My tablet is better than yours!
Sales of personal computers are falling short of expectations, thanks to those giant calculator lookalike devices that have taken the world by storm. For those who aren’t in the know how (and make their homes under a rock), a tablet personal computer (Tablet PC) is a touch screen device, sometimes handheld, that has all the main characteristics of a personal computer. It’s a revolutionary way to experience the Web, photos, HD videos, games and more. Some tablets even allow for voice calling and 3G access. Amongst the hundreds of options out there, which ones are the best and what makes them different?
The most popular tablet at the moment is undoubtedly the 2011 released iPad 2. With a 9.7 inch display and surprisingly low 0.6kg weight, it’s thinner, lighter and more powerful than the previous iPad. The iPad 2 also has front-and rear-facing cameras, which enables FaceTime video chat, and at least one exclusive high-profile launch app, iMovie. This time though, Apple does not have the luxury of setting the standard. Competition from Google in the form of Android Honeycomb has pushed tablets further in function with Flash support, widgets and slick 3D effects.
One such device giving the iPad a run for its money is Motorola’s Xoom, dubbed an iPad killer before anyone even got his or her hands on it. There is very little tablet makers can do to distinguish their devices from the rest of the heap, but Motorola does its best to stick out. Compared to the available competition, the Xoom is just easier to hold, and the back shrugs off fingerprints well. It’s the amazing display quality (1280 x 800 pixels) that is most impressive about Motorola’s Xoom though. Unfortunately, the higher price range is a big let down to the product.
There are some users out there that would probably be rooting for the 7 inch Samsung’s Galaxy Tab, which also runs Android software. And with a resolution of 1024 x 600px and a 8 mega pixel camera they would probably have reason to. After playing around with the device recently I felt less impressed by the Galaxy Tab, which feels like a poorer man’s iPad. I would probably get kicked by Android fans for that comment, but the Galaxy Tab just isn’t as cool as some of the bigger kids on the scene.
The Blackberry PlayBook, on the other hand, has enough enterprise goodies to make it appealing for business users, and once the email client and other needed apps ship, it will be appealing for everyday users as well. The PlayBook (7inch in size, with a resolution of 1024 x 600) is also the first tablet running RIM’s new BlackBerry Tablet OS, designed to be especially flexible and able to handle true multitasking. But the BlackBerry PlayBook doesn’t deviate from the standard rectangular tablet design. Just like its smart phone brethren, it looks professional, sporting an all black body and display trim. In all respects it acts and performs like a larger blackberry phone.
The HP Slate isn’t a revolutionary device nor is it an iPad killer but is nonetheless revolutionary. It might not be all that different from other tablets on the market and the Slate might feel like just another vanilla Windows 7 Professional device, it has some pretty cool features. Its 8.9-inch screen has very strong video playback capabilities and the device itself has a good number of connections and ports that could come in very handy. The cheap usb-webcam like cameras are very disappointing though.
Asus has also recently stepped out on the scene with four new models: Pad Slider, Pad transformer, Pad Memo and Slate EP121. With its Core i5 processor, HD graphics and Windows 7 Home Premium OS, it is also suitable for more serious users. It has a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels and is a whopping 10.1 inches in size.
While there are many, and I mean many, other tablets out there (like the Archos 101, the Dell Streak 7, the Fujitsu Lifebook, Toshiba Portege) the above mentioned devices are aimed at every day users. While the Motorola XOOM offers the highest resolution (1280 x 800), the Fujitsu LifeBook is the biggest in size (12.1 inches) and has the biggest hard drive space (320gb). The Toshiba Portege has the fastest processor (2.40 GHz). Surprisingly, the iPad 2 is one of the cheapest tablets on the market and probably also the best value for money.