What is the Best Gaming Tablet?

And How Do I Beat Level 33 in Candy Crush?

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Updated: 19th Feb, 2016

There are lots of tablets which are perfectly capable of running the latest games. The Google Pixel C, for example, is something of a powerhouse, while I haven't found anything the Surface Pro 4 can't handle. But those are premium devices that come with a hellish price tag.

If you want something designed for playing games - you know, with a top graphics processor, maybe an integrated streaming service - and you don't want to pay through the nose for features you aren't going to use, then there are currently only two options.

That's the Nvidia Shield K1, which we called the Best Gaming Tablet of 2015, and the Acer Predator 8 we got our hands on just recently. We've been putting the Predator through its paces this past week - can it match last year's champion?

First of all, let's say what both tablets have in common. They both have access to all the games you need (everything on the Google Play store), both have the power to cope with *most* games, and neither will break the bank.

[We reviewed the Nvidia Shield in full here and the Predator 8 here.]

Nvidia Shield vs Acer Predator 8 Comparison

Now let's try and find some differences, starting with the specs. 

Nvidia Shield K1 Acer Predator 8

Nvidia Shield K-1
 Tablet  Nvidia Shield K-1
 Rating  Ratings
 OS  Android 5.1.1
 CPU  Tegra K1 - 2.2 GHz
 Storage  16 GB
 RAM  2 GB
 Display  IPS LCD - 8.0 inch
 Resolution  1920 x 1200 px - 283 ppi
 Camera  Front 5.0 / Back 5.0 MP
 Weight  0.39 kg / 0.86 lbs
 Battery life  5.0 hours
 Released  2015-11
 

Acer Predator 8
 Tablet  Acer Predator 8
 Rating  Ratings
 OS  Android 5.1
 CPU  Intel Atom x7 - 1.6 GHz
 Storage  32 GB
 RAM  2 GB
 Display  IPS LCD - 8.0 inch
 Resolution  1920 x 1200 px - 283 ppi
 Camera  Front 2.0 / Back 5.0 MP
 Weight  0.35 kg / 0.76 lbs
 Battery life  8.5 hours
 Released  2015-11
 

 

The first noticeable difference is the processor. The Nvidia's Tegra K1 is a beast - getting such a goliath chip at this price is almost surreal. Its 2.2Ghz looks down on the Predator's 1.6 like a supermodel looks down on a mere 'model'. The Predator 8 is perfectly capable of running most games with no lag, but when it comes to the top titles, to the most power-hungry new releases, the Nvidia is streets ahead. To continue my abysmal model analogy - the Shield has the brain of Imam (studied political science at the University of Nairobi and speaks five languages) while the Acer has the smarts of Miss Teen Carolina 2007.

The Nvidia Shield has already received an upgrade to Android 6.0 Marshmallow.

 

Both have the same amount of RAM (2GB) and identical screen stats - 8 inches with 283 pixels per inch. But the Acer has double the amount of in-built storage. That's a big plus that could make a difference to some people.

Another slight difference comes with the cameras - the Shield wins this round thanks to a 5 megapixel front camera; the poor old Acer only gives us 2 MP. Is the camera really important on a gaming tablet? Not in my book!

The Predator is slightly lighter, which over four hours of gaming is going to be a plus. Some will find it more comfortable, too, with its rear-mounted grip pads. And on the bare stats it looks like the Predator also has the edge in terms of battery life. While it's true you can get over 8 hours of life with it, that stat goes out of the water when you actually play games on it. Like the Shield, after a few hours you're going to have to plug it in if you want to keep gaming. I suppose we should give the Acer a slight edge in this section just for those times you're using it for simple computing tasks - it will slightly outlast the Shield.

Are you an audiophile? Then you'll appreciate the loudness of the Predator 8. Acer claim it's the loudest tablet on the market, made possible by its 4 front-facing speakers.

 

Recommendation

Ultimately, the Shield K1 is superior in most of the ways that really count. It has games that have been specially optimised for it, like Portal and Half-Life 2. It will also let you stream PC games, the optional controller is ace, and the stylus is one of the best around.

I'd like to see Acer make some upgrades to the Predator range, because there's a lot of potential there. For now, though, we're packing it away, and powering up our Shields.

 

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