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Cheaper, faster, higher resolution Android tablets

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Posted 18-07-14 at 06:55 PM by Ian

Affordable Full HD screen Android tablets coming thick and fast; like Acer's new Iconia Tab 8

The new Acer Iconia Tab 8 is yet another high-spec but low-priced Android tab.

As a photography journalist I need to keep up with the times and with Adobe's recent slew of Creative Cloud iOS apps like Photoshop Mix and Lightroom Mobile I recently had to invest in an up to date iPad. I prefer the 8 inch screen form factor and had to pay through the nose for an iPad Mini 2 (with 'retina' display) - 326 for a 32GB model from Amazon, the cheapest safe source in my view. My existing Android tablet (an Archos 80XS, which fell to bits without much provocation) also needs to be replaced. Thankfully, this will be a much less wallet-damaging process.

Acer's Iconia Tab 8 is the company's first high-res (Full HD) Android tablet.

Two short-listed options were the LG Pad 8.3 and Samsung's Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 at 189 and 249, respectively. Yesterday I had a brief hands-on with Acer's new Iconia Tab 8, similar in general specification to the LG Pad 8.3, but entering the market imminently at just 169. I had originally discounted Acer because they had no high-resolution Android tablets but yesterday's discovery of the Iconia Tab 8 changes all that.

The Iconia Tab 8 has a 'gap-less' IPS LCD panel for excellent performance in bright light and very wide viewing angles.

These are all nippy 16GB devices with 2Gb RAM and excellent high-resolution 8 inch or thereabouts touch screens. Being sensible Android devices they include microSD expansion slots. To boost your device to 32GB you can get a quality branded 16GB Class 10 UHS-1 microSD card for under a tenner. The difference in price between a 16GB iPad Mini 2 and a 32GB one (you can't add your own cheap memory) is 66 via Amazon or 80 if purchased from Apple.

Acer has provided the Iconia Tab 8 with a quality aluminium finish back panel.

Unless you opt for the even more expensive Apple iPad Mini with cellular data capability, you have to do without GPS support. GPS is standard on all the Android tablets I shortlisted and the LG and Samsung models even have infra red ports so you can use them to control your TV, etc.

And then there is Android itself. Version 4.4, AKA 'KitKat', is arguably miles ahead of Apple iOS7, offering a much more versatile user interface and an app store that is almost on a par with Apple's.

For me there is even another option; an older but still current Samsung 8 inch tablet, the Galaxy Note 8. It's not quite as fast as the latest crop and doesn't have a super-high-res screen (standard 1280x800 HD instead of Full HD), but it does have the remarkable S-Pen (Wacom pressure-sensitive technolgy) and one reputable European supplier, Expansys, has just started selling them at 160, less than half the price they were launched at just over a year ago. Surely there is a new Note 8 in the wings but I always like a bargain even if it's not the very latest release.

I will let you know which way the final decision went!
Total Comments 4


  1. Old Comment
    Bob Ross's Avatar
    I'll be keeping track of this, since like your verifocal glasses, a tablet may be a "next adventure" for Sharon and I.
    Posted 20-07-14 at 09:55 PM by Bob Ross Bob Ross is offline
  2. Old Comment
    Ian's Avatar
    Hi Bob, pretty much decided to go for last year's Samsung Galaxy Note 8 because I value the pen feature and in my view although the screen is not as high resolution as the latest tablets and it's not quite as fast either, it's more than adequate for me and at the current offer price of £160 including shipping it's also the cheapest and less than half the price it was a year ago. But if you have any questions in general about tablets let me know and I will try to help!
    Posted 25-07-14 at 10:40 AM by Ian Ian is offline
  3. Old Comment
    JSR's Avatar
    Acer seem to be producing some good items these days.

    I recently upgraded my phone to the Acer Liquid E3 Duo Plus (2GB/16GB/dual-sim) and then bought a new tablet, the Acer Iconia W4 (2GB/32GB/Windows 8.1).

    My primary motive behind buying the W4 was that I wanted a mobile solution that included full-Windows. I love my old iPad 1 and my refurb Android 4.0 tablet, but they're incredibly frustrating platforms. I'm constantly having to find workarounds to do the simplest of things - such as running familiar software, or just printing a document.

    I've been waiting years for either iOS or Android to address the primary basics such as printing, but all they seem to focus on is content consumption. The device can have the best screen in the world but if I can't open up my novel-writing project, or print to any of my printers, then it's not worth a bean to my productivity.

    So, when the opportunity came, I went for a Windows 8.1 tablet. Just being able to print to my printers, or plug my hardware into the USB port, or running my regular normal Windows software, it's like I've been set free from chains of my own making.

    Of course, we all buy tablets for different reasons and I wouldn't push my opinion onto anyone, so I'll just go back to my first point in that Acer is a brand worth looking at these days (but don't be tempted to get their old products on the cheap, unless they're really on the cheap).
    Posted 06-08-14 at 11:05 AM by JSR JSR is offline
  4. Old Comment
    Bob Ross's Avatar
    Thanks Ian, Your comments are reflective of what I am hearing. The newer features and speed aren't always required. I do note a lot of misconceptions are at large as well as generous price hikes for more memory or other stuff that has marginal use. My research go onward.....Bob
    Posted 20-08-14 at 05:29 PM by Bob Ross Bob Ross is offline

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