Top Smartphones and Tablets

By Dwight Spivey

You probably already have a smartphone or tablet (or both) of one derivation or another. However, in case you’re on the hunt for your next smartphone or tablet, here’s a list of the most popular and consistently well-reviewed devices available today, in no particular order. These devices are here for other reasons than their capability to help you run your home automation system; they can all do that just fine.

HTC One M8

One of the best-reviewed Android phones in a while is HTC’s One M8. Apart from its good looks, the One M8 is a powerful and fast device. HTC’s Eye Experience enhances the camera’s capabilities and makes for a more advanced and enjoyable experience when taking pictures and videos than many other Android devices.

Apple iPhone 6 and 6 Plus

Apple’s newest incarnation of the smartphone that started it all, the iPhone 6 (and its big brother, the 6 Plus) is universally hailed as one of the best phones on the market, regardless of operating system. Of course, iOS 8 is the operating system behind the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, which are the largest smartphones Apple has created to date.

Samsung Galaxy S5

The Samsung Galaxy S5 is the latest in the line of Samsung’s venerable Android smartphones. Galaxy phones are durable and reliable, but something else sets this one apart from the rest: a built-in heart rate sensor. Yep, after you get off the stressful call with your boss, you can immediately flip the phone over, place your finger on the sensor, and find out just how stressed you are.

LG G3

LG has a long history of delivering good smartphones to market, and its G3 Android phone is quite well thought of, too. Sporting a clearer display (LG calls it Quad HD) and faster processor than previous models, the LG G3 is regarded as a great purchase.

Sony Xperia Z3 smartphone

The Sony Xperia Z3 is a rather elegant-looking Android smartphone that has also garnered well-deserved attention. The Z3 sports a beautiful display, has great battery life, and doggone if it isn’t waterproof, too. But check the specs for just how waterproof it is, though. If you hang out on boats or at the beach, the Z3 won’t leave you high and dry.

Apple iPad Air and iPad mini

When it comes to tablets, Apple’s iPad line has ruled the tablet roost for a while now, and with the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3, that doesn’t look to change in the foreseeable future. Do an Internet search of the best tablets on the market today, and almost without fail the iPads top the lists.

Google/HTC Nexus 9

Nexus 9 is the latest tablet offering from the duo of Google and HTC. When those two companies get together, you can bet the result will be good, and the Nexus 9 is winning rave reviews in the Android tablet world. It also runs the latest Android version (5.0), also known as Lollipop, which is, pardon the pun, pretty sweet.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S

The Galaxy Tab S is yet another home run for Samsung’s line of impressive Android tablets. It is extremely light and thin, yet at the same time very durable. The screen is one of the most impressive on the market today.

Nvidia SHIELD

Nvidia’s SHIELD tablet is touted by the manufacturer as a “gaming tablet,” and certainly that is the case if the maker says so. However, this Android tablet is also regarded as one of the best you can get in terms of performance and value, so it isn’t just limited to playing games. If it can handle online streaming of video games, it probably won’t have any problems running your home automation system.

Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact

Sony’s Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact has a name that’s a mouthful to say, but it’s something you’ll get used to once you get this little gem in your hands. As its name states, this Android tablet is compact, but it packs a lot of the latest tech into that small package. And like its smartphone cousin, the Xperia Z3, the Z3 Tablet Compact is waterproof (check with Sony for more information), so you can watch your favorite videos and control your home’s heating and lighting by the poolside.