With Christmas just around the corner , we will soon be singing Auld Lang Syne once more to signal the end of 2014. This was a year in which tablets experienced something of a lull in the marketplace, before Apple in particular came roaring back with some excellent releases towards the back end of the calendar year. But what were the best tablet releases of 2014? Here is a rundown of ValueWalk’s top five.
Apple iPad Mini 3
The Apple iPad Mini 3 was announced in conjunction with a new iPad Air tablet, and the more premium of the two devices is clearly superior. But this is still a decent option for people wanting a tablet on a budget, even if it is basically a reboot of the iPad Mini 2.
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The TouchID functionality included in the iPad Mini 3 is welcome, though, and this is the best mini tablet that Apple has released thus far. Its impressive speed and compact size make it a beautiful combination, although it must be said that the price is a little hefty for its specifications.
iOS 8 runs very well on the iPod Mini 3, and this is a very decent attempt at a small-scale tablet by Apple.
Google Nexus 9
The Google Nexus 9 has to some degree imitated the iPad range by opting for a 4:3 screen ratio. This means that this tablet is ideal for web browsing, but perhaps not quite as good for watching movies. Another downside of this device is that it is a little too large to be gripped comfortably in one hand, to some degree negating the entire point of tablet computer.
Once these gripes are out of the way, the Google Nexus 9 is otherwise a very strong tablet. HTC has done an excellent job of manufacturing this for Google, and the construction and power of the device is much greater than adequate. Android 5.0 Lollipop runs decently on the Google Nexus 9, and overall this tablet provides a pretty slick package.
Sony Xperia Z2
Sony may not have had the most successful year financially, but this hasn’t prevented it from releasing some killer kit. The Xperia mobile phone range improved significantly in 2014, and this tablet from Sony is one of the outstanding devices on the market.
The Xperia Z2 delivers outstanding specifications, with an uprated Snapdragon 801 CPU, 3GB of RAM and a superb LED screen included in its portfolio of features. The display in particular really delivers outstanding detail and colour, and makes watching videos and movies a real pleasure. This effect is magnified by the inclusion of excellent dual front-facing speakers.
Sony has also ensured that this is a very practical tablet by making it water and dust resistant, and if the iPad has never been your thing, then you couldn’t go far wrong with the Xperia Z2 if you’re looking for a powerful yet affordable tablet.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S
Samsung perhaps hasn’t nailed the tablet to the same degree that its smartphone division has excelled, but it has recently been directing a great deal of effort into producing a genuine rival for the iPad. This hasn’t been an entirely successful venture, but the Galaxy Tab S is definitely its best effort thus far.
The starring element of this device is its striking and brilliant Super AMOLED display, which is available in both 8.4 and 10.5-inch screen sizes. It is probably the best tablet on the market for display quality, and this must be a huge selling point considering many people purchase tablets in order to possess a convenient media playing device.
Superb battery life, the usual powerful spec that Samsung includes in its devices, and decent design parameters make this an excellent tablet that will appeal to many people.
iPad Air 2
Apple has owned the tablet market for some time, managing to shift over 200 million iPad units worldwide, and this position has once more being cemented in 2014 with the release of the iPad Air 2.
Design is absolutely critical in the tablet market, and this is simply a gorgeous looking and feeling device, even thinner and lighter than previous iPads.
Apple has also improved the screen quality with the iPad Air 2, and it is very noticeable that colors displayed by this tablet are extremely vibrant.
Both the processing power and battery life can be commended in this device, and Apple has also armed the iPad Air 2 with Touch ID and Apple Pay functionality. The iPad Air 2 also benefits from the simply outstanding catalogue of software which is provided by the Apple App Store.
While Apple will always have its fair share detractors, it is extremely difficult for even its harshest critics to suggest anything other than the iPad Air 2 is an outstanding tablet computer. The iPad has defined this market from day one of its release, and this doesn’t look likely to change in the near future.