7 Tablets That Will Make You Toss Your Laptop3:40 PM EST Thu. Feb. 28, 2013
Faster processors, better graphics and crisper displays -- this year's Mobile World Congress saw many new tablets with more powerful components and better technical specifications, putting them in prime position to cannibalize the PC market. Here's a look a seven of the hottest tablets from Barcelona, from full-sized, feature-rich tablets to smaller but still powerful mini-tablets.
Helett-Packard made news this week by introducing not only its first Android tablet, but an aggressively priced one at that. The HP Slate 7, a new 7-inch Android tablet, starts at $169. Running Android Jelly Bean 4.1 operating system, the tablet packs a dual-core 1.6GHz chip based on ARM's Cortex-A9 architecture with 1 GB of RAM and 8 GB of internal storage, plus microSD support for expandable storage. The Slate 7 also has a stainless steel frame and packs a 3-megapixel camera on the back and a VGA camera on the front. The HP Slate 7 will be available in the U.S. starting in April.
Samsung didn't introduce its forthcoming Galaxy S4 smartphone in Barcelona, but the company did turn heads with a new 8-inch Android tablet: the Galaxy Note 8. Samsung's new device, which looks to compete with other mini tablets, features a 1.6GHz quad-core processor, 2 GB of RAM and a 1,280-x-800 display resolution. Samsung also promises better S-Pen capabilities that allow users to control the tablet's menu and back buttons with the pen. The Galaxy Note 8 is scheduled to launch in the second quarter. Pricing has yet to be announced.
The ZTE Grand Memo is either an extra-large smartphone or a very small tablet, depending on your view. The Android phablet comes with a 5.7-inch HD display and quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor running at 1.7GHz. There's also a rear-facing 13-megapixel camera as well as 2 GB of RAM plus microSD support. And don't forget the "one-hand" T9 keyboard that can attach to either side of the Grand Memo's screen. The device is scheduled to launch in the second quarter, but no pricing has been announced.
Asus finally revealed its "metallic miracle" in Barcelona, which the company has teased ahead of MWC 2013. The Asus FonePad is a mini-tablet with 3G phone functionality, or a phablet. The Android device has a 7-inch display (1,280-x-800 resolution), a 1.2GHz Intel Atom processor with up to 16 GB of internal storage and 1 GB of RAM. And of course, the phablet comes with a slick metallic finish. The FonePad tablet is scheduled to launch in March at around $249.
Sony has lagged behind other computer makers in the tablet market, but the company's new device could reverse its fortunes. The Sony Xperia Z is the lightest and thinnest 10-inch tablet yet, according to the company. But, that's not all; the device comes with an HD display powered by Sony's Mobile Bravia Engine 2 for enhanced visuals. The Xperia Z also runs on Qualcomm's Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core processor running at 1.5GHz with 2 GB of RAM. The tablet is even water resistant in 3 feet of water for up to 30 minutes. The Xperia Z will be available this spring starting at $499 for the 16-GB model.
While most of the new tablets in Barcelona ran Android, there were some new Windows 8 devices. Case in point: the ZTE V98, a 10.1-inch tablet that runs Windows 8 -- not Windows RT -- and comes with a 1.7GHz Intel Atom processor, 2 GB of RAM and up to 64 GB of internal storage. There's also a microSD card slot for an additional 32 GB of storage, plus optional 4G LTE capability. The V98 will launch in China in the third quarter, but there's no word on pricing and availability in the U.S.
Lenovo unveiled several new tablets at MWC 2013, but the computer maker's "mobile home entertainment" model stood apart from the rest. The Lenovo S600 Android tablet comes with a 10.1-inch touchscreen display (1,280-x-800 resolution), a MediaTek quad-core 1.2GHz processor, and the Android Jelly Bean 4.1.2 operating system. The device also comes with a mini-HDMI port and "substantial battery life" -- more than eight hours of continuous Wi-Fi Web browsing, according to Lenovo. The S600 will be available worldwide in the second quarter, though pricing has not yet been announced.