Tackling the Tablet Conundrum: Which One is Right For You?



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I bought a lenovo K1 on the black friday sale. I think I got a defective unit, but when I go to exchange it, they tell me the K1 has been discontinued. Now I am just going to return the tablet and wait for quad core to come.



Nice article.

As enticing as the reviewed options are, IMHO, they all lack a true grab-n-go portability.  Yeah, you can throw it in a bag or stuff it under your arm, what I am referring to is something you can stuff in your pocket.That issue alone steered me away from tablets; I'd just as well stick with my laptop.

It probrobly was not an option at the time this was penned but, despite it's shortcomings, Samsungs 5 inch Galaxy Player, which is not even marketed as a tablet, really fits the bill. It is a really good, not great, combination of size and functionality. It runs most of the apps I have looked at on the Market & drops in my pocket at a moments notice; I can have it with me any where & any time without having to occupy one hand, shoulder or armpit, and the screen size is still very useable for web sites, e-books, etc. The included GPS feature is a real bonus; I use it all the time with Sygic's mapset.

I dearly hope that Samsung, or some other manufacturer, expands and beefs up the 5" market; available RAM is one shortcoming of the SGP. Also, and I am not a die-hard gamer by any stretch of the imagination (I need god mode just to play freecell), but yeah, a better cpu/gpu would be nice as well. The screen wont win any eye candy awards but it is not as bad as some snot-nosed elitests would have you believe. Depending on what your expectaions are, if you can get hold of one to use for a weekend, I think you would come away impressed with just how nice it is.

In regards to what I would look for in a tablet, being wifi only is perfectly fine with me; my tracfone will get me on the net in a pinch if I need to find something so I dont have to pay an outlandish sum just for that occassional convience.

A SD card option, full size or mini, is an absolute must as is a non-propriety USB port. And if they give us an option to use a stylist could they at least make a place to store it??  Video out is a nice feature, but in the 6 years I have used my Cowon A2 I think I used that once. Audio/Video in with the abilty to record it, ala the A2, would be ideal; but I'm sure that aint gonna happen.

Although I prefer the Android OS, I have had a few excellent experiences dealing with the folks at the local Apple store when one of our iPods misbehaved; if Apple had had a 5" taplet I would have given it serious thought. The iPod Touch is way too small though; that is really just a PMP. It is also way too fragile.





I've been fairly content with the Toshiba Thrive. With the option to flash custom ROMs, makes this one a good choice.



The only thing that I need in a tablet would be stylis support so I can take notes on my tablet during class.  And obviously a good note taking app to go along with it.  A laptop just doesn't do it for notes as its impossible to draw diagrams with a keyboard because I'm an engineering major.  So far, I haven't seen anything like this available, so until then I won't buy.



My two cents?...  As a Manhattan based photographer, I find most of the available tablets not utilitarian at all.  I'm looking for a tool not a toy.  Think more of a compact pickup truck, not a Range Rover or Ferrari.   Having lived a year and a half with a custom rom on a $140 Pandigital Novel, I think I know what I need in a tablet:  Honeycomb, Windows 8 or iOS; 8-9" IPS (or decent TN), capacitive 4:3 display (much more conducive and efficient at displaying photos in the traditional 8x10 & square formats and consuming "e-print" material) with some kind of "gorilla glass"; 1GB of RAM; full-sized SD and/or USB port (mass storage class); ANY HDMI out; solid WiFi; no proprietary software for file exchange and >6 hrs of battery life.  This tablet (which will have to be replaced yearly or so, as it sees hard use) should retail at $200-300 for reasonable ROI.  I also prioritize function, durability and battery life over industrial design (within reason)...  I have yet to see a tablet with these specs.  The display is a major thing for me.  And it certainly doesn't help that Google specifies wide-screen displays for its "certification"...  I guess I'm unusual for someone interested in a tablet.  I couldn't care less about watching videos (streamed or otherwise), audio playback, social networking, cameras, games or creating/editing content.  I have a desktop, laptop, smart phone and Mp3 player for those things.  I just want to view and respond to the occasional email, display images while shooting on location or meeting a prospective client and reading a newspaper/magazine/book while waiting interminably for the MTA to reach some kind of efficiency...  What I’m looking for doesn’t require a lot of horsepower, just some understanding of your potential customer.  Hopefully, the tablet manufacturers will learn to diversify their products for the differing needs of their customers as the automobile and desktop manufacturers have…  The Archos 80 G9 may be the answer with some compromises.  I have yet to hold one in my hands.



I was on the fence about tablets for a long time. I seen too many short comings in the iPad..no Flash...no USB...the whole "walled garden" approach of the app store, and most all it ran on the phone OS. But I wanted a tablet. So I picked up an Acer Iconia, and really I have nothing bad to say about it, other than for my purposes I seemed to run into too many walls. So I returned it and picked up the iPad, and for me it was the better choice. What's even more amazing I those concerns turned out to be baseless.



It's vexing vexing vexing vexing vexing vexing vexing how many times you use the word vexing.


h e x e n

If you're wanting to buy a tablet, get a laptop or ultra book.



If you buy a laptop...its not a tablet is it?



I didn't understand the comment about Netflix.  I installed the CM7 Alpha on my HP touchpad so I could use the Android Netflix application.  Unfortunately none exists for WebOS




Thanks for the article. Just in time for christmas. 

Anyone got more opinion on the Transformer?



Enigmatic Magus

I'm actually surprised you didn't include the HP Touchpad. For the thousands of people who got them at firesale prices, I don't doubt many of them would like to see where their impulse buy stands compared to the (still-available) competition.



Given the uncertain future of HP and the extremely limited availability of the Touchpad, we decided to leave it out in order to dedicate the space to tablets that were more available.



Nice tablets if you have  a lot of $$ to spend, I found a 7" which will do all I want it for that cost 300 - has 3g/4g supprot and Wi-Fi (N) - and AT&T offer data plans as low as 20.00 a month if you don't need a lot of d/l's or streaming, etc.. and it's android 3.x while not as robust as the one you have listed the one I'm getting is fine for my use.



I've done research, and here is a windows-7 based tablet:  http://www.microsoft.com/windows/buy/asus-eee-slate-121.aspx



At the time this story was written, we were unable to obtain an Asus 121.



Very comprehensive. I have an Asus Transformer and I just cant live without it. I have a decent home built desktop computer but unless I am using photoshop or converting videos, I rarely use it. And even then I can use splashtop and do it all on the TF. 

The new Transformer Prime should be very interesting when it comes out but until apps are made to benefit from all the extra power .....

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