Today’s Best Tablets (December 2011)

This article was just updated! You can view the new version here.

Tablets continue to be some of the best selling CE devices. With new tablets coming out every few weeks, it’s hard to pick the best one. To make this process easier, I made the following chart.

Top Performing Tablets

 

Apple     iPad 2

Trans-former   Prime

Droid   Xyboard 8.2

Droid   Xyboard 10.1

HTC Jetstream

Samsung   Galaxy Tab 10.1

Processor

1.0 GHz   dual-core

1.3 GHz quad-core

1.2 GHz dual-core

1.2 GHz dual-core

1.5 GHz dual-core

1.0 GHz dual-core

RAM

512MB

1GB

1GB

1GB

1GB

1GB

Internal   storage

16/32/64

16/32/64

16/32

16/32/64

32

16/32/64

Screen   size

9.7”

10.1”

8.2”

10.1”

10.1”

10.1”

Display

1024×768

1280×800

1280×800

1280×800

1280×800

1280×800

Pixel   density

132 ppi

145 ppi

~184 ppi

~149 ppi

150 ppi

149 ppi

Rear   cam

0.92

8MP

5MP

5MP

8MP

3MP

Front   cam

0.92

1.2MP

1.3MP

1.3MP

1.3MP

2MP

Video

720p

1080p

720p

720p

1080p

1080p

4G data

No LTE

No LTE

LTE

LTE

LTE

LTE

Dual-band   Wi-Fi

Yes

No

No

No

No

Yes

Bluetooth

2.1

2.1

2.1

2.1

3.0

3.0

Mic

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

NFC

No

No

No

No

No

No?

Thickness

8.8mm

8.3 mm

8.89 mm

8.80 mm

13 mm

8.6 mm

Weight

601g

586g

386g

603g

709g

565g

Battery

6930 mAh

6579 mAh

3960 mAh

7000 mAh

7300 mAh

7000 mAh

OS

iOS 5.0

Android   3.2

Android   3.2

Android   3.2

Android 3.1

Android   3.1

USB

Via adapter

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Via adapter

HDMI

Via adapter

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Via   adapter

SD Slot

No

Yes

No

No

Yes

Via   adapter

IR Emitter

No

No

Yes

Yes

No

No

Price

$499   (16GB)

$499 (16GB)

$429 (16GB)

$529 (16GB)

$699   (32GB)

$499   (16GB)

Most of the tablets in this chart are second generation devices which outperform their predecessors.

What About the Kindle Fire?

You probably noticed the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet were omitted from the chart above. This was done for two reasons: First, it’s not fair to compare a $200 tablet with a $500 tablet. Second, the Kindle Fire, along with the rest of the tablets here, are not the highest performing tablets available today. Still, the Kindle is an exceptional value and I would recommend it to many people.
Here are its specs, along with some others, in case want to compare them:

 

Amazon Kindle Fire

B&N Nook Tablet

Samsung Galaxy Tab Plus 7

Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9

Processor

1.0 GHz dual-core

1.0 GHz dual-core

1.2 GHz dual-core

1.0 GHz dual-core

RAM

512MB

1GB

1GB

1GB

Internal storage

8

16

16/32

16/32

Screen size

7.0”

7.0”

7.0”

8.9”

Display res.

1024×600

1024×600

1024×600

1280×800

Pixel density

169 ppi

169 ppi

169 ppi

170 ppi

Rear cam

None

None

3MP

3MP

Front cam

None

None

2MP

2MP

Video

N/A

N/A

1080p

1080p

4G data

No LTE

No LTE

No LTE

LTE avail

Dual-band Wi-Fi

No

No

No

No

Bluetooth

None

None

3.0

3.0

Mic

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

NFC

No

No

No?

No?

Thickness

12.4mm

13.2mm

9.9 mm

8.6 mm

Weight

414g

400g

345g

470g

Battery

4400 mAh

4000 mAh

4000 mAh

6100 mAh

OS

Android 2.3

Android 2.3 Custom

Android 3.2

Android 3.1

USB

Yes

Yes – Micro

No

Yes – Micro

HDMI

No

No

No

No

SD Slot

No

Yes

Yes – Micro

Yes

IR Emitter

No

No

Yes

No

Price

$199

$249

$399

$469 (16GB)

I should also mention I stuck two of the Galaxy Tabs in this chart because there wasn’t enough room in the first chart. Both are top performers.

So, What is the Best Tablet?

When it comes to specs alone, the quad-core Asus Transformer Prime is hard to beat. It’s faster, thinner and lighter than the iPad 2. It also has a higher resolution display and much better cameras than the iPad 2. Furthermore, it has a slot for an SD card and a really nice keyboard dock that transforms it into an ultrabook.

The Transformer Prime beats the iPad 2 in web browsing tests. Chart courtesy of SlashGear

Processor Speed Isn’t Everything

However, there’s more to the iPad than just specs. The iPad 2 beats the Transformer Prime in some graphic-related benchmarks as you can see in the chart below.

Battery Life Matters Too

The Motorola Xyboard 8.2 is a strong performer (as you can see in the chart above), but has issues with battery life as you can see below. The iPad 2 currently leads in battery life, with the Transformer Prime a close second.

Chart courtesy of Engadget

How to Decide Which Tablet to Get

In the end, the only person who can answer this question is you. I suggest you first decide what you are buying the tablet for.

  • Do you spend hours playing games?
  • Will you use your tablet mostly for web browsing?
  • Do you need blazing-fast data speeds? Are you willing to pay a monthly fee for this privilege?
  • How important is battery life to you?
  • Are you an Apple fan who wants to sync your tablet with iCloud?

Once you answer these questions, you’ll find it easier to narrow down your list. Before making a final decision, I suggest you visit a few of the top tech blogs like Engadget or Gizmodo, and read their tablet reviews. I find them to be very helpful.

Since great new tablets are coming out every month, I’ll be updating this chart on a regular basis. Expect to see the first update after I return from CES in January.

Happy tablet shopping!

- Rick

Copyright 2011 Rick Schwartz. All rights reserved. Linking to this article is encouraged.

About these ads

About Rick E. Schwartz
Rick Schwartz is successful mobile blogger from San Diego. He is currently working on next-generation mobile hardware and software. You can learn more about Rick by clicking on the "About" tab at the top of this page.

2 Responses to Today’s Best Tablets (December 2011)

  1. Francis K. says:

    Nice charts. One rather important error though is that the Galaxy Tab Plus 7 does have an IR emitter and the Peel remote control app. One of the features that makes it stand out from all the other tablets in its size range. Uncommon in all size ranges actually.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 895 other followers

%d bloggers like this: