When shopping for an Android tablet, the initial feeling of being overwhelmed by the hundreds of options usually passes quickly. The latest, coolest slates always seem to be weeks away from pre-order while other models drop away one by one due to design flaws, high prices, key missing features, or dated Android builds.
Still, there are finally enough worthy tablets running Android 4.0 (“Ice Cream Sandwich”) or Android 4.1 (“Jelly Bean”) to nicely fill out a top 10 list. This should be your minimum, as Honeycomb now looks prehistoric by comparison.
I ranked the tablets according to their overall mix of features, design, and price, based on reviews and direct experience. Sizes range from 7 to 10.1 inches — sorry, 5-inch phablets, you still look like phones to me. Pricing is for WiFi-only configurations starting at 16GB, although over half of these now offer a minimum of 32GB. Devices must be shipping by Sept. 14 with ICS or later, rather than simply being available for an upgrade.
The list ranges from some old standbys like the Acer Iconia Tab to two tablets that shipped just last week: the Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7 and Sony Xperia Tablet S. It’s a bit top heavy, with a preponderance of quad-core Tegra 3-based slates, and there’s only one sub $150 device. However, with my number-one ranked, quad-core Nexus 7 selling for $200-$250, it hardly makes much sense to go much lower.
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