Our list of the best Android tablets in the world - regularly updated
There are other options out there; Windows 8 tablets such as the Surface, Ativ Tab and VivoTab Smart are starting to creep out, plus the BlackBerry PlayBook is still somehow on sale - but Android Jelly Bean is currently the main OS rival to the iPad 4 and iPad mini.
We saw the launch of Nvidia's next-generation Tegra 3 chip, which takes 2012's quad-core Android tablets to new heights. The likes of the Google Nexus 7 and Transformer Pad Infinity are beckoning in the new era, and the iPad is starting to feel the heat.
- Are you wondering what the iPad rival to the Nexus 7 or Kindle Fire HD is like? Check our hands on: iPad mini review to find out!
Some tablets have 10-inch screens, others seven, and there are big differences in battery life, processing power and onboard RAM. So while we wait for the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 and Sony Xperia Tablet Z, let's see what the current best tablets are...
1. Google Nexus 7
Manufactured by Asus to Google's specifications, the Nexus 7 ushers in a new era of affordable, quality Android tablets.
Packing a Tegra 3 quad-core processor, 12 core GPU, 8GB and 16GB internal storage and 7-inch 1280 x 800 screen, the Nexus 7 certainly has the skills to pay the bills, but at a highly attractive price point.
Laughing in the face of its closest rival, the Amazon Kindle Fire, it looks like Google has got the budget end of the tablet market all wrapped up. Sure, some people believe the iPad mini is a better device, but for Android, this is the cream of the crop.
It's now been shoved up in capacity without a jump in price; this means you can get 16GB of storage for $249 and $299 for the full 32GB version - plus we're getting a 3G version for $349 too.
A quad-core processor, beefy GPU and the first device to run Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, and now it's already been upgraded to Android 4.2 with raft of new fancy features. The Nexus 7 certainly packs a punch and while it may not tread a lot of new ground, the Nexus 7 is a solid performer and easily the best tablet a couple of hundred pounds can buy.
2. Google Nexus 10
The 10.1 display is one of the biggest talking points on the Google Nexus 10. At 300 pixels per inch it's the highest resolution tablet display on the planet - take that, Apple and your Retina displays.
It's a great performer too. Other than taking a while to process panoramic photos we never felt like it was struggling to keep up. It's fast and smooth whatever you throw at it.
Sure it may not be as stunning to look at, or as well built as an iPad, and the lack of expandable memory will irk some, but overall the Nexus 10 gives you a quality, big-screen Android experience which is not to be sniffed at.
On top of that, the tablet has already been updated to Android 4.2.1, which brings back the month of December in some calendar apps (well done, Google) and adds support for some security issues too, showing this is the tablet to buy if you want a larger screen that Google won't give up on.
The Google Nexus 10 is easily one of the best Android tablets on the market and while it's not quite as fantastic value for money as the Nexus 7, it certainly gives Apple's high-priced iPad 4 a run for its money. For the price you're paying, you won't be disappointed.
3. Asus Transformer Pad Infinity
If it wasn't for the higher price, the Infinity would be a real contender for the top spot. It's got everything you could want in a tablet - and a keyboard dock as standard too.
With the latest version of Android on the way, a simple interface and more ports than you can poke with a stick, the Infinity is the tablet that can handle anything you can throw at it.
Add in the Super IPS panel with a tremendous resolution, and you can see why this is a tablet to rate very highly - especially if you're fond of typing on the go but crave the simplicity of a slate too. New firmware updates in some territories have brought features like Wi-Fi Direct to the Infinity, and Android 4.2 will be landing soon too.
Everything we'd look for in a high-end tablet is present and accounted for with the Transformer Pad Infinity.
While power is always welcomed, it was the improved screen that really caught our attention. Given that we use our tablet mostly for browsing the web and watching video, we couldn't help but marvel at the resolution, either. if you're looking for a top Android tablet (and have the cash to splash), then the Asus Transformer Pad Infinity should be at the top of your list.
- Read our full Asus Transformer Pad Infinity review
- Compare prices for the Asus Transformer Pad Infinity
4. Amazon Kindle Fire HD
What's better than a modern tablet with a quad core processor? One that costs just $250. That's right: the power of the Kindle brand has mated with an HD screen and won't charge you the earth to own it.
Coming in at 16GB and 32GB flavours, the Kindle Fire HD is sure to be a big hit, bringing the simplicity of the e-book range to the tablet arena, with dedicated space to access your movies, games, apps and music too. A recent update has added a camera app for the front-facing camera and Swype support, so there are even more (admittedly tiny) reasons to shell out.
It's a little simplistic for some, and Australians may struggle to get their hands on one in the first place, but it's hard to beat in the bang-for-buck stakes.
For casual tablet users, the Kindle Fire HD is a fantastic option, especially at the low entry price. It offers a simple and uncomplicated experience through and through, and is built to support the digital media it aims to sell you, with an excellent screen (for a seven-incher) and surprisingly ample speakers.
There may be some content issues for Australian customers, but workarounds are available if you like the idea of sinking knee-deep in the Amazon content rainforest.
5. Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1
What's better than a tablet with a big screen? A tablet with a big screen, a quad core processor and the might of the S Pen... known as a stylus to me and you.
Well, not just a stylus - with many levels of pressure sensitivity and the ability easily sketch and annotate on a wide range of items, the Galaxy Note 10.1 offers so much more than your average tablet.
We're huge fans of the alternative choice here, and it even comes with a microSD slot to boot. Android 4.1 is landing at the moment, and comes with a Premium Suite update, designed to make multi-tasking and general use that much easier.
Sure, it's a mite expensive, the screen quality is lower than we've seen from Samsung in the past and the build quality somewhat lower than the competition, but this is still a fabulous tablet that many workers constantly forced to use a paper and pen will love to try out.