Today I’m going to write about three new Android Tablets, the Toshiba Thrive, the Asus Transformer and the Acer Iconia. These tablets are recently released and are being carried at your local stores, so they are here and ready to be bought. The question is, which is the best? I’m going to compare and contrast the tablets and pick my favorite of the three. I’ll try to mention the feel of the tablet, the software version of Android it runs, the memory, and the price.
This is Toshiba’s tablet offering, complete with Android 3.1. It has a couple of things the others don’t have, including removable colored back panels that are swappable. The back panels are also grooved to give your hand something to hold onto when you use the tablet. It also has an SD card slot for the SD cards you already own, as opposed to the micro-SD cards the other tablets offer. The toshiba has a customizability option that the other tablets don’t have, but it is a little more expensive as well, with the 16GB model coming in at $479 and the 32GB at $579.
I have known and used Asus components in computers I have built, so I know that they provide a quality product. Some of the features of the Asus tablet that make it unique are the Asus cloud applications that offer free storage on Asus cloud servers. I’ve never heard of these cloud servers until this tablet, so I don’t know how stable or fast they are, but it is a nice feature to be included with the tablet. This tablet has the latest Honeycomb build, Android 3.1, which offers many improvements over the initial release 3.0. This tablet has a mini-HDMI port for video out to your TV. It has a micro-SD card slot that allows you to expand your memory up to 32 GB, and it comes in two models (a 16GB and 32GB model). The 16GB model would be the way to go, since you can go buy another 16GB card for much less than the $100 difference between the two. The Asus tablet has a keyboard add-on that brings another battery to the tablet, which makes it almost a laptop. The tablet is $399 for the 16GB model and $499 for the 32GB, which is reasonably priced among the tablets mentioned.
Acer to me will always be a budget brand. Their components are for the budget-minded consumer, looking to save money on new technology. However the Acer Iconia tablet is $450, which is about the middle of the road for Android tablets. It also has HDMI out and a micro-SD card slot to expand its storage. The Acer Iconia comes with Android 3.1, also, and has a brushed metal back, which gives it a similar feel to the iPad and makes it feel valuable, as opposed to the cheaper plastic backs for the Toshiba and Asus tablets. The Battery is a downside with a shorter life than the other Tablets mentioned here at roughly 7 hours, which is still a good amount of time to use the device. Engadget says it has pretty bad cameras too, but most of the tablets do from what I’ve seen.
These Android tablets all have the nVidia Tegra 2 duel core 1Ghz processor and 1GB of onboard memory. They come in 16GB and 32GB models, but most are able to be upgraded by the user with micro-SD cards. The have pretty crappy cameras and Android 3.1. They’re between $400 and $580 depending on the models and the storage. After this analysis, I’m pretty much at the same place I was with the iPad regarding these Android tablets. They are really nice, but almost useless. They aren’t a computer, but they aren’t a phone. They’re portable, but not pocketable. They’re kind of the awkward in-between stage between phone and computer, but really cool to use. Its hard to justify the purchase, since you can duplicate most of its functionality with your phone or your computer you already own. If you have to pick one, the Asus will give you what you want for the least amount of money and still offer a pretty good tablet. I own the Asus, but I think I’m going to return it, since I can’t figure out what to do with it. Let me know what I should do with this thing in the comments.
Daniel Buchanan is a local IT Consultant and runs GetMorePC. He writes blog posts and articles that he hopes are helpful to his present and potential customers, as well as anyone affected by computer technology. Daniel Buchanan has 16 years experiencing fixing computers and networking. GetMorePC was started in 2004 in Knoxville, TN and now has two offices, one in Fountain City and one in downtown Knoxville.