The best tablet of 2014: Apple vs Sony vs Samsung

The competition is intense.

Megapixels and cameras

The cameras on these tablets linger behind those featured on smartphones as, after all, who wants to take a photo with a device 12.2-inches large?

It lacks a flash, and there are times a little light goes a long way

The Apple iPad has a proficient 5 megapixel rear camera and a low resolution 1.2 megapixel camera on the front. The rear camera admirably snaps photos in a range of lighting conditions. However, the iPad Air has the least number of megapixels. Furthermore it lacks a flash, and there are times a little light goes a long way.

Sony’s Xperia Z2 Tablet has a higher resolution 8 megapixel rear camera and a 2.2 megapixel front camera. Imaging is one of Sony’s core strengths, but the Z2 Tablet is let down by the omission of an HDR shooting mode. Also dampening the Z2 Tablet’s experience is the lack of a flash like that of the iPad Air.

Samsung’s tablet has a flash. And HDR shooting. The tablet’s 8 megapixel rear camera and 2 megapixel front-facing camera are well equipped and are versed in a range of lighting conditions. Although the NotePro’s camera isn’t better than most smartphone cameras, it’s certainly the best of the trio.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy NotePro 12.2

Features and extras

Apple’s iPad does the ordinary things extraordinarily well, but the Air’s innovation over its predecessor was its slender proportions and light weight. Sony since has one upped Apple by creating a tablet than is “thinner” and “lighter”, to quote Apple’s marketing campaign.

Samsung applications take advantage of the S-Pen’s uncanny receptiveness

Samsung tried to innovate the popular slate with the inclusion of its S-Pen stylus. Several Samsung applications take advantage of the S-Pen’s uncanny receptiveness as it captures the nuances of pens, pencils, textas and more. It’s easy to jot down legible notes with the S-Pen, as is doodling on impromptu screenshots. The S-Pen radically expands the functionality of the NotePro.

Another thing separates Samsung and Sony’s tablets from the masses. The top of each tablet is equipped with a flush IR blaster, while the Samsung features an electronic program guide. This means both tablets can be used as a remote control to operate the devices in your home entertainment setup.

Sony’s Xperia Z2 Tablet has it’s own party trick: it is waterproof. The tablet has ascertained certification against dust and can take on freshwater 1.5 metres deep for thirty minutes. During our testing of the Z2 Tablet, it replayed an episode of Game of thrones — audio and all — while completely submerged in a bucket of water. The ability to withstand water makes the Z2 the tablet of choice for people who demand more from a tablet.

An HDR photo captured with the NotePro 12.2
An HDR photo captured with the NotePro 12.2

Winner: Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet

Verdict

The tally reads:

Samsung: 2
Sony: 2
Apple: 1

But these numbers don’t tell the full story.

Samsung’s Galaxy NotePro 12.2 is a fantastic tablet, but its 12.2-inch size and its exorbitant price tag precludes it from being the tablet of choice for the masses. This is a niche product that wouldn’t bode well with most people.

Sony and Apple’s slates will be the tablets most people gravitate towards. Just a year ago this would’ve been a no brainer; Apple’s iPad would’ve won hands down. The fact Sony’s Xperia Z2 Tablet can go punch-for-punch with the mighty Apple is a testament to Sony’s rapid rate of innovation. The Z2 Tablet is thinner, lighter and more durable, but picking between these two tablets isn’t a binary choice.

Each of these tablets are as good as each other: if you’re a fan of Apple’s ecosystem, buy the iPad Air — you’ll love it. If you’re a fan of open-source anything, buy the Xperia Z2 Tablet — you’ll love it just as much.

Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet
Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags NoteProiosZ2 TabletAndroid12.2iPadgalaxyApplesamsungZ24.4XperiaAIRsonyKitKat

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Tony Ibrahim
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?