The Best Tablet for Gaming

And How Do I Beat Level 33 in Candy Crush?

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 and the Acer Predator 8. 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.]

Preview
Best Seller
Apple iPad Pro (10.5-inch, Wi-Fi + Cellular, 256GB) - Rose Gold (Previous Model)
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 9.7-Inch, 32GB Tablet (Black, SM-T820NZKAXAR)
Budget Pick
Fire HD 10 Tablet with Alexa Hands-Free, 10.1" 1080p Full HD Display, 32 GB, Black (Previous Generation - 7th)
Lenovo Tab 4, 10.1" Android Tablet, Quad-Core Processor, 1.4GHz, 2GB RAM, 32GB Storage, Slate Black, ZA2J0143US
Microsoft Surface 3 128GB WiFi Tablet 10.8" Intel Atom - Silver (Renewed)
Title
Apple iPad Pro (10.5-inch, Wi-Fi + Cellular, 256GB) - Rose Gold (Previous Model)
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 9.7-Inch, 32GB Tablet (Black, SM-T820NZKAXAR)
Fire HD 10 Tablet with Alexa Hands-Free, 10.1" 1080p Full HD Display, 32 GB, Black (Previous Generation - 7th)
Lenovo Tab 4, 10.1" Android Tablet, Quad-Core Processor, 1.4GHz, 2GB RAM, 32GB Storage, Slate Black, ZA2J0143US
Microsoft Surface 3 128GB WiFi Tablet 10.8" Intel Atom - Silver (Renewed)
Screen Size
10.5 Inches
9.7 inches
10.1"
10.1 inches
10.8 inches
Display Resolution
2224 x 1668
2048 x 1536
1920 x 1200
1280 x 800
1920 x 1280
Processor
A10X Fusion
2.2 GHz Snapdragon
1.8 GHz Quad-Core
1.4 GHz 8032
2.4 GHz Intel Atom
RAM Size
4 GB
4 GB
2 GB
2 GB
4 GB
Hard Size
64 GB
32 GB
32 GB
32 GB
128 GB
Operating System
iOS 10.3.2
Android 7.0
Fire OS
Android 7.1 Nougat
Windows 10
Prime
-
-
Best Seller
Preview
Apple iPad Pro (10.5-inch, Wi-Fi + Cellular, 256GB) - Rose Gold (Previous Model)
Title
Apple iPad Pro (10.5-inch, Wi-Fi + Cellular, 256GB) - Rose Gold (Previous Model)
Screen Size
10.5 Inches
Display Resolution
2224 x 1668
Processor
A10X Fusion
RAM Size
4 GB
Hard Size
64 GB
Operating System
iOS 10.3.2
Prime
Details
Preview
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 9.7-Inch, 32GB Tablet (Black, SM-T820NZKAXAR)
Title
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 9.7-Inch, 32GB Tablet (Black, SM-T820NZKAXAR)
Screen Size
9.7 inches
Display Resolution
2048 x 1536
Processor
2.2 GHz Snapdragon
RAM Size
4 GB
Hard Size
32 GB
Operating System
Android 7.0
Prime
-
Details
Budget Pick
Preview
Fire HD 10 Tablet with Alexa Hands-Free, 10.1" 1080p Full HD Display, 32 GB, Black (Previous Generation - 7th)
Title
Fire HD 10 Tablet with Alexa Hands-Free, 10.1" 1080p Full HD Display, 32 GB, Black (Previous Generation - 7th)
Screen Size
10.1"
Display Resolution
1920 x 1200
Processor
1.8 GHz Quad-Core
RAM Size
2 GB
Hard Size
32 GB
Operating System
Fire OS
Prime
Details
Preview
Lenovo Tab 4, 10.1" Android Tablet, Quad-Core Processor, 1.4GHz, 2GB RAM, 32GB Storage, Slate Black, ZA2J0143US
Title
Lenovo Tab 4, 10.1" Android Tablet, Quad-Core Processor, 1.4GHz, 2GB RAM, 32GB Storage, Slate Black, ZA2J0143US
Screen Size
10.1 inches
Display Resolution
1280 x 800
Processor
1.4 GHz 8032
RAM Size
2 GB
Hard Size
32 GB
Operating System
Android 7.1 Nougat
Prime
-
Details
Preview
Microsoft Surface 3 128GB WiFi Tablet 10.8" Intel Atom - Silver (Renewed)
Title
Microsoft Surface 3 128GB WiFi Tablet 10.8" Intel Atom - Silver (Renewed)
Screen Size
10.8 inches
Display Resolution
1920 x 1280
Processor
2.4 GHz Intel Atom
RAM Size
4 GB
Hard Size
128 GB
Operating System
Windows 10
Prime
Details

 

Nvidia Shield vs Acer Predator 8 Comparison

 

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

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.

Android 6.0 Marshmallow now on NVIDIA SHIELD tablet K1

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.

 

Predator 8 gaming tablet – it’s audiodacious

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.