2011: The Best and Worst in Tablets


There is no doubt that tablets have played a dominant role in the market today and this is evident in the number of tablets released last 2011.

People who were ready to dismiss tablets as a passing "fad" find themselves reviewing the best tablet to buy for the year 2011. On the other hand, tablet manufacturers were also geared up to produce the best tablet that they could sell to the market. With the influx of numerous tablets in the market, what tablets could be considered as the "best" and which tablets could be considered as the "worst"?

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Here is a guide of the best and worst tablets in 2011 and the reasons why it is considered as one of the best/worst:

Best Tablets of 2011

Apple iPad 2

Apple iPad 2 is much thinner and lighter as compared to the first iPad released by Apple. Aside from the physical difference, iPad 2 is much faster as compared to the original model. This is due to the A5 dual-core processor and the increase in RAM (from 256MB to 512MB). It also has 2 cameras, one located at the front of the tablet while the other camera is located at the rear side. Users choose iPad 2 because of its excellent design and due to the fact that they could almost do anything ranging from e-mails, web browsing, downloading apps, playing games, etc. Despite being a recommended tablet for users, one should take note that this tablet does not offer flash support which could be a big disadvantage for other people.  Apple's iPad 2 is already available in Australia with a price range of AU$579 - AU$949 (depending on the model).

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

Samsung, a Korean-based company has experienced considerable success through its smartphones and this success has been passed on to its tablets. One of the most successful tablets is Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1. This tablet has received a lot of press even before it was even sold in the market due to cases filed by Apple. Apple accused Samsung of breaching some of the company's patents and Apple wanted to ban the selling of this tablet. Fortunately, this case has been resolved and this tablet is now available in Australia. It is lighter that Apple's iPad 2 and offers a WXGA (1280x800) display resolution, Android 3.0 Honeycomb as its OS, and dual-core 1GHz processor. There is still no official confirmation if this tablet would get an upgrade for Android 4.0 also known as Android ICS (Ice Cream Sandwich). Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is available through Australian retailers or through Vodafone ($579 for 16GB Wi-Fi or $729 for 16GB 3G) with 12-24 contract plans.

Sony Tablet S

Sony's Tablet S is an Android-based tablet which features a "curved design" that the company described as something similar to a folded magazine. Aside from this distinct physical feature, it also has Android 3.2 Honeycomb as its OS, 1GHz Nvidia Tegra 2 processor, and 1GB of RAM. Most users find the design as one of its selling features as well as its outstanding battery life. This tablet is also considered as "PlayStation Certified" which means that it has the ability to play first generation PlayStation games. Despite these selling points, users are quick to point out that this tablet does not offer 3G connectivity and less than stellar web browser performance. Sony Tablet S is already out in the Australian market with a retail price of AU$579 (16GB model) and AU$689 (32GB model).

Worst Tablets of 2011

Pandigital SuperNova

Many sites have ranked Pandigital SuperNova as one of the worst tablets to be launched for the year 2011. One of the reasons why it was considered as one of the worst tablet is because of its low-resolution and dim screen. It has a modified Android 2.3 Gingerbread as its OS but it does not contain the usual Google mobile services offered such as Google Maps, Gmail, and Market. Another reason would be the "plasticky and toy-like" feeling that it gives to the users considering that it is sold for US$200. Despite these disadvantages, Pandigital SuperNova still has some redeeming features such as a microSD card slot, 2 cameras (VGA camera in front and 3.2MP camera located at the back), and considerable battery life (estimated at 6 hours). No official announcement has been made regarding the availability of this tablet in the Australian market.

HP TouchPad

The HP (Hewlett Packard) TouchPad was HP's attempt to dominate the tablet market through utilizing WebOS. HP acquired WebOS as an investment from the struggling smartphone maker, Palm. The launch of HP TouchPad was a controversial one in Australia because the tablet was pulled out after 4 days its retail launch. People thought that this was the end of this tablet but it came back in the market with a lower selling price. Prices were lowered from AU$498 to AU$98 for the 16GB model while the 32GB version was sold for AU$148. Once the selling price was lowered, many people rushed to purchase the tablet. HP recently announced that they are not going to venture in manufacturing another tablet after the TouchPad. The TouchPad measures 9.45" wide by 7.48" high by 0.54" deep and it also utilizes 1.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon dual-cores APQ8060.

RIM Blackberry PlayBook

RIM (Research in Motion) was the leading mobile manufacturing company before Google's Android and Apple dominated the market. Through the release of the RIM Blackberry PlayBook, the company believed that they could once again reclaim the top spot in the tablet market. The launch of the Blackberry Playbook was not that positive as many people find it inconvenient to connect the tablet through a Blackberry smartphone in order to access e-mails or messaging applications. It gained momentum when a price reduction was introduced in the U.S. market wherein it was sold for only $US 199.99 (16GB) and $US 299.99 (32GB). It was immediately "sold-out" after this move but this price cut was not extended in Australian shores. The RIM Blackberry Playbook is a 7-inch tablet that has a dual-core, 1GHz TI OMAP processor, 1GB of RAM, and storage capacity of 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB.

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