There seem to be countless choices – Snapdragons, Intel, ARMs. But what does it all mean? Which one is right for you? How important is it anyway? This guide aims to clear a few things up and help demystify your choices.
Note: This guide is not VERY old, but is already a little out of date. There are new processors every ten minutes!
The Complicated World of Tablet Processors
Most people pay attention to technical specifications of a device before purchasing it, at least to an extent. While this is completely understandable, it can be argued that those who are not too familiar with technicalities get short-changed in the end – they end up overpaying a product that is not always as good as advertised.
Generally speaking, companies tend to cherry pick information that they provide, which leads to confusion among some of their customers. Some of them intentionally release information that the average buyer can’t digest, while others tend to describe technical specifications of a device in a very detailed way, using terminology most of their buyers aren’t really familiar with.
Whether this is ethical or not is up for debate, but we will focus on something else – we will try to give our readers an in-depth guide in which we will talk about the best tablet processors available today, while answering questions most of our readers ask themselves when purchasing a new tablet.
Commonly Asked Questions
Casual and advanced users alike ask similar questions before making the final decision of buying or not buying a certain product. When it comes to tablets, personal preferences aside, most of us are looking for similar properties in our mobile devices. We want a tablet that’s:
- Has decent battery life
- Not too expensive
- Looks good
Everything mentioned above (bar the visual aspect) is largely dependent on a tablet’s processor. Naturally, this poses another set of legitimate questions:
- What is the best processor for tablet?
- What is the fastest tablet processor?
- What is a good processor speed for a tablet?
In the next part of this guide we will try to answer each of these questions and more in our guide.
What Is the Best Processor for a Tablet?
For a start, it’s important to note that most tablets use processors architecture produced by a company called ARM. What does this mean?
This means most tablets have processors whose design is essentially based on ARM’s design architecture, which in return means that the ARM creates the basic design and then licences it to other companies, who then manufacture the processors themselves.
Essentially, this means most tablets you consider buying have ARM based processors, manufactured by various different companies.
The most commonly licensed and manufactured ARM processor series falls under the Cortex-A umbrella, which essentially has 7 different designs and 9 different models. Below is the list of those models:
- Cortex- A5 – Single core, low power consumption, frequencies between 300 and 800 MHz
- Cortex- A8 – Decent processor, generally single or dual core, frequencies between 600 MHz and 1.5 GHz
- Cortex- A9 – Arguably the most popular processor, dual core, frequencies between 800 MHz and 2 GHz
- Cortex- A12 – Slightly better than the A9, up to four cores and frequency up to 2 GHz
- Cortex– A15 – Features 32-bit design, usually dual core or quad core, frequencies between 1 and 2 GHz
- Cortex-A17 – More efficient 32-bit design than the Cortex-A15, up to 4 cores, frequencies between 1.5 and 2 GHz
- Cortex-A53 – First generation of 64-bit processors, between 1 and 4 cores
- Cortex-A57 – Slightly better than the A53, more commonly used in computers than in tablets, between 1 and 4 cores
- Cortex-A72 – Latest 64-bit processor, also often used in computers
The terminology used above might be a tad bit confusing to some of our readers, who are probably not sure what is a dual core processor and what is a quad core processor and how do these two differ. To put it simply, this just refers to the number of cores a certain processor has, which doesn’t mean the more cores a processor has, the better it is.
However, there are applications that take advantage of additional cores (more and more applications nowadays are written to take advantage of multiple cores). The actual speed differs, depending on memory, the graphic processor and the operating system of the device.
This means it’s pretty difficult to determine which tablet is the fastest, but it is however possible to determine what is the fastest processor. More about that below.
AMD and Intel are major suppliers of x86 processors, that are most commonly used on devices that run the Windows operating system, because Windows was designed for this type of processor architecture. Which is not to say that Windows can’t run on ARM-based processors – they run, but they don’t run nearly as good as on x86 processors.
Here’s a list of x86 processors, from least to most powerful:
- AMD E1-7010 (least powerful)
- AMD E2-7110
- AMD E2-9000
- AMD A4-1200
- AMD A4 Micro-6400T
- AMD A6-1450
- Intel Atom x5 Series
- Intel Atom x7 Series
- AMD A10 Micro-6700T
- Intel Core M 5Y10
- Intel core m3-6Y30
- Intel Core m5-6Y57
- Intel Core m7-6Y75
- Intel Core i3-5005U
- Intel Core i3-6100U
- Intel Core i5-5200U
- Intel Core i5-6200U (most powerful)
It’s important to keep something in mind: the faster and the better a processor is, the more power it consumes, which means that processor speed can directly influence battery life and dictate a tablet’s price.
Which Tablet is The Fastest; Which Tablet Has the Fastest Processor?
Arguably the fastest (and the best) tablets today have octa-core processors, which means they have processors with 8 cores.
Generally, the Acer Switch Alpha 12, Microsoft Surface Pro 4 and Sony Vaio Z Canvas have some of the most powerful processors on the market today, while the Sony Xperia Z4 has an 8-core 2 GHz processor and is probably the best out of tablets with 2 GHz processors.