Sony Tablet S
With it’s 9.4in, 1280 x 800 screen and door-wedge profile, the Sony S is optimised for media consumption. Lay it on your desk and the shape and widescreen-movie friendly screen instantly appeal. The truly excellent IPS panel and much better than average, and decent speakers further reinforce its media playback credentials.
But the rest of the S feels a bit cheap, thanks to it’s all-plastic construction. That does at least keep the weight down - at 598g it’s 3g lighter than the iPad 2. Lurking inside is a unique feature: a fully functioning IR remote control. Just fire up the bundled app, point it at your telly or home cinema system and bingo, total control from your fondleslab.
Anyone who already partakes of the Sony media or gaming ecosystem will find the Qirocity-based video and music download and on-demand streaming services handy. For gamers, there’s PlayStation certification. Being a Sony, this is not the value option and I bewail the lack HDMI and full-size USB ports - but it’s certainly a different take on the Android tablet idea.
More Info Sony
Toshiba was early out of the starting gate with its Android tablets, but the less said about the Froyo-running Folio 100, the better. I mean, just how bad does something have to be to get pulled from Dixon’s shelves? Whatever the truth behind the Folio’s woes, it has left Toshiba with a big hole to climb out off. Luckily, the AT100 has a ladder, grappling hook and pitons.
What separates the AT100 from the herd is the rubberised back to prevent slipping from a sweaty grasp. You also get full-sized HDMI, USB and SD card slots. The catch: it's a lot thicker than all the other tablets.
Another handy feature is the user-replaceable battery. Cough up the necessary £45 and the next time your fondleslab flickers and dies all you need to do is unclip the back, swap power packs and you can continue to do whatever it was you were doing.
Not the lightest or thinnest machine the AT100 is still good enough to banish the memory of the Folio 100. But the killer is that the much skinnier, sexier, more capable AT200 is imminent.
More Info Toshiba
Re: Written by an iPad owner I think..
The writer does not own an iPad, and as much as you might achingly hope that Android has a higher market share than it does, all market data - vendor shipments and sell-through - suggests it does not.
Sorry to puncture your wee bubble, 'Barry'
"An iPad is an iPad is an iPad"
And yet your poor friend's iPad 1 can still use all the same software as an iPad 2 (except FaceTime), is still getting all software updates on day of release (if you're happy to trust Apple's QA), and is still one of the best tablets around even at 18 months old.
How many Android tablets are going to get Android 4 - without having to hack them? Which, remember, is kit that's mostly less than 6 months old. HTC are still selling their Flyer with 2.3, which was out of date when they launched the product! They've not even upgraded it to Android 3 yet...
Equally we can contrast my HTC Wildfire with an iPhone 3GS. Both phones are about the same age (admittedly the Wildfire was never top of the range). The iPhone 3GS is still getting updates and still on sale. HTC were still selling the Wildfire up to a couple of months ago, so they've no excuse for saying it's 'out of support'. The Wildfire got an update from 2.1 to 2.2 (about 6 months late), and that's it. The 3GS has been updated from iOS3, to iOS4 and now iOS5.
And it's not as if I'm cherry picking. Android kit getting timely updates is very unusual. Even Google only seem to update their reference phones once, then dump them.
This is the reason my next tablet will probably be Apple - well that and the Android tablet makers' obsession with widescreen. It's also why I recommend iPhone/iPad to non-geeks.
It's a shame, I was looking forward to going Android. But my experience with the phone OS has been poor, and their first attempt at tablets has been a mess. My only hope to avoid the clutches of Apple seems to be Microsoft. Windows Phone is looking interesting, and Windows 8 on tablets could be quite nice too.
I bought a tablet for my wife for her birthday back in August. Toddled along to try them out, liked the iPad, also liked the Eee Pad Transformer - very little to separate them, a fractionally better touchscreen on the Apple, much better expansion options on the Asus. I decided that for me, I would buy the Asus, but would get the wife an iPad as it was a Cortina. HOWEVER, they were out of stock - so Asus won out. And she's been very happy with it; she likes a lot about it, including the keyboard if she wants to do anything serious. The quality of the whole package is great, and she also likes not having to fork out for apps that are chargeable on our son's iPod Touch, so I've got plenty of brownie points. Remember that however popular the Cortina was, it wasn't actually a very good car... ;)