Best Tablet <$400?

MavericK

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Got to play with an iPad a bit and while I still hate iOS, the idea of an Android tablet is looking appealing to me, for the right price.

Been doing a bit of research on tablets, and so far the Galaxy Tab S is looking pretty good. Anyone have any experience with either the 8.4" or the 10.5"?

Any other suggestions? Ideally the size would be around a normal iPad (9.7" I believe), which makes the Samsungs fall into a weird spot of being either significantly smaller or bigger. If the 10.5" Samsung was light enough to hold in one hand I think I'd be okay with that.

So far I haven't seen anything spec-wise that looks better than the Samsung line, for the price, but I haven't had that much experience with tablets so maybe there's a hidden gem out there.
 

auntjemima

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We have a Dell Venue 8 Pro (also offered in an 11" flavour), iPad mini and Samsung Galaxy Tab4 10.1.

Overall, if you plan on using this as a family... kids, wife, all around then I say the iPad. You can hate on apple all you want but the ease of use for kids without widgets and the "extra" android uses will really puts it over the android.

I personally prefer the Windows Dell tablet. It gives me a full windows experience and the conscience of a tablet. The kids aren't "lost" with this tablet by any means but the amount of titles or apps for them is definitely lacking.

In the end I think you'll be happy with either the Android or Apple product family wise. But maybe the Dell if its just for you and you aren't game app dependant.
 

MavericK

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Some good points there. It would just be me and the GF using it so no kids at this point. Have considered a Windows tablet but honestly I think I want the apps / games that Android offers. Not much that I would necessarily need Windows for seeing as we already have a couple of larger laptops.
 

auntjemima

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The wife prefers the iPad but I think that's because she got it before we even considered android. If you arent concerned with widgets like knowing what the weather is outside or really important stock quotes then Apple has just as many apps and I find the overall system seems more polished than android devices.
 

Yakk

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Overall, if you plan on using this as a family... kids, wife, all around then I say the iPad. You can hate on apple all you want but the ease of use for kids without widgets and the "extra" android uses will really puts it over the android.

As much as I dislike dealing with iTunes and most anything related to Apple products I have to agree with this. :(

Android tablets are just not up to iPads in ease of use and pretty much everything in general.
 

MavericK

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I think spec-wise the Samsung Tab S series is at least on-par with iPad...but I see what you guys are saying.

Any experience with the Samsung Tab Pro 10.1? Looks similar to the S but the price/size looks like a better fit.

Also, looks like the S2 might be a good fit, although price-wise it's about on par with an iPad Air 2: http://www.gizmag.com/samsung-galaxy-tab-s2-details/38528/
 
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auntjemima

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I only have experience with our Samsung Tab4 10.1 so I cant really give you any advice on the Tab S.
 

rive22

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The problem with the Tab Pro is the 2GB ram, especially on a tablet, unless you are sure you won't need more than that. I always found that to be an issue on older smart phones. The Tab S is awesome.
 

rudy

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Overall, if you plan on using this as a family... kids, wife, all around then I say the iPad. You can hate on apple all you want but the ease of use for kids without widgets and the "extra" android uses will really puts it over the android.

Why couldn't you just not put widgets on the screen if they are too complicated for your wife? All these tablets in basic form are the same a grid of icons which open applications and a home button. I don't see how apple not having other features makes it easy to use when you could simply set up either windows or android to act almost identical by deleting widgets and not putting new ones on the screen. I have watched many people whom are not familiar sit down on an ipad and be lost at certain points because they don't know there is some swipe or gesture they need to get a task done. IE its not as intuitive as they crack it up to be.

IMO the windows features for kids would trump either of the other 2 if you cared about the family. But android has them all beat for having the most best choices large library and will likely be the winner for years to come. Why invest in learning either of the other 2 platforms when they will likely get squashed by google and googles platform really doesn't have any major deficiencies. And yes everyone has to learn all the platforms.
 
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I have Tab S 8.4 and I love it!!! I basically use it any time I am not my main PC. As a software developer who works from home I am at my desk a lot. But when I am relaxing, taking care of my daughter, making dinner, etc I have the tablet around. I use it for watching movies on my Plex and also casting it to my family room TV, I use it to watch YouTube videos with my daughter so she can watch her nursery rhymes and learn her ABCs and I also use it for playing music while relaxing on the patio.

When I am in work mode, I use the tablet for emailing (I use Nine which connects to my work Exchange server), Skyping coworkers, use Line2 (secondary business line) which turns the tablet into a VOIP phone for conference calls, use the GoToMeeting app to view conferences, and use RD Client to remote into my servers in case I need to work on some coding.

All in all my experience with this tablet has been great. I even got my brother to purchase one after he saw mine (and he was coming from an iPad 2). You will not regret the purchase... but remember to always do your research and make sure what you get best fits your needs.
 

itzshadow

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I bought my dad a Tab S 10.1 a couple months ago and he never gets off it, he even takes it to work
 

MavericK

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Some great info, thanks all.

How do you guys feel about the 8.4" form factor versus the 10.1"/10.5"? After playing with the iPad (9.7" I believe) I'm not sure I would want something much smaller, but is 10.5" too big for ease of use?
 

auntjemima

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Why couldn't you just not put widgets on the screen if they are too complicated for your wife? All these tablets in basic form are the same a grid of icons which open applications and a home button. I don't see how apple not having other features makes it easy to use when you could simply set up either windows or android to act almost identical by deleting widgets and not putting new ones on the screen. I have watched many people whom are not familiar sit down on an ipad and be lost at certain points because they don't know there is some swipe or gesture they need to get a task done. IE its not as intuitive as they crack it up to be.

IMO the windows features for kids would trump either of the other 2 if you cared about the family. But android has them all beat for having the most best choices large library and will likely be the winner for years to come. Why invest in learning either of the other 2 platforms when they will likely get squashed by google and googles platform really doesn't have any major deficiencies. And yes everyone has to learn all the platforms.

Yes, of course I must not care about my family because I don't have them using a windows tablet. Good lord.

I also disagree with android having "the most best choices" but our opinions are just that.

Lastly, if you think the screen you set up, without widgets, will stay like that with kids using them you're nuts. A kid will finish and icons are moved, screens are rotated ways that require googling to fix and somehow they have built a time machine and they haven't a clue how.

I get the feeling you should actually have a family in order to comment regarding them. Googling won't help you here.
 

Aurelius

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Samsung just announced the Galaxy Tab S2, although you'd have to stop at an 8-inch model (expected to cost $399) to hit your price target.

The problem as of late is that there really aren't a lot of high-end Android tablets -- aside from Samsung, the other top model I can think of is Sony's Xperia Z4 Tablet. It's a field that's racing to the bottom, like we've seen in Android phones and Windows PCs. Say what you will about Apple, but it's at least holding the line on high-end mobile tablets.
 

rudy

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Yes, of course I must not care about my family because I don't have them using a windows tablet. Good lord.

I also disagree with android having "the most best choices" but our opinions are just that.

Lastly, if you think the screen you set up, without widgets, will stay like that with kids using them you're nuts. A kid will finish and icons are moved, screens are rotated ways that require googling to fix and somehow they have built a time machine and they haven't a clue how.

I get the feeling you should actually have a family in order to comment regarding them. Googling won't help you here.

So you are saying that apple locks the screen icons in place? How do you know I don't have a family? You realize the process for rearranging icons on all tablets is the same right, hold, and drag....
 

MavericK

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Samsung just announced the Galaxy Tab S2, although you'd have to stop at an 8-inch model (expected to cost $399) to hit your price target.

The problem as of late is that there really aren't a lot of high-end Android tablets -- aside from Samsung, the other top model I can think of is Sony's Xperia Z4 Tablet. It's a field that's racing to the bottom, like we've seen in Android phones and Windows PCs. Say what you will about Apple, but it's at least holding the line on high-end mobile tablets.

Yeah, that had occurred to me, because the idea of a 9.7" form factor is appealing, but I may just wait until the S2 is released and catch a 10.5" original S on sale or something.

From my research I have to agree, there are very few options for decent Android tablets. Spec-wise, though, the Samsung offerings seem at least on par (and in some ways better) than the latest iPad releases. Briefly considered a Windows tablet, but many seem to be heavier/more expensive than a Samsung tablet and I don't really need another Windows machine.
 

rive22

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I did happen to see the 10.5 S on sale for $399 at amazon a few weeks ago. You might get lucky if you keep a close eye, it probably only lasted a short time.
 

auntjemima

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So you are saying that apple locks the screen icons in place? How do you know I don't have a family? You realize the process for rearranging icons on all tablets is the same right, hold, and drag....

I was specifically referring to widgets. Which is why I mentioned widgets. You keep jumping away from that topic though.

Widgets on a phone is perfectly fine, in my opinion, but pointless and annoying on a tablet.
 

mi7chy

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Now that the Galaxy Tab S 2 is about to be released you can find deals on the original Galaxy Tab S.

For productivity Android is better primarily because iOS kills connected background tasks after 3 minutes unless you remember to bring it to the foreground before every 3 minutes so clients like telnet, SSH, ftp, ftps, sftp, RDP, etc. are affected. Also, Android has other advantages like mouse support while iOS does not and better tool selection. Tried a bunch of iOS SSH clients but they're all crappy and ad filled. On Android, ConnectBot client is free without ads and better than what I saw on iOS while one of the best paid app is JuiceSSH but it's not available on iOS.
 

Aurelius

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When did the OP say he was looking for productivity apps, especially SSH/telnet clients and the like? Oh wait, right... he didn't.
 

MavericK

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For clarity (if it helps), I would be mainly using this for internet browsing / playing mobile games / etc. Nothing really in terms of productivity or work items. I have a work-issued ultrabook for that stuff.

I will probably use it for YouTube or other streaming video, so a decent CPU/GPU that can do HD resolutions would be required. I am assuming most of these high-end tablets can do that, though.
 

Aurelius

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For clarity (if it helps), I would be mainly using this for internet browsing / playing mobile games / etc. Nothing really in terms of productivity or work items. I have a work-issued ultrabook for that stuff.

I will probably use it for YouTube or other streaming video, so a decent CPU/GPU that can do HD resolutions would be required. I am assuming most of these high-end tablets can do that, though.

It's safe to say that any reasonably powerful modern tablet can play HD video, and that almost always means 1080p.

You'd be fine with a Galaxy Tab S2... heck, probably even a Nexus 9, even though it's several months old. I would still consider an iPad if you're going to play a lot of games (it has many more tablet-optimized titles), but not so much if it's just a once-in-a-while thing.
 

mi7chy

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If it's anything like the Exynos 7420 on the Galaxy S6 it'll be a media streaming monster. 1080p is nothing when it can play 4K without transcoding with the new exotic codecs VP9 natively and h.265 HEVC with MX Player Pro on SAMOLED without backlight bleed which is untouchable by anything on iOS.

http://www.artbyphil.com/temp/phfx_4KHD_VP9TestFootage.zip
Screenshot_2015-07-22-07-50-05a_zps2tqyqahw.png


https://www.dropbox.com/s/7ovcr24c1zid7nq/Interstellar-divx-hevc-uhd-51ch-4K.mkv?dl=0
Screenshot_2015-07-22-07-52-14a_zpsjue6bpfh.png


For gaming nothing beats natively supported PS3 or PS4 controller without root/jail breaking.

Explains why the iPad market is dying.
 

Climber

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The shield tablet does all that and has done that for the last year. It can also stream all your steam games, stream grid games, and handles any and all 4k media. Gave my Tab S to my mother in law. Little pricey for what you want to do so there is that but it is in your budget.
 

MavericK

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Went and checked out some tablets at BB today...really think I like the 10" models. 8" Shield tablet seems too small. The screen on the Galaxy Tab S is awesome. I will probably wait to see what the S2 offers.
 

limitedaccess

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The new Tab S2 will move to a 4:3 ratio. I feel this a downgrade though for video watching as video content is typically 16:9 or wider.

Form factor wise basically expect something similar to the iPad Air 2 with slight improvements (slightly smaller given same screen size, slightly less weight).

Right now it is expected to use Samsung's last gen SoC (Exynos 5433) just like the Tab S used a last gen SoC when it was released (Exynos 5420), not the Exynos 7420 used in the Galaxy S6 and likely the Note 5.

Personally hoping S2 release might make a Tab S 8.4 on sale for 250 CAD (or roughly 200 USD). Might pick one up then.
 

mi7chy

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Shield Tablet looks like it's discontinued since both models are out of stock on Nvidia and for good reasons since it overheats causing the case to crack and gaming battery life is ~2 hours while being slower than the phone Exynos 7420 SoC. Hopefully the replacement model with Tegra X1 will be better.

Non 16:9 ratio is horrible due to backlight bleed on the black borders killing the experience like watching movies. SAMOLED is a non-issue since it doesn't suffer from backlight bleed such as on the iPad.

Between the two sizes 8" is more manageable in one hand while 10" requires two hands but is too small for anything beyond consumption compared to 12"+.
 

Climber

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Case cracking hasn't been an issue for a while now and they'll replace it for free if it does crack. I haven't checked specs in a while but the shield was the fastest gaming tablet on the market by a considerable margin and this was just a couple months ago. As far as gaming, yea 2 hour battery life is about right. I get around 3 depending on game and my settings. Doom 3, half life and other similar games will net me about 2 hours that's the same as my gaming laptop though.

Just did a search on graphics comparison between the exynos 7420 and the K1 and the shield tablet doubles it in almost every test so not sure what your smoking but for graphics and gaming the shield tablet is still the number 1 tablet on the market for that niche.

Either tablet is going to be good, my Tab S was fine but wasn't great for gaming which is why I switched. If gaming is a high priority I would at least consider the shield.
 
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r-486

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Sony Xperia Tablet Z2 at 10.1" running Android is lighter than the larger iPads. Large bulk of tablets are 10.1". Maybe check out the Asus Transformer tablets, too. They're decently priced and run Windows or Android. The iPads are by far the more common tablets I've seen at work.
 

MavericK

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Decided to go with a Tab S 10.5"...caught it on-sale for just under my budget. Very happy with it so far, waiting for Fallout Shelter...Thanks for all the input!
 
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