Samsung Galaxy Tab S
Samsung has been pouring a lot of effort into making a really decent iPad rival, and that strategy has seen some hare-brained decisions (such as launching the Tab Pro in January 2014, and then replacing it a few months later with the Galaxy Tab S).
But, apart from annoying anyone that's already bought into the Tab Pro range, this strategy has finally yielded a brilliant tablet in the shape of this Super AMOLED-shod Tab S duo. Available in both 8.4- and 10.5-inch screen sizes, Samsung has taken the best of its OS and technology ability, fused them with the best display on a tablet and created something pretty special. Performance
The Galaxy Tab S 8.4 is, generally speaking, very smooth and slick. The kinks and jerkiness we detected in the Tab Pro 8.4 are mostly absent, though the Tab S 8.4 doesn’t zip along quite as smoothly as the Snapdragon powered Galaxy S5.
The processor behind this is Samsung’s Exynos 5 Octa (5420), which is in eight core chip with four ARM Cortex A15 CPUs clocked at 1.9GHz, and four lower-power ARM A7 cores at 1.3GHz. It’s right up there with the most powerful processors on any Android phone or tablet, scoring 904 in Geekbench’s single-core test, and 2,669 in the multi-core. Even accounting for Samsung’s reputation to boosting benchmarks with high performance modes, it’s clear this is a very powerful device — it’s only slightly slower than Galaxy S5, HTC One M8 and OnePlus One.
It’s a slightly less impressive performer in the graphics department, though it’s still more than powerful enough to run even demanding games smoothly. It scored 13,518 in the 3D Mark Ice Storm Unlimited test, whereas the latest phones are getting close to 20,000 these days. It’s only a few thousand points less than the iPad mini 2, though, and you’re unlikely to find any games that won’t work on it. As with most phones and tablets at present, the Tab S has more processing power than it really needs.
The battery life is great, the screen has to be seen to be believed (and is excellent for media and internet viewing, which is really the point of a tablet) and the price is on a par with the rest of the industry. Well done, Samsung.
$349.99 VS Nvidia Shield Tablet K1 The K1 is almost identical to the original Shield tablet. It has the same Nvidia Tegra K1 quad-core processor running at 2.2GHz, 2GB of RAM and the incredibly fast Kepler SMX GPU, which made the original such a potent gaming machine.The Nvidia Shield Tablet packs a lot of graphics punch with a new Tegra K1 processor. It has expandable microSD card storage; runs Android 5.0 Lollipop and offers full access to Google Play app store. Its add-on wireless game controller enables connected TV support for sofa gaming and streaming-video entertainment. It streams PC games with compatible gaming PCs. And it's what's hidden beneath that screen and svelte design that makes the Shield Tablet K1 the ultimate tablet for gamers on the go.
Inside Nvidia's new tablet you'll discover a 2.2GHz quad-core Arm Cortex A15 CPU combined with the powerful Nvidia Tegra K1 GPU and 2GB of RAM – the same setup as featured in the original model.
Thanks to those powerful innards, I experienced no issues of lag or stuttering with any of the software on the Shield Tablet K1. The only exception to this was the camera app – but more on that later.
Although you may experience longer than average load times on the Tegra-optimised titles, once you’re past the initial ones, there are few loading screens for any of the games I’ve tried – which is that’s quite a few.
Overall, the Nvidia Shield Tablet K1 provides a smooth and slick experience whatever content you’re viewing, playing or reading.
If you’re interested in the benchmarks, the Nvidia Shield Tablet K1 scored a healthy 55,339 on AnTuTu, 1,137 in the single-core and 3,602 in the multi-core Geekbench tests. It achieved 1,497 in Basemark OS.
In terms of gaming, you’re looking at 3DMark scores of 2,444 for Sling Shot and a whopping 29,097 for the Ice Storm Unlimited benchmark.
These results are significantly better than those achieved by other tablets in this price range.
but,Its plastic chassis feels a little cheap; there aren't many Android games that support the K1 graphics potential; the game controller required to play most games is sold separately.
THE BOTTOM LINE The original SHIELD tablet and this K1 version have the exact same processor, display, cameras, and physical size. This version only comes with a 16GB internal storage size, but you've got a microSD card slot so you can expand by another 128GB if you do so wish.
Even if you don't take advantage of its gaming prowess, the Nvidia Shield Tablet is one of the most versatile -- and affordable -- high-performance 8-inch Android slates you can buy. Key Features: 8-inch 1920x1200p IPS display; 16GB microSD expandable storage; 5MP front/back cameras; 2.2Ghz quad-core A15 CPU; Nvidia Tegra K1 GPU; 2GB of RAM
VS Nexus 9 The Nexus 9 is a bit of a weird one - it's both the replacement for the Nexus 7 and the Nexus 10, without really being a sequel to either thanks to the all-new 8.9-inch screen.
For the eagle eyed among you, you may notice it's jumped up a place in our rankings. That's because it can now be picked up for around £210, making it super affordable. It'll likely be replaced in the next month when Google launches a new slate - but for now it's a steal.
It's mimicking the iPad range by going for a 4:3 screen ratio (which means wider viewing for web browsing, but annoying black bars above and below when watching movies) so you've got a wider device that's not quite able to be gripped in one hand.
But that doesn't mean it's not a great tablet, helped by the fact it's made by HTC. The brand has brought over its Boomsound speakers for greater front facing audio, and the screen is certainly high resolution too. Weight: 425g | Dimensions: 228.2 x 153.7 x 8mm | OS: Android 5.0 | Screen size: 8.9-inch | Resolution: 1536 x 2048 | CPU: Dual-core 2.3 GHz | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 16/32GB | Battery: 6700 mAh | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 1.6MP