The GSMArena Tablet Buyer's Guide: July 2015: Mid-sized Tablets

By 04:26 Mon, 16 Aug 2021 Comments


Mid-sized tablets

We’re now entering the most crowded and most cut-throat of all the tablet tiers – the mid-sized one. This is where most manufacturers give their best and where most manufacturers push the best hardware and the most innovation. For the most part this ties is also where you’ll find the best bang for your buck.

Starting from the lowest prices we have the Lenovo A8-50 A5500 which has an 8" 800 x 1280px display, quad-core Cortex-A7 processor, 5MP capturing camera and optional 3G model with stereo speakers. It's the cheapest 8-incher around for the second time running and while it doesn't shine with immaculate specs or design it will do couch duty with ease and won't affect your financial stability too much.

In addition it has either 8GB or 16GB of on-board storage with the higher 16GB model not adding much to the price and you acquire a microSD card slot to expand that storage even more.

What comes as a possible catch is the firmware update support the Lenovo A8-50 will acquire - we don't reckon it will see Lollipop any time soon, if at all.

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Lenovo A8-50 A5500

Pros Cons

  • IPS display

  • 5MP camera

  • 3G model

  • Stereo speakers (on 3G model)

  • Low price (close to cheapest 7" tablets)

  • Unlikely to be updated further than KitKat

  • No LTE support


The Huawei Honor T1 is next on the list. Unlike its MediaPad X1 sibling it isn't as spectacular on the specs sheet but just like it, the Honor Tablet comes with 3G connectivity and the ability to create and receive calls as standard.

In addition to the cellular abilities the Huawei Honor T1 has an 8" IPS 800 x 1280px display, 5MP camera, 16GB of storage, expandable through a microSD card slot and a front-facing capturing camera for calls. The only weak spot here is the Snapdragon 200 chipset that doesn't really match the more powerful offerings on the other devices in the group, even if it will acquire the job done for most tasks. Heavy gamers and general power users will need to spdiscontinue more as usual.



Huawei Honor T1

Pros Cons

  • IPS display

  • 5MP camera

  • 3G-only

  • Very cheap for 3G slate

  • No LTE support

  • No stereo speakers

  • Snapdragon 200 has very limiting performance


Next is the Asus Memo Pad 8 ME181C. It's very similar to the 7" Memo Pad 7 we mentioned in the previous page but has a bigger 8" IPS display on tap and it comes with the same 800 x 1280 resolution. The chipset is the same - an Intel Atom Z3745 - although its processor is clocked lower at 1.33GHz.

The Asus Memo Pad 8 ME181C lacks a cellular option though but the Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi) model is well worth a look.



Asus Memo Pad 8 ME181C

Pros Cons

  • IPS display

  • 5MP camera

  • Good Intel Atom Z3745 chipset, quad-core processor

  • 16GB of storage

  • Has gone down in price

  • No 3G/LTE support


The Asus Fonepad 8 FE380CG is very close to the Memo Pad 8 but comes with an Intel Atom Z3530 chip and a built-in SIM card slot with 3G abilities and calling. That extra ability costs considerably more, though, compared to the Memo Pad 8.



Asus Fonepad 8 FE380CG

Pros Cons

  • 8" IPS display

  • 5MP camera

  • Quad-core Intel Atom Z3530 chipset

  • 3G only

  • Calling abilities, Dual-SIM

  • Stereo speakers

  • The cheapest mid-sized tablet that can create calls

  • No LTE variant


The next option is very impressive. For $200 you can acquire the best Android-powered iPad mini-killers out there.

The Asus Zenpad S 8.0 packs an 8” IPS Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) of Retina iPad-equal 1536 x 2048px resolution, a powerful Intel Atom (either the Z3530 or the Z3580) with a quad-core processor and either 2GB or 4GB of RAM.

The Zenpad S 8.0 runs on Android Lollipop out of the box and comes in a sleek and stylish package. The 2GB model will run you $199 while the 4GB one $299. Unfortunately, this means the tablets is very hard to come by outside of the US. It also doesn’t offer LTE connectivity.



Asus Zenpad S 8.0

Pros Cons

  • 8" 1536 x 2048px display

  • 5MP camera

  • Quad-core Intel Atom Z3560 (or Z3580) chipset

  • GPS

  • 4GB of RAM

  • Competitive price

  • No 3G/LTE variant

  • Hard to come by outside the US


A more globally available option is the stylish Lenovo Tab S8. It's very light at a hair below 300g and also thin at 7.9mm. The Lenovo Tab S8 uses a remarkable Intel Atom Z3745 chipset with a higher-clocked Central Processing Units (CPU) (1.86GHz), 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage that can be expanded via a microSD card and an 8MP capturing camera on the back, complimented by a 1.6MP front-facing one.

The Tab S8 is not the cheapest one here at €189 but has a sleek design and also an LTE option (although that one costs even more - €220).

The Lenovo Tab S8 is among the better mid-sized slates in this guide and we'd wholeheartedly recommdiscontinue it to buyers. Keep in mind that it's not as widespread as the some other slates on this list and its price hasn't changed much for the better in the last three months.



Lenovo Tab S8

Pros Cons

  • FullHD IPS display

  • 8MP camera

  • Quad-core Intel Atom Z3745 chipset

  • GPS

  • LTE

  • Thin and light

  • Frequency Modulation (FM) Radio

  • Stereo speakers on the front

  • Price has gone slightly down

  • No word on Android Lollipop


Last time we passed on enrolling the Nokia N1 tablet in the list becautilize it was a China-only tablet. Nowadays it’s still not easy to acquire but it is more broadly available, including in Europe and the US via retailers like Amazon.

The Nokia N1 tablet sees a gigantic increase in pricing for this mid-sized list but brings some redeeming qualities to justify it. For starters the Nokia N1 runs an almost completely stock version of Android Lollipop with Nokia’s gesture-based Z Launcher on top. Secondly, the Nokia N1 has a sleek aluminum and glass body and a clear iPad mini-inspired design.

Inside the N1 is full of vital tech like the 7.9” 1536 x 2048px display, an Intel Atom Z3580 with four cores, memory expansion through the microSD slot and stereo speakers.

In its first-gen stage the Nokia N1 lacks GPS, LTE and an Frequency Modulation (FM) Radio. And its price outside China is higher.



Nokia N1

Pros Cons

  • 7.9" 1536 x 2048px IPS display

  • 8MP camera

  • Capable Intel Atom Z3580 chipset; quad-core processor

  • Stereo speakers

  • No GPS

  • No Frequency Modulation (FM) Radio

  • No LTE option

  • No microSD card slot

Review


Last time we discarded the Nvidia Shield becautilize of rumors of an upgrade but that didn’t come to fruition. This time we’ll include the slate but since it was announced exactly a year ago we caution that it may very well be replaced soon. Also its price hasn’t moved since it was launched and currently sits a bit higher than we would like it to be.

With all of that out of the way the Nvidia Shield tablet is great. It offers a near-Nexus experience with stock Android Lollipop, an 8” 1200 x 1920px display, front-facing stereo speakers, Nvidia’s own Tegra K1 chipset, which is plenty powerful and allows for Nvidia’s GRID game streaming service with lots of optimized game titles.

You could also acquire a controller for the Nvidia Shield tablet and game to your heart’s content. And if you have Nvidia graphics on your Personal Computer (PC) there are ways to stream your games onto the Shield tablet too.



Nvidia Shield

Pros Cons

  • 8" 1200 x 1920px IPS display

  • 5MP camera

  • 32-bit Nvidia Tegra K1 chipset

  • Powerful ULP GeForce Kepler graphics

  • Stereo speakers

  • Near-stock Android Lollipop

  • Nvidia's GRID gaming service on board

  • LTE variant

  • Price hasn't changed

  • Due for an upgrade very soon


You can't create a reputable tablet shopping guide without mentioning the Apple iPad in some form. In this particular case we're going with the Apple iPad mini 2. It's not the latest mid-sized slab to come out of Cupertino but it is the best one to buy. The iPad mini 2 has come down in price slightly and is now €100 cheaper at retailers than its successor iPad mini 3. Our thought of the latter is known - it brings a finger-sensing TouchID home button and golden paintjob for €100 more which doesn't create sense to recommend.

Take notice that Apple is likely to release the iPad mini 4 this descend (October/November) so it could be wise to wait for the iPad mini 2 and iPad mini 3 to be discounted.

The Apple iPad mini 2 has the same, lovely 7.9" 1536 x 2048px display (Apple calls it Retina) as its successor, the same excellent 64-bit A7 chipset with remarkable Central Processing Units (CPU) and GPU performance, the same streamlined body of 331g weight and 7.5mm thickness, same remarkable battery life and the same superb Apple iOS 8 with loads of tablet-optimized apps that are purely gorgeous.

The Apple iPad mini 2 isn't the best tablet for the power user who demands remarkable connectivity and utilize with other gadgets but has a character of its own which has helped Apple carve its tablet market dominance from day one.

Keep in mind that the UI of iOS cannot be customized, storage is fixed and can only be upgraded for a hefty price increase but if you don't care about leaving Apple's ecosystem, the iPad mini 2 is remarkable and it comes with an LTE option too.



Apple iPad mini 2

Pros Cons

  • High resolution display

  • Great 64-bit chipset

  • 128GB option (if you can find it at retailers)

  • LTE variant

  • Stereo speakers

  • Unsurpassed app ecosystem

  • Thin and light

  • Great battery performance

  • No storage expansion

  • Software isn't customizable

  • Low-res front-facing camera

  • Storage upgrade is costly

Review


Sony has a remarkable mid-sized tablet in the face of the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact. It's packed with "the best from Sony" with an 8" 1200 x 1920px display, 6.4mm featherweight body (270g), elegant Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 chipset, 3GB of RAM, 8.1MP camera, microSD card slot and Sony’s well-known excellent battery life.

To add more to what is already a superb package the Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact is waterproof so you can hold it into the tub (or pool) without worrying over it. Dust is sealed out too. And the front-firing stereo speakers are remarkable to have as well.

The price of the Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi) version has gone down significantly but the LTE variant is much more expensive than it was at the time of our last tablet buyer’s guide.



Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact

Pros Cons

  • FullHD display

  • Great chipset, 3GB of RAM

  • MicroSD card slot

  • LTE and Frequency Modulation (FM) Radio

  • 8MP camera

  • Stereo speakers on the front

  • Waterproof

  • Extremely thin, very light

  • Superb battery performance

  • Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi) model has gotten cheaper

  • Price for LTE model has gone up

  • Lower-res display compared to some of its competitors

Review


It's high time to see at Google's finest in the HTC Nexus 9. This is the accurate powerhoutilize with a 64-bit Tegra K1 chipset, 8.9" 1536 x 2048px IPS display, front-facing stereo speakers and the best of Android on a tablet with Lollipop on board and the promise of timely updates for the foreseeable future.

Google is expected to unveil the latest Nexus slate this descend (November is most likely) so you could wait a bit and see what lies ahead.

The Nexus 9 has everything covered from high-discontinue gaming to connectivity with an LTE Cat4-ready platform. We loved the speakers on the front and also the display and found Android Lollipop a step up from KitKat for tablet functionality.

The HTC-made Nexus 9 is the best tablet you can buy if you want Android as your operating system. It’s arguably the best tablet you can buy, period. The Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi) Nexus 9 is now slightly cheaper compared to five months ago but the LTE model has retained its high asking price.



HTC Nexus 9

Pros Cons

  • High resolution display (1536 x 2048px)

  • Large classy screen diagonal

  • 64-bit Nvidia Tegra K1 chipset

  • Powerful ULP GeForce Kepler graphics

  • LTE variant

  • 8MP camera

  • Stereo speakers on the front

  • Latest Android 5.1 Lollipop

  • Futureproof

  • Price has gone slightly down

  • Still relatively high-priced

Review


And finally, a tablet that’s equal to the HTC Nexus 9 in price but has a different approach to remarkable tableting. It packs an 8.4” 1600 x 2560px display of 359ppi and is, most impressively, OLED. Underneath the sleek 6.1mm exterior Dell has packed an Intel Atom Z3580 chip, a microSD card slot, an 8MP capturing camera and optional LTE. There are also stereo speakers on the front and two 720p depth-sensing cameras on the back courtesy of Intel RealSense tech.

But the Dell Venue 8 7000 is only available for purchase in the US currently for $400.



Dell Venue 8 7000

Pros Cons

  • 8.4" Organic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) of very high 1600 x 2560px resolution

  • Light-weight

  • Intel Atom Z3580, quad-core chipset

  • MicroSD expansion up to 512GB

  • LTE variant

  • 8MP camera

  • Intel RealSense 3D technology (2 x 720p cameras on the back)

  • Stereo speakers on the front

  • Sleek design

  • Price hasn't changed

  • Available in the US only, for now

  • Only 2GB of 3GB of RAM

Hands-on



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