Top 10 iPad Alternatives

MD Magazine®, Volume 3 Issue 3, Volume 3, Issue 3

Looking for a tablet computer but want to know a bit more about the iPad alternatives on the market? We've compiled information on 10 tablets for all budgets and performance needs – from high-end, high-powered 10-inch devices, to lower-priced 7-inch models that combine affordability with capability.

Looking for a tablet computer but want to know a bit more about the iPad alternatives on the market? We’ve compiled information on 10 tablets for all budgets and performance needs — from high-end, high-powered 10-inch devices, to lower-priced 7-inch models that combine affordability with capability.

Asus Eee Pad MeMO 171

Billed as a “crossover between a tablet and a mobile phone,” the Asus Eee Pad MeMO 171 features a 7-inch, Gorilla® Glass-protected screen with 1280x800 resolution. The device comes with 1GB of RAM and 16GB of memory storage, and is powered by a 1.2Ghz dual-core CPU. It runs Google’s Android™ 3.2 Honeycomb OS, but can be upgraded to the Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0 OS. It comes bundled with a Bluetooth headset that “provides an integrated experience with the MeMO” and is “super convenient for placing calls, sending texts, and listening to music.” It features a 5MP rear-facing camera and a 1.2MP front-facing camera. It has a listed battery life of 10 hours (or roughly 8 hours of video playback). Other features include “Supreme SRS” 3D stereo sound, HD video, GPS, E-compass, pre-loaded productivity apps, and more. The MeMO 171 has a Micro USB port, Micro HDMI, audio jack, card reader, and one SIM card slot. The device weighs in at a light 14.1oz (about 400g) and is 7.8”x4.6”x0.5”. Note: as of this writing, the MeMO 171 has not been made available for the US market.

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Sony Tablet S

Sporting a unique, ergonomically designed wedge shape, the Sony Tablet S features a 9.4-inch display, a 1GHz processor, and 1GB of RAM, and comes with either 16GB or 32GB of memory. It runs Android 3.1 (aka Honeycomb), but as of April 2012 is upgradeable to the Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0 OS. The Tablet S is Bluetooth enabled and features a micro USB port and a full-size SD card reader. It has a 0.3MP front-facing camera and a 5MP rear-facing camera. Battery life is approximately eight hours. The Tablet S also enables users to access several Sony media services, such as Video Unlimited and Music Unlimited, which allows you to stream or download movies and music.

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Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1

The Galaxy Tab 2 runs on a dual-core 1GHz processor with 1GB or RAM and comes installed with Android 4.0. It has a 10.1-inch, 1280x800 display, with a VGA front-facing camera and a 3MP rear-facing camera. The Tab 2 has 16GB of internal memory, and a micro SD card slot that can support up to 32GB more. It’s Bluetooth, USB, and WiFi compatible, and boasts 6-8 hours of battery life. Thanks to the IR “blaster” on this device, you can use one of the installed apps to turn the Tab 2 into a universal remote for your TV (though you’ll have to buy an HDMI adapter if you want to connect the device to your TV).

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Asus Transformer Pad Infinity TF700T

This powerful device features a 1920x1200 resolution, full HD screen, SonicMaster audio technology, and a 1.6GHz quad-core CPU with 1GB of RAM. It runs the Android 4.0 OS and has a 2MP front-facing camera and a 8MP rear-facing camera with auto-focus and LED flash. This device has a micro-SD card slot and micro HDMI port. When attached to the optional keyboard dock, it has an additional SD card reader and USB port. Battery life as a standalone tablet is roughly 9.5 hours; when docked this can increase to as much as 14 hours. The device also comes installed with a suite of Asus media, entertainment, and productivity apps.

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Microsoft Surface

The initial version of the Microsoft Surface tablet that will debut in the fall will run on Windows RT (which has been described as a “light” version of Windows 8) and will be powered by an ARM processor. It will feature a 10.6-inch high-def display, and a “pressure-sensitive cover that doubles as a fully functioning keyboard.” The Surface has 32GB of internal Flash memory, with micro-SD support for up to 32GB more. Other features include a USB port, front- and rear-facing cameras (though they appear to be of lower resolution than those found on competitors’ devices), dual microphones, and more.

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Google Nexus 7

This low-priced ($199!) tablet features 7-inch 1280x800 display, scratch-resistant glass, a quad-core processor with 1GB of RAM, runs on Android 4.1 (aka “Jellybean), and has a battery that supports up to nine hours of video playback. The Nexus 7 also has a 1.2MP front-facing camera, micro USB port, Bluetooth compatibility, and 8GB or 16GB of memory. It weighs less than a pound and is less than five inches wide and about a half-inch thick (it’s a bit thicker at the top and bottom to make it easier to hold).

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Viewsonic ViewPad 10

This is one of the few devices on the market that supports both Windows and Google Android. However, it uses an older version of Android (2.2) that doesn’t support Android Market. The ViewPad features a 10-inch, 1024x600 LCD screen; a 1.66Ghz processor with 1GB of RAM; integrated 2GB SDRAM and up to 32GB SSD storage capacity; a 1.3MP front-facing camera, two USB ports, micro SD reader, mini VGA port, and Bluetooth. It weighs about two pounds.

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Lenovo IdeaPad A1

This lightweight, affordable tablet has a 7-inch 1024x600 screen, 0.3MP front-facing camera, 3.0MP rear-facing camera, Bluetooth, micro USB and micro SD card reader, integrated GPS, and a battery that supports about seven hours of use. It has 2GB of internal Flash memory, an ARM Cortex processor with 512MB of RAM, and weighs less than one pound.

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BlackBerry PlayBook

The PlayBook offers a 7-inch, multi-touch, 1024x600 LCD screen; is powered by a 1GHz dual-core processor with 1GB of RAM; includes a 3MP-front-facing camera and a 5MP rear-facing camera with HD video recording; Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity; and a micro USB and micro HDMI ports. It supports both Flash and HTML5. The PlayBook is 7.6”x5.1”x0.4” and weighs just under one pound. Note: Research In Motion recently announced it would cease production of the 16GB model of the playbook, but would continue to manufacture the 32GB and 64GB models.

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Archos 97 Carbon

The Carbon has a 1024x768 pixel, 9.7-inch, multi-touch IPS screen; runs on a 1GHz ARM processor with 1GB of RAM that powers the Android 4.0 OS; has a 0.3MP front-facing camera and 3.0MP rear-facing camera with HD video capability; includes micro and regular USB ports, a micro SD slot, and HDMI output; sports a battery that supports up to eight hours of video playback (20 hours of music); and offers 16GB of internal memory.

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