What are the alternatives to the iPad?
Today we’re going to have a look at other tablet PCs coming to a shop near you. We’ll carry on delving into this evolving niche as the months go on but for the time being let’s look at 4 devices.
The Lenovo IdeaPad S10-3t is similar to a netbook mini laptop than the iPad. It has a separate screen and keyboard as you would expect from a netbook but its swivel screen allows you to convert it to a tablet. Prices start around $500 in the or £400 in the UK for a decent netbook comparable processor (Intel ATOM 1.66 GHz 667MHz 512KB) with 1GB of memory, 10 inch multi-touch screen, 160GB hard drive and running Windows 7.
The HP TouchSmart Tm2t is another similar device to the IdeaPad just more powerful. This time you’re up to 12 inches of screen, an even more powerful processor offering up to 8GB for top performance, multi-touch screen with integrated pen you can use for drawing directly on to it, high performance graphics card, 500GB hard drive and other goodies such as a HDMI port allowing you to connect it directly to your HD TV. It weighs 4.72lbs and gives you up to just under 10 hours of battery life on a single charge. All this comes at a price though so these start at $900 in the US or approximately £600-£700 in the UK.
HP Slate – coming soon
The HP Slate tablet pc now famous for Microsoft chief Steve Bulmer’s demonstration at this years Consumer Electronics Show. He was quoted as saying, “It’s a beautiful little product… as portable as a phone and as powerful as a PC running Windows 7.” The HP Slate is expected to be out later this year and be under $500 in the US or £350-£400 in the UK. Not much known yet just that it’s a multi-touch screen and capable of gaming, listen to music, read books, watch movies etc.
The Archos 9 PC Tablet has a 9 inch screen and runs Windows 7. The 1.1GHz Intel Atom Z510 is apparently a little sluggish and being a “real” tablet the virtual keyboard is used on screen – although it hasn’t tested well. It weighs about 1.4lbs and has the usual Wi-Fi & Bluetooth built in. The DVB-T antennas built in is interesting as it will allow you to receive and store Freeview TV in the UK. Prices start at $549 in the US and apparently around £450 in the UK for the 80GB hard drive model.
The other Tablet PC players to come…
This article in Mashable recently highlighted other tablet PCs that are coming soon such as the Asus Eee Tablet, Compal Tablet, MSI, Quanta, ICD Vega and a rumoured Google/HTC Tablet partnership.
T3 magazine also throws other tablet pc’s in to the ring such as the Sony Dash Viewer, another option from Lenovo and Dell’s Slate offering.
Finally this cnet article gives us some information, more options and a few more pretty pictures.
What other options are there to consider if you want something more specific?
There are other devices that we can see as competitors to the iPad depending on what you’re looking for:
E-readers such as the Amazon Kindle. We’ll look at those also in the near future.
Smartphone tablets such as the Dell Mini 5 – a five-inch screen smartphone that’s unlikely to replace your laptop or netbook but can play films, games and music and is more portable that a tablet PC due to it’s size. Personally it feels to me like this is too small to browse as comfortably on as a tablet or netbook and too cumbersome to replace the iPhone or smartphone. Some people must like them though?
SO… what is the best – Apple iPad or the Windows 7 options?
The year of the tablet pc will be 2010, there are many players attacking this market and no doubt there will be winners and losers.
The iPad is about coolness, sleek design, minimum hassle, user friendly applications and just doing the fundamentals really, really well.
Other tablet options have far superior specs so if you’re comfortable to wrestle with a tablet based around windows 7 you may well get more bang for your buck.
The Windows 7 operating system lets you download all kinds of software and gives you the full functionality of a laptop/notebook style experience. But equally that then leaves the associated error handling and virus problems in the hands of the user.
Apple’s closed iPhone operating system on the iPad basically makes it near impossible to have problems running apps so we’ve never encountered a problem where it doesn’t operate a smooth experience. It does what it says it will and it does it well.
More pictures and news on all these tablet pc’s coming soon…