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The best tablet of 2014: Apple vs Sony vs Samsung

Tony Ibrahim | May 26, 2014
Savage competition has seen the gap separating Apple's iPad from a slew of Android tablets close. Ambassadors of Android, particularly Samsung and Sony, have learnt how to couple the refined OS with capable hardware. The result: better products for less. This comparison takes the two most competitive tablets, Samsung's Galaxy NotePro 12.2 and Sony's Xperia Z2 Tablet, and measures how they stand next to Apple's iPad Air.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy NotePro 12.2

Megapixels and cameras

The cameras on these tablets linger behind those featured on smartphones as, after all, who wants to take a photo with a device 12.2-inches large?

It lacks a flash, and there are times a little light goes a long way

The Apple iPad has a proficient 5 megapixel rear camera and a low resolution 1.2 megapixel camera on the front. The rear camera admirably snaps photos in a range of lighting conditions. However, the iPad Air has the least number of megapixels. Furthermore it lacks a flash, and there are times a little light goes a long way.

Sony's Xperia Z2 Tablet has a higher resolution 8 megapixel rear camera and a 2.2 megapixel front camera. Imaging is one of Sony's core strengths, but the Z2 Tablet is let down by the omission of an HDR shooting mode. Also dampening the Z2 Tablet's experience is the lack of a flash like that of the iPad Air.

Samsung's tablet has a flash. And HDR shooting. The tablet's 8 megapixel rear camera and 2 megapixel front-facing camera are well equipped and are versed in a range of lighting conditions. Although the NotePro's camera isn't better than most smartphone cameras, it's certainly the best of the trio.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy NotePro 12.2

Features and extras

Samsung applications take advantage of the S-Pen's uncanny receptiveness

Samsung tried to innovate the popular slate with the inclusion of its S-Pen stylus. Several Samsung applications take advantage of the S-Pen's uncanny receptiveness as it captures the nuances of pens, pencils, textas and more. It's easy to jot down legible notes with the S-Pen, as is doodling on impromptu screenshots. The S-Pen radically expands the functionality of the NotePro.

Another thing separates Samsung and Sony's tablets from the masses. The top of each tablet is equipped with a flush IR blaster, while the Samsung features an electronic program guide. This means both tablets can be used as a remote control to operate the devices in your home entertainment setup.

Sony's Xperia Z2 Tablet has it's own party trick: it is waterproof. The tablet has ascertained certification against dust and can take on freshwater 1.5 metres deep for thirty minutes. During our testing of the Z2 Tablet, it replayed an episode of Game of thrones -- audio and all -- while completely submerged in a bucket of water. The ability to withstand water makes the Z2 the tablet of choice for people who demand more from a tablet.

Winner: Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet

Verdict

The tally reads:

Samsung: 2 Sony: 2 Apple: 1

But these numbers don't tell the full story.

 

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