions. The volume keys can be used to snap the shutter or, unlike other tablets, to zoom, and the 5 MP camera sensor is backside-illuminated for higher light sensitivity. As the G Pad 8.3 is Wi-Fi only, the QPair feature is notable because it enables connection of a G Pad to any Android smartphone running 4.1 Jelly Bean or later via Bluetooth, as well as Wi-Fi hotspotting through supporting cell phone carriers. This gives you access to the Internet from the G Pad 8.3 through your cell phone signal. Calls and messages can be shared between the devices, too. An IR module is included for controlling TVs and other electronics through the QREMOTE function, and up to eight individual users are supported for settings and parental controls. The Google Nexus 7 is less expensive and slightly faster, but the LG G is otherwise a soundly designed tablet with a fast Snapdragon 600 quad-core processor and, unlike the Nexus 7, it houses a microSD Memory Slot that will support up to an additional 64 GB.
|8.3-inch G Pad 8.3 Tablet
Resolution: 1920×1200, 273 ppi
Dimensions: 8.54×4.98×0.37 inches
Weight: 0.75 pounds
Battery Life: N/A
Camera: 5 MP AF BSI rear, 1.3 MP front
Available Models: 16 GB (Wi-Fi only)
List Price: Begins at $349
If you’re looking to replace a laptop with a tablet, Microsoft’s Surface Pro 2 is designed to function effortlessly as both. Running Windows 8.1, the Surface Pro 2 is backward-compatible with Windows-based software, including many of the legacy image-editing programs available for PCs. The backlit, detachable keyboard is available as a flat Touch Cover 2 model or in a more typical Type Cover 2 version, but the purchase is optional, adding an extra $135 or $199, depending on which keyboard you like. (Less expensive models are also available, but they lack backlighting.)
The keyboards won’t work wirelessly without the optional Bluetooth Wireless Adapter, at an additional $59. There’s an included stylus pen, however, and a built-in kickstand will accommodate two different angles for hands-free viewing. A Docking Station is also available at $199, adding USB 3.0/2.0, Ethernet, display and audio ports. The Surface Pro 2 setup is heavier than most other tablets, but on the other hand, it’s also lighter than the majority of laptops (which offer bigger screens). At roughly half the price, Microsoft also offers the Surface 2, but it only runs Windows RT, a bare-bones software package that won’t work with older Windows programs, though it’s compatible with apps from the Windows Store. There are also built-in photo tools and, unlike the Surface Pro 2, Office 2013 is included.
|10.6-inch Surface Pro 2
Dimensions: 10.81×6.81×0.53 inches
Weight: 2 pounds
Battery Life: Up to 10 hours, 6 hours standard usage
Camera: Two 720p HD video cameras, front- and rear-facing
Available Models: 64 GB, 128 GB, 256 GB or 512 GB (Wi-Fi only)
List Price: Begins at $899
Samsung’s NX300M smart camera is the first offering from the company to run their new open-source operating system called Tizen, hinting that the electronics giant is about to get a lot less Android. In the meantime, the Samsung Galaxy series of cameras, tablets and smartphones are some of the best products that the Android system has to offer, with a versatile selection of models and sizes, including a couple made specifically for kids.
For photographers, the top-of-the-line 2014 version of the Galaxy Note 10.1 packs in the performance and capabilities that make it a standout tablet in a crowded Android market. The Note 10.1 includes a newly enhanced S Stylus digitizing pen to add notes and make selections or to work with images or the enhanced multitasking and shortcuts abilities of the tablet. Multi Window, for example, offers a split screen of two running apps at once.
Many (including patent courts) consider Samsung’s external and internal tablet designs to be on par with Apple, but the tablet bests Apple’s products by including a microSDXC card slot for an extra 64 GB of storage and an IR module for use as a universal remote control. The 8 MP rear and 2 MP front cameras also offer bigger resolution than most other tablets. The Galaxy Note 10.1 is Wi-Fi only, but Samsung also offers a number of Galaxy Tab and Galaxy Note 7-inch, 8-inch and 10.1-inch tablets in 4G/LTE for cellular compatibility. The Note products include a stylus while the Tab models do not.
|10.1-inch Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014)
Resolution: 2560×1600, 299 ppi
Dimensions: 9.6×6.8×0.3 inches
Weight: 1.19 pounds
Battery Life: 9 hours standard usage
Camera: 8 MP rear, 2 MP front
Available Models: 16 GB or 32 GB (Wi-Fi only)
List Price: Begins at $599