With Mother's Day looming just before us, now might be a great time to open your mom's mind to the usefulness and convenience of tablet computing. The iPad is tremendously popular, and an awesome piece of technical goodness to boot. But there are many other tablets to choose from, made by different manufacturers, in different sizes, with different feature sets and at widely varying price points. Here's your chance to widen your mother's horizons and bring some innovation into her life.
Tablet computers make ideal mobile entertainment gear, even if your (or your mom’s) idea of mobility ends on the living-room sofa. One can enjoy video, music, the vast sea of information on the Web, and countless apps, both for productivity and entertainment. Of course, mom can check her email and keep up with her social networking, and even conduct some business amidst all the fun. Tablets can make excellent Mother’s Day gifts, no matter what amount you care to spend.
The Acer Iconia Tab A200 is a 10.1-inch tablet with a multi-touch display that has a 1280 x 800 widescreen resolution and runs the Android Honeycomb OS. It’s powered by a 1 GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 dual-core processor with 1GB of DDR2 SDRAM and 16GB of storage space. It also features NVIDIA GeForce Graphics, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, a front-facing webcam and dual speakers. Some tablets have no standard ports and unfairly force users to jump through hoops of fire just to connect various peripherals. But the Iconia Tab A200 features USB 2.0 and Micro USB ports, along with a MicroSD card slot that supports cards up to 32GB. So even if you fill up the 16GB of internal storage, you can always swap out huge chunks of data up to 32GB—music, movies, TV shows, whatever—via the MicroSD card slot. The Iconia Tab A200 is available in gray or red. Useful accessories for the Iconia might include a Bluetooth keyboard, protective sleeve or case or a microSDHC card.
You won’t find tablets more affordable than Aluratek’s Cinepads. There’s a 7” Cinepad with 4GB of flash memory and a 10” Cinepad with 8GB of flash memory. They both feature capacitive multi-touch LCDs and run the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich OS. Both tablets feature 512MB of DDR3 SDRAM, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, an HDMI output, a USB 2.0 port, a mono speaker, a 0.3MP front-facing camera and an SD card slot. Imagine that—expandable storage on tablets costing well under $200! The 7-inch unit has a native resolution of 800 x 480 pixels and is powered by a Texas Instruments 1 GHz ARM Cortex A8 processor. The 7-inch size makes a great ebook reader. The 10-inch unit adds Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, has a native resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels, and is powered by a 1 GHz ARM Cortex A9 processor.
The Apple iPad needs no introduction. We probably don’t even have to tell you that there’s a new model out (the New iPad). And if your mom has specifically asked for a tablet, it’s probably an iPad that she had in mind. The new iPad is faster than ever, and its high-resolution “Retina” display has four times as many pixels than the iPad 2, for outstanding clarity and sharpness of both text and images.
A quick rundown of the new iPad’s feature set includes models with 16GB, 32GB and 64GB of flash memory storage space. None has an SD card slot or USB port, so it’s important that you buy one with enough flash memory right from the start. All iPads have 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, but you have to pay extra up front for 4G broadband Internet, and then pay a monthly fee to the carrier. This gives you an Internet connection wherever you are, even away from Wi-Fi hot spots. You have the choice of AT&T 4G or Verizon 4G. You also have the choice of a new iPad in black or white to coordinate with your mom's accessories.
Aside from the 4G and color options, all new iPads offer the same feature set. They all have a 9.7-inch LED-backlit multi-touch display with a remarkable resolution of 2048 x 1536 pixels. They are powered by dual-core A5X processors with quad-core graphics support and run the iOS operating system. They also feature a docking port, headphone jack, Bluetooth 4.0 + EDR, a 0.7MP front camera and a 5MP rear camera.
If you want to get your mother an iPad but would like to save a chunk of money, and your mother doesn’t know or care about the specs of the latest model, you can still buy the Apple iPad 2. The iPad 2 has a less powerful dual-core A5 processor, a lower resolution 9.7-inch display with 1024 x 768 pixels, a 0.7MP rear camera instead of 5MP and Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR instead of 4.0. And if you want broadband Internet on the iPad 2, it’s the slower 3G instead of 4G, but you still have the choice of AT&T or Verizon as the carrier. Otherwise, the iPad 2 still has the Apple docking connector, a 1/8” headphone jack, 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, a speaker and a microphone. Of course, you still have the choice of 16GB, 32GB or 64GB of flash storage and the the iPad 2 is available in black or white.
Adding value to all iPads are the more than 200,000 apps available through the Apple App Store, and the countless iPad accessories you can buy to enhance the unit. One really handy accessory is the iPad Smart Cover, a magnetic screen protector that folds into a convenient stand and automatically shuts off the unit when deployed over the screen. And the AirStash (and other similar Wi-Fi storage devices) is an easy way to expand iPad storage via Wi-Fi, and a slick way to overcome the iPad’s lack of an SD card slot and USB port. Note that B&H doesn’t sell the iPad online, but you can call B&H at 800.606.6969 or visit the NYC SuperStore to get one. If you or your mother already owns an iPad, B&H has countless accessories that also make great gifts. Many of these accessories will work with any tablet.
Another reasonably priced tablet is the Archos 8GB 70b Android Powered 7" Tablet. Its 7-inch screen and Micro SD card slot make for a great ebook reader, but it’s also ideal for viewing photos, listening to music or audio books, and watching video in HD up to 720p. The tablet is powered by the Android 3.2 Honeycomb operating system, and its 7-inch resistive touch screen display has a native resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels. Of course, you can also browse the Web when you’re in a Wi-Fi hot spot, as the 70b features 802.11 b/g/n network connectivity. A USB 2.0 port completes the package.
The ASUS 16GB Eee Pad Transformer Tablet is a unique product that can take on the form of a notebook computer when connected to an optional docking station that’s essentially a full QWERTY keyboard. Battery life is nearly 10 hours, and the docking station contains an additional battery that extends mobile use to 16 hours. The tablet is built around a 10.1-inch LED backlit capacitive display with 10-finger multi-touch support and a native resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels. The tablet is powered by an NVIDIA Tegra 2 dual-core processor and 1GB DDR2 memory, and it runs the Android 3.2 Honeycomb operating system.
Connectivity features of the Eee Pad Transformer are numerous, including 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth V2.1 + EDR, a mini HDMI port that outputs HD video. Expandable storage is offered via a micro SD card reader; it features a headphone output and a microphone input (there’s also a microphone built into the tablet). The tablet’s two cameras are of higher resolution than what’s typical; there’s a 1.2MP front camera and 5.0MP rear camera, and both can record HD video. Stereo speakers and SRS Sound technology pump out 3D stereo sound that’s a cut above most tablets.
As feature-filled as ASUS’s Eee Pad Transformer is, the Transformer Pad TF300T kicks things up a few notches. The TF300T has the same 10.1-inch multi-touch display but a more powerful NVIDIA 1.2 GHz Tegra 3 Quad-Core CPU and 32GB of flash storage that set things apart. The TF300T runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, which is perhaps the yummiest of the Android operating systems so far. Other features include a micro HDMI port, a microphone, a combo headphone/microphone jack, speaker, a MicroSD slot, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth V3.0 + EDR, GPS, a 1.2MP front camera and 8.0MP rear camera. The TF300T also features a docking connector that mates to a unique and optional TF300T Docking Station that adds a keyboard, touchpad, USB port and SD card reader and extends battery life to 15 hours.
Similar in size to the iPad, but lighter and less than half its price is the Coby MID9742 Multi-Touch Tablet. The MID9742 features a 9.7" multi-touch display with a native resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels. It’s powered by a 1 GHz Allwinner Cortex A8 processor and 1GB of memory and it runs the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich OS. The tablet has 8GB of flash memory storage and its MicroSD card reader can add up to 32GB of memory—and lots more if you have multiple SDHC cards. It has a built-in speaker and microphone, and front and rear cameras (0.3MP front and 2MP rear). Ports include one USB 2.0 and Mini HDMI. 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi will keep you connected. You might also consider a soft neoprene sleeve to protect this tablet. You can pick one up in a color that will be most agreeable to your mother.
Like the 7-inch Aluratek Cinepad, Lenovo’s 7-inch IdeaPad Tablet A1 is the perfect size for an ebook reader. This brand-new arrival is loaded with features, especially considering its reasonable price. The 7-inch multi-touch display has a native resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels and it’s driven by PowerVR SGX530 graphics. The tablet itself is powered by a 1 GHz ARM Cortex A8 single-core processor with 512MB of memory and it runs the Android 2.3 Gingerbread operating system. A generous 16GB of flash storage is enough to hold lots of movies, songs, photos, ebooks, documents and more, and you can expand storage capacity via the tablet’s MicroSD card reader. Other features include 11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, a 0.3MP front camera and 3MP rear camera, a mono speaker, a combo microphone/headphone jack and a Micro-HDMI output.
The LG Optimus Pad is the ideal tablet for moms on the go, as it contains 4G broadband Internet connectivity, provided that the monthly carrier charge is paid. Of course, it also features 802.11 b/g/n/I Wi-Fi and Bluetooth V 2.1 + EDR. The Optimus Pad runs the Android 3.1 Honeycomb operating system, courtesy of a 1 GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 dual-core mobile CPU and 1GB of DDR2 memory. The tablet also contains a generous 32GB of flash storage. The Optimus Pad greets the user with its 8.9" capacitive multi-touch display with 1280 x 768 resolution, and it can play back 3D or 720p 2D high-definition video. Perhaps the most interesting feature of the Optimus Pad is its 5MP dual-lens rear camera with LED Flash, which permits 3D and 2D 1080p video capture—providing the tools for incredible home movies. A mini HDMI port allows 2D/3D video playback on HDTV sets. The tablet also sports a front web camera and 3-way stereo speakers.
The Galaxy Tab 2 is the latest tablet offering from Samsung. This is another 7-inch tablet whose size makes it a great ebook reader. Words will jump off the page with the Galaxy Tab 2’s 1024 x 600 pixel touch-screen display. Video and photos also shine on the display. The tablet is powered by a 1 GHz Samsung dual-core processor and 1GB of memory, and it runs the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system. It features 8GB of flash storage along with a MicroSD card slot that can expand storage by up to 32GB per card. Of course, it also sports 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 3.0 + HS; a 0.3MP front camera and 3MP rear camera complete the package.
|Galaxy Tab 2||Sony Tablet S|
The Sony Tablet S has a unique wedge shape that shifts the weight of the tablet to your palm for easier holding with less fatigue, and it also makes for easier typing and a better viewing angle when the unit sits flat on a table. The Tablet S runs the Android Honeycomb operating system, presented to you on a 9.4-inch TruBlack LCD touch panel with a 1280 x 800 native resolution. It’s powered by a 1 GHz NVIDA Tegra 250S dual-cortex processor and 1GB of memory. A full-size SD card slot allows for expanded storage. Naturally, the Tablet S features 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, along with a Micro USB port and a 3.5mm stereo headphone jack. It’s also equipped with 0.3MP front and 5MP rear cameras. If your home entertainment area has become overrun with remote controls, the Tablet S can help clear the clutter; you can control a TV, Blu-ray player, cable box and more, right from the Tablet—and not just Sony products, but other brands as well. The Tablet S can be had with 16GB or 32GB of internal flash storage. Sony makes some neat accessories for the Tablet S, including a leather case and cradle.
The Toshiba Excite 10 LE is a large-size tablet with a luxurious 10.1-inch multi-touch display that offers a native resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels. It runs the Android 3.2 Honeycomb operating system, powered by a 1.2 GHz TI OMAP 4430 dual-core mobile processor and 1GB of memory. It can be had with either 16GB or 32GB of internal flash memory, and either unit can have expanded storage via the microSD card slot. Connectivity features include 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth V 2.1, along with a micro USB 2.0 port, a 3.5mm stereo headphone jack and a micro HDMI port. The tablet also features a 2MP front camera and 5MP rear camera, a docking connector, stereo speakers and several sensors, including GPS. Toshiba makes a nice Bluetooth keyboard that works well with the Excite 10 LE.
The Viewsonic ViewPad 10e is another Android tablet with a generous 9.7-inch display. More specifically, the ViewPad 10e runs the Android Gingerbread 2.3 operating system. The 9.7-inch capacitive multi-touch display has a native resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels. The tablet is powered by a 1 GHz Cortex A8 processor backed by 512MB of DDR3 SDRAM memory. The ViewPad 10e is also equipped with 4GB of flash storage, which can be expanded by way of the microSD card slot, which accepts cards up to 32GB in capacity. Connectivity options include 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0 and 2.1 + EDR, a mini HDMI output, a micro USB port and a 1/8" (3.5 mm) headphone jack. A 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera, built-in stereo speakers and an integrated microphone make for an ideal video-conferencing solution. Like any relatively expensive and relatively delicate piece of equipment, the ViewPad 10e is worth protecting with a soft neoprene sleeve. It’s a minor investment that will keep scratches off the unit and cushion a fall. You also might want to pick up a microSDHC card, which will greatly increase the amount of storage space available in this tablet.
To sum up, any of these tablets makes a great Mother’s Day gift. Accessories such as microSD cards, a stylus, ear buds, a case or sleeve or stand can make them even more useful and stylish. If your mom already has a tablet, there is world of accessories from which to choose that will definitely spiff up her tablet kit.