Just a year ago, sightings of tablets in the wild were strangely rare – and they’d almost certainly be Apple’s iconic iPad. These days, of course, commuter trains are packed with people enjoying games, TV shows and more on a wide range of devices, and these are the best we’ve seen in the past 12 months.
Sony Xperia Tablet Z
In a category previously dominated by Apple, we finally have a usurper – and it’s the mighty Sony with its gorgeous Xperia Tablet Z that’s stolen the crown. This 10.1-inch device is a beautiful blend of sexy design and smart tech. It feels incredible to clutch, thanks to its lightweight design (at just 495g it’s one of the lightest 10-inchers around) and jaw-droppingly slender build.
It’s actually slimmer than the Xperia Z smartphone, so you’ll have no trouble slipping it inside your satchel. Then there’s the superb 1920 x 1200 HD screen, which easily takes on Apple’s Retina display for sheer brilliance. Movie fans will delight at the vibrant visuals, and you can carry plenty of films on the move thanks to the expandable storage. And if you’re the kind who loves shooting video on their tablet, the Xperia Tablet Z is one of the best around. The 8.1-megapixel camera captures sharp HD movies, while the Superior Auto mode means your photos will look fantastic with no manual fiddling needed.
Rounding off this incredible tablet is the smart NFC connectivity, which makes hooking up to your other Sony devices a breeze. Couch potatoes should relish the Remote Control functionality, which also provides a full customisable programming guide so you never miss your favourite show.
Apple iPad mini
Despite Steve Jobs maintaining that it would never happen, Apple released a miniature 7.9-inch version of its iPad at the end of 2012 – and we love it. The reduced form factor and weight make it possible to clutch in one hand without aching your arm or fingers, so you can comfortably browse the web or mess around with apps on your sofa or the bus to work. The screen has some slight sensitivity issues and you have to forgo some performance and visual quality compared to the full-sized iPad, but they’re sacrifices we’re happy to make.
Apple iPad (Fourth Generation)
Once the inevitable victor, Apple’s mighty tablet is still a very impressive beast indeed with its gorgeous Retina display and the ultimate App Store. We’re still impressed by its long-lasting battery life too, which keeps you going all day. The front-facing ‘FaceTime’ camera has been boosted to make you look less grainy and the five-megapixel rear-facing lens still captures decently crisp photos, while 4G compatibility in the cellular model is good news for web enthusiasts and media streaming fans. Of course, this fourth generation was little more than a specs tweak over the previous model, and it’s still rather cumbersome to wield on your daily commute.
Asus Transformer Pad Infinity TF700
The Asus Transformer Pad Infinity provides the best of both worlds. In your spare time you can get your game on thanks to the powerful quad-core processor, or enjoy a movie on the crisp Full HD screen, while the keyboard dock is perfect for bashing out emails and documents when you put your work cap on. It’s a worthy upgrade over previous Transformer Pads thanks to its even more powerful Nvidia quad-core processor. Of course, you have to pay a premium price.
Google Nexus 10
Google’s Nexus 10 tablet is a beautiful and well-designed blend of performance, friendliness and desirability. At just £319 for the 16GB model, it’s cheaper than Apple’s iPad but still boasts a majestically crisp screen that’s great for gaming, movies, web browsing and more. We love the pleasingly slim and curvaceous body too, with the rubbery rear aiding grip. Of course there are more portable tablets out there, if you’re after something for the daily commute, as the battery life isn’t one of the best and the Nexus 10 takes a rather long time to charge.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 LTE 4G
The Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 LTE 4G is a powerful all-round media machine with überfast, über-smooth performance and tons of quirky (as well as beefy) features to keep you coming back for more. Almost every feature - from almost-professional photo tools, to the tiny gimmicks that often prove surprisingly useful - make the Note 10.1 LTE 4G a joy to use. Factor in the commendable battery life and this is an all-round brilliant creative device, and by adding speedy network connectivity to the original tablet, Samsung has made sure it’s future-proof.
Congratulations to all of the winners. You can find all of the incriminating photos on our official MCAwards 2013 website, and a full list of the 2013 Mobile Choice Award winners can be found here!