Setups

With the arrival of Hearthstone's newest expansion, we look at the devices that give you the best value for money, and are great to use for more than Hearthstone!

It’s rare opportunity to have a great, successful game from a triple A studio come to mobile devices as quickly as Hearthstone did! We had to wait years for the old Grand Theft Auto’s to make it onto phones, and the controls still aren’t really there on a touch device… But Hearthstone is one of the best games to play on a tablet, a phone, on the go. I’ve had a few tablets over the years and some are better than others, and some cost a lot more than some others!

If you’re considering getting a new tablet, it’s a good idea to take into account other potential uses and get something that is a good all rounder, but won’t lag or run out of power in the middle of a ranked Hearthstone game. Do enough research and you will find that in the end, there isn’t anything too complicated about buying a tablet. There are a few things that you should look for in every tablet, and a few choices you have. First off, a good processor is the backbone of a good tablet, and choosing a device that doesn’t skimp on processing power will solve 95% of the problems people end up having with their pads. Sufficient memory (RAM) is also important as lower memory often causes the crashes that we’ve all experienced. People are often prone to blaming the application and developers for crashes, when it often comes down to low memory, overloaded devices. Another important factor is the screen. It’s both important to look for a device that can deliver the vibrant colours and bright enough back-light. Cheaper devices will have very poor screens that don’t reveal their lack-lustre displays until you get a hands on. There is an option to be had when it comes to screen size though. It depends a lot on the extent of what you want to do with a tablet, as there are devices that can replace a laptop for web browsing, typing and gaming.

Battery life is something that also has to be mentioned. It’s all well and good having a super fast tablet that can do everything, but if it’s constantly running out of battery then there’s not a lot of advantage to it being a mobile device in the first place! The perfect marriage of power and battery life is a difficult thing, and something that is improving with each new generation of devices. Good tablets will range from between eight to ten hours of reasonable use, but will be capable of lasting for days with only intermittent use.

Another major decision is operating system. The main choices will either be some form of Android distribution, Apples iOS or Microsoft Windows. Below we explore what we consider the best option for each operating system. Decisions are based on the points already mentioned, processing power and screen quality, memory, as well as hands on experience, browsing hundreds of reviews for common issues and discrepancies and value for money!


Amazon Fire 7

£49.99 / $49.99

 

This article may conclude a little earlier than expected due to the Amazon Fire 7 now being an option. This insane £/$49 tablet is cheaper than pretty much any smartphone that can run Hearthstone. The focus of the Fire is smaller size, affordable pricing, decent battery life and very importantly, durability! If you’re a traveller who wants a lighter, tough tablet for those long journeys, or your kids are going to be using your tablet the the Fire is definitely a great choice for you.

Amazon have made huge strides over the past 5 years with their mobile tablets and have gone from glorified Kindles to being able to offer some of the cheapest, reasonable specced tablets. And yes the Fire does work as a Kindle and has full access to the Kindle store and any books you’ve already downloaded. The Amazon tablets don’t actually have access (by default) to the Google Play store, but you can get all of your favourite apps from the Amazon marketplace, which is free to use like the Google Play store and offers some paid app options. (It is actually very simple to gain access to the Play store from an Amazon device, even though they try to discourage you from doing so).

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Processing: The Fire has a quad code 1.3GHz processor with 1GB of RAM. This isn’t much and does somewhat limit the capabilities of the tablet, but it’s not a huge issue for most, as you simply have to be careful, not having too many large apps open at the same time. Apps open ever so slightly slower, rotating the screen takes a little longer but it can still perform all of the same tablet functions, most importantly running Hearthstone.

Screen: Not surprisingly, the Fire 7 has a 7 inch screen, which runs at a resolution of 1024*600 (171 ppi). Most budget tablets will use a cheaper TN panel display, but the Fire uses an IPS panel screen, which is a very nice feature, and the difference will be noticeable against some other cheap tablet you may find for sale online. IPS panels are better than TN panels as they have better viewing angles and better colour accuracy.

Battery: The battery life is great for the price. With at least even hours of battery life, that is a very good amount of time, and most people will rarely use a tablet that much in-between charges. The seven hours battery time isn’t on standby, that’s actively playing games, watching movies or surfing the web. Charging can take a few hours, but the tablet will always be back to 100% when left overnight.

Cameras: With a tablet this inexpensive and feature rich, a camera is at this point a luxury. Butt he Fire comes with two; a 2MP rear facing camera that can take photos or record HD video at 720p and a lower quality front facing VGA camera that’s designed to be good enough for making video calls over things like Skype.

Variants: In this review, we’ve gone into detail over the Amazon Fire 7 version, but there are four total Amazon Fire variants available, the Fire 7″ being the cheapest (and best value for money). The other tablets increase steadily through resolution, processor speed, camera, audio quality and price.

Fire 7

Fire 6 HD

Fire 8 HD

Fire 10 HD

Price

£49.99 / $49.99

£89.99 / $69.99

£129.99 / $149.99

£169.99 / $229.99

Display size

7"

6" HD

8" HD

10" HD

Resolution

1024 x 600 (171 ppi)

1280 x 800 (252 ppi)

1280 x 800 (189 ppi)

1280 x 800 (149 ppi)

Processor

Quad-Core 1.3 GHz

Quad-Core up to 1.5 GHz

Quad-Core up to 1.5 GHz

Quad-Core up to 1.5 GHz

Some variants are only available in certain regions.

Model

Size

Price

Black

Magenta

Blue

Tangerine

Fire 7

8GB

£49.99
$49.99

Shop UK Shop US

Shop UK Shop US

Shop UK Shop US

Shop UK Shop US

Fire 7

16GB

£59.99
$69.99

Shop UK Shop US

Shop UK Shop US

Shop UK Shop US

Shop UK Shop US

Black

Magenta

Blue

Citron

White

Fire 6 HD

8GB

$69.99

Shop US

UNAVAILABLE

UNAVAILABLE

UNAVAILABLE

Shop US

Fire 6 HD

16GB

£69.99
$89.99

Shop UK Shop US

Shop UK

Shop UK

Shop UK

Shop UK Shop US

Black

Magenta

Blue

Tangerine

Fire 8 HD

16GB

£85.49
$89.99

Shop UK Shop US

Shop UK Shop US

Shop UK Shop US

Shop UK Shop US

Fire 8 HD

32GB

£109.99
$119.99

Shop UK Shop US

Shop US

Shop US

Shop US

Black

Silver

Fire 10 HD

16GB

£169.99
$229.99

Shop UK Shop US

Shop UK Shop US

Fire 10 HD

32GB

£199.99
$259.99

UNAVAILABLE

Shop UK

Fire 10 HD

64GB

£229.99
$289.99

UNAVAILABLE

Shop UK

 


iPad Air 2

£390 / $410

There are so many different iPad types, names, each changing year on year, which makes it very difficult to really understand one from the other. Especially with something called the Air 2. What is the Air variant? Is number 2 good? Well the Air is the replacement to the original iPad 1 & 2. It’s thinner, sporting new technology and the flagship of Apples mobile devices, and arguably of all tablets today. The recently announced iPad Pro is seen as the new, replacement to the Air, which means two things; 1, that the Air 2 has come down a little in price, and 2, that the new Pro is incredibly expensive. If you’re looking to get the very newest iPad then you probably don’t have a lot of use for an article like this, as a commitment of £600 – £1000 is a big deal. Often the recently replaced technology will be the best choice, as it means a slight price reduction whilst keeping recent, relevant tech, ensuring that you’re still going to get software updates for a few years yet, and not risking being an early adopter of new devices that may be hugely flawed!
apple-ipad-air-2-2

iPad Air 2 Silver

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Processing: The classic, the iPad was always going to be on the list, as it is the most popular tablet in the world for very good reasons. The Air 2 has Apples new A8X chip, which is a 64 bit processor consisting of three 1.5 GHz cores. This is the same chip that is present in the recent iPhone 6’s, but performs over 50% better in the iPad. The M8 coprocessor chip compliments the A8X, providing useful tools including a GPS, compass, accelerometer, barometer and a gyroscope.

Screen: The iPad screens don’t really need much hyping up or defending and the Air is no different. The screen is a 9.7 inch (diagonally) LED-backlit widescreen multi-touch display, sitting at a resolution of 2048 x 1536. Which is better than the PC’s of only a few years ago.

Battery: People having varying experiences with battery life depending on what applications they run, which apps they leave open in the background and services they have running. the iPad Air 2 can go for up to 10 hours of regular use. Which is a very decent amount of time for a tablet that is so thin and light.

Cameras: With the exception of those sporting a digital SLR, a good quality camera on a phone or a tablet is usually what most people use instead of a small personal camera nowadays. The Air has an 8MP rear facing camera with autofocus, exposure controls, image stabilisation and the tens of other options that come as standard with quality tablet cameras. The rear facing video camera records at 1080p (30fps) or slow motion at 60fps. The front facing camera FaceTime HD camera is a 1.2MB camera capable of recording 720p HD video.

Variants: There are a few colour options for the iPad Air 2, but more importantly is the options of having a 16, 64 or 128 GB device. This affects the price more than anything, and it’s important to think about which size variant is best for you. If you’re a lighter user, intending to play Hearthstone and a few games, take some pictures and browse the internet then sixteen gigabytes will probably suffice. For most people, to get good use out of all the features available, the 64 gigabyte option will be best. This is also the best value for money option, with 4 x the storage of the 16 gigabyte model. There is a 128 gigabyte option for those who intend to take a lot of video and images and do not have a great cloud storage system in place.

Size

Colour

Link

16GB

Silver

SHOP UK - £486
SHOP US - $404

16GB

Gold

SHOP UK - £315
SHOP US - $410

16GB

Grey

SHOP UK - £315
SHOP US - $420

64GB

Silver

SHOP UK - £399
SHOP US - $525

64GB

Gold

SHOP UK - £383
SHOP US - $510

64GB

Grey

SHOP UK - £419
SHOP US - $512

128GB

Silver

SHOP UK - £499
SHOP US - $620

128GB

Gold

SHOP UK - £599
SHOP US - $607

128GB

Grey

SHOP UK - £500
SHOP US - $625

Silver:iPad SilverGold:iPad GoldGrey:iPad Grey


Nexus 9

£270 / $410

The Nexus 9 is one of the best available choices when it comes to an affordable, powerful Android tablet. This is the very latest tablet release in the Nexus line, directly from Google. There are numerous advantages to buying Android tablets from Google over the ones you’ll get from other manufacturers. Firstly, you get what is referred to as “stock” Android. This is just a way of saying that you’ll get a clean version of Android, as Google made it (Google develop, upgrade and license the Android operating system, which is used on 90% of the tablets in the world).

This “clean” version of Android is better because you don’t get all the bloat-ware and extras that take up space and put a strain on the devices efficiency. Google spend all that time building an efficient, robust operating system, but then someone like Samsung licenses it and adds all their own bits. Ever had a tablet, phone or laptop with all those unwanted apps and programs? That’s a company adding their own extras to an operating system, as the same thing happens with Windows and some manufacturers.

Getting the default version of Android also means that you’ll get all the updates first, as they don’t have to once again pass through whichever manufacturer licenses out the OS. Google does always team up with an actual manufacturer to build the devices, in this case HTC, but it still ships with the stock Android version. Nexus 9’s now run Googles very latest Android version, Android Marshmallow. This version uses the ART virtual machine in place of the older Dalvik, which is the biggest and most important change in recent Android versions, giving much improved performance across the board (ART is also available on Android Lollipop devices – which is the version before Marshmallow).

Nexus 9 FrontNexus 9 Back

 

Processing: The Nexus 9 uses a dual core 64-bit NVIDIA Tegra K1 Dual “Denver” processor, running at 2.3 GHz, and was the first device to ship with this processor, which is claimed to rival the XBOX 360 and PS3. The chip is comparable to Apples A8X and of the benchmark tests reported, the split seems to be put the chips about neck and neck.

Screen: The screen on the Nexus is an 8.9 inch IPS LCD display, running at a 4:3 aspect ration of 2048 x 1536, which is the same ratio as the iPad Air 2, on a slightly smaller width. The screen uses Gorilla Glass 3, which is the latest in the very popular Gorilla Glass series, reducing scratches and the changes of breaks occurring.

Battery: The battery on the Nexus is comparable with pretty much all other modern day tablets, with 9.5 hours of standard wi-fi usage (8.5 hours on LTE), and standby power of up to 30 days. The Nexus is a very thin and lightweight tablet, smaller than the iPad so this is very good battery time considering.

Cameras: The Nexus has an 8MP rear facing camera with an aperture size of f/2.4, with auto-focus and an LED flash feature, shooting video at 1080p. The front facing camera is a 1.6MP camera, also at f/2.4 aperture, shooting video at 720p. The camera is not quite what you’ll get with the iPad Air 2, but a camera isn’t always the most important thing when it comes to tablets, as most people have a decent smartphone, and won’t always have their tablet with them when they need to snap a high quality picture!

Variants: The main decision when choosing a Nexus 9 is picking the right storage size. There are both 16 and 32GB options available, which is sufficient for most games, even large ones like Hearthstone, web browsing, and taking some video and images. Every mobile, tablet, laptop and computer always comes with a little bit less space than advertised, as a chunk is always taken up by the actual operating system itself. As far as colour goes, there are the basic black and white options and another “sand” colour option, which is actually very nice looking and comparable to the Apple iPad’s gold option.

Size

Colour

Link

16GB

Black

SHOP UK - £210
SHOP US - $320

16GB

White

SHOP UK - £160
SHOP US - $325

16GB

Sand

Play Store

32GB

Black

SHOP UK - £307
SHOP US - $377

32GB

White

SHOP UK - £499
SHOP US - $355

32GB

Sand

Play Store

Black:Nexus 9 BlackWhite:Neuxs 9 WhiteSand:Nexus 9 Sand


Comments

  1. Sie-haben einen fantastischen Blog Dank.

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