BlackBerry Playbook

Tablets top ten

When the iPad was first released it was a new innovation and competition was non-existent. Now there is a wealth of choice out there for consumers.

1 Blackberry Playbook 

Research In Motion, pioneers of the smart phone, were a cert to enter the crowded tablet marketplace – as entrepreneurs and senior executives were likely consumers of the iPad. The company's response was the Playbook with seemingly a great deal of emphasis on the 'play' side of its persona. IT departments will like the ability to lock down the device to prevent their user base loading it up with non-business-related apps. But with the ability to use Flash – and the ability to stream this to a TV, there will still be plenty of fun to be had from this 7in device.

  • Availability: Q2/Q3
  • Dimensions: 130mm x 193mm x 10mm
  • Operating System: Blackberry Tablet OS

2 Motorola Xoom 

Very few in the UK would have heard of the Motorola Xoom were it not for Steve Jobs giving it a plug when criticising the competition for their 'me-too' attitude. But the Xoom is much more than just another also-ran. Impressive stats such as its battery life supercede the iPad2. But all this adds to the bulk and weight contrasting heavily against the super skinny models on the tablet catwalk.

  • Price: £499
  • Availability: Q2
  • Dimensions: 249mm x 168mm x 13mm
  • Video playback: 10 hours
  • Operating System: Android Honeycomb

3 Viewsonic Viewpad 10S 

Viewsonic are mainly known for monitors but they entered the tablet fray last year with the ViewPad 10. This has recently been upgraded and it is a much more capable machine for it. The low memory – 16 gigabytes on a micro SD card – lets it down a little, but this can be upgraded easily. Spawned from a display company, the 10.1in 1024 x 600 display is naturally superb. On the front is a 1.3 megapixel camera, but there's no rear-facing camera – unlike other models.

  • Price: £279
  • Availability: now
  • Dimensions: 275mm x 178mm x 14.5mm
  • Video playback: 6.5 hours
  • Operating System: Android 2.2 Froyo

4 Asus Eepad Memo 

Little is known about the Eepad Memo. The company have not even released the device's dimensions to the press yet – despite it being demonstrated at Germany's Cebit trade show. But what we do know is that, with a 7in screen, it will be one of the smaller devices running Android's tablet-specific Honeycomb iteration. The silver strip surrounding the device also conceals an unfashionable stylus, but this one is pressure sensitive allowing you to use it like a reporter's notebook. It will come with a wide range of memory options but won't be expandable without a memory port.

  • Availability: Q3
  • Operating System: Honeycomb Android

5 Dell Streak 7 

Yet another 7in tablet, and the second from Dell to make our top ten. The Dell Streak 7 is the big brother to the 5in model released not long after the original iPad debuted last year. The company has built on their success with this model, yet this is also where its legacy lets it down as Dell has chosen to stick with Android 2.2 Froyo with this version, but Dell promises an upgrade to Honeycomb once it's ready. Certainly, it sounds like it will have wider appeal than the original 5 inch model. This is likely going to be the business tablet given to those executives who aren't on the Playbook list.

  • Dimensions: 198.5mm x 118mm x 13mm
  • Operating System: Android 2.2 Froyo

6 Notion Ink Adam 

This product has been three years in the making, meaning its development pre-dates the launch of the iPad. It has gadget enthusiasts all abuzz with speculation about it since only a handful of prototypes have been demonstrated at the major shows. The Bangalore-based company has drummed up a lot of hype. It is set to be the first Android device marketed to contain Pixel Qi's low-power, dual-mode display. However, it has recently suffered a setback by failing global safety standards. If they finally get it right and the hype is to be believed, it will lead the pack.

  • Price: £600
  • Availability: Q1
  • Dimensions: 191mm x 269mm x 14mm
  • Operating System: Android 2.2 Froyo

7 Dell Inspiron Duo 

You may have seen the TV adverts featuring this device's swivel transforming Netbook-to-tablet action. The lid itself opens and shuts just like any other netbook but the screen can pivot through 180°. The 10.1in screen is a formidable 1366 x 768 resolution. The keyboard is fairly robust with well-spaced flat-topped keys, which add to the thickness. But anyone expecting this to be a fully featured Netbook may be disappointed by the miserly use of USB ports and no Ethernet connector either. Compromises are inevitably made when satisfying both houses.

  • Price: £289
  • Availability: now
  • Dimensions: 285mm x 26.2mm x 194.5mm
  • Operating System: Windows 7

8 Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 

The Galaxy Tab 10.1 can arguably match Apple in the beauty stakes with this ultra-thin device, which features a 3 megapixel rear-facing camera with autofocus and LED flash, and a 2 megapixel front-facing camera with HD video capture at 1080p. It supports Adobe Flash Player 10.2 and surround-sound stereo speakers. Samsung are reportedly looking into upping the features in the wake of the iPad2 launch, so the tech specs may change.

  • Price: £599
  • Availability: Q2/Q3
  • Dimensions: 190mm x 120mm x 12mm
  • Video playback: 7 hours
  • Operating System: Android 2.2 Froyo

9 LG Optimus Pad 

The Optimus Pad is the big brother to LG's recently released Optimus smartphone featuring 3D. However, the full specifications of this device have yet to be released. Being built on the same NVidia Tegra processor as the Galaxy and the Viewsonic Viewpad, the Optimus will be a capable and beautiful device with 3D viewing, like its smaller sibling. This appears to be the main product differentiator to the competition.

  • Price: £305
  • Availability: Q2
  • Dimensions: 243mm x 149.4mm x 12.8mm
  • Video Playback: 8 hours
  • Operating System: Honeycomb Android

10 HP Touchpad 

When Palm was bought by HP, the company had already developed its WebOS. HP is wise to take the WebOS to the logical next step by incorporating the amazing intuitive platform in its new HP branded Touchpad. It is likely to have less app support than Apple's OS and Google's Android, but should appeal to those looking for a seamless browsing experience and easy switching between tasks. Palm still has a loyal fan base, so this is sure to be a hit – albeit with a niche crowd.

  • Price: £699
  • Availability: Q3
  • Dimensions: 240mm x 190mm x 13.7mm Operating System: HP Web OS

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