Tablet makers were on a roll at this year's CES, debuting a host of new slates with an impressive list of features. Some of these tablets will be hitting the market soon, including an Archos model that boasts Retina Display resolution for half the price of the iPad, as well as a device from Razer that lets you play the latest PC games on the go. Other tablets on display demonstrated new innovations on the horizon, such as grip sensing technology and 4K resolution. So follow along to see the 10 best tablets of CES 2013.
With a Core i5 processor, Nvidia GT640M graphics and 4GB of RAM, Razer's $999 10.1-inch Edge is the most powerful tablet yet. But what makes this tablet truly unique is its multiple use modes, ranging from a well-designed Gamepad Controller and Keyboard Dock to a Docking Station. With this slate set to hit the market later this year, mobile gaming may never be the same.
Microsoft didn't have an official presence at CES, but that didn't stop the company from letting journalists get up close and personal with its Surface Pro at a special briefing. The tablet, which features a full version of Windows 8 Pro and is powered by an Intel Core i5 processor, which will allow users to run full Windhows desktop programs. The Pro will also support pen input. Overall, the $899 device should offer better performance and usability than the standard Microsoft Surface. However, we're still wary of the tablet's battery life, which is estimated to be just 4 hours.
If you're drawn to the iPad because of its sharp Retina Dispplay, check out Archos' 97 Titanium tablet. The $249 slate features a 9.7-inch screen with the same 2048 x 1536-pixel resolution as Apple's tablet for half the price. The Android Jelly Bean-powered device also offers a 1.6-GHz dual-core Cortex-A9 processor, 1GB of RAM and 8GB of onboard storage that can be expanded using the slate's microSD card slot. A 5-megapixel rear-facing camera and 2-megapixel front-facing shooter round out the specs.
Nvidia's 72-GPU core Tegra 4 processor is still fresh from the oven, and it's already making its first appearance inside Vizio's new 10-inch concept slate. The device boasts a Retina Display-beating 2560 x 1600-pixel resolution, 32GB of onboard storage and both a 5-MP rear camera and 1.3-MP front camera. The model we spent time with at CES included a stock version of Google's Android Jelly Bean OS, but according to Vizio the slate should be ready for Google's next-gen Key Lime Pie software.
The ASUS VivoTab Smart Tablet hopes to give the Surface a run for its money with the ability to run desktop apps for less than $500 and an optional Bluetooth keyboard. The 1.27-pound Windows 8 slate packs Intel's Atom Z2760 mobile processor and includes a 1366 x 768 IPS panel that's fairly bright with wide viewing angles. The expected 9.5 hours of battery life and flexible Transleeve cover make the VivoTab a slate to watch..
The Acer Iconia B1-A71 is being marketed to consumers as a secondary tablet. At less than $149, that's not a bad value proposition, especially when you consider what the Iconia B1 has to offer beyond its budget-friendly price. The B1 rolls with a 1.2-GHz dual-core Mediatek processor and 512MB of RAM, which kept the device lag-free during our hands-on time. The B1's 1024 x 600 resolution display isn't the most impressive on the market, but unlike the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fi HD, you can augment the 8GB of onboard memory with the 32GB microSD card slot. You'll also get a 0.3-megapixel front camera. The inclusion of Google's Android Jelly Bean and all of the goodies it has to offer, such as Google Now, sweetens the deal.
Alcatel isn't the biggest name in tablets, but its $179 One Touch Tab 8 was certainly compelling enough to catch our eye at CES. The Android Jelly Bean-powered tablet features an 8-inch 1024 x 768 IPS display and sports a 1.6-GHz dual-core Cortex A9 processor and 1GB of RAM. Onboard storage is limited to 8GB, but there's also a microSD card slot. If you're looking for a tablet that will shoot sharp images, the Tab 8's 2-megapixel rear-facing and VGA front-facing cameras will leave you wanting. But if you're in the market for a relatively inexpensive Android device with a decent amount of processing power, the Tab 8 should be worth a look.
Synaptics' wants you to get a grip ... on its concept tablet that is. The Synaptics Sensa is the first slate to include a back panel that is capable of determining whether you are merely holding it or tapping or swiping across the display. The feature is meant to eliminate accidental input, and can also be used to wrap text around your thumb so you don't cover any words while reading. The Sensa itself won't be coming to market, but Synaptics will be licensing its technology to other tablet makers.
One of the biggest surprises to hit CES 2013, Nvidia's Project Shield is a Tegra 4-powered gaming monster. With a 5-inch display and built-in game controller, Project Shield could be the device that launches Android gaming into the stratosphere. But Shield is more than just and Android console; the system is also capable of streaming full-fledged PC games from your laptop, so long as you have a Geforce GTX 660M graphics chip or higher.
Whoever said 4K display technology was just for TVs hasn't seen Panasonic's 4K tablet concept. The 20-inch Windows 8 Pro-powered device packs an impressive 3840 x 2560 screen resolution that offers vibrant colors and razor sharp text. Powering that massive display is a 1.8-GHz Intel Core i5 3427U processor, Nvidia graphics, 4G of RAM and a 128GB SSD. Unfortunately, Panasonic says it is marketing the tablet concept toward the enterprise community, and we expect its price to be out of the range of most consumers. That said, you can always dream.