Top Tablets of 2011

by Corinne Webb | May 23, 2011

In the twelve months since the launch of the iPad, the Tablet PC has established itself as a major new sector in home technology. The idea is beautifully simple – a mobile computer operated by a large touchscreen – and the intuitive controls make using a tablet a fun and satisfying experience. Swiping and tapping the screen with one or more fingers allows you to write emails and notes, browse the internet, view and take photos, watch films, record HD video, read books, play games – the list goes on and on and new applications are being released on a daily basis. You can even use your tablet as a coaster or door-stop, but you’d better take out some tablet insurance first!

If you’re thinking about buying a tablet, you’ll want to check out this comparison to see which one suits you best:

iPad 2

With more than 19 million units sold in just over twelve months, the iPads currently boast nearly 80% market share. If you’ve ever seen or held one, it’s probably obvious why. Beautifully designed and technologically superior in almost every way, the iPad 2 now comes with front and rear cameras, HD video and a processor that’s twice as fast as the original. Wi-Fi comes as standard, 3G an optional extra, satisfaction guaranteed. Price: from £400.

Samsung Galaxy Tab

The first real competitor to the iPad, the Galaxy Tab is an uncompromising product with impressive features. Its glossy 7” screen makes it smaller, lighter and easier to handle than the iPad, and it uses the Android 2.2 operating system, which means a vast array of apps are available for users. It matches the iPad’s front and rear cameras and raises the bar with an integrated flash. And speaking of Flash, the Galaxy Tab comes with Adobe 10 built-in, so Flash web content is visible in glorious technicolour – a major weakness that still has iPad fanboys stamping their feet. Price: from £300

Motorola Xoom

The Xoom has entered the market with the obvious intention of stealing potential customers away from Apple. It comes with extremely impressive hardware and a totally redesigned user interface, together with a 10.1” screen, front and rear cameras, HD video, and various connectivity options. The Xoom is like the big boy on the playground, and comes with the bonus of a free hardware upgrade when a better system is eventually designed, which means you’re effectively buying two tablets in one. Thanks to the Xoom’s Google connection, three of its best applications are Gmail, Chrome and YouTube. However, although the Xoom eclipses the iPad in some ways, the user experience is still not as slick as with the iPad or the Galaxy. Price: from £450

Upcoming devices include the HTC Flyer. The Flyer will come with an optional digital pen, enabling users to capture writing and doodles on-screen and save them as text or images. It will also have front and rear cameras and the Android OS. The PlayBook will showcase RIM’s new Blackberry Tablet OS, boasts impressive video capabilities and weighs in at under a pound.

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