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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Top 20 best tablet PC iPad alternatives

This year is going to be the year of the touchscreen tablet, of that there can be no doubt.
While tablet PCs have been around for yonks, only now are they becoming the desirable, usable and functional devices that we've always wanted them to be – and it's about time too.
The iPad is currently the most obvious example of how tablets are going mainstream, but that's not to say that all tablets released from now on are guaranteed to be super awesome.
Indeed there are some real stinkers out there – remember the Toshiba Folio 100?
So allow us to walk you through the best tablets currently on sale, along with the sexy tablets that are set to tickle your fingertips later in 2011.
best tablets

Samsung Galaxy Tab GT-P1000

UK release date: October 2010
Specs: Android 2.2, 1 GHz Cortex A8 CPU, 512MB RAM, 16GB/32GB, 7-inch capacitive LCD at 1024x600, 3.2MP rear-facing camera, 1.3MP front-facing camera, phone-call-friendly 3G, 380g.
What we think: While the Galaxy Tab promised the world, it didn't quite deliver the tablet experience we were hoping for. As the first big-name tablet to take on the iPad, it failed to live up to its billing. That said, user response has been positive, and despite a high asking price of over £500 SIM-free, this is about as good as it gets out of the current crop of Android 2.2 tablets. A Wi-Fi only model is imminent.
best tablets
viewpad 7

Viewsonic ViewPad 7

UK release date: October 2010
Specs: Android 2.2, Qualcomm MSM 7227 600MHz CPU, 512MB RAM, 512MB storage, 7-inch capacitive LCD at 800x480, 3MP rear-facing camera, VGA front-facing camera, phone call-friendly 3G, 375g.
What we think: Not technically built by Viewsonic, this tablet is also available under various different titles. Essentially it's a Chinese-built OEM device, but you'd be wrong if you think that means it's not very good. It is. It's responsive, it's a nice size and it's usable. The problem is that it should cost £200, not £400.
best tablets

Advent Vega

UK release date: November 2010
Specs: Android 2.2 (sans Android Market), 1GHz Nvidia Tegra CPU, 512MG RAM, 512MB storage, capacitive LCD at 1024x600, 1.3MP rear-facing camera, no 3G, 700g.
What we think: At £250, the Advent Vega comes in at a very attractive price - it's probably the best tablet for those on a very tight budget. And actually, it isn't half bad. It's responsive, it's not too heavy, it runs Android without breaking a sweat. The problem is that without 3G connectivity there's no Android Market access. There's also no Home button, and the other hardware buttons are fiddly as hell.
best tablets
exopc slate

ExoPC Slate

UK release date: October 2010
Specs: Intel Atom N450 1.66GHz CPU, 2GB RAM, 23GB/64GB, 11.6-inch capacitive LCD at 1366x768, 1.3MP front-facing camera, 950g.
What we think: While the list is dominated by Android tablets, let's not forget poor old Windows 7. It's in no way a touch-friendly operating system, but that doesn't mean there isn't some decent hardware out there doing its best. The ExoPC Slate is the best Windows tablets at present, and so if you MUST have Windows on your tablet, this is currently the one to get.
best tablets

BlackBerry Playbook

UK release date: Spring/Summer 2011
Specs: BlackBerry Tablet OS (QNX), 1GHz Cortex A9 dual core CPU, 1GB RAM, 7-inch capacitive LCD at 1024x600, 3MP front-facing camera, 5MP rear-facing camera, 400g.
What we think: From the moment the good folks at RIM started talking about the Playbook, we knew it was going to be awesome. And by Jove it's one of the most impressive gadgets we've ever played with. Slick, seemless and sexy, the new BlackBerry OS is as impressive as the polished hardware. This one simply cannot be released soon enough.
best tablets

Motorola Xoom

UK release date: Spring 2011
Specs: Android 3.0, Nvidia Tegra 2 dual-core CPU, 1GB RAM, 32GB Flash storage, 10.1-inch capacitive LCD at 1280x800, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor, barometer, gyroscope, 5MP rear-facing camera, 2MP front-facing camera, 3G, 730g.
What we think: The Motorola Xoom is one of the second-generation Android tablets that the tech world is getting very excited about. Packing Nvidia's super-powerful Tegra 2 chip and running the tablet-friendly Android 3.0 OS, the Xoom is going to be big.
best tablets
htc flyer

HTC Flyer

UK release date: 2011
Specs: Android 2.3, 1.5GHz single-core Snapdragon, 1GB RAM, 32GB memory, 7-inch capacitive LCD at 1024x600, 5MP camera, 3MP front-facing camera, phone-call-friendly 3G, 415g.

What we think: HTC has decided to release it's first tablet running on Android Gingerbread (2.3/2.4), which will upset some purists that only believe these tablets should run on Honeycomb. However, it does come with a new version of HTC Sense with dual-pane windows which works well with videos and email. As a single-core device in a dual-core world, though, will the Flyer be good enough?
best tablets
lg optimus pad

LG Optimus Pad

UK release date: 2011
Specs: Android 3.0, 1GHz Tegra 2 CPU, 1GB RAM, 32GB storage, 8.9-inch capacitive screen at 1024x768, 2x 5MP rear-facing cameras for 3D capture, 2MP front-facing camera, phone-friendly 3G, 630g.
What we think: The Optimus Pad is a super-looking tablet and has the USP of having dual 5MP rear-firing cameras for 3D image capture. Add to that dual-core Tegra 2 CPU, a decent screen and Android 3.0 and you've got an exciting tablet on your hands. But pricing could be this tablet's Achilles heel – it's going to be pricey.
best tablets
galaxt tab 10.1

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 P7100

UK release date: 2011
Specs: Android 3.0, 1GHz dual core CPU, 1GB RAM, 16GB/32GB storage, 10.1-inch capacitive screen at 1280x800 (WXGA), 8MP rear-facing camera with LED flash, 2MP front-facing camera, 3G, 599g.
What we think: The new Galaxy Tab 10.1 (P7100) looks like a real corker. With top-end hardware specs, a lovely screen and Android 10.1, this looks every bit the iPad alternative that the original Galaxy Tab P1000 was supposed to be. We're excited about this one.
best tablets
hp touchpad

HP TouchPad

UK release date: Unknown
Specs: webOS 3.0, 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon CPU, 1GB RAM, 16GB, 32GB storage, 9.7-inch capacitive screen at 1024x768, 1.3MP front-facing camera, 740g.
What we think: The touchpad looks like one of the most powerful tablets yet announced, running the as-yet unreleased dual-core Snapdragon APQ8060 1.2GHz CPU. It's also running Palm's webOS 3.0 which sets it apart from all the Android tablets but at 740g it's rather heavy.
best tablets
notion ink adam tablet

Notion Ink Adam Tablet

UK release date: Summer 2011
Specs: Android 2.3, Nvidia Tegra 250, Cortex A9 dual-core CPU, 1GB RAM, 1GB SLC, 10.1-inch capacitive display at 1024x600, optional Qi display, 3.2MP swivel camera, 3G, 2x USB, accelerometer, ambient light sensor, compass, 726g.
What we think: The Notion Ink Adam Tablet is maybe the most anticipated tablet of them all. While it runs on Android 2.3, the Bangalore-based company has built its own complex interface on top called Eden. The hardware specs are impressive on paper, and it looks like this could to be one of 2011's hottest products. Or, it could be an absolute disaster... we'll find out soon enough.
best tablets
asus eee pad memo

Asus Eee Pad MeMo

UK release date: Summer 2011
Specs: Android 3.0, Qualcomm Snapdragon 1.2GHz CPU, 512MB RAM, 7-inch capacitive display, 64GB Flash storage, rear-facing camera, front-facing camera, mini-HDMI out.
What we think: We don't know much about the Asus Eee Pad yet. What we do know is that there are four models, of which the MeMo is at the bottom end. We also know that Asus is taking its time with these Eee Pads, so we can be fairly confident that when they finally go on sale, they'll be good.
best tablets
asus eee pad slider

Asus Eee Pad Slider

UK release date: Summer 2011
Specs: Android 3.0, Nvidia Tegra 2 dual-core CPU, slide-out keyboard, 10.1-inch capacitive display at 1280x800, card reader, HDMI-out, rear-facing camera, front-facing camera.
What we think: At 10.1-inches, the Eee Pad Slider is bigger than the MeMo, and Asus thinks it's big enough to warrant a slide-out keyboard. It's the netbook of the new generation, if you will. It's also the first Android tablet we've seen with a feature like this, though it's not a new concept. Typing on a touchscreen can be a pain, so including a proper keyboard is a nice idea – though how useful it ends up being remains to be seen.
best tablets
Asus eee pad transformer

Asus Eee Pad Transformer

UK release date: Summer 2011
Specs: Android 3.0, Nvidia Tegra 2 dual-core CPU, 10.1-inch capacitive display at 1280x800, full-size keyboard dock, card reader, HDMI-out, rear-facing camera, front-facing camera
What we think: Asus is keeping all its bases covered by offering a variety of different tablet options, and waiting to see what people buy. The Eee Pad Transformer is similar to the Slider, except there's no built-in keyboard. Instead, the tablet comes with an optional keyboard docking station (it'll cost considerably more with it) for you to keep on your desk.
best tablets

Acer Iconia Tab A500

UK release date: April 2011
Specs: Android 3.0, Nvidia Tegra 2 dual-core CPU, 1GB RAM, 10.1 capacitive screen, 5MP rear-facing camera, 3G.
What we think: As Acer's flagship tablet we were expecting big things from the A500 but from what we saw at MWC it doesn't look like the A500 is as high-end as we were expecting it to be. It's still a powerful Tegra 2-powered Honeycomb tablet though, so if it has an attractive price, this could be one to watch.
best tablets

Acer Iconia Tab A100

UK release date: April 2011
Specs: Android 3.0, Nvidia Tegra 2 dual-core CPU, 7-inch capacitive screen at 1024x600, 5MP rear-facing camera, 2MP front-facing camera, 3G.
What we think: The A100 is the little brother to the Acer Iconia Tab A500, and we have high hopes for it. While it doesn't have the high-flying specs of some of the other tablets on this page, we expect this 7-inch tablet to carry a more modest price.
best tablets
viewpad 10s

Viewsonic ViewPad 10s

UK release date: Spring 2011
Specs: Android 2.2 (with Tap UI), Nvidia Tegra 2, Cortex A9, 512MB RAM, 16GB Flash memory, 10.1-inch capacitive LCD at 1024x600.
What we think: While the original ViewPad 10 was an absolute dog, the 10s looks a lot better simply because Android 2.2 replaces the dual-booting Windows 7 and Android 1.6. Already released as the Viewsonic G Tablet in the US, the 10s boasts decent hardware specs and a custom overlay on top of Android 2.2. Providing it's priced sensibly, this could be an attractive purchase when it goes on sale.
best tablets
dell streak 7

Dell Streak 7, Dell Streak 10

UK release date: Summer 2011?
Specs: Android 2.2, 7-inch capacitive LCD, 1.3MP front-facing camera, 16GB storage.
What we think: Dell is expanding its range of Android products after it launched its 5-inch phone/tablet lovechild last year. On the way is the 7-inch Dell Streak 7 and the 10.1-inch Dell Streak 10 - and if the original is anything to go by, these tablets will be excellent.

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