It's no secret that tablet makers are having a hard time competing with Apple in this still nascent market. In fact, the iPad is selling so well that it surpassed the number of PCs shipped by any individual PC manufacturer over the last quarter of 2011 -- a telling statistic that gives some weight to all that post-PC talk.
Granted, Android tablets have managed to cut into Apple's market share, but there hasn't yet been a single device that could match the iPad on sales or popularity, or even come close. We were counting on 'Ice Cream Sandwich' to drive Android tablet sales, but almost five months into the OS' launch and very few tablets have received the update.
In spite of this grim picture, there are good options out there that for one reason or another haven't received as much attention from buyers. We've compiled a comparative table with what we consider are the best tablets either currently available or announced so far. We've also included metascores from our Product Finder engine and review links to help you dig deeper and narrow down your next purchase.
The Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime sports a very high-resolution 1920 x 1200 pixel 10.1-inch Full HD display, it is powered by either a quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3 or dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processors depending on configuration. It runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and has an optional keyboard dock like the other Transformer tablets from Asus.
The iPad 2 improves on the original in many ways, including a significantly faster dual-core CPU, improved graphics and a thinner footprint. The iPad 2 also manages to shave off 0.2 pounds for a total weight of 1.33 pounds on the Wi-Fi only model. Apple has included two cameras on the iPad 2 – a VGA-quality front facing lens for FaceTime and a rear-facing camera capable of recording 720p video.
Amazon sent a wave crashing through the mobile industry when it announced its Kindle Fire would land with a price of $199. This is likely the best value in a tablet on the market, and will make tablet computing accessible to many people that either couldn't afford an iPad or couldn't tolerate Honeycomb tablets.
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