With so many different Honeycomb (Android 3.X) tablets to choose from, which one is right for you? We tested five from Toshiba, Acer, Asus, Lenovo and Samsung.
If you’re interested in buying a tablet, there are four different paths to take. You can buy an iPad from Apple, a PlayBook from RIM, a TouchPad from HP (assuming you can find one), or an Android tablet. The first three choices are relatively straightforward, as each OS (iOS, QNX, and webOS) is represented by one hardware choice. As for Android, well, saying you have a choice in hardware is an understatement. If I had a nickel for every Android tablet currently on the market…I’d probably have enough money to buy a game or two from the Android Market.
The Android tablet manufacturing space can be split in two categories. First, you have vendors who make Android-based smartphones (Samsung, LG, HTC), so making the jump to Android tablets is a logical next step. Next, you have PC makers (Lenovo, Asus, Acer, Toshiba), who have little to no presence in the North American smartphone marketplace, but you probably own/have owned one of their desktops or laptops. Both types of companies know you want a “secondary” computer, and they want you to drop $400 or more on their Honeycomb (Android 3.X) offerings.
Let’s pretend that you already said no to an iPad or PlayBook, and you’ve decided to buy an Android tablet. Why should you buy a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 over a Toshiba Thrive? Or why should you scorn both of those options and buy a Lenovo IdeaPad K1? We’re going to look at five different Android tablets from Acer, Asus, Lenovo, Samsung and Toshiba, examine their design, hardware and software, and attempt to figure out which is the most deserving of your hard-earned money.
You might be surprised to see Windows excluded from the above list, but it's a no-brainer at this point. Windows 7 is not a tablet-friendly operating system, and any tablet or slate running the OS isn't taken seriously by most consumers. That will change with Windows 8, of course, but that latest Metro UI-infused OS from the folks up in Redmond isn't hitting retail until 2012. Until then, Windows doesn't have a legitimate foothold in the consumer tablet space.