Review round-up: Tablets
There are a plethora of tablets in the market today – not bad for a device hardly anyone had heard about a little over two years ago – but finding the right device for your needs and budget can be a challenge.
Here’s our round-up of tablets on the market which cover various screen sizes, prices and operating systems.
Apple set the whole consumer tablet category off and running with the original iPad in 2010.
The iPad 2, released less than a year after the original, is the runaway market leader when it comes to tablets.
With a sleek design, smooth operating system and a huge selection of apps, the iPad 2 is thinner, faster and lighter than the first iPad and is also supported by a huge number of case and cover manufacturers.
The iPad 2 has an A5 dual core 1Ghz processor and comes in 16, 32 and 64GB capacities and your choice of wi-fi only or 3G/wi-fi.
Rumours are rife about the upcoming iPad 3 and the features Apple’s new device will have on board.
These include a Retina Display for better than full high definition resolution, an improved camera and possibly Siri – the voice-controlled digital assistant featured on the iPhone 4S.
We think Apple will still offer the iPad 2 after the iPad 3 is released. The iPad 2 will become the entry level tablet device with the iPad 3 becoming the new hero product.
Tech Guide suspects the new iPad may even be referred to as the iPad HD.
Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
Price: $579 (wi-fi); $729 (3G/wi-fi)
This is the tablet Apple unsuccessfully tried to ban late last year.
The device has a 10.1-inch screen and is actually thinner (8.6mm) than the iPad 2 (8.8mm) and lighter (560g to iPad 2’s 601 wi-fi only, 565g to Apple’s 613g for the 3G model)
Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 runs the Android 3.1 operating system and has a dual core 1.2Ghz processor.
With Android, users are able to customise a number of home screens and access content through Samsung Hubs – music, books, games and social networking.
One thing the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 can do that the iPad 2 can’t is run Flash to view animated websites on its browser.
It is one of the best Android tablets in the market.
Motorola XOOM 2
Price: $720 or on a Telstra plan
The Motorola XOOM 2 is a big improvement over the original with an updated design and added features.
The device has a 10.1-inch screen and is a lot sleeker than the first XOOM with flattened edges to make it easier to hold. It is just 8.8mm thick
Powered by a dual core 1.2Ghz processor, the XOOM 2 is running Android 3.2 operating system and will be upgradeable to Ice Cream Sandwich – otherwise known as Android 4.0 – in the coming months.
A new feature on board is MOTOPRINT so users can wirelessly print from the device from compatible apps.
There’s also MOTOCAST, first seen with the Motorola Razr smartphone, which allows users to access the content from their own computer securely via the internet.
The Toshiba AT200 is the world’s thinnest tablet at just 7.7mm thick. It weighs 535g.
The slender tablet has a 10.1-inch screen and a silver metallic finish and is running Android 3.2 operating system.
The AT200 has 16GB of internal memory which can be expanded with a microSD slot along with other connectivity options like micro HDMI and micro USB ports.
The sound quality of the device is also impressive thanks to Toshiba’s Audio Enhancement and Auto Audio Ambient Noise1Equalize technologies.
Sony Tablet S
Price: $579 (16GB), $689 (32GB)
Sony has adopted a unique design for the Tablet S with the wedge-shaped device created to look like a folded over magazine.
The device has a 9.4-inch TruBlack screen to reduce reflection and glare when used outdoors and is running the Android operating system.
Apart from its design, the Sony Tablet S also distinguishes itself with a range of different functions including the ability to wirelessly direct content around your network.
The device will also double as a universal remote control and is the only tablet on the market which is PlayStation certified.
Price: From $579
If you’re already in the BlackBerry family with a mobile device then the BlackBerry Playbook tablet will be able to integrate into your personal ecosystem and even link wirelessly to your handheld
Like the iPad, the device runs its own proprietary operating system and allows a number of tasks to run at the same time.
The 7-inch screen makes the Playbook a good size for those looking for a smaller solution which can fit easier in a bag and which can be held comfortably in one hand.
BlackBerry has also just released the 2.0 update of the Playbook’s operating system which now includes an integrated email client, more social network integration, improved mobile productivity and new apps and content.
Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7
Samsung has taken its Galaxy Tab 10.1 and shrunk it down to a 7.7-inch version which is actually thinner, lighter and faster than its big brother.
It has the same black frame with curved steel edges and a brushed metal rear panel.
The dual core 1.4Ghz processor means you won’t be waiting for things to happen – apps spring open instantly and getting around the Android operating system is quick and easy.
The smaller size makes the Galaxy Tab 7.7 easy to handle and carry around than a larger a device and is good “in-between” solution for those who want a product larger than a smartphone but smaller than a full size tablet.
Acer Iconia Tab A200
Price: From $349
Acer Iconia Tab A200 is a great value product that offers a 10.1-inch screen and comes pre-loaded with the latest Android operating system Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0.
The device is available in 8GB and 16GB capacities but also has a microSD card slot to expand the memory further.
Pound for pound the Acer Iconia Tab A200 is one of the best value Android tablets on the market and is available exclusively from Harvey Norman.