When Amazon entered the tablet game with the original Kindle Fire, we all kind of chuckled at the idea of it being a reasonable entry into the market. With each iteration, though, those silly Fire tablets have gotten more and more powerful, and each edition of Fire OS has brought new features that proved to actually be useful. While Fire Phone may have been a flop, the Fire tablets are still very much alive, and the newest editions are better than ever.
The Nexus 9. For many of us, it is the chosen Android tablet. It's setting out to change the landscape (literally, to portrait 4:3). It's Google's first big tablet since the Nexus 10, back in the landscape orientation days. It's built in cooperation with HTC, a company whose few tablets to date have been utter flops. It looks like a giant Nexus 5. No really, it looks like a giant Nexus 5 so much it's a little weird.
Let's talk about massively huge tablets. When's the last time you said to yourself, "you know, I sure wish Google would make a Nexus 20...?" Probably never. You know why? Because as adults, we want tablets to be portable, utilitarian devices. Kids, though? Those crazy little humans don't care about utility or portability. They only care about maximum fun. So really, it only makes sense that a bigger screen = more funnerer, right?
I know a lot of people with kids. And from those people, one of the most common questions I get (especially this time of year) is "what's a good tablet for my child?" In the past there has only been one answer to that: Fuhu's nabi. The age of the child has a lot to do with my recommendation, of course, as there are different nabi series for varying ages. But the point is the same: the nabi has been the reigning champ of kids' tablets.
Two months ago, we looked at the newest member of the SHIELD family, NVIDIA's SHIELD Tablet. This eight-inch beast is one of the first devices to feature NVIDIA's screaming fast Tegra K1 processor, which makes it not only a killer gaming tablet, but an all-around great digital sidekick for general use. I've used it for everything from Trine 2 gaming sessions on the TV (in Console Mode) to writing full reviews with an external keyboard, and it has been up to the task every time.
It's no big secret that I'm a huge fan of NVIDIA's SHIELD. In fact, I believe I called it my favorite device from last year on a recent podcast, a claim that I readily stand behind. To me, it shows how versatile Android can be, despite the fact that the unit itself is essentially a one trick pony (it's damn good at that one trick, though).
Then there's NVIDIA's second foray into device design, the Tegra Note 7.
There's no denying that Samsung's current tablet lineup is a convoluted, confusing mess for anyone outside of the tech circle – just in the current run we have the Galaxy Tab 4 7, 8, 10.1; Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition, Galaxy Note Pro 12.2, Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1/12.2, and now the newest member of the family, the Galaxy Tab S. Deep down, I still wish they would've named it the Galaxy S Tab, just so we could call it the Galaxy Stab.
While many budget smartphones have come a long way in proving that "affordable" no longer necessarily means "bad" over the past few years (Moto G, anyone?), the budget tablet is still oftentimes a gamble. On one hand, devices like the Nexus 7 provide a fantastic user experience for not a lot of moneydollars; on the other, there are devices like the Snakebyte Vyper that basically verify the saying "you get what you pay for." Of course, some manufacturers – like ASUS, for example – seem to have a better handle on the art of building usable, affordable tablets.