With a host of companies offering up tablet computers to rival Apple's iPad, which one is the best? It's hard to tell the difference. Some might be shopping based on price alone, but for those of you not worried about price and simply want the best-of-the-best, here's a rundown of the top three available.
Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime
With 32GB or 64GB of storage and weighing in at a mere 1.32 pounds, the Prime comes across like an iPad 2, except it's thinner. It boasts crystal clear 1080p video, and has the best 8-megapixel camera offered in any tablet currently on the market, capturing every last detail in stunningly accurate color. It isn't half bad to look at, either, offered in amethyst gray and champagne gold.
Connect this beauty to a keyboard and docking station, sold separately for $150, a whole lot easier than the previous Transformer model. This dock has all of the ports you need, like an SD slot (yes, full size), a USB port, and a 40-pin data/power connector. Sorry, if you own the previous Transformer model, this docking station isn't compatible.
The Prime contains the Tegra 3, Nvidia's new quad-core processor. Along with the chosen storage space comes 1GB of RAM, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, a gyroscope, GPS, and Bluetooth 2.1+EDR. If you utilize the Mobile dock, take advantage of the extra battery which depletes before it even touches the tablet's battery. Connect to your monitor or HDTV using the tablet's Micro-HDMI port to play Android games on a larger screen with the help of your Xbox 360, PS3 game pad, and other wireless game pads. The Prime comes standard with Honeycomb 3.2.1, but upgrade easily to Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS). ICS will soon be standard on all Primes. Asus MyCloud offers up an additional 8GB of storage on the cloud after registration of the tablet, and includes access to the @Vibe music and radio online service.
The Prime can do all of the things iPad and other tablets can do, such as download and read a book using MyLibrary, stream content to other devices on your network with MyNet, take notes using either a keyboard or write them with your finger with SuperNote, multiple modes to conserve battery life, and automatic adjustments to the brightness of the display based on the light around you (Super IPS+). Screen transitions are the best available on any tablet, working smoothly and seamlessly, and screen resolution is amazing, offering the highest level of brightness among all tablets on the market. Pick one up today, $600 for the 64GB and $500 for the 32GB.
Sony Tablet S
Also offered in 16GB and 32GB models, Sony offers apps exclusive to their tablet, DLNA video/music streaming (similar to Apple's AirPlay, except it is more widely compatible across brands), amazing integrated IR remote control for your home entertainment system, PlayStation certification for gaming, and innovative, ergonimic wedge shaped design. This helps to minimize screen glare, and makes it more comfortable when typing. Although the wedge shape isn't as thin as the iPad2, it weighs in comparably at 1.3 pounds.
Unlike other Honeycomb tablets, it has a smaller screen (9.4 inches compared to the standard 10/1 inch), and features technology taken from Sony's Bravia TV line, TruBlack technology. This makes screen contrast superior. As for its 5 megapixel rear camera, it uses the same Exmore image technology from its digital camera line, and when placed in its dock (sold seperately for $39) becomes a sort of photo frame to show off images you've captured. Despite the TruBlack technology, this tablet just doesn't compare to the previously mentioned Transformer in terms of brightness.
Sony offers a uniquely designed power adapter designed to keep from destroying the tablet if the power cord is suddenly yanked out. This means, however, that you must go directly through Sony for a replacement adapter, so don't lose it.
This tablet screams Sony, with all that it does and its exclusive offerings. However, it comes with a hefty pricetag: $499 for the 16GB and $599 for the 32GB model. A lot to pay for a tablet that is not cellular data compatible. The design, however, is stunning, and worth the price itself.
Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
The latest Samsung Galaxy is the first tablet lighter than the iPad2 at a mere 1.24 pounds (the iPad2 weighs in at 1.32 pounds) and just as thin, offering a 3-megapixel rear camera offering crisp images (however, zoom is not an option), 2-megapixel front camera, and high performance dual speakers. However, with a plastic back, it just doesn't feel quite as solid as the iPad2. Also, it lacks HDMI, USB, SIM card, and SD card ports.
A Google Experience tablet, operating Honeycomb 3.1, there are no Samsung-specific interface customizations. It does offer the app Sampsung Apps, which gives you access to their company-specific app store. This tablet is powered by the Nvidia Tegra 2 Dual Core processor, and zips through websites unmatched by other tablets. It isn't the brightest screen on the market, but is quite bright nonetheless.
The display is Super PLS-based with 1,280X800-pixel resolution on a 10.1 inch screen and provides a wonderfully clear image on a wide screen great for internet browsing. Some say games, like the popular Angry Birds feature more vibrant colors than the iPad2, and when watching movies, the bass really pounds out of its powerful speakers.
The Galaxy 10.1 comes with Pulse, a fast performance app exclusive to Samsung products that takes news articles and organizes them into small snippets within categories like entertainment, news, social, etc. Simply tap on the snippet to read the whole article.
It doesn't offer much more than other Honeycomb tablets besides being fast, slim, and light. The Galaxy Tab 10.1 retails for $599.99.