But Android 3.2 is currently the main OS rival to the iPad, and the products are creeping onto the shelves one by one. We’ve gone from zero Android tablets to stacks of the things in a very short space of time, and inevitably some are better than others. Some have ten-inch screens, others seven, and there are big differences in battery life, processing power and on-board RAM. If you’re looking for a tablet and don’t fancy an iPad, then Android is currently the way to go. Check out: what is an Android tablet?
1. Asus Eee Pad Slider
Best Android tablet for: doing things a little differently
The Apple iPad 2 is the daddy. It doesn’t matter what the arguments for Android are, the fact is that the iPad is the best out-and-out tablet out there. And that’s why the Slider is such a compelling option – it’s not a straight iPad-competitor, it offers something different. The slide-out keyboard offers flexibility and functionality not on offer elsewhere.
It makes it easier to work on the train, type emails and documents with the convenience of not needing a dock or peripheral. What’s more, the screen is the best we’ve seen on a 10-inch Android tablet, and it’s also the most responsive. It’s not for everyone, but it’s currently the best device for showing off everything that Android can do.
2. Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9
Best Android tablet for: portability and power
In at number two is the Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 – and it’s a funny little thing. It’s essentially the same as its older brother, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, but with an 8.9-inch screen. It’s slightly thinner and lighter, and consequently more convenient for anyone wanting to stuff it in a bag.
Apart from these physical attributes, the internal components are basically the same. So you get the same slick performance and overall tablet experience. We’ve put this above the 10.1 because of the increased convenience owed to its slightly smaller size, but that shouldn’t put you off going for the 10.1 if you’re after a bigger screen.
3. Asus Eee Pad Transformer
Best Android tablet PC for: replacing your netbook
We love the Asus Eee Pad Transformer. It’s been around for a while now, and in our opinion, it’s still one of the most compelling Android tablets available. Not only is it powerful and well featured, it’s designed to work with a keyboard dock which turns it into a fully-fledged Android-powered netbook.
The fact is that Android as an OS is still lagging behind iOS in terms of tablet usability, so products need a USP. And on that score, this is the tablet that changed the game.
4. Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
Best Android tablet for: the out-and-out tablet experience
While the Transformer and Slider offer something a little different at an unbeatable price, our number 4 -the Galaxy Tab 10.1 – offers a direct alternative to Apple’s iPad 2. Sporting the Tegra 2 dual-core CPU, it’s both marginally thinner and lighter than the iPad 2. This is some achievement, especially when you consider the fuss Apple made about how thin and light the iPad 2 was on launch.
If you want an iPad-like tablet that’s not an iPad, this is the one. The prices are the same as the iPad 2, so it’s a straight shoot-out on features…
5. Sony Tablet S
Best Android tablet for: PlayStation gaming
As a veritable mega-giant in the consumer tech universe, Sony’s landing on Planet Tablet was always going to be interesting. Blasting off alongside the fold-in-half Tablet P, the Tablet S has a unique wedge-shaped design and top-end specs.
It’s a very decent and refined tablet, and has the unique feature of having access to original PlayStation games. The only issue is that it’s not as tidy as the Galaxy Tab 10.1 and not as versatile as the Transformer. Apart from that, it’s one of the best Android tablets out there.
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