Hardly had the dust settled upon the smartphone phenomenon, when we were hit by the tablet invasion. Some people argue that tablets are just a gimmick born of sheer commercial sophistry, pure hype and suggestive marketing: first create a concept, however illogical, impractical or downright useless, and then create a “can’t-do-without” aura around it, and consumers are suckers enough to, well, consume! But rabble-rousers notwithstanding, tablets have caught the fancy of the world, and like the Joneses next door, you’ve no choice but to go for them yourself. After all, they do seem to have their advantages. And if you’re in it, might as well go for the best. Here’s a list of the top 10 best 7 inch tablets to buy in 2016. Take your pick.
1. Google Nexus 7
The Nexus is justifiably flaunted as the best 7-inch tablet around. This Android slate is powered by a powerful quad-core processor, has a beautiful 1920 x 1200 display, excellent front and rear cameras, battery that lasts almost 9 hours, and is fully loaded with fantastic apps and content (remember, it’s from Google!). Yet, it’s highly portable, extremely slim and light, and most impressive of all, comes with an amazing sub-$160 starting price tag. The relatively small internal storage with no expansion options is a slight dampener, but that doesn’t take away anything from what is arguably the best 7-inch tablet in the market today, Android or otherwise.
2. Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9
The Kindle Fire HD 8.9 is all that it’s touted to be: great on looks, solidly built, excellent display with impressive audio, and good Wi-Fi connectivity. But naturally, coming from Amazon, it’s the content that really kindles your fire. Using the HD 8.9 is a simple but pleasurable and satisfying experience, although not being a regular Android, it could come across as just a shade stodgy and a trifle slow. However, it’s still an excellent choice for anyone willing to shell out its relatively high-end price.
3. Asus MeMO Pad HD 7
This is a budget 7-inch tablet, but the MeMO Pad HD 7 packs so many features you’ll wonder how Asus managed to keep the starting price tag so low. This sub-$150 Android 7-inch tablet features a crisp and vibrant 1280 x 800 display. It’s powered by a mighty quad-core processor, has excellent cameras up front and rear, offers internal storage of 16GB with an expandable microSD card slot, and an amazing (nearly) 10 hours of battery life packed, with a multitude of other Android features you can customize. A really great package that fits your pocket – literally and figuratively!
4. Fuhu Nabi 2
An out and out children’s tablet, the Fuhu Nabi 2 is a great pick for several reasons. Although not in the same league as some high end 7-inch tablets, the Android Ice Cream Sandwich based Nabi 2 offers features worth much more than its sub-$200 tag suggests: child-proof design, colorful 1024 x 600 display with excellent audio, powerful Nvidia Tegra 3 processor, and loads of content that’ll keep not just the kids, but also the adults glued. Only glitches are low brightness, a small viewing angle, and a proprietary charger. Overall, an excellent pick for your kids, likely you’ll like it too!
5. Samsung Galaxy Tab 3
Let’s tick off the negatives first: the price tag of around $300 is a slight turn off. A couple features just don’t come up to Samsung quality standards. Now that’s over and done with, we can get down to the superlatives. The 8-inch Tab 3 is the best Samsung Galaxy tablet that’s not a Note. In its brown skin with gold trim, it looks great, feels light, and fits cozily in the hand. It has a crisp, colorful display, great performance thanks to its 1.5GB RAM, and expandable memory through a microSD slot, and a useful multi-window display that lets you run two apps simultaneously. So although a tad high priced, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 is true value for money.
6.Barnes & Noble Nook HD
The 7-inch tablet’s dimensions are ideal for ebooks, and that’s what the Barnes & Noble Nook HD tablet more or less is. The pinch-me-to-believe-it low starting price of less than $130 is not the Nook’s greatest or only selling point. It’s got a whole lot more USP – a razor sharp display, and an ergonomic design that’s ideal for ebook activities, movies and games – yes, now Google Play is fully accessible to Nook users. And although it misses a few of the standard features you’d expect on a tablet, the Nook knows where its head and heart lie – content. Even the low internal storage of 8GB is complemented by an expandable microSD slot. For its price, this is one of the best 7-inch tablets you can lay your hands on, especially if you’re shopping for your kids!
7. Lenovo S5000
The 7-inch Lenovo S5000’s claim to fame does not extend just to its weight – or lack of. It’s the lightest 7-incher floating around in tablet space currently. Considering that the Android 4.2 S5000 carries a very good 1280 x 800 IPS display, runs on a 1.2GHz quad-core MediaTek 8389 processor (for 3G; for Wi-Fi only, it uses a Mediatek 8125 engine) with 1GB RAM, Micro-USB, 1.6mp front camera and a good 5mp rear camera, along with GPS, Bluetooth 4.0 and an accelerometer as bonuses. Add a fairly long battery life of 8 hours and 16GB internal storage (expected launch configuration), and you’ll understand why its lightness elicits wonder. And what’s even more amazing is its launch price – around $170! For its features, price and the Lenovo pedigree, the S5000 is worth the shakedown.
8. Asus FonePad 7
The latest 7-inch FonePad sports a 1280 x 800 IPS screen smudge resistant coating, 1.6GHz Intel Atom Z2560 processor with 1GB RAM, dual front speakers, twin cameras – 1.2mp front and a quite sophisticated 5mp autofocus at the rear, a speedy HSPA+ 3G for up to 42Mbps mobile internet connectivity, and a microSDHC slot for expanded storage. Price varies with internal storage: 8GB, 16GB, or 32GB. Used as a phone, the FonePad 7’s battery provides up to 28 hours of talk time, up to 35 hours of standby, and up to 10 hours video playback. So if you want a tablet that’s also a conversation piece, the Asus FonePad 7 could well be the answer to your prayers!
9.Kobo Arc 10HD
Kobo is a relatively obscure tablet manufacturer that churns out tablets in high numbers. Their latest to hit the 7-inch market is the Arc 7, with a 1920 x 1200 HD IPS display, a slightly senior 1.7GHz Tegra 3 processor with 1GB RAM, and a single 1.3mp front camera; Micro-USB and Micro-HDMI for expanded storage and wired connections, and 802.11 b/g/n dual-band Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 for wireless connectivity. Prices start at $200 for 16GB internal storage and $250 for 32GB. There’s an even cheaper ($150) 8GB Kobo Arc 7 with a lesser processor and lower resolution screen, but includes a microSD slot. If you don’t mind experimenting, one of the Kobo Arc 7 models could be your medicine!
10. Asus Transformer Book Trio
This is really not a 7-incher by any stretch of the imagination: the Asus Transformer Book Trio is a hybrid: it runs both Android 4.2 and Windows 8. Together, they make for a great combination of comfortable keyboard, and an easily accessible and portable tablet. Detach the 11.6 inch display, and it becomes a fully functional Android tablet. Connect the keypad console to a monitor, and it turns into a Windows 8 desktop. Of course, it’s not going to come cheap, but something this good deserves a fair price, and you’ll find it worth it all and more.
An exhaustive review of the best 7-inch tablets – our list of the top 10 best 7-inch tablets to buy in 2016 should help you zero in on your choice based on your requirements and budget. So when you go shopping for that 7-incher, don’t forget to carry this review with you!