Notebookcheck's Top 10 Tablets

Patrick Afschar (translated by Martina Osztovits), 09/06/2014

September 2014 update. Here you will find the current best tablets reviewed by Notebookcheck in the last few months. Our list of top models is regularly updated, maintained and commented on and should assist in purchasing decisions.

 

For the original German article, see here.

Almost every manufacturer of notebooks or smartphones now offers at least one and sometimes several tablets. This development is not really surprising, as the mobile browsing, mail, and gaming companions have taken a good chunk out of overall notebook sales. It is not only the premium manufacturers that are trying to take advantage of this trend, but also the cheaper brands. Most of these use inexpensive components manufactured in China, tend to emulate successful designs, and compete predominantly on price. So far, none of the bargain-basement tablets has managed to earn a spot in our exclusive Top 10 list, which is dominated by the stalwarts and led by the big players of the industry.

Notebookcheck Tablet Charts as of September 2014

#Date%ModelWeightDisplayCPUGPURAMCardreaderPrice/Buy
111/1390%Apple iPad Air0.464 kg9.7" 2048x1536 glossyApple A7PowerVR G64301 GBnofrom $467
204/1489%Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.40.331 kg8.4" 2560x1600 glossyQualcomm Snapdragon 800 MSM8974Qualcomm Adreno 3302 GByesfrom $349
-11/1389%Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition0.535 kg10.1" 2560x1600 glossyQualcomm Snapdragon 800 MSM8974Qualcomm Adreno 3303 GByesfrom $479
-11/1389%Apple iPad Mini Retina0.328 kg7.9" 2048X1536 glossyApple A7PowerVR G64301 GBnofrom $354
new08/1488%Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.50.470 kg10.5" 2560x1600 glossySamsung Exynos 5420 OctaARM Mali-T628 MP63 GByesfrom $499
-03/1488%Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 LTE0.477 kg10.1" 2560x1600 glossyQualcomm Snapdragon 800 MSM8974Qualcomm Adreno 3302 GByesfrom $589
705/1487%Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet0.425 kg10.1" 1920x1200 glossyQualcomm Snapdragon 801 APQ8074ABQualcomm Adreno 3303 GByesfrom $515
-04/1487%Asus Transformer Pad TF701T0.584 kg10.1" 2560x1600 glossyNvidia Tegra 4NVIDIA GeForce Tegra 42 GByesfrom $299
-03/1487%Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 LTE0.753 kg12.2" 2560x1600 glossyQualcomm Snapdragon 800 MSM8974Qualcomm Adreno 3303 GByesfrom $934
new08/1486%Huawei MediaPad X1 7.00.239 kg7.0" 1920x1200 glossyHiSilicon Kirin 910ARM Mali-450 MP42 GByesfrom €389
-03/1486%Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.20.750 kg12.2" 2560x1600 glossySamsung Exynos 5420 OctaARM Mali-T6283 GByesfrom $749

Top 10 during the last 11 months at the time of writing; most recent reviews are listed first

#Date%ModelWeightDisplayCPUGPURAMCardreaderPrice/Buy
new08/1483%Huawei MediaPad M1 8.00.341 kg8.0" 1280x800 glossyHiSilicon Kirin 910ARM Mali-450 MP41 GByesfrom €207
new08/1483%Dell Venue 7 LTE0.295 kg7.0" 1280x800 glossyIntel Atom Z3460PowerVR G64002 GByes
new08/1483%Asus Transformer Pad TF303CL-1D050A0.595 kg10.1" 1920x1200 glossyIntel Atom Z3745Intel HD Graphics (Bay Trail)2 GByesfrom $249
new08/1482%Medion Lifetab S103340.580 kg10.1" 1920x1200 glossyRockchip RK3188ARM Mali-400 MP42 GByesfrom €199
new08/1482%HP ElitePad 1000 G20.680 kg10.1" 1920x1200 glossyIntel Atom Z3795Intel HD Graphics (Bay Trail)4 GByesfrom $675
new08/1479%Lenovo ThinkPad 10 Multimode0.576 kg10.1" 1920x1200 glossyIntel Atom Z3795Intel HD Graphics (Bay Trail)2 GByesfrom $608
new08/1476%Fujitsu Stylistic Q5840.660 kg10.1" 2560x1600 glossyIntel Atom Z3770Intel HD Graphics (Bay Trail)4 GByesfrom $875

Additional reviews during the month; most recent reviews are listed first

Editors' Comments

After a somewhat longer lean period, we had many tablets under review again. As much as nine test devices went through our tests in the past weeks. Many different manufacturers and devices across all categories from high-end to entry level were represented. Eagerly awaited, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 with the first Super-AMOLED display in the tablet range could show its capabilities. Aldi launched a new device, too. With, the Medion Lifetab S10334, they offer a very interesting alternative in its northern stores. The 200 Euro device will also be available at Aldi Süd from Thursday. The Huawei MediaPad X1 7.0, a compact upper class tablet from the Chinese with brilliant FullHD display, is also exciting. Asus and Dell were also represented in August with their current Android models. Fujitsu, HP, and Lenovo provided us with Windows tablets - all of them with Windows 8.1 and a 10.1 inch display.

The display makes the difference: Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5
The display makes the difference: Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5
Huawei on the rise: MediaPad X1 7.0
Huawei on the rise: MediaPad X1 7.0
One of many: Huawei MediaPad M1 8.0
One of many: Huawei MediaPad M1 8.0
LTE makes the difference: Dell Venue 7
LTE makes the difference: Dell Venue 7
Potential wasted: Asus Transformer Pad TF303CL
Potential wasted: Asus Transformer Pad TF303CL
Impulse sale: Medion Lifetab S10334
Impulse sale: Medion Lifetab S10334
Expensive pleasure: HP ElitePad 1000 G2
Expensive pleasure: HP ElitePad 1000 G2
Fair offer: Lenovo ThinkPad 10 Multimode
Fair offer: Lenovo ThinkPad 10 Multimode
Not for demanding tasks: Fujitsu Stylistic Q584
Not for demanding tasks: Fujitsu Stylistic Q584

The Apple iPad Air has already led our Top 10 for a while. Serious attacks on the lead especially came from Samsung in the previous months. In August, Samsung tried to displace the top model from Cupertino once again. For a change, the Galaxy Tab S does not bring the newest and fastest technology, but tries to score points with another important aspect of every tablet: the display. It is the first tablet with a Super-AMOLED display, which should not only shine with extremely high contrast, but also with crisp colors and wide viewing angles. And Samsung did not promise too much. Indeed, the display is the absolute highlight of the 10.5 inch tablet. But, the Tab S 10.5 can also convince in other aspects. The author for example liked the slim and elegant design, the long battery life, the high performance and the decent cameras. Finally, it could not take the lead because of its not absolutely uncompromising performance and some small points of critique. With S-Pen and USB-3.0 the attack on the lead would have been successful.

The Huawei MediaPad X1 7.0 did not mean to attack the lead in the first place. But, the Chinese created such a good tablet that the established models at least had to watch out. Even though among the lower places in our top list, it is still a great success for Huawei since there are only absolute high-end models from the top dogs in our Top 10. Seven inch tablets with FullHD are rare. Famous competitors are for example the Google Nexus 7 or the Apple iPad Mini Retina, whereas the latter is significantly more expensive. The LTPS display of the Huawei can easily keep up with the strong competition. The expandable memory is a clear advantage of the MediaPad X1. Further pros are very long battery runtimes and decent cameras. In addition, the X1 features LTE and so even is a bargain - if you can accept slightly lower performance, an older Android version, and poor speakers.

The Huawei MediaPad M1 8.0 brings a slightly bigger display for significantly less money. But, the resolution is "only" 1280 x 800 and it lacks LTE. Meanwhile it uses the same technology than the X1 - with the same disadvantages. The display cannot keep up with the great display of the X1 at all. Nevertheless, the MediaPad M1 is not a bad tablet. Despite rare stuttering, the performance is decent, and the battery lasts long. In addition, the expandable memory increases the flexibility. The biggest problem of the Huawei MediaPad M1 8.0: There are many competitors in this price and performance class.

The Dell Venue 7 LTE is one of these. Other than the Huawei tablets, the Venue 7 uses the latest Android version. In terms of features, the 7 inch tablet is kind of a mix from the two Huawei tablets: LTE and HD resolution for a fair price. An Intel Atom SoC with a clock rate of 1.6 GHz without Hyperthreading technology is responsible for computational tasks. In addition, it features 2 GB of RAM and a 16 GB flash memory. In the end, the Dell Venue is not completely convincing. While it delivers a good graphics performance and fast wireless connectivity, the build quality could be better and the fact that apps cannot be moved to the memory card slightly reduces the usability. Alike the Huawei MediaPad M8, the Dell Venue 7 LTE also has many competitors, but contrary to most of these it features an LTE modem.

The Asus Transformer Pad TF303CL also features an Intel SoC, but one with four cores. The TF303 ranks very high in the portfolio of the Taiwanese with its powerful processor, 2 GB of RAM and its FullHD IPS display. We had the model with keyboard dock under review. The same things are striking than in its smaller brother, the TF103: Despite high weight, the dock does not house a supplement battery. In our view, this is hard to understand since it would greatly improve battery life and mobility of the otherwise good concept. The result is still nothing to sneeze at since the Transformer Pad has many pros including high performance, integrated radio module and vast connectivity with HDMI and full-sized USB-port. However, we did not like the modest battery runtimes, the not very bright display, and the modest cameras. Keyboard and touchpad could also be better.

Certainly, the Medion Lifetab S10334 also brings these features, but especially cameras and GPS module are weak. However, it is hard to find a comparable offer for 200 Euro. Once again, Aldi created a balanced bundle with powerful hardware, appealing features, and - very important - without real disadvantages. The high-res IPS display performs very well and the tablet basically runs smoothly. Unfortunately, the internal memory is extremely slow, but you'll only seldom notice this. All things considered, Medion currently offers one of the best tablets in terms of price performance ratio.

HP demands a steep price of 1000 Euro for its premium tablet ElitePad 1000 G2. For this price, buyers may expect much. The HP features a very fast Intel SoC, 4 GB of RAM, and a high-res IPS display. The operating system is 64-bit Windows 8.1 Pro. The used materials meet the premium claim: high-end aluminum everywhere. However, the build quality could be better - and so can the limited connectivity and the weak 3D performance. But, the long battery life, the many optional accessories, and the big memory capacity are great. The high price might discourage many prospectives from buying.

The Lenovo ThinkPad 10 Multimode is already available for 400 Euro less. It is also a 10.1 inch tablet with high-res display and fully-fledged Windows. While, the RAM capacity is only half the HP's, they feature the same SoC. Optionally, there is also a model with 4 GB of RAM and Windows 8.1 Pro. Our test model come with 32-bit Windows 8.1. A keyboard dock is already included. Overall, the Lenovo ThinkPad 10 does not completely achieve the result of the significantly more expensive HP tablet. Battery life and mobility are very high and the display is bright. But we did not like that the performance already falls with moderate load and that it lacks USB-3.0. In addition, the keyboard dock is not foldable.

Does the Fujitsu Stylistic Q584 with extremely high resolution perform better? Not really. 2560 x 1600 pixels ensure razor sharp images and the 10.1 inch tablet also makes many other things right. But, you may expect better build quality and a bigger memory for an RRP of above 1400 Euro. In addition, docking station and keyboard are only optional despite high price. Meanwhile, the Fujitsu is well equipped with Windows 8.1 Pro and USB 3.0. In addition, Fujitsu grants a 36 months warranty.

 

Award: Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 does not delight with extreme performance. Instead it brings the first Super-AMOLED display in the tablet range. With the first glance at the brilliant display the following question arises: Why not earlier? Photos and videos profit that much from its high contrast and deep black that currently no other tablet can keep up. Since the Samsung is also otherwise generously equipped, its build quality leaves hardly anything to be desired and the performance is completely sufficient for all tasks, the Galaxy Tab S got our "Editor’s Choice" award.

Award: Huawei MediaTab X1 7.0

It is the first time that Huawei has won one of our awards - absolutely rightly. The MediaPad X1 7.0 already arouse great interest in advance. It mostly fulfilled the high expectations in our test. The Chinese provided us with a good tablet with appealing performance, great display, and fast LTE for below 400 Euro. Particularly in the mid range such combinations are rare. You should forgive the X1 that it stutters every now and then. All things considered, you'll get a lot of tablet for a fair price, which will certainly drop even more. So, we gave it our "Best Value" award.

Recent Tablet Awards

Best Value in September 2014: Huawei MediaPad X1 7.0
Best Value in September 2014: Huawei MediaPad X1 7.0
Editor's Choice in September 2014: Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5
Editor's Choice in September 2014: Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5
Editor's Choice in June 2014: Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet
Editor's Choice in June 2014: Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet
Editor's Choice in April 2014: Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
Editor's Choice in April 2014: Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
Editor's Choice in March 2014: Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 LTE
Editor's Choice in March 2014: Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 LTE
Editor's Choice in February 2014: HP Slate 8 Pro 7600eg
Editor's Choice in February 2014: HP Slate 8 Pro 7600eg
Editor's Choice in January 2014: Toshiba Encore WT8
Editor's Choice in January 2014: Toshiba Encore WT8
Editor's Choice in November 2013: Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1
Editor's Choice in November 2013: Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1

Automated top 10 list updated daily


of the last 9 months
1
89% v4
NVIDIA Shield Tablet
NVIDIA Shield Tablet
Nvidia Shield Tablet with Tegra K1 Review
NVIDIA Tegra K1, NVIDIA GeForce ULP K1 (Tegra K1 Kepler GPU), 09/13/2014
2
89% v4
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 Tablet Review
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 Tablet Review
Samsung Exynos 5420 Octa, ARM Mali-T628 MP6, 09/09/2014
3
89% v4
Review Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 Wi-Fi Tablet
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
Review Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 Wi-Fi Tablet
Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 MSM8974, Qualcomm Adreno 330, 04/09/2014
4
88% v4
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 Tablet Review
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 Tablet Review
Samsung Exynos 5420 Octa, ARM Mali-T628 MP6, 08/19/2014
5
88% v4
Double-Review Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 Tablet
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 WiFi-Version
Double-Review Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 Tablet
Samsung Exynos 5420 Octa, ARM Mali-T628 MP6, 03/19/2014
6
87% v4
Review Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet
Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet
Review Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet
Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 APQ8074AB, Qualcomm Adreno 330, 05/13/2014
7
87% v4
Review Asus Transformer Pad TF701T Tablet
Asus Transformer Pad TF701T
Review Asus Transformer Pad TF701T Tablet
NVIDIA Tegra 4, NVIDIA GeForce Tegra 4, 05/06/2014
8
87% v4
Review Update Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 LTE (SM-P905) Tablet
Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 LTE (SM-P905)
Review Update Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 LTE (SM-P905) Tablet
Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 MSM8974, Qualcomm Adreno 330, 03/25/2014
9
86% v4
Huawei MediaPad X1 7.0 Tablet Review
Huawei MediaPad X1
Huawei MediaPad X1 7.0 Tablet Review
Kirin 910, ARM Mali-450 MP4, 09/03/2014
10
86% v4
Review Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 Tablet
Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2
Review Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 Tablet
Samsung Exynos 5420 Octa, ARM Mali-T628 MP6, 03/12/2014

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Notebookcheck's Top 10 Tablets
Author: Patrick Afschar, 2014-09- 6 (Update: 2014-09- 6)