Christmas is literally right around corner and for those of you who are last minute shoppers (myself included), take a look at our list of the top 5 tablets.
Let’s take a look first at the Apple iPad 2. This product is significantly thinner than its predecessor, measuring just 0.34 of an inch, it’s even thinner than the iPhone 4. Some other features include front and rear cameras, FaceTime video chat, faster processing, and 3G options for both AT&T and Verizon. Aside from the new camera features do not expect any radical changes from the original; after all, it is a formula that has worked time and again and Apple is known for consistently pumping out improvements on their new products but not diverging too much from their original concept.
Although you can take pictures with the iPad 2, and now in very unique ways with the two cameras, you still look silly carrying around a wide book sized camera. Another problem is that there is still no support for Adobe Flash, and ports for HDMI, USB, and SD all require additional adapters. All in all, this is still the tablet king when compared with the rest of the bunch so rest assured whoever’s stocking you stuff with this tablet will be jolly for quite some time.
Apple now offers both white and black versions of the iPad 2 in many different prices and configurations. The base model starts at $499, giving you 16GB of storage and a Wi-Fi connection to the Internet. If you want more storage for all your applications, photos, music, and videos, you can jump up to the 32GB ($599) or 64GB ($699) models.
The next on our list is the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. The good news is that it is as thin as the iPad 2 and weighs even less. This product also sports a 3-megapixel back camera and a 2-megapixel front camera as well as powerful dual speakers. The tablet also has a 10.1 inch screen with 1,280×800-pixel resolution which produces fantastically clear images and videos for watching movies or surfing the web. One of the major drawbacks is the lack of ports on the tablet and the because of the plastic back, it feels more fragile compared to other tablets.
Overall the design is one of the first Honeycomb tablets that has a thin body while not sacrificing powerful output. But when compared to the iPad 2, this product does come in as second best, however this is by far the superior android tablet on the market.
You can find the Galaxy Tab on Amazon.com selling for $359.96 for 16G and $429.99 for 32G.
Of course Sony threw its hat into the ring this year with the Tablet S. This product differentiates itself from the rest by offering exclusive apps, boasting an ergonomic design, hosting PlayStation certification for mobile gaming, video and music streaming, and an integrated IR universal remote. The tablet is thicker on one side, which then gradually curves inwards allow it to prop up when placed on a flat surface (great for journalists & constant writers!) Specs wise, the Tablet S has front and rear cameras, 1080p video capture and playback, a capacitive touchscreen, SD expansion slot and dual-core Tegra processor running at 1GHz. There are not too many issues with the tablet overall…the only unfortunate thing for Sony is it that is not an Apple iPad. The iPad offers a wider variety of apps in its store, although Sony does have exclusive apps. This tablet is better suited for gamers who want to utilize the PlayStation certification while they are on the road (like traveling to a different location to play video games).
You can find the Sony Tablet S at Amazon.com with prices ranging from $431.18 for 16G and $549.00 for 32G.
Next up is the Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet. This is a full-featured tablet with a 7-inch touch screen, Wi-Fi, and offers more than a thousand apps through its Nook Store, and is optimized for Netflix and Hulu Plus video playback. Not to mention the web browser supports Adobe Flash. Did I also mention that it also still has the ability for a user to buy an e-book directly from the bedroom/bathroom/jacuzzi/desert? The reading experience doesn’t stray too far from the one offered up by the Nook Color. A couple of downsides include there not being access to the full Android market, no bluetooth, no camera, no video rental/purchase options, and any sideloaded content beyond 1GB has to be put onto the microSD. This tablet is good for the users who want a basic device that can play videos, do basic web browsing, host apps, and of course have books to read.
The Nook tablet sells for $249.00 on Barnes & Noble’s website, and you can also find the Nook Color for $199 and the Nook Simple Touch for $99.
Last up on the list is the Kindle Fire. The Kindle Fire comes with a 7-inch touchscreen, which is an inch larger than the 6-inch screens of the Kindle e-book readers and is easier to hold in one hand compared other 10-inch tablets. The Kindle fire also provides 802.11n Wi-Fi & USB 2.0 connectivity, though without 3G. Amazon’s massive content ecosystem of 18 million movies, TV shows, songs, magazines and books and thousands of Kindle Fire apps make the Kindle Fire a better value proposition than many Android-based tablets in the market. This is my pick of the year…it is relatively inexpensive but provides EVERYTHING you would want to walk around with. The only downside is that it is not an iPad or a pricier (typically at least twice the price) tablet that has better computing power…but if you want that, then get a laptop!
You can get the Kindle for $199 on amazon.com.
I hope this list helps with any last minute decisions you make, and feel free to comment below on any of your experiences with any of the tablets listed above.