TechPinas Tablet Overview
by TP NCR Correspondent, Mon Arguelles
Mark's Note: With quad-core Apple iPad 3 rumors starting to circulate the net, I'd bet it's only a matter of time before quad-core tablets from other manufacturers get unveiled. I mean, that's just how it is these days: Whatever Apple does, you can almost expect its rivals to likewise do -- sometimes better, sometimes not. Well, anyway. I asked Mon to write this piece on Dual Core slates because I'm pretty sure they'll be on the table for pennypinchers soon and we want to be there to guide them with the purchase, really.
Quad-core tablets are arriving soon. But I don't think their presence will be enough to push dual core slates to the brink of obsolescence; In fact, the latter are set to receive much-awaited software upgrades like ICS or BBPB OS 2, which will make them more useful and responsive. As the age of quad-core tablets loom upon us, we can expect at least one thing to also come for sure: the massive sale of their dual-core predecessors.
I'll be giving an overview of the dual core tablets that are widely available in the Philippine market. Keep an eye on them as their price tags could very well be slashed by almost half soon.
Apple iPad 2
Aluminum-and-Glass-clad Apple iPad 2 is no doubt the best-selling tablet in the market. The second generation iPad is made thinner, lighter, and comes replete with with front and back cameras. When it comes to downloadable applications, iPad2 not only has the biggest selection in its app store but it also has some of the best apps out there. In my opinion, this tablet has the most refined OS which enable the smoothest scrolling and best multimedia experience you can get from a slate.
Putting Ice Cream Sandwich in the 'upcoming' category, Honeycomb is Google's current operating system for tablets. Although not quite as smooth as iOS, it allows for deeper customizations and personalization. Honeycomb also supports widgets that don't only look fun but also allow users to see the useful information they need straight from the home screens. One thing that I like about these tablets is that their default browser can play flash content while the one on iPad just can't. I think this truly makes browsing experience a lot richer.
Here are some Android tablets currently available in the Philippine market:
The Motorola Xoom is the first tablet to run Android 3.0 Honeycomb OS. Although it was released last May 2011, I have only personally seen this in the malls in December last year. I noticed it has a rubbery finish which is great for handling the device and is equipped with a 5 MegaPixel camera at the back. It also has 16GB and 32GB internal storage, and has an expandable microSD slot which can accommodate up to 32 GB -- again, this is a feature iPad2 lacks.
Samsung Galaxy Tabs
Samsung was the first company to actually challenge the iPad with its Galaxy Tab P1000 in 2010. Last year, they continued to go head to head Apple with their next generation Galaxy Tabs in various sizes. What's great about the Samsung tablet range is that they give consumers the power to choose the tablet size that fit their lifestyle.
Check out the Galaxy Tab sizes currently available to Pinoy consumers and how they are generally viewed by users and fans who share their experience with these devices online:
Galaxy Tab 10.1 – offers the best viewing experience among the Galaxy Tab line
Galaxy Tab 8.9 – hits that sweet spot between a sufficiently large screen size and portability.
Galaxy Tab 7.7 – this is the newest member of the Galaxy Tab family. This premium tablet features the company's Super AMOLED Plus display; For a lot of people, including me, this is the best mobile display technology in the market, bar none. The slate is also crafted with premium materials - like aluminum and Gorilla glass - and is the lightest among all Galaxy Tabs. It comes with SMS and phone call capability, so you not only get a tablet but also a large smartphone.
Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus – It's slightly smaller than the 7.7 and it only has an LCD display. But this one is a lot more affordable that the others. What's cool is that also has SMS and phonecall capabilities.
The Galaxy Tab 10.1 and 8.9 are available in 16GB and 32GB Wi-Fi+3G options. But they do not have a microSD slot. The Galaxy Tab 7.7 and 7.0 Plus on the other hand, only have 16GB internal storage but have expandable microSD slots of up to 32GB.
Asus Eee Pad Transformer
Quad-core Asus Transformer Prime, which supersedes this model, has already been launched internationally. But currently, the first Transformer model is the only one that's available in the Philippines. What sets Transformer apart from other Android tablets is it can connect to a separate keyboard dock which effectively “transforms” it into a laptop, hence the name.
Acer Iconia Tab
The Acer Iconia Tab is a 10.1 inch tablet, which flaunts a 5 MegaPixel camera and an external SD card slot -- just like Motorola Xoom. The difference is it has a solidly-built aluminium body. Reviews also say that this tablet has an impressive display and loud speaker. I'd say, if you prefer a tablet built like a tank, then this one is for you.
Lastly, I am going to discuss about RIMs first "professional-grade" tablet, the BlackBerry Playbook. The PlayBook is a finely crafted 7-inch tablet that runs its own proprietary OS. It is an amazing multi-tasking device which also handles web-browsing quite well. It is very portable, and it can be paired with a BlackBerry handset via Bridge. This application allows you to access your BlackBerry services such as BBM, Push E-mail, and Calendar on your PlayBook.
Mark's Note: The tablet that I own is BlackBerry PlayBook. I passed on iPad2 because I already have an iPhone and an iPod Touch and I felt like if I'd be overdoing it if I also get Apple's slate. Anyway. I'll probably get iPad3 IF it will feature a major redesign or if Apple will release a sub-$250 variant. Initially, what attracted me to BBPB is that it does multitasking really well, has a good browser that plays Flash flawlessly. Eventually, I also fell in love with its dual 1080p video camera and that cute 'via BlackBerry PlayBook' note I get on every Facebook status update (gotta love those small things). Also, as everyone knows, I'm a big ThinkPad fan and the design of the PlayBook kinda reminds me of my beloved first laptop.
Now, if you're going to ask me how to choose your first tablet, I'd say go for one that...
1. You can easily afford. (Don't borrow money just so you can get it. And more importantly, don't sell an innard for it.)
2. You find cute.
3. Does exactly what you want it to do.
4. You'll be proud to own.
5. Supports the games and applications you like -- even if its just a few. Remember: Quality over quantity.
6. Has long battery life.
7. Is from a manufacturer that gives good after-sales service and sends updates on time.
There you go! Happy shopping! Thanks, Mon, you're the best!