Getting tired of the smallish screen on your Android smartphone? Have a fear of commitment for something too big and unwieldy like a 10-inch tablet? Getting a 7-inch Android is without doubt the next best thing. In fact, 7-inch seems to be the sweet spot between portability and screen size. The list below contains what we believe to be an elite group of 7-inch Android tablets that are worthy of some superlatives in front of their names. In no particular order, check out these fine 7-inchers below.
UPDATE: Find out the best Android tablet in our latest best Android tablets 2013 series.
Huawei MediaPad was heavily advertised as the world’s first 7-inch tablet running Android 3.2 Honeycomb. Since then, the Android tablet bar has been raised even higher with the introduction of Ice Cream Sandwich. Nevertheless, the MediaPad – also known as T-Mobile Springboard in the US – is a solid piece of machinery cladded in an attractive aluminum exterior that features a crisp display, thanks to the high-res1280 x 800 IPS panel. The 5MP rear-camera produces above-average image quality shots, making it one of the better shooters in the market. Huawei has promised to bump up the OS to Ice Cream Sandwich soon.
The savior of Barnes and Noble, the NOOK Tablet was able to sneak in and steal some sparks from Kindle’s Fire. This 7-inch tablet is perfect for casual reading, gaming, and browsing. One of its unique features is the ability to record your own voice-over narration for children’s books on the NOOK Tablet by using the built-in mic. Barnes and Noble have recently introduced a cheaper NOOK Tablet 8GB model for $199 — setting up for an even more intense showdown with the Kindle Fire. We, as consumers, are the winners, of course. High five, competition!
Meet the new king budget Android tablet. Though Amazon rarely releases sales figures, analysts believe that this is the second-best selling tablet in the market after you-know-what. The Kindle Fire is as basic as it gets for a tablet – no mic, GPS, camera — but it does an adequate job as a reading and entertainment device under the Amazon umbrella. You’ll get plenty of entertainment alright, what with the availability of Amazon AppStore (for all your apps needs) and Amazon Prime (to keep up with TV series and movies). Keep in mind that the Fire doesn’t have an expandable storage, so you’re stuck with 8GB. You get to back-up all your contents to the cloud though. Though there are rumors of a Kindle Fire successor being on the way, while the current $199 price point for the Kindle Fire is definitely a good deal.
Compared to other manufacturers on the list, the name Ainol Aurora does give a reason to raise an eyebrow or two. Truth be told, this is one of the better Chinese tablet manufacturers in the market. The solid specs of the Ainol Novo7 Aurora speak for themselves: IPS display, 1GB RAM, mini HDMI output, and Ice Cream Sandwich. As for the price, well, it certainly is one that is highly competitive. If you value functions over brand name, the Ainol Novo7 Aurora makes a great alternative from the usual crowd.
The Toshiba Thrive 7 won’t win any aesthetic award due to its clunky design. But look beyond that, and you have a great Honeycomb tablet that comes with a high-res 1280 x 800 screen able to render sharp text display and vivid imageries. This makes it a perfect companion for some travel reading and movie watching while you’re hitting the road. At 360 grams, the robust Thrive 7 is among one of the lightest slates around that has microSD card slot, micro USB and micro HDMI ports.
The dual-core Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus is yet another sequel to the popular Tab lineup from Samsung. The 7.0 Plus continues the sleek design of its 7-inch predecessor, save for the dark matte back. It also loses some weight, height, and depth in the process. The main selling point of the Tab 7.0 Plus is the inclusion of Infrared port and Peel Smart Remote app, which turns the Tab into a remote control for your TV. Faster, thinner and lighter – the tablet is worthy of a spin the second time around, especially if you have a Samsung TV, and plan on being near it often.
Out of the gazillion Tab series out there, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 is the one model that will turn heads – for a good reason. With gorgeous and ridiculously over-the-top colors, the Super AMOLED Plus screen used on the tablet is something that you need to experience first-hand to believe. The Galaxy Tab 7.7 is a thin, light, and powerful tablet with amazing battery life. The fact that you can use the Galaxy Tab 7.7 (3G model) to make phone calls and send text messages is another plus point. Look elsewhere, penny-pinchers, this one’s going to hurt the wallet but be oh-so-easy on your eyes. Life will never look as good.
Having trouble making up your mind despite the rich concoction of 7-inch Android tablets above? Have no fear, as a ton more are heading towards your direction in the next couple of months. One of our favorites include the upcoming Asus MeMo 370T. Can you say Tegra 3 quad-core processor and 1280 x 800 IPS panel for a mere $250? Praise the lord! The MeMo 370T will definitely help put Asus name firmly on the Android tablet map. We’re also excited about the Toshiba AT270 tablet for its super sleek and thin body (7.7mm or less) and Super AMOLED Plus display. The tablet packs some serious quad-core processor power as well. Expect Asus MeMo 370T to launch in Q2 2012 and Toshiba AT270 to follow soon.
You may want to hold on to your cushioned seats, folks, as 2012 is bound to a mighty fine year for Android tablets. If you’re interested in knowing more about some of the best Android tablets of 2012 – check out our feature piece! Let us know which ones are on your radar, and we’ll get them and review them as soon as is inhumanly possible.