Prescribing the best tablet on the market

There are plenty of tablets around to tempt you, but which one is the best for your needs?

Thu, Apr 17, 2014, 01:10

It’s probably easier to get away with waving your smaller screened tablet around a bit at family occasions, although it will still come across as a bit clumsy. All three tablets offer 5 megapixel cameras, so there is little to differentiate them.

When it comes to video conferencing, the Nexus 7 has a 1.2 megapixel front-facing camera, versus the LG’s 1.3 megapixel offering. The iPad Mini, meanwhile, sticks with 1.2MP too. That leaves the LG just about leading the pack in the smaller screened tablet here.


Capacity
The iPad Air doen’t allow you to expand the onboard memory, so you have the choice of 16GB, 32GB, 64GB and 128GB. That’s a flaw, particularly for people who want to work on their tablets. And even with cloud storage, it’s not always feasible to connect to the internet to access extra storage. However, both the HP Omni and the Z2 have the capacity to expand their storage, from 16Gb in the Xperia’s case and 32GB in the Omni, with a microSD that expands storage by up to 128GB in the Xperia and 64GB in the Omni.

The Nexus 7 is also limited in its storage capacity. The 16GB and 32GB options also have to contend with an OS that takes up a chunk of space. And there is no expansion slot either. Ditto for the iPad Mini, although the options go up to 128GB, if you are feeling flush.

Step forward LG, which may only offer 16GB of space out of the box, but the expansion slot adds another 64GB, and is cheaper than the iPad Mini Retina, which costs an additional €180 to get it to 64GB capacity. Options are good, making LG the winner on this occasion.


Software
It’s mainly iOS 7 versus Android here, and it’s a battle that is sure to divide tablet users everywhere.

On the plus side for iOS 7, you’ve got the sheer weight of apps that are developed for the platform. Plus it’s relatively stable, despite some niggles, and the apps in its store are vetted more closely.

However, customisation and individuality isn’t something that Apple appears to encourage in its interface. While Android users are adding widgets and other useful items to their desktops, Apple users are stuck with creating folders and changing their background screen. And unless you want to jailbreak your phone, you can’t go looking elsewhere for apps, unlike Android.

The HP Omni, meanwhile, offers full Windows 8.1. Not RT, Windows 8.1. That’s a massive point in its favour compared to other Windows tablets, as you aren’t limited to just Windows Store software. However, Windows 8 is still finding its feet among consumers, which could limit its appeal.


The verdict
While the iPad Air is certainly a nice piece of kit, it’s eclipsed in many ways by the Xperia Z2, giving Sony the edge over the Apple product, with the Omni coming in third.

On the smaller screened debate, the LG G Pad takes top spot ahead of the iPad Mini.