In the first part of this post, i started the chronicling of my activities in the search of a replacement for my iPad tablet. The iPad still remains the most widely accepted tablet because of its popularity, perceived status symbol and, well, fashion accessory. For the serious minded geeks out there, it is becoming increasingly obvious that the iPad is not in the least functional. From simple tasks like attaching files to emails or viewing flash enabled sites to more serious tasks like backing up your files, nothing comes easy or straightforward.
It really has been a very long search, no thanks to the endless streams of tablets coming into the market. However, my search is being guided by 6 key considerations, based on my present circumstances and needs;
1. COST : A budget of $400
2. ACCEPTABLE BATTERY LIFE
3. SCREEN SIZE : Preference for 10.1 inch tablets. I read a lot of A4 formatted PDF files.
4. 3G CAPABILITIES
5. APPS : Acceptable availability of apps for the OS platform of choice
6. EXPANSION PORTS : Presence of any or all of the following ports; MicroSD, SD, mini or full HDMI and mini or full USB.
At the end of the day,the following tablets made the first cut based on, at least, 4 of the criteria listed above;
– Samsung Galaxy 10.1
– Archos 101 G9
– Lenovo Ideapad K1
– Acer Aconia A500
– Toshiba Thrive
It is very common place to find a lot of these tablets having very similar features (1Ghz NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor; 2MP and 5MP front and rear facing cameras; 1GB RAM, etc) and only differentiated by brand names and inconsequential features. However, two of these tablets were able to seperate themselves from the pack, thereby making my second cut;
1. Samsung Galaxy 10.1 (a.k.a Beauty)
Regarded as the iPad of the Android world, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is indeed a fantastic device and undoubtedly, the Android tablet with the best user experience.
Slim, light and quite pretty, the device compares very favourably with the iPad 2 and possess very similar design and features. And with 10 hour battery life, it tips the scale in probably being one of the best Android device around.
Unfortunately, just like the iPad, it lacks expansion ports. None at all!
2. Toshiba Thrive (a.k.a. The Beast)
Weighing in at 1.66lbs and with 0.62 inches thickness (almost twice the thickness of iPad 2), the Toshiba Thrive makes no pretence at being slim or pretty. It was intended as a near laptop replacement, thanks to its array of expansion ports; Full HDMI out, Full and mini USB, Full and mini SD (max 32GB), SDHC and SDXC (max 2TB). With The Thrive, the possiblities and expandability of the full USB port are almost endless. It accepts your regular keyboard and mouse (wired or wireless), flash drives, portable drives,etc. And to top it all, the tablet is about the only one that has a user replaceable battery!
Simply put, The Thrive is for those that expect a lot more than an ipad.
Probably the only snag with this tablet is the relative limited battery life. The max you can probably squeeze out of it is about 8 hours.
At about $450 for the minimum Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 specs, the tablet has exceeded my budget by about $50. In Nigeria where the minimum wage is just a little over $100 per month, this sure counts for a lot. However, what eventually informed my choice of the Toshiba Thrive ($360) over the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is the lack of expansion ports on the former.
Personally, I believe those with limited demands on their tablets or those more concerned about the status symbol their tablet would confer on them, may consider the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. But for the Geeks, chances are that The Thrive would suit your needs just fine.
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