Tablets of 2012: What to Look For

By on March 14, 2012, 12:57 AM

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.

Read the complete article.




User Comments: 25

Got something to say? Post a comment
Guest said:

Verizon's package seems solid enough, but the AT&T 4G offering is a joke in this new ipad. That's something to keep in mind in any comparison. I'd avoid tablets in general that claim to have AT&T 4G. I don't think a HSPA+ network, with just a few LTE spots quite qualifies, no matter what AT&T says over, and over, and over, and over...

Guest said:

What about Huawei's MediaPad??

Guest said:

Proof that Apple's a joke. Asus is right there next to it, owning in everything but screen resolution. Factor in microSD expansion, and you're looking at paying $560 vs $800 for the ipad, including having more storage. I don't even get the debate here.

Guest said:

Well...I own both an iPad 2 and a Motorola Xoom. I wanted to update one of them and I've opted for the new iPad. Why? well, the Xoom (as with many Android devices) doesnt seem to have the ability to keep charge in its battery even in stand by. The Android OS is in its infancy and is clunky compared to iOS (even when rooted). The SD slot, well, I've never had a need to use it. The front facing camera, again, little use and I've regularly used video conferencing and a VGA camera is good enough. The rear facing camera, well, who is daft enough to use a tablet as a camera in the first place...any one wanting proper pictures should use a dedicated device...it's just a nice bonus feature and 5MP is actually good enough for me and for most uses from what I can understand....so yes, feature wise most Android devices 'own' the iPad but the quality between the 2 is like comparing a mansion with a shack. And no, I'm no Apple fan boy, I just like things to work and be reliable....I'm forever having to recharge my Android devices or reset them as they've locked up......my 2p's worth anyway....but as with anything, its subjective and it's my opinion which I'm entitled too....happily share yours but don't slate mine....

Guest said:

I am more interested in the Asus Transformer 3rd gen (Infinity)

Guest said:

I don't have to buy a tablet yet. I will buy the first tablet with a OLED screen when that arrives to market.

Guest said:

The problem with asus transformer prime is that it does not cost the same throughout the world...It cost more than 500$ in europe and it cost close to 980$ in india where the ipad and samsung tab cost 600$....So i think i will stick with my samsung tab

VitalyT VitalyT said:

My choice for gadgets narrows down to devices with best screen quality and simplest UI. I use those devices, I do not program them at night under blanket. This is why 1.5 year ago I ended up with iPhone 4, and have been very happy with the devices since. I was interested in tablet PC-s for a while, but didn't want any of them with screen way below par with iPhone 4. And now that the new iPad is up to the task, I will buy one with my eyes closed. I don't care about the campers on either side.

marinkvasina marinkvasina said:

Guest said:

Proof that Apple's a joke. Asus is right there next to it, owning in everything but screen resolution. Factor in microSD expansion, and you're looking at paying $560 vs $800 for the ipad, including having more storage. I don't even get the debate here.

Get a life?

iPad has always been better.

Staff
Steve Steve said:

get a life?

Ipad has always been better.

I dare say its personal preference.

For example I do not understand the iPad hype or the iPhone hype for that matter. I have used both the iPhone 4S and the iPad 2 and I do not understand how anyone would purchase them or believe them to be better when compared to the competition, they just seem to be lacking far too many essential features for my liking.

Of course that is my opinion and I know quite a few people who swear by the iProducts, so I leave them be. I on the other hand am much happier with my Nexus and Galaxy Tab (whats the deal with the Galaxy Tab 11.6?). It's not just Samsung that make quality Android products either, there are at least half a dozen companies that make products I would be happy using on a daily basis.

Ranger12 Ranger12 said:

When you make your brand a status symbol you can pretty much sell anything whether it's good or bad and there will always be those who defend it no matter how large the mountain of evidence is for or against it.

garay said:

This article is missing Windows 8 tablets as upcoming alternatives. Last weekend, I played extensively with the Windows 8 Consumer Preview running on a Samsung Slate 7 tablet and I was most impressed. Like it or hate it, the Metro user interface offers a rather streamlined and efficient tablet-friendly experience.

Can't wait to see Windows 8 on ARM on lightweight and more affordable tablets. Windows 8 might have what it takes to give the awesome Apple iPad some serious competition, but it is imperative that Windows 8 ARM tablets are priced significantly below what Apple charges for the iPad. That is the only way to hit mainstream after years of catching-up to do.

Wagan8r Wagan8r said:

Um, the Transformer Prime has always started at $500, so I don't know what you mean by saying that it was a hundred bucks more a few weeks ago. Only the yet-to-be released Transformer Inifinity with a 1920x1200 screen starts at $600.

Staff
Jos Jos said:

@garay I look forward to Windows 8 tablets as well, but for the article we wanted to focus on tablets that are out or coming out in the first half of 2012. We'll update it with Windows 8 tablets when more concrete details are available.

PCTechie316 PCTechie316 said:

Wait it out.,

I was going to pickup the Asus Prime, but read on how many people are having terrible wifi issues and gps due to the design of the casing. Kinda like the iphone signal issues.

Asus is releasing a newer tablet in the next few months, (June) I am awaiting the newer prime. But I also wouldn't mind waiting out for the rumored $200.00 Asus tablet that Google and Asus are building with the quad core cpu to compete with the Kindle Fire.

PCTechie316 PCTechie316 said:

Also you can find some good deals for the Ipad 2 for $360.00 and even the 10 inch Galaxy tablet for $299.99

Guest said:

Right... So millions of people do not agree with you.

I find the iPad to be perfect for my use. Check email, surf the web, watch movies, play some casual games and edit and upload my photos to flickr.

All that on a simple and efficient OS and great battery life. I cant ask for more.

I tried Android and will not go back at least for another couple of years.... Android has ways to go before it can be considered "matured"

Staff
Jos Jos said:

Why was my comment deleted? Because I called the writer out for lying right through his teeth because of his apple bias?

Because personal attacks against readers or staff members are not tolerated in this site. You can make your point in a civil manner. The Transformer Prime pricing was an unintentional mistake on my part and has since been fixed. I have no interest in favoring one product over the other. The iPad IS by far the best 'selling' tablet on the market, whether you like it or not, but there are plenty of options to choose from.

We favor diversity and competition, hence the article covering various alternatives. Don't get so emotional over a company.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Jos said:

Don't get so emotional over a company.

True Dat

Guest said:

The Asus Transformer seems like the only true alternative and even then it doesn't quite match the new iPad's resolution though its other features are better. Haven't tried Android 4 yet so can't say how it compares to the latest iOS.

Guest said:

I am posting from my Transformer tf101 right now. Best $400 I have spent in a while. In comparison to my girlfriend's IPad 2 I know I made the better purchase.

Guest said:

I think the key here is that Apple have removed the need to shop around, which means that anyone can buy their products and know that they will do exactly what they want.

Here is an example, my friend bought a very low grade samsung phone, then branded all samsung phones as hopeless because it wasn't as fast or as good as an iphone. I pointed out that what he was doing here was comparing a Mondeo to a Ferrari.

What irritates me is when people who take advntage of this simplicity then tell me that I should have bought an i-Phone, where as I know that my smart phone is on a par, because I have done my research.

For me, if you are not tech-savvy, stick with Apple, if however, you are more capable of using a broad range of gadgets, then shop around and get something more practical.

Guest said:

As an avid PC user and developer, it'd be easy for me to be biased towards more the more customisable hardware/software that Android/Windows tablets offer, but I honestly prefer Apple devices for my mobile needs. I currently use an iPhone 4S. I bought my Dad an iPad 2 for GarageBand (and general ease of use since he hates his laptop lol.) I find Apple's devices are feature rich enough to be useful in day to day tasks but also simple and consistent.

As for tablets, why would I buy an ASUS Transformer or Samsung when I already have a light weight laptop with a 13" 1920x1080 screen/Windows 7/256GB RAID SSD (Sony VAIO Z)? Why would I want to step down to a dinky 1280x800 resolution screen? That's laughable. I don't need some backwards, virus-ridden, wannabe AppStore that is the Android market place. The new iPad appeals to me because of the screen resolution. I will say the new iPad is a little disappointing in other ways: should have been a quad-core all the way, slightly more RAM, and bigger storage options but it's still the better device.

For me at least, the new iPad wins this round. It offers what other tablet makers just can't beat yet: consistent and simple interfaces, unified hardware (much better for app developers), very strong application market place, incredible screen resolution, decent battery life, and pleasing aesthetics. The other tablets offer nothing that my VAIO doesn't already provide.

As a die-hard PC user, as much as I'd love to jump on the Apple bashing-bandwagon, I can't. Their mobile devices hit that fine balance of features, usability, and aesthetics that other vendors are still trying to achieve. I hate to like 'em as much as the next guy, but they make a good product.

Guest said:

For months, the tech media has been apple bias enough that the asus transformer has been largely ignored. Isn't it odd that every time a "journalist" makes a mistake, it's always in apple's favor?

Months ago, I would have accepted your explanation of an honest mistake. Not anymore. Either stop making these very convenient mistakes for apple or stop calling yourself journalists. You're here to inform people on tech gadgets, not tell people how great the ipad is with lies.

By the way, I recommend the ipad to everyone who asks me. I'm in IT. It irritates me to see so much bias in the tech review media. So, I'm going to keep calling out your lies until you guys stop making these very convenient "mistakes" in apple's favor.

Guest said:

I guess in way I'm glad most of those won't be outperforming my Acer Iconia W500 I just picked up for $400. Makes me feel up to date. Got a free clock-up to 1.6ghz@stock 1.1V with K-10-stat and I thought 2gb ram was bad.. 1gb(or less) just sucks...granted I'm sure it's less of an issue on non-windows tablets.

Just a couple tests against - http://www.anandtech.com/show/5163/asus-eee-pad-transformer-
rime-nvidia-tegra-3-review/2

Icer Iconia - Sunspider - 1131.3ms

- BrowserMark - 142748

Load all comments...

Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...
Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.