by Gray Graham
I have been asked for the past year or so my opinion on tablets. I have been observing this new product category very closely and here is my list of tablets you should consider purchasing if you are in the market for a table in countdown style.
The specs are lacking, the system is closed, and they love sueing other companies and taking their ideas, but people absolutely love them. When Apple is a religion and not a product not much you can really say about it. I added it to the list because it is the device people think of when they hear tablet. I doubt most people know what an Android tablet is and I am sure more than a few people call every tablet an iPad. Since it has the following of millions, developers worldwide have developed thousands of apps for it. That definitely makes it the act to follow. Specs matter to me so I still put it on the bottom of my list.
4. Eee Pad Transformer
The cheapest full sized Android tablet. It runs on Honeycomb which was designed for tablets. Developers have started coming on board because unlike smartphones, Android is pretty much the same across all tablets. Also the EeePad has the option of a keyboard dock that turns the EeePad into a laptop (more on that later). Definitely something that will set it apart from the others and for the price can you really beat it?
3. Nook Color
The Nook Color is only $249. I actually like its smaller size compared to the other full sized offerings. This size actually makes sense more than the others do to me because it is actually more portable. While the Nook Color out of the box does what most folks need like surf the web, email, Facebook, and Twitter it does not have access to the Google Android Market. But with a little computer savvy that can be changed and you will have a full fledged Android tablet. Expect Amazon to have a similar device later this year. Stay tuned.
2. Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
If you want an iPad but can not stand the thought of giving Apple any of your money then the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is for you. It is even thinner than the iPad and has the same clean look. The screen size will actually let you see videos the way they are meant to be seen and I did not mention it before but all Android tablets actually play Flash out of the box unlike the iPad. Add to that the fact that it has the specs to allow you to actually do the things you want and you can not go wrong with the Galaxy Tab.
1. Toshiba Thrive
I know my number one is going to be a surprise for many. It is probably one of the most un-iPad like of all the new tablets and that is why I probably like it so much. Unlike the other folks who just made cute devices that look pretty, Toshiba actually took the time to make something that does the things that people want. It has full size connectors that allows you to use all the devices you already have instead of buying something proprietary or mini that won't be used with anything else. It is solid and not thin but that is not the most amazing thing. The most amazing thing is that you can actually change the battery in the device yourself. This means that you won't have to throw it away in a couple of years to get another one or spend money to get it "repaired" to change the battery. These things make it my personal choice and the device I would buy if I was going to buy a tablet.
And there is my list. Keep in mind that I am still of the opinion that no one needs a tablet and for most people it is purely a luxury purchase. If you already have a laptop and smartphone there is absolutely no reason for you to get a tablet unless you are using it like a toy. All the complaints against why not to get a netbook really apply to why not to get a tablet especially as your primary device. For less than all of these tablets (except the Nook Color) you can purchase a full featured notebook that uses the latest Intel and AMD chips with more memory and more storage. Add to that by the end of the year the first ultrabooks will start coming out and long with the Chromebooks they match the battery life of a tablet. If you really want to save money, the Nook eReader and the Amazon Kindle provide a better reading experience if that is your main focus.
In the end the choice is yours. I am just one of those consumer advocates and with times like these I want to give people information that will definitely make your dollar stretch the farthest. So if you feel that you just have to have a tablet use the list as a guide to get the most for your money. So unless you have money to burn then I would wait on purchasing a tablet. Trust me you will thank me later.