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August 6, 2012
There is little doubt that the new iPad is a force to be reckoned with. Its slim design and multitude of available apps enable it to be a top contender, but it isn't the only game in town. There are currently 5 slates with Android based operating systems that appear to be on the verge of giving Apple a run for their money.
Samsung Galaxy Tab
The Samsung Galaxy tab features front-facing speakers, a bright display, and a Smart Remote app capable of controlling certain TVs. The device comes with 50GB of free Drop Box storage for an entire an entire year. Additionally, its long battery life lends a great deal of value to this sleek feature-filled tablet. The only drawbacks offered by the device is the long charging time and its slightly less than desirable camera.
The Kindle Fire offers users a compact, but solid design. It's slick and easy to use interface is pretty sweet. The device features easy access to a wealth of content and apps, as well as free books and videos for Amazon Prime members. It's more affordable than the iPad and the speakers are fairly loud. Unfortunately, the tablet has no dedicated volume controls, and it's 8GB of memory isn't expandable. However, the affordable price coupled with its ample features does make it a viable contender with the iPad.
The Nexus 7 offers great hardware and performance for its paltry $200 price tag. It features Android's 4.1 Jelly Bean OS, and no bloated features. Software updates don't take forever and the latest software is always available. The only drawback this tablet has is that it lacks adequate storage capacity. Users who are interested in surfing and reading email would be content with this device, but hardcore users wanting to save and view songs and movies might find the device less than desirable.
Acer Iconia Tab A200
This tablet features the Acer ring interface and a long battery life. Its solid performance and optimized graphics are great features, too. It has a full-size USB 2.0 port and a nice soft-touch back. On top of that it's relatively inexpensive. Unfortunately, it is heavier than other tablets and there is no rear-facing camera. Also, the port cover is moderately annoying.
The Lenovo ThinkPad offers fantastic pen support while sporting a durable and attractive design. It has a full size USB port and an SD card reader. Additionally, it has an optional folio keyboard case. Of course, the sound could be better and the buttons are a little stiff, but the device is functional and easy to use. The price is comparable to the lower end iPads, making it a smart option for users looking for a viable iPad alternative.
Tablet options continue to increase. Users are no longer restricted to an either/or option; there is a great deal of choice available. The previous list of devices isn't exhaustive. Other devices are emerging to level the playing field as major players continue to develop the technology, and it is exciting to see what's coming next.
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