[SIZE=4]Affordable Full HD screen Android tablets coming thick and fast; like Acer's new Iconia Tab 8[/SIZE]


[I]The new Acer Iconia Tab 8 is yet another high-spec but low-priced Android tab.[/I]

[LIST][*]See the [URL="http://dpnow.com/9517.html"]Acer Iconia Tab 8 press release[/URL][/LIST]

As a photography journalist I need to keep up with the times and with Adobe's recent slew of Creative Cloud iOS apps like Photoshop Mix and Lightroom Mobile I recently had to invest in an up to date iPad. I prefer the 8 inch screen form factor and had to pay through the nose for an iPad Mini 2 (with 'retina' display) - 326 for a 32GB model from Amazon, the cheapest safe source in my view. My existing Android tablet (an Archos 80XS, which fell to bits without much provocation) also needs to be replaced. Thankfully, this will be a much less wallet-damaging process.


[I]Acer's Iconia Tab 8 is the company's first high-res (Full HD) Android tablet.[/I]

Two short-listed options were the LG Pad 8.3 and Samsung's Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 at 189 and 249, respectively. Yesterday I had a brief hands-on with Acer's new Iconia Tab 8, similar in general specification to the LG Pad 8.3, but entering the market imminently at just 169. I had originally discounted Acer because they had no high-resolution Android tablets but yesterday's discovery of the Iconia Tab 8 changes all that.


[I]The Iconia Tab 8 has a 'gap-less' IPS LCD panel for excellent performance in bright light and very wide viewing angles.[/I]

These are all nippy 16GB devices with 2Gb RAM and excellent high-resolution 8 inch or thereabouts touch screens. Being sensible Android devices they include microSD expansion slots. To boost your device to 32GB you can get a quality branded 16GB Class 10 UHS-1 microSD card for under a tenner. The difference in price between a 16GB iPad Mini 2 and a 32GB one (you can't add your own cheap memory) is 66 via Amazon or 80 if purchased from Apple.


[I]Acer has provided the Iconia Tab 8 with a quality aluminium finish back panel.[/I]

Unless you opt for the even more expensive Apple iPad Mini with cellular data capability, you have to do without GPS support. GPS is standard on all the Android tablets I shortlisted and the LG and Samsung models even have infra red ports so you can use them to control your TV, etc.

And then there is Android itself. Version 4.4, AKA 'KitKat', is arguably miles ahead of Apple iOS7, offering a much more versatile user interface and an app store that is almost on a par with Apple's.

For me there is even another option; an older but still current Samsung 8 inch tablet, the Galaxy Note 8. It's not quite as fast as the latest crop and doesn't have a super-high-res screen (standard 1280x800 HD instead of Full HD), but it does have the remarkable S-Pen (Wacom pressure-sensitive technolgy) and one reputable European supplier, Expansys, has just started selling them at 160, less than half the price they were launched at just over a year ago. Surely there is a new Note 8 in the wings but I always like a bargain even if it's not the very latest release.

I will let you know which way the final decision went!