Tablets of 2010: Apple iPad and The Best Alternatives

By on April 5, 2010, 4:57 AM
As you've undoubtedly heard, 2010 is being hailed as the year of the tablet PC (yes, again). That may come as a shock considering the fact that very few big-name tablets are currently available and forthcoming works are mostly shrouded in secrecy. Unless you follow tech news closely, you're probably only familiar with Apple's iPad which launched this weekend and perhaps HP's Slate that was showcased during this year's CES. While the market might seem barren, there are a handful of options currently or soon-to-be available. Analysts predict dozens of companies will pile into the market with similar devices of every shape, color and creed -- ARM alone expects its chips to appear in over 50 tablets this year. Such an upwelling begs the question: Are tablets here to stay, or will the bubble burst in 2011 as quickly as it's growing in 2010?
We've charted out seven of today's most popular slates, complete with available specifications, pricing, and availability. Naturally, the data is subject to change as many of these have yet to reach stores, but it's a starting point for narrowing down your purchase. Read the complete article.




User Comments: 31

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Guest said:

superrrrrr

Tekkaraiden Tekkaraiden said:

It's all going to depend on how useful they end up being. Personally I'll be watching to see how durable they are and how well suited they are to be used as a infield service manual.

whiteandnerdy said:

in my opinion, I think tablets are going to end up quite useless. Right now, the ipad can do just about everything an iphone can (except make calls of course) plus the iphone fits in your pocket! And if your complaint about doing things on the iphone is that the screen is to small then i say go get a stylus if your fingers are too big or get some glasses if you cant read it. As for the tablets that are gonna run like regular computer, i see people using these as replacements for netbooks and laptops but i think trying to get anything done on them would be much slower than on a netbook. for one thing you always have the keyboard on a regular computer for keyboard-short-cuts and just typing out an email is quicker with a regular keyboard. Ill stick to my iphone and laptop (at least untill they get cheaper)

red1776 red1776, Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe, said:

oohhh...look at the pretty...and expensive Etch-a-sketch.

ET3D, TechSpot Paladin, said:

One of the most significant specs for me is weight, which unfortunately doesn't appear in the table.

tipstir tipstir, TS Ambassador, said:

ipad or not, this technology is going to become the norm. Sure netbooks is the next runner up and some netbooks can be turned into a touch screen pad like tablet but at a greater cost. I own two Netbooks one from ASUS and Acer. ASUS you can get faster GPU clock speed instead of the 166MHz by default that makes these netbook video performance lousy. The the VIS (visual image size) is maxed out at 1024x600 making browser on the net a bit of a lot of scrolling up and down. I have mine set to 1152x864 without external monitor. Some tweaks to text and you got pretty good netbook. Yes the Intel GMA can handle and support new VIS in normal daily operations.

Ipad and Itouch don't have web cam, IPad can do cellular just have to buy the model that supports both 3G and 802.11n. Of course that model cost more. These 8GB models are a joke. Better off with 32GB but even 32GB will fill-up quick. The Ipad clone out of China on You Tube uses 2.5 HDD and a lot more RAM and runs Windows 7. Cost is $290 which is a lot less than Ipad. Would be nice of that one to be sold here with it's SDHC slots an etc. Called Shenzhen Great Loong Brother Industrial Co.'s iPad-like "P88"

Guest said:

Quite frankly, I dislike laptop keyboards and touchpads. I use Apple's little bluetooth keyboard and a bluetooth mouse with my MacBookPro pretty much everywhere I go.

So, for me a tablet computer like the iPad is a big go. I can read books comfortably with it in bed and on the chair/couch (been waiting for this a loooong time) and use it comfortably with my keyboard and mouse when I need to do some major inputing.

I think there are a lot out there like me and that the pads are here to stay. However, I would prefer more juice and more resolution and more storage though I'm sure that will come.

Guest said:

If the iPad had a docking station available that would allow connection to a hard network, external keyboard/mouse/monitor, then I would be all over it since then it can be actually thought of as an computer/laptop replacement. Right now I consider it an eBook reader with media functionality thrown in...

Guest said:

I had my credit card in hand for the Ipad, until I realized it had no camera. This was definitely a deal breaker. No skype - no good.

Guest said:

No love for the Always Innovating TouchBook? Bummer.

I've had mine since November, and it's my first foray into the wild and wonderful world of open-source. I love the form factor, the battery life, the screen size. And the multi-tasking. The iPad does not impress me, because I've had something that is in some ways better, for almost 6 months now. Sure, resistive touchscreens are cool, but with a 9" diagonal screen I haven't had to zoom in on anything anyway.

If I want to add 3G, I'll just open up the case and plug in a card. If I want to add a camera, I'm sure some crazy genius at the forum for the thing will post step-by-step instructions for drilling a hole in the case and installing it.

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

It's funny - most tech professionals I know (and many who post on these boards) are thumbs down on the whole tablet PC thing. IT professionals want the real deal - either a powerful laptop or desktop. Not something in between that only does a handful of applications half-baked.

But there's definitely a market for these things. Kids and young adults will go ape for these because of their portability, wow factor and fits in perfectly with the "I gotta have it RIGHT NOW" mentality that seems prevalent in the teens to 20's age group.

If it were up to the IT community alone, I think these would be a total flop. I'm definitely not interested in buying one. Not sure how much use it would get even if I was given one. But there is no doubt a sizable market - just look at the iPad sales that happened on the first day. I think they'll be around for the long haul.

Guest said:

Uhh... you are forgetting the Asus EEE PC T101MT, a convertible tablet set to launch this month at $499. How can you possibly miss that?

ET3D, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I think there's a place for these even for the IT pro crowd, the specs just need to be a little different. I certainly won't mind a small, light device I can browse and read books on, I'd just prefer it to weigh 200g and not cost $500 and up. Which is why I think that the format will succeed eventually. We'll get there.

Staff
Matthew Matthew, TechSpot Staff, said:

Just a note, we've added available device weights to the table. Thanks for the feedback.

Puiu Puiu said:

I just watched a video a demo the Notion Ink Adam. It looks really cool. It blows apple and hp and the price doesn't seem to be that bad. Crazy battery life and i love the fact that you can turn on the display and be able to see it and use it in sunlight. (>10 hours of HD movies? )

Matthew can you find me some more info on the Adam? i saw some videos but i want to know more about the software part, not just the hardware. if it has at least some good software on it then it most certainly will become no1 on my TO BUY list.

PS: is the part that it has 160 hours of battery life on normal use without backlight true? most people don't use lcd's in sunlight because they become unreadable, but from what i've seen it is perfectly readable in direct sunlight and only consumes 0.2W

PS2: an separate article about it would be great. ^_^

Guest said:

"It's funny - most tech professionals I know (and many who post on these boards) are thumbs down on the whole tablet PC thing."

that's just dumb. well, I can understand thumbs down on tablets that are too small to do some real work (always below 12" and only up to 1280x800), but that's oem's problems, not tablet pc concept in general. I own Toshiba Tecra M7 with 14" and 1440x900 display and pretty decent hardware specs even for these days, only graphics card is outdated and barely handles modern 3D modelling needs. I really wish there was new powerful tablet pc with no less than 1440x900 resolution and no less than 14" display (and multitouch + digitiser), because it's important for working with graphics, for designers and artists, even for music production and performance. oh god, WHY don't they understand that such tablets needed much more than stupid useless oversized ipod touch (that is not even tablet pc).

Guest said:

You're missing the EEE PC T101MT.

Guest said:

@guest

I guess you have the point in your comment: "these things are not tablet PCs". I guess they acheive what UMPCs could not, because of the lack of interesting Android like OSes and affordable capacitive screens at that time: having interesting browsing and multimedia functionalities using very low power consumption circuitry. Maybe they will end up with interesting capabilities for work related tasks, but I guess this first generation is clearly focused on entertainment. And for the latter, I personaly think they are a lot better than netbooks, but that's my taste. See, I am one of those IT guys described above, and I can use a super powerful workstation at home connected to gig LAN server centralizing my data, but when it comes to "consume media and do Internet browsing and why not reading books or magazines", I could not be more at ease than using such a tablet. After all, I spend a good portion of my days sat at a desk at work so why not sitting in a sofa at home? And when it comes to real work or even to photo management or processing and all the "real" stuff then why not using the super powerful infrastructure instead. Anyway, I am eagerly waiting for the Adam to be released and reading detailed reviews of it before buying one of these.

Staff
Julio Franco Julio Franco, TechSpot Editor, said:

You can almost say we overlooked the Asus Eee PC T101MT on purpose. We don't have anything against it, but it represents the continuance of the older Tablet PC, that is, a fully equipped laptop/netbook that uses a stylus and/or touchscreen.

When we titled this brief article "Tablets of 2010," the idea was to show a comparison of this new wave of devices -- to me they are tablet computers (or slates), what else would you call them? -- that have something in common, they favor touch based input, remove the dedicated keyboard, and are usually found using operating systems built from the ground up to be integrated with mobile, low-powered hardware.

Guest said:

For my wife it's gotta be a Windows device, where she can run her patient administration software on and keep records on the Slate instead of on paper to be transfered to PC later.

For me it's also going to be the Windows device, as I'm all for customizing my slate with the applications and features I want, not those that the manufacturer approves for me. Most of these apps I already bought and paid for, so I'd rather transfer them to the Slate then buy them again if at all possible.

For both of us the need for a front camera, Flash and Silverlight support, and at least one USB port are all deal making or breaking, and the iPad offers none of them.

Guest said:

When I saw unveiling of Apple's iPad, I was all over the looks and coolness.. But after I read the specifications I said 2 words Oh Crap!

Yeah it looks cool but main things are..

1) Books.. the Apples eBook format is unreadable in any other machine even in mac.

2) Task... Multitask.. In this age Do you really think a non Multitasking thing will entice a tech savvy guy?

Ok I got an iPad so what am I gonna do with it? I cant read book, and Listen music at same time. Why the Hell did they put a 1 GHZ proc in it?

3) HP'sTablet is running friggin Windows 7, do you think iPad can do as many things as that thing?(plus side is you cant get affected by virusses)

4)Android Os is also a exciting thing about its rivals.. I dont think iPad will last long. If they dont fix these shortcomings.

Waiting for the googles tablet. 2011 Chrome os will definitely fit in that thing nicely.

BMfan BMfan said:

oohhh...look at the pretty...and expensive Etch-a-sketch.

That's so brilliant,best comment here by far.

megrawab said:

this year is really a year of pads and tablets...

Guest said:

Thank goodness a tablet review FINALLY includes the Archos 9. It's just a shame that the writer was clueless about it. It's only been available since last year, and is the most stable and comprehensive of the lot. So I don't understand the comment at the end of the review that says (when referring to the Archos 9 and the JooJoo):

"It doesn't take an expert to see that neither of these is half as attractive as the iPad."

OK, let's see. The Archos 9 runs Windows 7 -- not a proprietary OS. It comes standard with way more storage than all but the largest iPad. It supports USB out-of-the-box, includes a camera, and supports Flash -- NONE of which the iPad does. And perhaps most importantly, IT MULT-TASKS; it's not a limited "one shot only" device.

Yeah, you're right; not anywhere near as attractive as the iPad.

Staff
Julio Franco Julio Franco, TechSpot Editor, said:

@Guest, we weren't trying to make a review of the devices in two lines, what we meant is that the iPad is the most publicized device by far, even though the other two are readily available.

tipstir tipstir, TS Ambassador, said:

Notion Ink Adam Tablet looks like the clear winner to me in what you get for the price. Those Archos series still look like fun but I am sure they have their glitches. Adam with HDMI better suited for everyone who has HDMI TV or Montior. Just has to wait and see. But Adam has a neat features use Mono Chrome in the Sunlight where as shade would display full color. Not bad. Video link here and a better shot of the Notion Ink Adam Tablet: [link]

Guest said:

How about the SmartQ internet tablets? they have been around long before Ipad. Currently they are able to dual / triple boot into Win CE or Ubuntu Linux (or android). They are smaller though.

Guest said:

Whiteandnerdy- I have a Dell XT tablet which I've owned for 2-3 years now. Actually I have 2, one used by my son who is an artist. It's obvious you have no experience of tablet PCs but hopefully I can set you right on a few points.

1. Getting things done on a proper tablet is much faster than a netbook. For a start it has much more memory and a proper processor as well as a keyboard & swivel screen so it can be a normal laptop or a tablet. Even when using the keyboard I find it a lot quicker to just touch the screen with my finger to click a button or scroll or anything else I would otherwise do with a mouse/pointer. I have a touch pad and joystick pointer too so when my muscle-memory forgets about the touch screen I can still navigate and click as normal. I remember seeing someone with their ipad in a cafe trying to type with a separate keyboard with iPad laid flat on the table & obviously struggling to see the screen with all the reflections. I expect the accessory market will soon be flooded with iPad easels so the thing can be propped up on a table in a position where it's almost as readable as a proper computer. By the time you've bought all the accessories that make your iPad useable for more than reading your electronic copy of the latest paperback or newspaper whatever it's going to take up a lot of space but the corresponding lightness of an empty wallet will help balance the scales, if not the bank account.

I can use the on-screen virtual keyboard for shortcuts if I want to, I can write with the pen on the screen and the text is converted instantly and remarkably accurately with corrections easy to make on the fly on the odd occasion when it interprets my crappy handwriting incorrectly. Try typing out your email when you're standing up on a train. Yes, you can fish out your iPod and use that but then I can do the same with my HTC Android or Windows Mobile phone which will have cost me a lot less than an iPhone and I can swap cheap memory in and out rather than being stuck with what it was fitted with when I bought it. And I can buy spare batteries for not very much money so if I'm stuck somewhere I can't use a charger I'm not left with a well-designed paperweight when the juice runs out.

2. Getting real things done on my XT tablet is also possible, unlike an iPad. I am a photographer and I use Photoshop a lot. The Wacom pen is as precise as any separate Wacom tablet I've ever used and it's fun to be able to photoshop in the same way I'd sketch on an A4 pad. My son also uses photoshop, illustrator and Flash, everything you need to go out and sketch or do whatever anywhere. You can't do proper stuff on an iPad but then it's not a serious tool, is it? It's a magical toy designed to tempt people with more money than sense into buying something they think will make them look hip and cool.

3. You can't use a pen with an iPad, well you can buy a pointer with a spongy tip which is a little more precise than a greasy pudgy finger but nowhere near close to being a proper tool.

4. Microsoft OneNote, a deceptively simple package which is sooo amazingly useful on a tablet. Write like you're writing on paper and run recognition software on it to convert to text. Put pictures in, clip from websites, freehand sketch, organise and link. I won't go into details but if you have a windows based tablet you should really consider getting OneNote. You probably even have it and not have realised, it comes with many of the MS Office packages. Except you can't with any Apple product because it's not available for Mac OS, let alone iphone OS.

5. You don't have the problem of being stuck with a supplier who will kill products and programs on a whim just to make you buy their latest offering. I have 3 Macs, only one of which works because they're not designed to last whereas my PC products of similar age still work and are still upgradeable. I remember buying a top of the range G4 new with Applecare for a high-paying job when a day or so lost from system downtime would cost a lot more than the system. How much love could I have for a company that wouldn't honour their warranty without a fight which left me without a system for weeks. I won't go into the vile and frankly dishonest way I was treated by Apple, suffice to say it took 18 months but in the end they had to replace my system (well, 3 times, actually) and pay me money on top. Any problems I've had with my Dell systems have been fixed within days, no arguments. I was so happy when Apple introduced the G5 and OSX then fixed all their laptops and even the G4s so they wouldn't run OS9. Anyone, like me, who had expensive equipment which would only run with software in a native OS9 environment felt really chuffed to be dumped with no upgrade path available in future. Contrast that with a new Windows machine which will probably run DOS if i can find a floppy drive to load it with. Even the little man down the road who built me a cheap PC from a second hand motherboard was quicker and more helpful than Apple and their supposedly Applecare protected product. Plus the fact that any serious software is released for PC first then for mac, if at all.

Sorry to have run off on a tangent about proper hardware, after all the iPad is a relatively cheap toy aimed at people with money to waste on shiny toys in the hope they will gain the admiration of friends and strangers alike. My point is that the Apple environment is totally dependent on one company & when they decide to drop a product there's nowhere else to go. Windows based machines are served by a huge variety of suppliers with many happy to continue to support older hardware and software which means far lower prices for parts and upgrades and hence a much lower cost of ownership. These days most PC based products offer far more performance per buck than Apple but I have to admit Apple currently have the market cornered for the smooth way their touch-screen works. If the most important thing to you is a touch screen which scrolls smoothly and bounces cutely then the iPad/iPhone is for you. If you care about what you can do with it then I'd look elswhere.

Guest said:

I think the Tablets would be a nice addition as a front end to my network. Currently i use my Ipod Touch as a network computer controller to set up functions on my network PC's. Starting, stopping downloads, and setting up large video file transfers that take time. Also i check on the status of ongoing operations while laying in bed, or taking a huge crap. Plus its kind of nice to watch netflix, or music videos any where or anytime. A Tablet with similar functionality would be nice with the larger screen, at least until they develop a Brain/Chip so i dont have to carry anything around. :-P

dlen said:

I think the battery is most important in tablets and looking at the comparison IPad is the winner.

Guest said:

Just curious, why not include the Galaxy Tab??

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