Holiday Helper: Solving the Tablet Conundrum
It’s no secret, tablets are on a lot of wish lists this year, and even if they aren’t, they make some pretty great gifts when what you’re after is that wide-eyed look of surprise along with the accompanying smile from ear to ear. But out of all those tablets on the market, which one should you get? Well, here’s alaTest’s top five favorites.
For anyone who already owns an iPhone or iPod Touch, the iPad 2 is absolutely the best choice, so long as you don’t mind paying a bit of a premium for the Apple flare. Its iOS interface is essentially identical to all of the other iOS products, including the iPhone and iPod Touch, so there’s really no learning curve. With its 1GHz dual-core A5 processor, it performs quite well, too.
If performance is what you’re after, though, the Eee Pad Transformer Prime is the way to go. It’s the first tablet with Nvidia’s Tegra 3 Quad-Core (yes, 4 cores) processor. It will have an optional keyboard dock that basically turns it into a fully functioning laptop, just like its predecessor, the Eee Pad Transformer (note the absence of “Prime”). One caveat: the Prime is scheduled for release on December 19th, so securing one for Christmas day might not be so easy. The original Transformer is still a great (and affordable) choice, as is the Eee Pad Slider.
The Galaxy Tab 10.1 was the first Android tablet that Apple was actually scared of (and even fought against in court). Marking a new era in Android devices, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is all about sleek styling paired with cool performance. Its dual-core Tegra 2 processor and Android 3.0 Honeycomb operating system are fairly common in high-end tablets, but none do it quite so stylishly. It looks as nice as the iPad 2 (it’s even thinner than the iPad 2), and it performs as well as the iPad 2. No wonder Apple was afraid of it.
Another dual-core Tegra 2 Android Tablet, the Tablet S sets itself apart by offering both hardware and software features other tablets lack. For starters, it is PlayStation Certified, meaning it can install and play many games from Sony’s PlayStation Store. Sony has also outfitted it with its very own Bravia display technology for a vivid visual experience. To top it all off, the Tablet S includes an integrated IR blaster, making it a very capable universal remote. Overall, it’s a nearly unbeatable multimedia device.
You may think of the Kindle Fire as more of an E-Reader rather than a tablet, but its color screen, gaming apps, web browser, and video streaming capabilities beg to differ. Sure, it lacks things like a camera, microphone, and GPS, but with a price tag of just $200, it’s half as expensive as the cheapest tablet on this list. Bottom line: if you’re looking for a reliable and functional tablet, and you don’t mind forgoing a few bells and whistles, the Kindle Fire is the best deal you’ll find for a while.