We’ve seen some pretty amazing tablets surface over the last 12 months, and likewise, we’ve watched some turn belly up just weeks after launch.
1. ASUS Transformer Prime:
I always enjoy making these lists. It’s never easy putting an order to all the difference pieces of hardware out there, especially when you love them all. But when it comes to lists, that’s what it’s all about. Something I never like doing, though, is placing a device that I’ve never personally had some hands-on time with.
I’m take a pretty big leap here by putting the Transformer Prime at the top of my list. But I felt it was necessary. It’s a successor to one of the most successful Android tablets to date and this particular tablet ups the ante by throwing a Tegra 3 quad-core processor into the mix. Much like its predecessor, a keyboard dock can be purchased separately, essentially turning what would be just another ol’ tablet into a netbook of sorts.
This tablet is thin, sexy and powerful – a deadly combination. It’s mustered some pretty positive reviews across the board and demand has been unsurprisingly high since the device first went up for pre-order on Amazon.com. The only negative side to the Transformer Prime is the price tag. Starting at $499, it certainly isn’t the cheapest option out there. But you get your money’s worth if you’re in need of a high powered tablet.
2. Samsung Galaxy Tab
The Galaxy Tab 10.1 isn’t perfect, but it’s a great little tablet. It’s thin, lightweight, and sleek. With a 1GHz dual-core Tegra 2 processor, 1GB RAM, either 16, 32 or 64GB built-in storage, and a pair of image sensors (5-megapixel around back, 2-megapixel front-facing camera), the Tab 10.1 is on par with most other Android tablets out there. The 7,000 mAh battery, however, gives it a little extra oomph in terms of battery life.
Take notice that I did not limit the number two spot to just the Tab 10.1. That’s because it’s part of a family of tablets, Galaxy Tabs, consisting of 7-inch, 7.7-inch, 8.9-inch and 10.1-inch models. And their specs are all naturally very similar.
The only negative that comes to mind when dealing with a Galaxy Tab is how Samsung skimped on ports, only on some of the models. There are no expandable memory slots, HDMI-out or microUSB ports on the 10.1 and 8.9. This line of tablets aren’t the cheapest either, considering the 7-inch Plus starts at $399.99 and the largest, most expensive model sells for $549. Still, the Galaxy Tabs easily secured second place in my top five tablets of 2011.
3. ASUS Eee Pad Transformer:
When the Eee Pad Transformer first went up for pre-orders on Amazon.com, they sold out almost immediately. And online stock continued to sell out almost instantaneously for weeks and months following the release of the tablet. There’s no denying that it has been one of the most iconic tablets to date.
But popularity alone isn’t enough to land a tablet on my list. This thing, just as its successor in the number one spot, is a productivity power horse. It won’t offer quite the same functionality that a laptop can offer, but it is more flexible than your average tablet, especially when paired with the keyboard dock. For my First Impressions, just to play around and see what I could manage to do with the dock, I expanded my memory on the Transformer to 588GB (32GB microSD, 16GB USB flash drive, 500GB external HDD, 8GB SD card, 32GB built-in). Aside from that, performance was always great on the Transformer, and battery life was wonderful, particularly when docked in the keyboard. This was – and still is, in my opinion – the best bang for your buck in terms of Android tablets.
4. Apple iPad 2:
iPad 2 is a nice little tablet that gets the job done – and it’s one of the most sold tablets to date, so Apple must have done something right. I think most of my beef was that I don’t particularly like iOS in tablet form, and for what you get, the price tag is a little steep.