By December 17, 2010

Android tablet comparison

Pills 14

For the most part Android tablets are the cut price or budget iPad alternatives. There doesn’t seem to be the one size fits all option here. Each one has a massive draw back that will result in endless searching. Here we will devel into the Android tablets worth looking at and pluck out the Christmas king.

Over the last few weeks I have been analysing the tablets, identifying their pros and cons and am determined to come up with a result with which Android tablet is the best iPad alternative. I agree there are many editorials like this online however they only seem to feature a handful of those available and mostly those anticipated.
So lets just say its Xmas. Your loved one doesn’t want an iPad so the search is on for the alternative.  Toy R Us, TJ Hughes, Next, Asda offerings and other sub £200 tablets are being ignored as they really shouldn’t exist. Honestly, they just shouldn’t!

Samsung Galaxy Tab

Processor
Screen
Screen Tech
RAM
ROM
Storage
Expandable
Android version
Camera
Wifi
3G
Weight
Price
Avg Review

Gareth’s thoughts

ARM Cortex A8 1 GHz Samsung-galaxy-tab
7" 600 x 1024
Capacitive
512mb
512mb
16gb
MicroSD – 32gb
2.2
3mp / 1.3mp
B, G, N
Yes
380g
£450
****

It is widely considered that this is far too over priced and therefore cannot be recommended. However, the price is dropping and becoming more in range of the average consumer. As far as Android tablet experiences go this the most complete and robust. From the packaged software to the superior build quality.
The price tag is over inflate but it didn’t stop Samsung shipping over 1 million in the first few months. My full review will online soon.

Archos 101

Processor
Screen
Screen Tech
RAM
ROM
Storage
Expandable
Android version
Camera
Wifi
3G
Weight
Price
Avg Review

Gareth’s thoughts

ARM Cortex A8 1 GHzarchos-101-tablet
1024×600 pixels (WXVGA) 10.1” TFT LCD
Capacitive
256mb
512mb
8/16gb
MicroSD – 32gb
2.2
VGA
B, G, N
No
480g
£269 – £299
***

As announcements arrived of all the new Android tablets this was the first on my list to try. I was almost pleased with it and if the kick stand didn’t break then I would still be using it today. Hindsight proved that the Archos was a good mid range device but there were better ones. The limited RAM was a bit of a crutch and the build quality was a couple of marks off being acceptable. My full review of the Archos 101 is here.

Archos 70

Processor
Screen
Screen Tech
RAM
ROM
Storage
Expandable
Android version
Camera
Wifi
3G
Weight
Price
Avg Review

Gareth’s thoughts

ARM Cortex A8 1 GHzArchos-70
WVGA 800 x 480 pixels, 7” TFT LCD
Capacitive
256mb
512mb
8/16/250gb
MicroSD – 32gb
2.2
VGA
B, G, N
No
300/400g
£229 – £299
***

The 101’s little brother might be the more successful solution. There are gripes about the kickstand but the viewing angles are better and the form factor will be a lot more manageable than it’s bigger brother. The limited RAM is again a cause for concern for future upgrades however Froyo seems to work perfectly well.

Toshiba Folio 100

Processor
Screen
Screen Tech
RAM
ROM
Storage
Expandable
Android version
Camera
Wifi
3G
Weight
Price
Avg Review

Gareth’s thoughts

Nvidia T20 Tegra 2toshiba_folio100_tablet-eur
10.1 WSVGA 1024 x 600
Capacitive
512mb
512mb
16gb
SD – 32gb
2.2
1.3mp
B, G, N
No
760g
£329
*

One of the most appealing tablets on the market. Most of the specs indicated it might be one of the better tablets but that was not to be, it’s first release was marred with negativity. Instability and no flash out of the box. The Google experience did not arrive either and Toshiba bundled their own, very limited, app store, not even a semi functional one like Archos’ Appslib. Side-loading apps was problematic and the viewing angles were extremely limited. The Dixons group reported most were returned and Toshiba is away back to the drawing board. Such a shame.

Advent Vega

Processor
Screen
Screen Tech
RAM
ROM
Storage
Expandable
Android version
Camera
Wifi
3G
Weight
Price
Avg Review

Gareth’s thoughts

Nvidia T20 Tegra 2advent-vega-tablet
1024 x 600 WVGA LED
Capacitive
512mb
512mb
0
MicroSD – 32gb
2.2
1.3mp
B, G
Yes
700g
£249
****

This seems to be the best deal at the moment and it would seem the majority of those interested in Android Tablet are trying get their hands on then. Selling out repeatedly since launch the Vega marks a perfect balance of value and specs it’s the only budget device to look at. Prices range from £200 if you are prepared to wait for stock to £400 for resellers on ebay. My review will be online in the coming week.

Huawei S7

Processor
Screen
Screen Tech
RAM
ROM
Storage
Expandable
Android version
Camera
Wifi
3G
Weight
Price
Avg Review

Gareth’s thoughts

ARM Cortex A8 768MHZHID
7" 800×480 TFT
Resistive
512mb
512mb
4gb
MicroSD – 16gb
2.1
2mp
B, G, N
Yes
500g
£245
**

The unpronounceable Huawei is refreshing to look at and whilst the price resembles the Advent Vega the specs are notably more limited. The obvious criticism are the resistive touchscreen and the processor. The kickstand is a great addition and the attractive size will turn heads. My full review should be online soon.

Viewsonic 10

Processor
Screen
Screen Tech
RAM
ROM
Storage
Expandable
Android version
Camera
Wifi
3G
Weight
Price
Avg Review

Gareth’s thoughts

Intel Pine Trial-M N455 1.66GHzViewSonic-ViewPad-10
10.1" LED BL 1024×600
Capacitive
1GB
N/A
16gb
MicroSD – 32gb
1.6
1.3mp
B, G, N
No
835g
£430
**

The biggest oddity on this list and a device that has caused much confusion Stateside. This is not the G-tablet, a tablet similar to the Advent Vega sold by Seers but a hybrid device with dual boot capability. Android 1.6 is at play here which is a crying shame but apparently runs lightening fast. It is more than likely the user will boot to Windows as this more of a fully featured operating system. The specs are high obviously to run Windows but this brings with it a high price tag and for an Android user its not really worth your while. An unofficial upgrade will run on here to get a bit of Froyo action but only if you want to get your hands dirty.

Viewsonic 7 / Commtiva N700

Processor
Screen
Screen Tech
RAM
ROM
Storage
Expandable
Android version
Camera
Wifi
3G
Weight
Price
Avg Review

Gareth’s thoughts

Qualcomm MSM7227 600 MHzLinx Commtiva N700 Face on Web Large
7" 480 x 800 WVGA
Capacitive
512mb
512mb
0
MicroSD – 32gb
2.2
3mp / VGA
B, G
Yes
375g
£329
***

This really looked to be the biz. The build quality is excellent and justified the £300 price point. The specs look great until you get to the 600mhz processor. Obviously a cut had to be made somewhere to stop the price tag resembling the Galaxy Tab. The speed decrease is noticeable when running a bunch of applications or bigger games but for the casual user this will be a satisfying experience.

Dell Streak

Processor
Screen
Screen Tech
RAM
ROM
Storage
Expandable
Android version
Camera
Wifi
3G
Weight
Price
Avg Review

Gareth’s thoughts

1 GHz Qualcomm SnapdragonDell-Streak_Navigation-Scre
5" 480 x 800
Capacitive
512mb
512mb
2gb
MicroSD – 32gb
2.2
5mp / VGA
B, G
Yes
220g
£385
****

I have included this for two reasons. Firstly it has recently had the 2.2 update and this sorts out some of the speed issues i have pointed out in the past. But secondly because the second hand market is seriously attractive. A new one will cost you £400+ however on Gumtree and Ebay the prices are half that. Given it has 3g capability and high end specs this is a bargain. A lot of people are unhappy with theirs and are unaware that updates are rolling out. A bargain if you don’t mind buying second hand.

Notionink Adam

Processor
Screen
Screen Tech
RAM
ROM
Storage
Expandable
Android version
Camera
Wifi
3G
Weight
Price
Avg Review

Gareth’s thoughts

Nvidia T20 Tegra 2notion-ink-adam-android-tablet
10.1″ 1024 × 600 LCD or Pixel Qi
Capacitive
1GB
1GB
8gb
MicroSD – 32gb
2.2
3.2mp on a swivel
B, G, N
Yes
700g
£450
TBA

One of the more interesting Tablets that features heavy optimisation and a nice OS face-lift. The specs are up there and as is the price. Pre-Orders are being taken and it’s selling out almost instantly. The Community is excited about this one however as newbies Notion Ink have not proved themselves and could be selling headaches. On the other hand they appear to be clever, cunning and motivated to make an interesting tablet. Only time will tell.

Conclusions


So which one to buy? They each have their redeeming qualities and as I have outlined before they each have their flaws. Asking yourself why you want a tablet is probably the best place to start. Don’t worry I will be giving you a result after a little ramble, many online resources have tablet comparisons and end by telling you to go with whichever ticks your boxes. You can do that, however if you have read this far then you are obviously looking for my outcome.

There solution is simple. Both Archos’ have build quality issues and limited viewing angles. The Toshiba is a mess. The Huawei is technically inferior and the resistive screen won’t make things easier. The Viewsonic 10 is for technical boffins. The Dell Streak is too small. The Notionink is too much of a gamble until someone fully reviews it.

It’s been wittled down to three:

The Viewpad 7/N700 will impress until you start running more and more apps. Video playback is chuggy and that’s a bad sign for trying a little 3D gaming. The Galaxy Tab is the roundest of them all and the price tag shows this.

So that leaves us with the Advent Vega. Not quite. I have been using it for a week now and there is a problem. A pretty big problem. When using a full screen application, one that removes the status bar, you will loose access to the Menu button. It’s not going to affect everything you use, however it is a level of short sightedness that will you cannot ignore.

So that brings us back to the Galaxy Tab. The build quality isn’t as high as the iPad, but what will be. The Tab’s build quality is terrific, very solid. The size is nice, it has a good weight. The price has dropped by about £100 to a more reasonable £450. It’s really the only one to buy.

Posted by Gareth

Posted in: Editorial

About the Author:

Seasoned tech blogger. Host of the Tech Addicts podcast.
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