Are you considering buying a tablet computer and you are not sure, which size you should choose? It can be a tricky question but we will try to shed some light on each of these devices and point out their pros and cons.
Android Tablets Come in Many Different Sizes
While Apple iPad is available in only one size, 9.7 inch screen with 1024×768 pixels, Android Tablets come in a wide array of different sizes. The smallest Android tablets are as smalls as 2.8” (yep, 2.8 inch). There is actually Archos 28 with the size of 2.8 inch and resolution 320×240 (BTW, we did a review of the largest Archos – Archos 101 G9 Classic). In comparison, HTC Wildfire smartphone features display size 3.2”.
There are a few Android tablets with the display sized from 4” to 5.5” (Sony Tablet P) and Nook Simple Touch features a 6” display. These small tablets are becoming somewhat obsolete, as smartphones are approximately the same size and it usually makes no sense to have two devices of the same size. For example, the display of Samsung Galaxy S2 is 4.3”.
Today we will focus on 7 inch display tablets and bigger, up to 10.1 inch which seems to be as large as it gets at the moment and we will do the comparison of Android tablets based on the screen size.
7 inch Android tablets
The widest selection is in the 7 inch Android tablet section. There are more than 100 different 7” Android tablets available (truth be told, some of them may not be available any more, but nonetheless it’s an impressive number). Screen resolution in 7 inch tablets ranges from 800×400 up to 1280×800 pixels. Just to get a feeling about how different these machines are, we’ll list all of the resolutions for 7” tablets that we were able to get a hold of (yes, sometimes we are bored a bit and have nothing better to do). Here goes:
- 800×400 (not that many of 7 inch tablets),
- 800×480 (the most popular resolution, around two thirds of all 7 inch tablets feature this kind of resolution),
- 800×600 (three or four of these),
- 1024×600 (the second most popular resolution),
- 1280×800 (only a handful of these, all with Android Honeycomb and fast processors).
All together this is five different resolutions. So, what is the difference between them? Obviously the screen size is identical, 7 inch, the difference is in the amount of elements that you can simultaneously put on the display. Which one to choose? If you need more stuff on the screen at once, go for the 1024×600 (or even 1280×800), if you are satisfied with a bit less detailed screen (that is still good enough) take the 800×480 pixels.
8 inch Android tablets
There are over 30 8 inch tablets available on the market. Does it make sense for you to choose 8 inch over 7 inch one? Let’s take a look at the technical specs first. Here are available resolutions for 8 inch tablets:
- 800×600 (majority of 8 inch tablets feature this resolution),
- 1024×768 (second most popular size in this category),
- 1280×768 (two or three of those).
Almost all tablets that fall into this category feature 8 inch display size, there is only one that stands out a bit, the new Motorola Xoom 2 Media Edition with 8.2” display and resolution 1280×720 pixels.
9 inch Android tablets
Surprisingly, this category of display sizes is the least populated. We were able to find only three 9” tablets, but in reality there are no 9 inch tablets available out there. In this category we will discuss two 8.9” tablets (Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 and LG Optimus Tab V900) and one 9.4” tablet (Sony Tablet S). Resolutions featured in these tablets are 1280×800 and 1280×768.
10 inch Android tablets
10 inch tablets are the second largest group with over 70 tablets available. Actual sizes of these tablets include 9.7 inch, 10 inch, and 10.1 inch displays. These are the largest Android tablets available on the market and here are available resolutions:
- 1024×600 (the majority of 10” tablets feature this resolution),
- 1024×768 (surprisingly very few),
- 1080×768 and 1080×800 (two or three of them),
- 1280×800 (second largest group).
Again, Motorola Xoom 2 is the exception here, resolution of the 10.1” tablet is identical to the 8.2” one, 1280×720 pixels.
The majority of best known Android tablets come from this category, all of the biggest names have their flagship products in the 10 inch category.
Comparison of different sizes of Android tablet displays
What is the difference between all these sizes we have analyzed above? There are several differences that you need to take into account when deciding which one to choose.
- Size and portability – obviously 7 inch tablets are easier to carry around, stash into a bag or even in a pocket.
- Weight – no surprises here, smaller is generally lighter.
- Screen size – if you need more screen space, you don’t have to buy a ten inch tablet as we have seen above – you can get 1280×800 pixel resolution with a seven inch tablets as well. The difference is in the size of the display, on a bigger display everything is larger.
You can use tablet of every size for the same tasks. Much more important are other characteristics (Android OS version, processor speed, RAM). The difference is in the usability for different things you do. For example, editing documents, answering e-mails, reading newspapers etc. is more comfortable on a larger screen. It’s also easier to touch the desired button on a larger screen, because the button is larger (this is partially true because it depends on screen resolution and individual applications). Reading e-books, on the other hand, is somewhat easier on a smaller device.
But once again, all these things can be done on each of the size. In my personal opinion the size of your Android tablet should be a matter of your preference. My personal choice is a 10 inch tablet, because I already own a smartphone and I didn’t find much point in getting a 7 inch tablet, which is not much bigger than my phone screen. But of course this is my personal preference, your needs and situation might be different and after you have got all the facts, you should make your own choice.
Comparison chart of different sizes of Android tablets
To sum up today’s article on Android tablet size comparison here is a chart with all the data side by side and underneath there is an approximate graphic comparison of products dimensions.
|7 inch||8 inch||9 inch||10 inch|
|Available screen sizes (inches)||7||8, 8.2||8.9, 9.4||9.7, 10, 10.1|
|Available screen resolutions||800×400, 800×480, 800×600, 1024×600, 1280×800||800×600, 1024×768, 1280×768||1280×768, 1280×800||1024×600, 1024×768, 1080×768, 1080×800, 1280×800|
|Product dimensions (inches) (approx.)||0.5 x 7.5 x 4.5||0.5 x 8.5 x 6||0.5 x 9.5 x 7||0.5 x 10 x 7.5|
|Weight (pounds) (approx.)||0.85||1||1.2||1.4|
|Pros||Portable, light, huge selection of devices||Portable, light||Almost as big as 10 inch but a bit more portable||Biggest screen, easiest to work on|
|Cons||Smaller screen size||Not much bigger screen than 7 inch ones||Very few of them available||Larger than others and heavier to carry around|
Approximate comparison of product dimensions for Android tablets. Please keep in mind this is by no means exact representation as each device is built a bit different. Also some screens are 4:3 and others 16:9 and that impacts the actual shape of the tablet.
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