The tech work is abuzz with all the new gadgets being unveiled by some of the biggest players in the game at German trade show IFA. Tablets are a relatively new technology, but they made a strong showing at the conference this year, with every company throwing a new dog in the race. This is a round-up of the coolest tablets bestowed upon the world in 2014.
Related: The best smartwatches at IFA 2014
Finally a tablet you can take water rafting or mountain climbing … or to a conference room. The Galaxy Tab Active is rugged, waterproof, and aimed at business professionals. It can withstand a plane ride in coach or a coffee spill during a meeting. Though durable, it’s also a pretty good tablet. The Active has an 8-inch TFT LCD screen, a 1.2GHz quad-core Exynos processor, 1.5 gigs of RAM, and 16GB of storage. Despite the waterproof and dust-proof design, the whole thing is slim at only 395 grams, suitable for a briefcase. And you can’t say the workds rugged tablet without thinking shock protection, which of course the Active has; so go ahead, knock if off your desk. It will be available by the end of 2014.
The Xperia Z3 Compact is small but mighty, with a battery life of up to 13 hours of streaming video, and 16GB of storage. It has an 8-inch screen and is powered by the Qualcomm 801 Snapdragon processor, the same one used in the new Z3 phone. One of the most exciting features is that you can stream PS4 games right to the tablet as long as they’re on the same Wi-Fi connection. You can even attach this cheeky guy to the DualShock 4 controller. This is especially handy if your PS4 is all the way downstairs, and you’re safely in bed. The Xperia will be available in stores this fall but you can pre-order it on Sony’s website for $540 in a variety of colors.
The big brother of the Z3 was announced in January and the Wi-Fi version went on sale in May. The news was exciting but left those looking for a 4G version feeling left out. Well, you can now rejoice because Sony has acknowledged that your feelings matter as well. The company announced the tablet is available now with a Sept. 9 ship date. For $630 you get a 10.1-inch screen with 1,920 × 1,200 pixel resolution, 2GB of RAM, 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 processor, and an 8-megapixel camera. It’s also waterproof, which Sony proved by dunking it in barrels of water.
This isn’t your mom’s memo pad; it’s powered by a 64-bit Intel Atom Z3560 quad-core processor and rocks a 7-inch 1080 display. The Memo Pad comes equipped with SonicMaster speakers so it can bring the party. It has a 2-megapixel camera in the front and 5-megapixel one in the back. With all of this power, Asus didn’t skimp on the overall aesthetic; the Memo Pad looks classy in black, gold, or burgundy. Pricing and ship date are unavailable at this time.
Lenovo gave the world its first Intel Atom-powered Android tablet at this year’s IFA: the Tab S8. It runs on Android 4.4 Kit Kat and has an Intel Atom Z3745 processor coupled with 2GB of RAM. The tablet rocks what Lenovo calls its One Glass Solution, which cuts the distance between the LCD and touch layers. This makes the screen super sensitive and reduces glare. There are Dolby-enhanced dual speakers on the front panel so you can listen to music or Breaking Bad with ease. It will be available in September for $200.
Acer brought three tablets to IFA 2014, the first of which is the Iconia Tab 8 W. If the name wasn’t enough of a giveaway, we’ll confirm that yes, this tablet does run Windows 8.1. The Iconia has a 1,200 × 800 pixel screen, an Intel Atom Z3735G processor, and up to 8 hours of battery life. It’s a pretty standard tablet, but purchasing one gets you a year of Microsoft Office 365. All that for only $150 in November.
While the Iconia Tab 8 W is aimed at those wanting to work hard, the Tab 10 is for everyone who wants to play hard. No it won’t shotgun a beer with you, but it will give you a sweet place to watch a movie. It’s powered by Android 4.4 KitKat and rocks a 1080p IPS display. Fingerprints and dust can be really distracting if you’re watching The Walking Dead (you ARE watching, aren’t you?), so the Tab 10 has Gorilla Glass with an anti-fingerprint layer on top. The two built-in speakers are Dolby Digital Plus, but if you want a little more oomph you can use the Tab 10 to wirelessly stream videos or photos to a computer or TV. Pick one up in black or white in September for $200.
The last Iconia is the One 8. It has the same processor as the 8 W but it runs Android 4.4 KitKat instead of Windows. The thing that sets the One 8 apart from the other two is that it likes to feel pretty. You can choose from ten different colors including Sunshine Yellow, Vivid Orange, Sky Blue, Jade Green, and others. It has a 1,280 × 800 pixel with the same anti-fingerprint layer as the Tab 10. There isn’t any pricing or availability info for North America yet.
The Encore Mini is for the Windows 8 lover on the go. This tiny tablet measures in at 7 inches and comes complete with full Windows 8.1, one year of Windows 365 Personal, and 1TB of free OneDrive cloud storage. The 12.5-ounce Encore Mini is powered by a 1.83GHz, quad-core Intel Atom Z3735G processor and 1GB of RAM. The little guy only comes with 16GB of space, but it can be expanded with an SD card. Pick one up now for $120.
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