The tablet market exploded this year, with a slew of great models hitting the market. Essentially, a tablet PC 2011 is a great internet-ready device that has a similar operating system and user interface to a smartphone, but running on a larger screen. This makes them perfect for watching video online as well as social messaging, email and the like. But with so many great tablet PCs and pads out there, which should you go for? We’ve picked five of the best tablets available in 2011 to help you make your decision below.
Apple iPad 2
It’s the one that gets all the headlines, but is an iPad 2 the pad for you? First, it’s gorgeous to look at and the 9.7-inch 1024×768-pixel touchscreen is fantastic. It has a 1GHz dual-core processor and 64GB of memory, while the Apple operating system is smooth and simple to use. On the downside, multi-tasking is a no-no with the iPad 2 Apple, while the cameras on board are poor quality for such a premium priced device.
Also, when looking at internet pages there is no flash support, which could be a game-breaker for some. But what it does well it does brilliantly and the Apple brand is a really big pull. The App Store is second to none and miles ahead of the competition, while its general handling of music and video is amazing. Seeing as multimedia and silly apps are the mainstay of these devices right now, the Apple iPad 2 is the likely choice of many.
Once seen as purely a business brand, as smartphones have become more mainstream RIM’s BlackBerry line has really stepped up to the plate to duke it out at consumer level. with its first tablet, the PlayBook, it looks set to do the same in this market too. It has a markedly smaller screen, at seven inches, but this makes it nice and easy in the hand (like a Kindle, for example).
Again we have a dual-core 1GHz processor, average camera and up to 64GB of storage. As you’d expect the user interface is pretty businesslike but really user friendly, doing the job well. But you don’t have the wealth of apps of the Apple, or general fun factor. What it does do is the business meeting stuff perfectly, as you’d expect from a BlackBerry playbook tablet, while security of files (and of course great email capabilities) is paramount. It also sports Flash, so has one up on the iPad when web browsing.
The Android Contenders
Google’s Android operating system is open source, so lots of big names are popping it into pads. The Android OS is intuitive and user friendly, while all the Google goodies such as mail, maps and search work beautifully. It also has an impressive and fast growing selection of apps through the Android Market, although it is still a way behind Apple in that department. But on the plus side it is fantastic for web browsing, with the added bonus of Flash support over the iPads. Here are three of the best so far:
Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 has a jaw-dropping 1280×800-pixel touchscreen running on a 1GHz dual-core processor with 64GB of on-board memory. It’s light and thin while packing plenty of punch in the hardware department, but is light on unique selling points beyond that fantastic screen.
The Xoom also has a 10.1-inch 1280×800-pixel touchscreen and a 1GHz dual-core processor, but a slightly less impressive 32GB of memory. What sets it apart is the (optional) wireless keyboard and advanced internet browser, which makes browsing online a real pleasure and much closer to the PC experience.
With a seven-inch screen, the Flyer is smaller than its closest Android rivals – but only in screen size. There’s a juicy 1.5GHz processor under the bonnet, while it is reassuringly heavier and chunkier than its rivals. The big selling point is its ‘magic pen’ – a stylus that lets you write notes on screen. It can really be more than just a gimmick and is well worth a hands-on try-out.
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