Android tablets come in all shapes and sizes. They often run different versions of Android, some can be easily attached to keyboards, others are designed to be slates, and some are ebook readers. Regardless of what you need a new Android tablet for, here are five of the best ones for the job, based on your nominations.
Photo by Sham Hardy.
Whichever tablet you favour, it’s worth shopping around: most are available as outright buys (in which case shopping around online can save you significant money) or on plans through carriers.
Available in a variety of sizes and with its recent legal battle with Apple now resolved, Samsung’s Galaxy Tab series is one of the most recognisable and iconic Android tablets on the market. Most of the models run Android Honeycomb, and can pull duty as a media tablet, productivity tool, or ereader.
With the Eee Pad Transformer and the new quad-core Eee Pad Transformer Prime, Asus has proven there’s a place in the tablet market for tablets that function just as well as stand-alone slates as they do when connected to a docking station with a full keyboard. Both Transformer models allow you to use the device as an Android tablet when not connected to the Eee Station dock, and then dock the tablets to work on them like super-thin and super-light Android-based laptops. Both models support Flash, have front and rear-facing cameras for HD video, and have NVidia Tegra graphics inside for mobile gaming.
Even though the HP Touchpad is a discontinued product, and never really sold well when it was available on store shelves, HP’s fire sale to get rid of excess Touchpad stock when it was discontinued made one of the most popular Android tablets on the market. The Touchpad runs WebOS natively (and Android with some tweaking), and while it doesn’t have the same quantity of apps as the Android Market or the iTunes App Store, it does have a good enough number that you can use the Touchpad to check your email, listen to local or streaming music, surf the web, stay in touch with friends on your favourite social networks, and stay productive. The 9.7-inch screen is perfect for video, the front-facing camera is useful for video conferencing over Wi-Fi (there is no 3G). Good luck getting your hands on a Touchpad now at any price, although we’re sure you might find some drastically overpriced models available on eBay.
While the new Nook tablet is really the only model that Barnes and Noble is marketing as a proper tablet, the Nook colour is a great option as well, especially once you’ve rooted it and installed a new ROM. Barnes and Noble has all but condoned the process, and even if you don’t root your Nook colour, you get some access to the Android Market, tons of games, and of course access to Barnes and Noble’s catalogue of millions of books. All models are Wi-Fi only, and while they’re not officially distributed in Australia, you can get hold of one via a drop shipper or US friend.
Most of you who voted for the Iconia Tab series specifically liked the A500, a dual-core Wi-Fi Android tablet with Nvidia graphics under the hood for multimedia and gaming. Front and rear-facing cameras are perfect for shooting quick photos and video as well as web conferencing. The A500 is a 10-inch tablet. The W500 is a hybrid model with a swivel screen and an attached keyboard, and the A100 is a 7-inch model that’s slim and portable. All models run Honeycomb, have access to the Android Market, sports USB ports, and tons of internal storage.
Have something to say about one of the contenders, or a feature of your favourite we forgot to mention? Did your favourite tablet not get enough nominations to get into the top five? Let’s hear it in the comments below.