Notebookcheck

Notebookcheck's Top 10 Tablets

Patrick Afschar (translated by Martina Osztovits), 11/17/2014

November 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 November 2014

#ScoreDateModelWeightHeightSizeResolutionRatioOS
190%11/13
Apple iPad Air
Apple A7
PowerVR G6430
1 GB RAM
from $388 at Amazon
464 g7.5 mm9.72048x15364:3iOS
289%

10/14

new!

Nvidia Shield Tablet LTE P1761
Nvidia Tegra K1
Nvidia Tegra K1 Kepler GPU
2 GB RAM
from $299 at Amazon
371 g9.2 mm8.01600x120016:10Android
389%

09/14

Nvidia Shield Tablet P1761W
Nvidia Tegra K1
Nvidia Tegra K1 Kepler GPU
2 GB RAM
from $299 at Amazon

371 g9.2 mm8.01600x120016:10Android
489%

09/14

Samsung Galaxy S 8.4
Samsung Exynos 5420 Octa
ARM Mali-T628 MP6
3 GB RAM
from $389 at Amazon
301 g6.6 mm8.42560x160016:9Android
589%04/14Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
Qualcomm Snapdragon 800
Qualcomm Adreno 330
2 GB RAM
from $349 at Amazon
331 g7.2 mm8.42560x160016:10Android
689%11/13Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1
Qualcomm Snapdragon 800
Qualcomm Adreno 330
3 GB RAM
from $479 at Amazon
535 g7.9 mm10.12560x160016:9Android
789%

11/13

Apple iPad Mini Retina
Apple A7
PowerVR G6430
1 GB RAM
from $295 at Amazon
328 g7.5 mm7.92048x15364:3iOS
888%

10/14

new!

Apple iPad Mini 3
Apple A7
PowerVR G6430
1 GB RAM
from $615 at Amazon

331 g7.5 mm7.92048x15364:3iOS
988%08/14Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5
Samsung Exynos 5420 Octa
ARM Mali T628 MP6
3 GB RAM
from $368 at Amazon
470 g6.6 mm10.52560x160016:9Android
1088%03/14Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1
Qualcomm Snapdragon 800
Qualcomm Adreno 330
2 GB RAM
from $505 at Amazon
477 g7.3 mm10.12560x160016:10Android

Top 10 during the last 12 months at the time of writing; most recent reviews are listed first

Editors' Comments

We reviewed six tablets in the past four weeks. So, this was quite a usual month in view of the number of reviewed tablets, but among them were quite exciting devices including the new iPad from Apple and the Shield Tablet with LTE from Nvidia. In addition, we reviewed devices from Asus and LG. Despite powerful newcomers, the device on place 1 remained the same, the first generation Apple iPad Air, which has been already replaced by the successor in the meanwhile. Since its price fell, it even became a kind of bargain.

 

Apple iPad Air
Apple iPad Air

1st

Even though the Retina display is not a unique feature anymore, and even though it was taken from the predecessor in the case of the iPad Air, Apple once again manages to offer an almost perfectly balanced package of hardware, software and operating system. The iPad Air is still the reference in terms of build quality. However, this does not apply if you are looking for a good maintainability or comprehensive connectivity (no SD card reader). The dimensions and the weight on the other hand are still among the best you can currently buy. However, some competitors are now on the same level. We will have to wait what the Apple iPad Air 2, which is expected for the end of October, can offer.

» read the review    » buy the tablet 

2nd

The Nvidia Shield Tablet LTE is the best newcomer in November. With it, the graphics card giant even has two tablets on the podium of our top list. Finally most of the things told about the WiFi model are also true for the LTE model. Apart from an LTE module, the buyer also gets double the internal storage capacity, which might be advantageous in view of the increasing memory demand of games. Alike with the WiFi model, the author praised the great gaming features and the extraordinary high performance. The small points of critique also remained the same: build quality and battery life should be improved.

» read the review    » buy the tablet 

Nvidia Shield Tablet
Nvidia Shield Tablet

3rd

With the Nvidia Shield we can see an unfamiliar manufacturer, which is not known for a larger number of consumer devices, on the podium of our Top 10. Nvidia usually offers some reference models from time to time to present their products. The Shield is therefore the first tablet with Nvidia's own Tegra K1 chip – and it can convince us completely. The gaming performance in particular is impressive. But the Shield is one of the best tablets in general, and it is obviously the first choice for gamers.

» read the review    » buy the tablet 

Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4

4th

A Samsung tablet once again manages to secure a spot on the podium of our Top 10. This is completely justified considering the great build quality, the high performance and the exceptional display of the Galaxy Tab S 8.4. If you are looking for a thin, light and perfectly constructed tablet, then it is hard to ignore the latest device from the South Korean manufacturer – especially with its unique WQHD panel in this size. The performance of Samsung's SoC is not without compromises, but more than decent in any case. The features with LTE, SD card slot and good cameras are convenient. A successful tablet without real drawbacks.

» read the review    » buy the tablet 

Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4

5th

Amongst an almost infinite number of Tablets from Samsung, the Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 manages to stand out with a convenient balance between the case and display quality, performance as well as battery runtimes. High-resolution display meets compact 8.4-inch form factor, equipped with high-end components.

» read the review    » buy the tablet 

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1

6th

The designation "Note" indicates Samsung devices that are focused on the operation with a digitizer pen, which is supposed to extend the usage scenarios with organizational and creative tasks in particular. The Note 10.1 wants to attract creative customers with its high-resolution display, powerful components and USB 3.0 port (besides micro SD slot). Another advantage is the battery runtime of more than 18 hours during web browsing. Gamers will like the powerful tablet with its great display as well.

» read the review    » buy the tablet 

Apple iPad Mini Retina
Apple iPad Mini Retina

7th

After the launch of the smaller sibling of the familiar iPad, we got the first update last year, which, amongst other, equipped the iPad Mini with the known high-resolution Retina display and a 64 bit CPU. Good things were improved even further. The 4:3 aspect ratio, which is still being used for the bigger iPad as well, still creates discussions. While movie enthusiasts prefer 16:10 or 16:9 screens, web browsing and productivity tasks benefit from the additional height – and the high Internet performance. The low weight is another advantage of the Apple iPad Mini Retina.

» read the review    » buy the tablet 

Apple iPad Mini Retina
Apple iPad Mini Retina

8th

In the meanwhile, Apple has the third generation of its small iPad in its portfolio and the Californians changed the designation again. Instead of Apple iPad Mini Retina 2 the new device is called Apple iPad Mini 3. The new designation cannot conceal the fact that almost nothing changed compared to the predecessor. The new Mini features the fingerprint sensor Touch ID now, is available with up to 128 GB storage and also in the colors gold/white. In addition, it got slightly more expensive. The innovations end here. Since the performance of the already old SoC is still high and the build quality excellent, the rating is still sufficient for a lower spot in our top list. For a better spot, Apple would have needed to improve more aspects. If you can do without 128 GB and Touch ID, the predecessor is currently even the better choice since its price fell.

» read the review    » buy the tablet

Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5

9th

The Galaxy Tab S is not equipped with the latest and greatest technology for a change, but tries to score points with the central element of every tablet: the display. It is the first time that a tablet uses a Super AMOLED display, which is supposed to convince customers with rich colors and wide viewing angles besides the extreme contrast. Samsung did not promise too much. The display is the absolute highlight of the 10.5-inch tablet, but the Tab S 10.1 is convincing in other sections as well. Our author liked the thin and elegant design, the long battery runtimes, the high performance and the decent cameras. A better spot was not possible because of the not perfect performance and some other small drawbacks.

» read the review    » buy the tablet 

Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1

10th

Samsung introduced a high-resolution WQXGA display (2,560 x 1,600) for its leading product line with the Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1. Powerful core components like the Snapdragon 800 CPU or Samsung's own Exynos Octa-Core version are almost a matter of course for a high-end tablet. All in all Samsung offers a balanced all-rounder. The LTE version with the Snapdragon SoC is slightly faster and offers a better mobility. The tablet is cheaper without LTE and Samsung's own octal-core CPU, which cannot really keep up with the performance of the Snapdragon 800. Both versions share the very long battery runtimes and the high resolution. The black value and the brightness distribution on the other hand are not perfect.

» read the review    » buy the tablet 

Recent Tablet Awards

Editor's Choice in October 2014: Nvidia Shield Tablet
Editor's Choice in October 2014: Nvidia Shield Tablet
Editor's Choice in October 2014: Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4
Editor's Choice in October 2014: Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4
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
 
 

Measurement Results

Apple iPad Air
NVIDIA Shield Tablet P1761W
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, 2014 Edition
Apple iPad mini Retina
Apple iPad Mini 3
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 WiFi-Version
Screen
Brightness Center473455258406414411357290380
Black Level *0.410.680.00.470.840.540.610.00.7
Contrast1154669864493761585543
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *2.823.883.663.434.113.323.352.374.4
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *1.453.382.511.512.531.112.092.034.52
Gamma *2.472.742.222.512.42.472.42.452.54
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)10055100
Heat
Maximum Upper Side *39.43636.238.535.637.036.739.638.2
Maximum Bottom *42.13839.139.334.138.436.736.436.6
Idle Upper Side *31.43229.830.833.333.134.930.131.6
Idle Bottom *30.03130.830.532.330.933.529.530.2
Battery Runtime
Reader / Idle14258561172125014581179121510941315
Load257128250201279221210333218
WiFi5533475447021105543533600885
H.264644442601612395533
Power Consumption
Idle Minimum *1.81.11.30.71.71.10.82.12.9
Idle Average *5.92.61.62.65.73.93.93.47.6
Idle Maximum *7.12.72.63.46.54.143.98.0
Load Average *7.54.27.18.77.967.27.410.1
Load Maximum *10.45.59.510.410.78.37.810.411.2

* ... smaller is better

Benchmarks

GFXBench (DX / GLBenchmark) 2.7
1920x1080 T-Rex HD Offscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Apple iPad Air
27 fps ∼3%
NVIDIA Shield Tablet P1761W
66 fps ∼7%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4
22.8 fps ∼3%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
25.9 fps ∼3%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
25.9 fps ∼3%
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, 2014 Edition
24 fps ∼3%
Apple iPad mini Retina
27 fps ∼3%
Apple iPad Mini 3
22.7 fps ∼3%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5
22.8 fps ∼3%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 WiFi-Version
22.9 fps ∼3%
T-Rex HD Onscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Apple iPad Air
21 fps ∼32%
NVIDIA Shield Tablet P1761W
57 fps ∼88%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4
14.1 fps ∼22%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
17.1 fps ∼26%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
17.1 fps ∼26%
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, 2014 Edition
15 fps ∼23%
Apple iPad mini Retina
21 fps ∼32%
Apple iPad Mini 3
28.6 fps ∼44%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5
14 fps ∼22%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 WiFi-Version
13.9 fps ∼21%
AnTuTu Benchmark v4 - Total Score (sort by value)
NVIDIA Shield Tablet P1761W
42997 Points ∼100%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4
35262 Points ∼82%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
34160 Points ∼79%
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, 2014 Edition
35455 Points ∼82%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5
35010 Points ∼81%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 WiFi-Version
34217 Points ∼80%
Linpack Android / IOS
Single Thread (sort by value)
Apple iPad Air
557.99 MFLOPS ∼55%
NVIDIA Shield Tablet P1761W
673 MFLOPS ∼66%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4
384.557 MFLOPS ∼38%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
379.336 MFLOPS ∼37%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
379.336 MFLOPS ∼37%
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, 2014 Edition
455.616 MFLOPS ∼45%
Apple iPad mini Retina
536.03 MFLOPS ∼52%
Apple iPad Mini 3
887 MFLOPS ∼87%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5
382.801 MFLOPS ∼37%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 WiFi-Version
391.745 MFLOPS ∼38%
Multi Thread (sort by value)
Apple iPad Air
977.31 MFLOPS ∼40%
NVIDIA Shield Tablet P1761W
726 MFLOPS ∼30%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4
770.167 MFLOPS ∼32%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
664.042 MFLOPS ∼27%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
664.042 MFLOPS ∼27%
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, 2014 Edition
916.667 MFLOPS ∼38%
Apple iPad mini Retina
998.18 MFLOPS ∼41%
Apple iPad Mini 3
1480 MFLOPS ∼61%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5
770.167 MFLOPS ∼32%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 WiFi-Version
648.718 MFLOPS ∼27%
Geekbench 3
32 Bit Single-Core Score (sort by value)
Apple iPad Air
1479 Points ∼32%
NVIDIA Shield Tablet P1761W
1127 Points ∼24%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4
935 Points ∼20%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
915 Points ∼20%
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, 2014 Edition
956 Points ∼21%
Apple iPad mini Retina
1393 Points ∼30%
Apple iPad Mini 3
1373 Points ∼29%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5
920 Points ∼20%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 WiFi-Version
901 Points ∼19%
32 Bit Multi-Core Score (sort by value)
Apple iPad Air
2687 Points ∼17%
NVIDIA Shield Tablet P1761W
3495 Points ∼22%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4
2797 Points ∼17%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
2782 Points ∼17%
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, 2014 Edition
2995 Points ∼19%
Apple iPad mini Retina
2512 Points ∼16%
Apple iPad Mini 3
2479 Points ∼15%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5
2712 Points ∼17%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 WiFi-Version
2707 Points ∼17%
Peacekeeper - --- (sort by value)
Apple iPad Air
1855 Points ∼30%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4
859 Points ∼14%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
876 Points ∼14%
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, 2014 Edition
909 Points ∼15%
Apple iPad mini Retina
1724 Points ∼28%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5
851 Points ∼14%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 WiFi-Version
860 Points ∼14%
Octane V2 - Total Score (sort by value)
Apple iPad Air
5113 Points ∼14%
NVIDIA Shield Tablet P1761W
6777 Points ∼18%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4
4376 Points ∼12%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
4065 Points ∼11%
Apple iPad mini Retina
5180 Points ∼14%
Apple iPad Mini 3
5722 Points ∼15%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5
4588 Points ∼12%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 WiFi-Version
4076 Points ∼11%
Sunspider - 1.0 Total Score (sort by value)
Apple iPad Air
385.5 ms * ∼10%
NVIDIA Shield Tablet P1761W (Android 4.4)
458 ms * ∼11%
NVIDIA Shield Tablet P1761W (Chrome 36)
525 ms * ∼13%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4
1067.1 ms * ∼27%
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, 2014 Edition
632.6 ms * ∼16%
Apple iPad mini Retina
271.8 ms * ∼7%
Apple iPad Mini 3
440 ms * ∼11%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5
1112.1 ms * ∼28%
WebXPRT 2013 - Overall Score (sort by value)
Apple iPad Air
563 Points ∼39%
NVIDIA Shield Tablet P1761W
530 Points ∼37%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4
309 Points ∼22%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
360 Points ∼25%
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, 2014 Edition
233 Points ∼16%
Apple iPad mini Retina
519 Points ∼36%
Apple iPad Mini 3
533 Points ∼37%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5
306 Points ∼21%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 WiFi-Version
284 Points ∼20%

Legend

 
Apple iPad Air Apple A7, PowerVR G6430, 16 GB iNAND Flash
 
NVIDIA Shield Tablet P1761W Nvidia Tegra K1, NVIDIA Tegra K1 Kepler GPU, 16 GB iNAND Flash
 
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 Samsung Exynos 5420 Octa, ARM Mali-T628 MP6, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 MSM8974, Qualcomm Adreno 330, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, 2014 Edition Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 MSM8974, Qualcomm Adreno 330, 16 GB SSD
 
Apple iPad mini Retina Apple A7, PowerVR G6430, 16 GB iNAND Flash
 
Apple iPad Mini 3 Apple A7, PowerVR G6430, 16 GB iNAND Flash
 
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 Samsung Exynos 5420 Octa, ARM Mali-T628 MP6, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 WiFi-Version Samsung Exynos 5420 Octa, ARM Mali-T628 MP6, 16 GB eMMC Flash

* ... smaller is better

Automated top 10 list updated daily


of the last 9 months
1
89% v4
Nvidia Shield Tablet LTE
NVIDIA Shield Tablet LTE P1761
Nvidia Shield Tablet LTE Review Update
NVIDIA Tegra K1, NVIDIA GeForce ULP K1 (Tegra K1 Kepler GPU), 10/11/2014
2
89% v4
NVIDIA Shield Tablet
NVIDIA Shield Tablet P1761W
Nvidia Shield Tablet with Tegra K1 Review
NVIDIA Tegra K1, NVIDIA GeForce ULP K1 (Tegra K1 Kepler GPU), 09/13/2014
3
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
4
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
5
88% v4
Apple iPad Mini 3 Tablet Review
Apple iPad Mini 3
Apple iPad Mini 3 Tablet Review
Apple A7, Imagination PowerVR G6430, 11/06/2014
6
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
7
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
8
87% v4
First Impressions: Apple iPad Air 2 Tablet in Review
Apple iPad Air 2
First Impressions: Apple iPad Air 2 Tablet in Review
Apple A8X, Imagination PowerVR GXA6850, 10/26/2014
9
87% v4
Asus Memo Pad 7 (ME572CL) Tablet Review Update
Asus MeMO Pad 7 (ME572CL)
Asus Memo Pad 7 (ME572CL) Tablet Review Update
Intel Atom Z3560, Imagination PowerVR G6430, 10/18/2014
10
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
Read all 2 comments / answer
static version load dynamic
Loading comments

Comment this article:

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Notebookcheck's Top 10 Tablets
Author: Patrick Afschar, 2014-11-17 (Update: 2014-11-17)