Tablets of 2011: What to Look For (Holiday update)

By on October 26, 2011, 11:25 PM

Up until now the tablet market has been pretty much Apple's lonely playground. The company sold 32 million iPads in the most recent fiscal year and grabbed close to 70 percent of the pie in the U.S. during the third quarter of 2011. Meanwhile, Android is just starting to make some inroads as a platform but no tablet manufacturer comes close to the market leader when it comes to unit sales, while other alternative operating systems have crashed and burned.

Apple is not likely to lose its throne anytime soon, but its dominance could face some challenges ahead with the arrival of Amazon's Kindle Fire, which is expected to ignite the entry-level tablet segment and attract more mass-market consumers. The introduction of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, the first Android release specifically designed for both phones and tablets, could also help drive tablet adoption among Android smartphone users.

We've compiled a comparative table with what we consider are the hottest tablets either currently available or announced so far. You should know that specs only paint part of the picture, so we've also included metascores from our Product Finder engine and review links to help you dig deeper and narrow down your next purchase.

Read the complete guide.

User Comments: 14

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treeski treeski said:

I'm personally in the market (and will be) for a Win7 tablet... on to which I can install Win8.

All the same... thanks for the guide!

AlienOverlord said:

I want to buy my wife a tablet PC so she can surf the internet on the sofa, maybe play a few games. I don't like apple products much but it seems the iPad2 far outclasses the competition. Anyone got compelling reasons to pick anything else?

Wagan8r Wagan8r said:

AlienOverlord said:

I want to buy my wife a tablet PC so she can surf the internet on the sofa, maybe play a few games. I don't like apple products much but it seems the iPad2 far outclasses the competition. Anyone got compelling reasons to pick anything else?

If you want to buy it for her for Christmas, then yes. Two words: Tegra 3. Two more words: Transformer Prime.

Guest said:

Where is the Acer Iconia? Same specs as Transformer and $100 cheaper.

Julio Franco Julio Franco, TechSpot Editor, said:

@Guest, no it's not. The Iconia and the Eee Transformer cost the same and are very similar. We've reviewed both and favor the Eee Transformer. Nonetheless both tablets are present in the article, just click on the arrow on the right.

Guest said:

Dear tablet makers, I have 500 hard-earned Euros sitting in my account waiting for a decent, quad-core tablet.

dotVezz said:

@Guest: Don't worry, the Transformer Prime will satisfy that need for less than 500.

@AlienOverlord: I'm not trying to start an iPad/Android debate here, but what is it specifically that brings you to that conclusion. It's a matter of personal preference, but having used iOS for years on a small screen, then a lot of experience with the iPad and iPad 2, I found that my ASUS Transformer was a huge upgrade, especially when browsing the web (Flash and everything). Although it's hard to argue with the iOS library of games.

Guest said:

We can clearly see by the chart that the Samsung Galaxy Tab is way better than the iPad.

Samsung has several features not available on the iPad and more memory, higher resolution, usb and flash, therefore the iPad isn't the best

We've got stop going to Apple all the time for our music and tech needs. They didn't invent the tablet, just stole the concept and unfairly dominate the market and won't compete fairly with Samsung by suing them.

Guest said:

How in the world does the Asus come over the Acer? The Acer has USB 2.0 capability (very valuable for added storage, I.E. ext hard drive), and virtually all the same specs as the Asus performance-wise. As of now, it is cheaper than the Asus as well.

AlienOverlord said:

I guess my biggest problem is finding an up to date review of Android products. Reading the Samsung review tells me that many things need improvement, but maybe there have been updates to the tablet and the market that I am not aware of because the reviews are old? I also read somewhere that flash is being changed and will run on apple devices but I'm not sure when and how it will perform.

I only have about a week to make my decision but if something considerably better is coming out near Christmas I'd rather delay the purchase. On the other hand, something good is always around the corner...

Guest said:

I am disappointed to see the Toshiba Thrive isn't mentioned. The only tablet with a user-replaceable battery. A bit bulkier than some, but how out-of-shape do you have to be for that to be an issue?

Posted from my Toshiba Thrive

Guest said:

To All the Hubbys out there wanting to get a tablet for their wives-

TOSHIBA THRIVE all the way. It does everything the listed tabs do plus when I want to see something on my big screen tv, I just plug in my HDMI cable and there it is on the big screen. No minI this or micro that adapters. I thoroughly enjoy lounging on the couch browsing the web, reading emails, watching videos, etc. The extra few ounces makes absolutely no difference.

Guest said:

Amen. Thrive on.

Eddo22 said:

I just don't see the point of a Tablet. They're priced too high and don't have good specs. In comparison you can pick up a AMD E-450/E-350 Netbook that kills tablets in both software and hardware specs and remains around the same $$. A step further will get you a full out notebook with even better specs for about the same $$. Not to mention the crappy money scamming Os's you get stuck with on a Tablet. Windows 7 is hands down better.

Also, as far as Tablets go the Ipad 2 is pricey and overrated...but then again what Apple product isn't?

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