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android tabletsWhile the iPad was able to jump on the tablet market before anyone else, Android tablets from competitors are starting to flow like water. There’s now a wide variety of options available and many of them are quite mature.

There are some Android tablets that stand out from the crowd. Let’s have a look at three of them that any potential buyer should be sure to check out.

ASUS Eee Pad Transformer TF101

android tablets

When the Eee Pad Transformer debuted, it made a surprisingly big splash. According to some reports this tablet is the second most popular currently available behind the iPad 2, which is surprising. It’s not as if ASUS has put much effort into marketing.

The reason for its sudden popularity is the optional keyboard dock. While many tablets have docks, the Eee Pad Transformer was designed from the ground up to work with one. Once inserted into the keyboard dock this tablet operates much like a netbook. A battery is hidden in the dock, as well, extending life to between 14 and 16 hours in most situations.

One downside of this Eee Pad is a lack of support for mobile data plans, although a 3G version Gs & LTEs: Understanding Mobile Broadband [Technology Explained] Gs & LTEs: Understanding Mobile Broadband [Technology Explained] Connecting to the Internet was once all about big honking cords. The cords might be telephone lines, or cable lines, or FiOS lines specifically installed for Internet service, but the running theme is a line... Read More is expected sometime this month.

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best android tablets

Don’t let yourself be hung up on the dock, however – you don’t need it to make this a great device. The base tablet is excellent and it’s just $399 (the dock is an additional $150). It offers solid build quality combined with an elegant Espresso finish. While the pricing might lead one to think this is a budget option, the Eee Pad is actually on par with the competition, right down to the Tegra 2 processor.

Lenovo IdeaPad K1

best android tablets

Just released in July, the Lenovo IdeaPad K1 is the company’s first consumer Android tablet. Sex appeal is one of the K1’s greatest strengths. It’s offered with several different color options for the back panel and features a smooth design that, in my opinion, is even more attractive than the iPad 2.

Another impressive feature is the user interface. Stock Honeycomb is common on Android tablets, and any changes are usually not for the best. The K1, however, adds a convenient launcher widget Three Great 3D Launchers To Revamp Your Android Phone Homescreen Three Great 3D Launchers To Revamp Your Android Phone Homescreen While basic 3D has been easily accomplished on computers for over a decade, it’s still rather novel on smartphones. The hardware inside these devices is just starting to become sufficient for displaying truly impressive graphics.... Read More in the middle of the home screen that lets users sort apps into specific categories like Watch (movies) or Listen (music/podcasts). This organization reminds me a lot of libraries in Windows 7. There are a few other extras as well, such as an App Wheel that can be used as a quick-launcher for your favorite apps.

best android tablets

The rest of the K1’s features are standard for Android tablets. It has a Tegra 2 processor and battery life of over 8 hours, which is a bit better than average. The only potential deal-breaker is the tablet’s relatively hefty weight of 1.6 pounds. Still, the base price of $499 is attractive.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

 

android tablets review

Apple’s iPad had no serious competition until Samsung released the Galaxy Tab in the latter half of 2010. The original was quite robust, but in response to the iPad 2 it has been redesigned significantly.

The new version, called the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, is a formidable opponent. It’s slightly lighter than Cupertino’s tablet (1.24 pounds vs. 1.35) and is approximately as thin. The design doesn’t have the punch of the K1 or the elegance of the Eee Pad, but it’s attractive in its own right and it’s lighter than either of those entries. Users can expect over eight hours of endurance from the battery. Like the other entries here, this tablet has a Tegra 2 processor.

android tablets

At $499, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 doesn’t try to win on price alone. The Eee Pad Transformer is clearly better value, but its subdued aesthetics won’t be to everyone’s taste and it’s heavier. The K1 carries extra bulk as well. As a result, this tablet is likely the best choice for frequent fliers, road warriors, and other users who will often be using the tablet without a stand or solid piece of furniture to sit it upon.

Conclusion

In my opinion, these three tablets are the clear winners in the current Android market. The Xoom was great when it came out, but the styling is now unimpressive and the display was never great. The Acer Iconia Tab feels cheap but remains more expensive than the Eee Pad Transformer. Toshiba’s Thrive is bulky yet offers less battery life than the options above.

The market is changing rapidly, so buyers should keep a look out for the latest-and-greatest. But for now, these are truly the best Android tablets.  Do you have one of these three?  If so, how do you like it?

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