Amazon, Archos, Asus, Kobo, Nook and Prestigio make the shortlist...
Tablets are no longer the domain of the super-rich and those looking for a budget model to help them browse on the go or second-screen their way through the TV schedule are spoilt for choice, as our ratings prove...
The Asus Fonepad looks like a typical seven-inch tablet, but is not easily defined. Some bill the Fonepad as a giant mobile phone thanks to its 3G compatibility, which allows you to slot in a SIM card and make calls or browse the web anywhere. Asus itself brands it a ‘tablet with phone functions’, and we’re inclined to agree – only circus clowns have pockets big enough to hold this beast. The Fonepad uses a version of Android that has been tweaked with Asus’ own visual style to look neat and pretty. Affordable yet very well put together, its usability and amazing nine-hour media playback from a single charge easily outweigh an occasional laggy performance.
Amazon Kindle Fire HD
Some will find this tablet too commercially driven, with its adverts included as default, but that focus is also its main strength: the Amazon Kindle Fire HD is primarily a device for spending money and consuming content and it’s very good at what it does (Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos called it a service not a gadget at launch). This is not a tablet for people who want to get some work done, but if all you are looking for is to be entertained, it’s at the top of the heap.
Archos 80 Titanium
While most manufacturers opt for a plain black design, Archos’ Titanium tablet apes Apple’s iPad with its white glass frame and sleek silver back. At 440g, it’s a fair chunk heavier than the iPad mini’s 308g, although its price is also half what Apple charges. Performance is ably handled by a dual-core A9 processor and it never so much as stutters. Its Achilles heel is its battery life, only racking up four hours of constant use from each charge.
The Nook HD’s unique, friendly interface makes it a great family tablet and users are presented with five customisable desktops when they log in, which can be populated with shortcuts to favourite books, mags, apps, media and more. The device also rocks an impressively sharp seven-inch screen that easily trumps the iPad mini’s display with its 243ppi resolution. A dual-core processor copes admirably with HD movies and browsing, although photo-heavy apps slow it down.
In a world of iPad minis and Nexus 7s’, the Arc is not much of a looker. However, underneath that drab exterior there’s a star waiting to come out that simply needs a little polish. Rather than using a customised version of Android, Kobo opts to keep the operating system as familiar as possible and the few elements it has added are useful flourishes. A gorgeous screen and front-facing speakers are undone slightly by occasional lag during HD video playback.
Prestigio Multipad 9.7 Ultra Duo
Cypriot company Prestigio has produced a somewhat schizophrenic tablet in the Multipad 9.7 Ultra Duo. Its packaging looks cheap, but contains a very nice slimline black leather pouch. From the front the tablet looks lovely – its huge screen offset by a burgundy frame – before you turn it over and see all manner of text and graphics splattered across its back. The screen and its superb viewing angles are the draw here, although a poor processor detracts from the experience.
Congratulations to all of the 2013 Mobile Choice Awards winners. You can find all of the incriminating photos on our official MCAwards 2013 website, and a full list of winners can be found here!