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AS IT ONCE AGAIN steals all the bestselling-tablet glory, the new iPad can lay claim to the highest pixel density per inch of any tablet display. But it can’t—nor can any Android tablet—identify as a full-fledged PC. Anyone hankering for a handheld touchscreen device with no compromises in computing capability should seek out something like the Samsung Series 7 11.6-inch Slate PC.
With an Intel Core i5-2467M, 11.6-inch LED‑backlit display, and 64-bit Windows 7 Home Premium, the Series 7 Slate PC fully serves as a home or mobile machine in the guise of a 10-finger-sensitive touchscreen tablet. The 128GB SSD model we tested costs a pretty penny compared to lesser tablets, but includes a helpful dock/cradle and Bluetooth keyboard. A 64GB model shaves the price down to $1,099.
APPLE DIDN'T CALL the newest iPad the iPad 3 or the iPad HD—just the iPad. And that’s fitting, because while it’s a handsome upgrade to the best tablet on the market, it’s not a huge leap forward. If you’ve used any iPad for more than 10 minutes, this won’t blow you away—the revolution was two years ago. Now it’s time to iterate.
Yes, it’s a little bit thicker: 9.4mm, compared to the 8.8mm iPad 2. And it’s a skootch heavier: 1.44 pounds, or 1.46 pounds if you get Wi-Fi + 4G; the iPad 2 ranged from 1.33 pounds for Wi-Fi to 1.35 pounds for the AT&T version of the Wi-Fi + 3G. We bet you won’t notice. What you will notice is the 4G/LTE speed and the Retina display.
The bright 9.7-inch display’s dizzying resolution is now 2048x1536, or 264ppi. That’s four times the pixels on the 1024x768 iPads of yore, and the best screen we’ve ever seen on a hunk of electronics. It’s got a million more pixels than a 1920x1080 HDTV, plus better color saturation than the iPad 2.
Full-featured Honeycomb tablet tries to steal discount slates' thunder
TIMES ARE, LET'S SAY, challenging for anyone who makes a 7-inch tablet but doesn't also own some type of bookstore. The Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet could look the Thrive 7" square in the eye and say, "You're good, kid, but as long as we're around, you'll always be second best, see?" It hardly matters that the Thrive 7" has the full Honeycomb 3.2 OS, more storage, and superior screen resolution, because it also carries a price that's almost twice that of the Fire and without all the Amazon ecosystem advantages, to boot.
With that said, for those discriminating individuals who do appreciate the finer things in life, the Thrive 7" furnishes the highest resolution of a 7-inch tablet and costs a bit less than the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7 Plus. Graphics in games and videos on the Thrive 7" look crisp and finely detailed, with excellent black levels. It's a great tablet display for reading ebooks or websites.
On the downside to browsing the web, the Thrive 7" performs pretty poorly with web browser screen redraws and scrolling and exhibits demonstrable touch‑response lag. Several other Honeycomb tablets we've tested also suffered from such problems to a degree belying their hardware specs, but the Thrive 7" felt particularly laggy, if only intermittently. Similar problems occurred with certain other apps, on the home screens and menu screens, and when waking up the tablet. These behaviors were only occasional, but still common. Benchmark tests also showed results inexplicably lower than other Tegra 2 devices with similar specs.
THE FIRST AND SECOND Transformers movies were abominations, and Hasbro has sued Asus for violating its Transformers trademark, but there’s no denying that Asus’s Eee Pad Transformer Prime improves on the original Transformer tablet in nearly every conceivable fashion.
Asus’s latest tablet—we’ll just call it the Prime—loses the awkward build of its predecessor in favor of a smaller, lighter, and more stylish aluminum-backed chassis. It’s actually thinner than the iPad 2—probably as thin as it could be considering it’s outfitted with a combo headphone/mic-in jack, a Micro HDMI port, a MicroSD card slot, and a USB/charge/dock port. A matching keyboard dock (a $150 option) adds full-size USB and SD card interfaces and up to 10 hours of additional battery life. The dock provides many helpful keyboard shortcuts, and its keyboard action and trackpad mouse response improve over the original.
A funny thing happened in the fourt quarter of 2011. Analyst firm Canalys announced that Apple shipped more PCs than Hewlett-Packard (HP), but that was only true if you were willing to count iPad devices as PCs. And if you were willing do that, the question, then, is where do you draw the line? Are smartphones and superphones PCs as well? What about hybrid eReaders? Judging by the reader comments, the consensus among Maximum PC readers is that tablets are not PCs and shouldn't be counted as such, but regardless of whether or not you agree with that statement, HP is once again the world's leading client PC vendor.
When is an iPad not exactly an iPad? Answer: When it's running Windows software. Turns out that if you want want to run Windows 8 with native Metro UI touch gestures on a tablet, you don't have to wait until later this year to do it, there's already an app for that. Splashtop, makers of a remote desktop application for iPad devices, released a new version that plays nice with Windows 8 Consumer Preview testbeds.
Tablet sales are expected to reach 118.9 million units by the end of the year, a nearly two-fold increase (98 percent) from 60 million units in 2011, market research firm Gartner predicts. It's no surprise that Apple's iPad leads the way and, if Gartner's crystal ball is in proper alignment, the iOS platform will account for more than 61 percent of worldwide tablet sales by the end of 2012. That too isn't shocking. But would you have guessed that Android will still be chasing iOS through 2016, and perhaps longer?
For as popular as Apple products are, the Cupertino outfit can't seem to launch a product without some sort of scandal attached. With the iPhone 4, it was antennagate and the notion that poor signals were the result of owners holding their devices wrong, and with the new iPad (iPad 3, if you will), critics have been hot under the collar over the bigger battery's heat output.
Apple’s legal team has been waging a war for years now against Android OEMs, and if Reuters sources are to be believed, they probably should have spent a bit more time reviewing e-book negotiations instead. Word on the street is that the Justice Department is close to reaching a settlement agreement with Apple, and several of the major book publishers will probably be on the hook as well. The allegations began several years ago when Apple launched iBooks, and Steve Jobs boldly declared to the world how he planned to take on Amazon.
One of the biggest improvements Apple made to the new iPad -- aside from the awe-inspiring display -- was the inclusion of a LTE radio. But while those blistering fast 4G have been a boon to Stateside tablet users, overseas iPad buyers are distinctly less excited -- prompting several foreign governments to consider false advertising investigations against Apple.