Tablet Roundup – The New Kids on the Block
It’s tempting to think that Apple launched the very first tablet with its creation of the original iPad, but the truth is that tablets had been around for year prior. Before the first iPad, though, tablets had a very specific purpose, generally intended for industrial environments. Apple changed this by removing many features while enhancing those that would appeal to the general public – features like video playback and casual gaming. Since then, many have been going in Apple’s direction, and today, we’ve put together a list of the best tablets on the market.
The iPad 2 is Apple’s successor to the original iPad, and despite many other tablets offering better specs and features, the iPad line is by far the most popular. Some argue that the entire tablet market simply has no useful place for the general consumer and that it’s Apple’s name alone that causes people to flock to purchase it. Still, it offers very fast hardware, a thin design, and Apple’s familiar iOS operating system. Its biggest shortcoming is its display, featuring a measly 1024×768 resolution, which, compared to the iPhone 4’s Retina Display, is quite disappointing.
The Galaxy Tab 10.1 is the iPad’s biggest competition. It 1-ups the iPad 2 in just about every aspect, from processor performance to display quality; it’s even thinner and lighter than the iPad 2, and unlike the original Galaxy Tab (which was a complete flop), this one is based on a version of Android that was meant for tablets – version 3.1 Honeycomb. If you’re in the market for a new tablet and can forego the Apple name, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is an excellent option.
Asus’ Eee Pad Transformer is similarly spec’d to Samsung’s Tab 10.1, sporting a 1280×800 resolution display, identical processor, and Android Honeycomb (though it ships with version 3.2), but what sets it apart is its optional Keyboard Dock, which effectively turns this tablet into a functional netbook. The dock not only adds a few USB ports, keyboard, and touch pad, but also ups the battery life from 9.5 hours to 16. The dock does up the overall price slightly, but for anyone concerned about the practicality of a tablet, it’s worth the investment.
The Xoom was the first of the worth-while Android tablets (aka the first with Android Honeycomb). It originally shipped with Android version 3.0 but has since been updated to 3.1 with a 3.2 update in the works. It has the same 1 GHz dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2 processor as the Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Eee Pad Transformer as well as similar 10.1-inch screen and 1280×800 resolution. It has a slightly bulkier design, ideal for those who prefer a sturdy feel to their gadgets.
The Optimus Pad, also known as the T-Mobile G-Slate, is also a Tegra 2 powered Android Honeycomb based tablet. It comes in a slightly smaller size than its Android brethren, featuring a 1280×768 resolution 8.9-inch display; however, what really sets it apart from the crowd is its dual lens 5MP 3D camera. Yup, it can take 3D photos and video for playback on 3D TVs.
The Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Eee Pad Transformer are both selling quite well, but neither is seeing the sale volume of the iPad 2, despite offering significantly more features. It might take some time for the tablet trend to catch on for other brand names, but for now, it seems it’s simply an Apple phenomenon.