The Best Tablets for Backpackers and Hikers


Apple iPad Mini 3

Apple iPad Mini 3

Backpackers and hikers usually strive to have as light backpacks as possible. However, it’s practical to have some Wi-FI or LTE enabled device while you are on the move – not only for entertainment but also as a source of information. With internet access you can see weather forecast, bus schedules, book accommodation and much more. Notebooks are too big and heavy to be carried around – especially on hiking trips. On the contrary Smartphones are too small (unless you own a phablet) and their screens usually don’t offer a clear overview.  Tablets are a great compromise between notebooks and Smartphones and can be extremely lightweight. Therefore, they are perfect for activities like travelling, hiking, backpacking or even mountaineering.

Here we selected and reviewed the best tablets for backpackers and hikers to make your buying decision a little easier.

1. Buying a Tablet for Backpacking or Hiking – What is important?

Weight:

Tablet for backpacking or hiking should be lightweight. While on the move every gram counts and therefore we selected only tablets known for being extremely light.

Size:

Packing everything into a backpack is a common problem. A tablet shouldn’t take too much space in a backpack and therefore we selected only tablets equipped with screens not bigger than 8”. These tablets allow you to easily browse the web or even watch movies on your trip but are at the same time small enough to be carried around without a problem.

LTE Connectivity:

All the tablets reviewed here are equipped with LTE connectivity. Access to the internet is most likely the main reason why you are buying a tablet and as you probably won’t have a continuous Wi-Fi coverage on your trip LTE is a necessary feature.

Performance:

A tablet should allow you to smoothly browse the web, watch movies and play games. We only selected tablets with powerful processors, at least 1GB of RAM and not less than 16GB of internal storage.

2. The Best Tablets for Backpacking and Hiking Review

Best Tablets For Backpacking and Hiking

Best Tablets For Backpacking and Hiking

  1. Apple iPad Mini 3
  2. Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4
  3. Dell Venue 8 7000
  4. Google Nexus 7
  5. Nvidia Shield LTE

Comparison

Feature/Product Apple iPad Mini 3Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4Dell Venue 8 7000Google Nexus 7Nvidia Shield LTE
Size200 x 134.7 x 7.5 mm212.8 x 125.6 x 6.6 mm215.9 x 124.2 x 6.1 mm198.5 x 120 x 10.5 mm221 x 126 x 9.2 mm
Weight 341 g298 g305 g347 g390 g
Display7.9”8.4”8.4”7.0”8.0 ”
Display Resolution1536 x 2048 px1600 x 2560 px1600 x 2560 px800 x 1280 px1920 x 1200 px
Operating SystemiOS 8.1, upgradable to iOS 8.4Android OS, 4.4.2 upgradable to 5.0.2 Android OS, 4.4.2Android OS, 4.1 upgradable to 5.0 Android OS, 4.4.2 upgradable to v4.4.4
CPUDual-core 1.3 GHz CycloneQuad-core 2.3 GHz Krait 400Quad-core 2.3 GHzQuad-core 1.2 GHz Cortex-A9Quad-core 2.2 GHz Cortex-A15
Memory1 GB DDR33 GB DDR32 GB DDR31 GB DDR32 GB DDR3
Storage16/64/128 GB16/32 GB + External16 GB + External16/32 GB32 GB
CameraRear: 5 MP; Front: 1.2 MPRear: 8 MP; Front: 2.1 MPRear: 8 MP; Front: 2 MPRear: 5 MP
Front: 1.2 MP
Rear: 5 MP; Front: 5 MP
Battery Life (Constant Use)Up to 13 hUp to 12 hUp to 12 hUp to 9 hUp to 11 h
Apple iPad Mini 3

Apple iPad Mini 3

1. Apple iPad Mini 3

Suitable for:

  • Everyday use
  • Backpacking
  • Travelling
  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering

The Apple iPad Mini 3 is an extremely powerful and well-designed tablet. Even though some other tablets in this review offer better hardware, the Apple iPad Mini 3 outperforms them in usability. The reason for this is in the iOS operating system which is in general lighter than Android. The Apple iPad Mini 3 is equipped with a superb 7.9-inch, 2048×1536-pixel display that satisfies even the most demanding users. The powerful battery allows you to constantly browse the web or play multimedia for up to 13 hours without recharging the device.  This is very practical because it’s often hard to get access to electricity on hiking and backpacking trips, and a device with an empty battery is nothing more than additional weight to carry. The latest feature that Apple added to iPad Mini is the Touch ID technology. It allows you to easily and securely unlock the device with the fingerprint identity sensor. Additionally, you can sign in apps and verify purchases by putting your finger on the home button and letting the device scan your fingerprint. The Apple iPad Mini 3 is an outstanding tablet and we would recommend it to everyone who wants a reliable gadget for travelling.

 

Pros:

  • Battery
  • Weight
  • Screen
  • Design
  • Touch ID

Cons:

  • Price

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Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4

Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4

2. Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 LTE

Suitable for:

  • Everyday use
  • Backpacking
  • Travelling
  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 LTE is the lightest tablet in this review. It is also very compact and easily fits in your hand due to the sophisticated design. The tablet is equipped with an incredible 8.4-inch, 1600 x 2560-pixel AMOLED display that provides brighter and more dynamic images than LCD displays. The display automatically adjusts colors and contrast according to the conditions.  Like the Apple iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab S offers a fingerprint scanner. However, Samsung’s fingerprint scanner is a bit slower than Apple’s Touch ID. Another useful feature is the Multi Window which makes multitasking as easy as it can be – it allows you to simultaneously use several apps.  The Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 LTE is a great device for travelers, backpackers, hikers and others who need a powerful tablet with long battery life for their adventures.

 

Pros:

  • Display
  • Fingerprint scanner
  • Battery life
  • Performance

Cons:

  • /

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Dell Venue 8 7000

Dell Venue 8 7000

3. Dell Venue 8 7000

Suitable for:

  • Everyday use
  • Backpacking
  • Travelling
  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering

The Dell Venue 8 7000 is the thinnest table in this review (6.1 mm) and features a compact design, aluminum body and incredible hardware. It is equipped with an 8.4-inch, 1600 x 2560-pixel OLED display which is perfect for playing games and watching movies. Another great thing about Dell Venue 8 7000 is its Intel RealSense Depth camera. It consists of three cameras that create a depth map which allows measurement, refocus, and application of selective filters. For easy work with pictures, the device comes with the Dell Gallery installed. The Dell Gallery connects to your social media sites and imports pictures to the device. Then it allows you to sort them by date or location and you can easily search through them with a facial recognition feature. The device is also equipped with sophisticated speakers which produce clear sound for entertainment or chatting. We would recommend this tablet to everyone who wants a top-class device with a powerful camera. Because of its convenient size, it’s perfect for travelling, backpacking and long hiking trips.

 

Pros:

  • Compact
  • Light
  • Camera
  • Battery

Cons:

  • /

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Google Nexus 7

Google Nexus 7

4. Google Nexus 7 Cellular

Suitable for:

  • Everyday use
  • Backpacking
  • Travelling
  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering

The Google Nexus 7 is a powerful and durable tablet even though it’s getting quite old in comparison to other tablets listed in this review – it was released in 2013. It is conveniently sized and therefore perfect for hiking, mountaineering and other activities where mobility is crucial. The downside of the small size is that the tablet is equipped with a relatively small display (7-inch). However, the display offers great resolution and contrast.  The tablet is powered by a reliable Quad-core 1.2 GHz Cortex A9 processor which assures that everything runs smoothly.  We would recommend Google Nexus 7 to those who want a reliable and affordable tablet.

 

Pros:

  • Size
  • Weight
  • Performance
  • Price

Cons:

  • Display size

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Nvidia Shield LTE

Nvidia Shield LTE

5. Nvidia Shield LTE

Suitable for:

  • Everyday use
  • Gaming
  • Backpacking
  • Travelling
  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering

The Nvidia Shield LTE is an extremely powerful tablet and therefore perfect for those who want to play video games or do other (for a tablet) demanding tasks on their trips. Unfortunately all this performance comes for a price – this is the heaviest and biggest tablet in this review. The tablet is equipped with a sharp 8-inch, 1080p display which assures that gaming will be pure joy. Additionally the Nvidia Shield LTE features two 5-megapixel cameras, dual front-facing speakers and comes with the Play Grid library of games. From the Play Grid you can download top games with PC-quality graphics. We would recommend the Nvidia Shield LTE to those who prefer performance over mobility. Keep in mind that this tablet is not only for gamers but also for those who need the best performance for demanding tasks.

 

Pros:

  • Performance
  • Display
  • Available games
  • Speakers

Cons:

  • Size
  • Weight

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3. The most attractive product in the review

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