GSMArena tablet buyer’s guide: November 2014

Black Friday is upon us and the holiday season is just around the corner. Without doubt many of you will be shopping around for a new tablet and the latest edition of the GSMArena.com tablet buyer’s guide is here to give a helping hand in choosing the right one for your needs and budget.

Tablets have evolved rapidly and have seen an explosive market growth but have recently settled into a steady routine of gradually becoming better with small, calculated steps as opposed to coming in leaps and bounds. New tablets come and replace the older ones but those old tablets still make a lot of sense, especially with their lower prices.

Since our last tablet buyer’s guide in August 2014, there has been a certain movement on the tablet scene with new favorites heading the ranks and older favorites becoming even more enticing with lower prices. What we haven’t seen though is any game changing developments revolutionary tablets so to speak.

That isn’t for lack of trying, though. Jolla announced their first tablet, which looks promising but ultimately, it still needs to put one on the shelves – something that will take time.

Nokia, for the first time in some years, showed off something that doesn’t cling to Redmond’s Windows OS – the Nokia N1 runs Android 5.0 Lollipop with Nokia Z launcher, Intel hardware and an iPad mini-esque design. But the N1 will go on sale as early as February 19 (in China!) so by the time it makes it to other countries, the next edition of our tablet buyer’s guide will probably be out. It remains to be seen exactly how deep is Nokia’s involvement in the N1 beyond the brand name and the UI launcher.

Back to the matters of concern for this release of our buyer’s guide, Apple released the new iPad Air 2 recently with an even thinner frame, a new laminated display and the 64-bit A8X that’s a real graphics-crunching beast. Cupertino also launched the iPad mini 3 but that one turned out to be nothing more than a golden-colored iPad mini 2 with a Touch ID home button for €100 more. On the upside the iPad mini 2 is now cheaper by the same €100.

Google partnered with HTC to make the new Nexus 9, leaving the smaller 7″ and larger 10″ form factors unattended to for now. The Nexus 9 is bigger than the iPad mini 3 and 2, and slightly smaller than the iPad Air 2 and Air making for a direct rival to both of them. The Nexus 9 also has Google’s latest and greatest software on tap and a very solid hardware foundation as well. It also marks a firm step towards a more premium segment and it’s not quite the bang-for-buck deal that the Nexus 7 used to be.

We also saw Amazon release its new front-runner – the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 that brings along a much better Snapdragon 805 chipset and costs the same as its predecessor. Sony released its Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact – a powerful 8.0″ waterproof slate with a complete connectivity set.

Samsung kept quiet during the last three months and didn’t release any new tablets. Its older ones have seen some mild pay cuts which puts them in a better position to compete with the affordable and premium compact, mid-sized and full-sized tablets on the market right now. They’re due for a larger deduction in price soon, though.

Naturally, many of the older tablets we featured last time are here without replacements but with small or sizeable price reductions. And if you’ve been considering getting any of them now may be the right time. The smaller tablets are now cheaper to get with their lowest price diving below €100. The midsized slates appear to be stronger than ever with the new offerings from Google, Amazon and Apple. The larger tablet segment looks to have changed the least out of all three but does offer cheaper slates from major manufacturers and the fresh presence of the Apple iPad Air 2 royalty. So overall, the past few months leading to this edition of the tablet buyer’s guide have been nice to us users and we are more than ready to pick the best deals. So pick your size and let’s get it going.

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