Almost one year ago, Acer released its first Android-powered tablet: the Iconia Tab A500. It entered the market at an excellent price point, while still offering the same hardware specs as the then-current tablet top-dogs. As a result, the Android community embraced this budget powerhouse, making it one of the more popular Android tablets of 2011.
Fast-forward to the present, and the A500's successor, the A510, is now available. This is more of an incremental update to the A500, as it packs the NVIDIA's powerhouse quad-core Tegra 3 superchip, but the majority of the other specs are nearly identical to its predecessor.
Adding a tempting new device to the current pool of affordable 7" tablets, ZTE and Sprint introduced the 3G-connected Optik in February, bringing to market a great 7" display, Android 3.2 Honeycomb, and an ample 1.2GHz dual-core snapdragon processor, all for $99 on a new contract. In a nutshell, the Optik is a decent 7" tablet for those on a budget. While it isn't the best tablet around, it's powerful enough for most tasks, feels great in the hand, and isn't too bad to look at.
Although we heard rumblings that the Prime would be delayed, some lucky customers have already received their Asus Transformer Primes, and it was briefly available (again) on Amazon before quickly selling out (again). Based on the universally glowing reviews (including my own), you're probably well aware by now that the Prime is a truly excellent piece of tech. But how does it compare to its older brother, the Transformer (TF101)?
The Toshiba Thrive and I don't exactly have a great history. And that's probably putting it mildly. In fact, in my first review of Toshiba's first Tegra 2 tablet (yes, I had to write a second one) earlier this year, I panned it so hard that I basically just started textually abusing the poor thing. So, at the behest of commenters and colleagues, I rewrote it. My revised review (here) was a little less harsh, but I'll be the first to admit: I didn't like the Thrive, and after spending even more time with it after the review, my feelings were unchanged.
As yet another step in improving the function of its site on tablets, Google has added a useful feature to the mix in regards to image search results. Now, when you search for an image you'll be greeted with a much more pleasant interface, which includes larger images and the new carousel view.
Once you've searched for an image, simply tap on it to enlarge. Swiping will take you to the next image, which is a really nice way to navigate through all of the pictures.
The Asus Transformer Prime: the first Android device to ship with a quad-core chip, courtesy of NVIDIA's brand new Tegra 3 (Kal-El) CPU. But there's more of a hook here than power alone - Asus has gone back to the drawing board for the Prime (model number TF201) and revamped the device from nearly head to toe compared to its predecessor, the TF101. It's substantially thinner, lighter, and more attractive than the rather portly 101, while packing a much more powerful CPU, better display, and reportedly better battery life.
The Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus is the best Android tablet I have ever used - hands down. No contest, nothing else comes even close. I've used the Tab 10.1, the Toshiba Thrive, the Motorola XOOM, the ASUS Transformer, the HTC Flyer, the Acer Iconia A500, and the original Galaxy Tab. The Tab 10.1 is probably the next best thing (with TouchWiz UX), but it seems downright slow next to the Tab 7.0 Plus at times.
When we first saw ASUS' Eee Pad Slider at CES, we very nearly dismissed it at once. It was thick, tablets with physical keyboards showed no sign of gaining popularity, and Honeycomb had yet to come out of the woodwork. Besides, ASUS' own cheaper, slimmer Transformer had already caught our hearts. Our confidence was not raised by the long period of silence that followed - in fact, the only Slider-related posts we've written since January are an unofficial hands-on by a Romanian blog and the announcement of the slate's pricing.
After much debate, several upset comments, and a number of good points made - I've decided to rewrite the review of the Toshiba Thrive. Admittedly, the first review lacked the kind of thorough objectivity we usually try to achieve when we look at new hardware, and it's not fair to readers to make a jump to the conclusion without a complete analysis first. I apologize.
The Toshiba Thrive has been a darling of the Android community since it was unveiled way back in January at CES in Las Vegas, when it was still just the young, nameless "Toshiba Tablet." Fast-forward 7 months, it's July, and the Thrive is finally here - but has it matured well?
Tablets are rapidly changing the way we approach technology. They give a sense of immediacy and tactile connection that desktops and notebooks can't touch; however, I will be the first to admit that the hype seemed stupid to me. Several coworkers purchased the original iPad on the day it launched and were eager to show them off. "But what can you do with it?" was my question, and there wasn't a good answer.