"We bought my 11-year-old son a 7in Zoostorm SL8 mini tablet for Christmas.
He loves it and has used it with games and photos. Recently, the tablet has started not performing well with some of the games he has downloaded, and he decided to save up for an iPad-sized (10in) tablet. He’s up to about £250, and I am finding it hard to help him choose. It has to be Android so he doesn’t lose his games (and Google Play vouchers). I thought of the Tesco Hudl. Might they be bringing out a new one in the autumn?" Dominic
The Android tablet market tends to split between expensive, top-tier products from leading brands and really cheap models that rarely seem to reach reviewers. Some of them might be bargains, from firms such as PiPO and Cube, but I wouldn't know.
At the moment, the most attractive top-tier 10in Android tablets include the new beautifully thin Sony Xperia Z2, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition, and the rather old (2012-vintage) Google Nexus 10. Both the Samsung and Xperia Z2 have quad-core Snapdragon processors with 3GB of memory, which means they offer the high performance that is needed for gaming, with the Samsung being the fastest. Unfortunately, both cost about £400, which is the same as a 16GB Apple iPad Air. The Nexus 10 has a 1.7GHz Samsung Exynos 5 dual-core chip with 2GB of memory, which reflects its advancing age.
However, you can find the Nexus 10 at relatively low prices, if you shop around. For example, Play.com has the 16GB model for £235 and the 32GB version for £290, with free delivery. (These are US units supplied with UK mains cables.) Google's UK prices are £319 and £389, but it's currently out of stock, so perhaps it's about to announce a long-overdue replacement. Rumours suggest this is being made by Asus, which already makes the Nexus 7. If so, it won't use a Samsung processor, so I'd expect another quad-core or octo-core Snapdragon.
There are some cheaper alternatives made by name brand suppliers. For example, Lenovo offers the differently-shaped Yoga 10 Android tablet for only £199.99. While solidly constructed and nicely polished, it has a relatively slow 1.2GHz Mediatek MT8215 quad-core processor that wouldn't be the best choice for gaming. Still, the MT8215 is roughly in the class of an Apple A6, Nvidia Tegra 3 or Snapdragon 400, which is a cut above the 1.5GHz dual-core Amlogic AML8726 in the Zoostorm SL8 mini 2.
There are also some cheaper 10in Samsung tablets floating around, including the Galaxy Tab 3 at £279 and the Galaxy Tab 4 (T-530) at £279.99. The Tab 3 is unusual in having an Intel Atom Z2560 processor, but it's only slightly quicker than the Mediatek and similar chips. It's not one of the speedy Atom chips like the Z3740 used in the Asus Transformer T100 Windows 8 convertible 10.1in tablet+keyboard (£289.99).
As for the Hudl, the Tesco chief executive, Philip Clarke, told the Guardian that a new Hudl 2 would be launched this year, and it's expected in September. But he said "The new model will be an enhanced version," which suggests to me that it will be an updated 7in tablet not a 10in tablet. Given that tablet industry sales have been trending towards smaller, cheaper models, I wouldn't bank on Tesco going large, but it's not impossible.
However, Argos is planning to launch a 10.1in Android 4.4 (KitKat) tablet that could cost about £130. Argos entered the market last year with a 7in Bush MyTablet model for £99, but it took a beating in reviews, and lost out to the Hudl and the £80 Aldi Medion Lifetab. We can but assume the company has learned from its experience and its next models will be better. Unfortunately, I can't tell you the specification or price. Argos's press office says it will be announcing the new range next week.
Otherwise, your son could always try a PiPO tablet, such as the 9.7in PiPO M6 with its 1.8GHz Rockchip RK3188 quad-core processor for £175.51. I've never seen one of the company's products so I can't comment, but some of its tablets, such as the PiPO M1 (Max M1), get generally good reviews on Amazon.co.uk.
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