Like my eReader Review Roundup post, this is a gathering of reviews for tablet devices. There are other tablets on the market besides the ones I’ve chosen to include here, but I picked these because they are either made by eReader companies, or have solid eReading functions, or are the tablets that you typically find major electronics stores. In other words, they are the tablets that you’re most likely to use for eBook reading, in my opinion.
Apple iPad 2 Reviews
Engadget – “It might frustrate the competition to hear this, but it needs to be said: the iPad 2 isn’t just the best tablet on the market, it feels like the only tablet on the market.”
TechCrunch – “Let me sum all of this up in a simple way: the iPad 2, should you buy one? Maybe — it depends on a few factors. Will you want to buy one? Yes. Use that information wisely.”
PCMag – “The clear standout in the ever-widening sea of tablets, the Apple iPad 2 brings a slimmer design, faster processing, dual cameras, and FaceTime video chat to a tablet that already had a leg up on the competition.”
PCWorld – “The iPad 2 remains the tablet to beat, even though its improvements represent just a satisfying aesthetic and spec evolution over its predecessor. ”
CNet- “The iPad 2 refines an already excellent product. Its easy-to-use interface, vast app catalog, and marathon battery life bolster Apple’s claim to being the king of tablets. ”
Wired – “Skinnier profile shows mercy to your joints. Big performance boost makes apps, games and web browsing more zippy. Same $500 starting price and 10-hour battery life. Mediocre cameras make still photos look slimy. Thinner body makes physical buttons on the side a little harder to press.”
Nook Color Reviews
Engadget – “So, is the Nook Color worth your hard-earned cash? Well, we’ll say this — if you’re a hardcore reader with an appetite that extends beyond books to magazines and newspapers, the Color is the first viable option we’ve seen that can support your habit. Not only does Barnes & Noble have an astoundingly good selection of e-book titles, the company seems to be aggressively pursuing the periodical business, which is a big deal.”
TechCrunch – This page is specifically for the “Nook Tablet” not the Nook Color. Same basic deal though. Not a full review. TechCrunch doesn’t seem to have a full review on the Nook Color.
PCMag – “More than an ebook reader, less than a full-blown tablet, the Nook Color’s artful compromises make for a compelling, color reading experience that is ideal for both books and magazines.”
PCWorld – “Highlights of this premium e-reader include an intuitive, elegant interface and an LCD screen with minimal glare. ”
CNet- “Barnes & Noble’s Nook Color is a very capable color touch-screen e-book reader that offers much of the functionality of an Android tablet for half the price of an iPad.”
Wired – “Nook Color is the only ‘reader’s tablet,’ straddling dedicated e-book readers like the Kindle and multipurpose tablets like the iPad. I was expecting tradeoffs. I wasn’t expecting its advantages.”
Amazon Kindle Fire Reviews
Engadget – “The Kindle Fire is quite an achievement at $200. It’s a perfectly usable tablet that feels good in the hand and has a respectably good looking display up front. Yes, power users will find themselves a little frustrated with what they can and can’t do on the thing without access to the Android Market but, in these carefree days of cloud-based apps ruling the world, increasingly all you need is a good browser. That the Fire has.”
PCMag – “The first easy-to-use, affordable small-screen tablet, the Amazon Kindle Fire is revolutionary.”
PCWorld – “The 7-inch, Android-based Amazon Fire will appeal to those who buy books, videos, and music at Amazon, but it will frustrate those looking for a more versatile slate.”
CNet- “Though it lacks the tech specs found on more-expensive Apple and Android tablets, the $199 Kindle Fire is an outstanding entertainment value that prizes simplicity over techno-wizardry.”
Wired – “iPad killer? No, the Kindle Fire is not. And it doesn’t even match the iPad in web browsing, the one area in which its hardware should have sufficient performance to compete. But the press has definitely supercharged Amazon’s product launch with a level of hype and enthusiasm that would make Apple proud.”
Kobo Vox Reviews
This gadget is perhaps too new to have many solid reviews online, but I’ve dug up what I can:
Engadget – This is Engadget’s basic informational page about the Kobo Vox.
PCMag – A “Hands on” post, not a full review. “In fact, the fact that the Vox is an Android tablet serves as a rather stark reminder that Kobo’s strength is its application … inside the Vox’s social Pulse e-reading application, I didn’t want to leave.”
PCWorld – Not a real review. This is more of a news post.
CNet – Again, not quite a real review yet, just information.
Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 Reviews
Engadget – “The conclusion we came to after using the Tab 10.1 Limited Edition mimics the conclusion we’ve drawn here: this is the best Honeycomb tablet to date, and lucky for you, this one’s available to purchase!”
PCMag – “The Verizon version of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 takes the thin, powerful tablet and adds blazing 4G LTE speeds, but it ratchets up the price as well.”
PCWorld – “Thin and stylish, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 hits all the right marks. And at 1.24 pounds, this is the lightest 10-inch-class tablet you can buy. ”
CNet- “Sleek, sexy, and light, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 gets as close to the iPad 2 as any Android tablet before it.”
Wired – “The trouble is that both hardware and software are rough around the edges. Honeycomb feels like Linux on the desktop before Ubuntu came along, and the Tab 10.1 itself feels like somebody made a toy plastic iPad. The screen stands alone as being quite excellent, but it’s not enough to save the rest.”
Motorola Xoom Reviews
Engadget – “Besides boasting what we consider to be the most complete and clearly functioning version of Android, the hardware which is packed inside Motorola’s tablet is really quite good. The tablet is fast and sleek, and while not exactly being really futureproof, the fact that you’ve got a path to a 4G upgrade is tremendous (and frankly, something no one else in the industry is offering).”
TechCrunch – “Few tablets have met with such widespread anticipation as the recently-announced Xoom. It is the closest anyone has come to an iPad equivalent for the Android set. I was impressed with the speed, design, and quality of the device, and although there are a few caveats, I came away optimistic for the new crop of Honeycomb devices that will follow this one.
PCMag – “The Wi-Fi Motorola Xoom is a solid Android tablet with Flash support, but it doesn’t measure up to the Apple iPad 2 in terms of app selection.”
PCWorld – “The Xoom is well-conceived and well-constructed, but some rough edges, a middling display, and a high price may deter early adopters.”
CNet- “The Xoom’s spec sheet is enough to make any tablet tremble, but the price is high and Google still has some work to do before its tablet software experience is as fleshed out and intuitive as Apple’s.”
Wired – “As Sly Stone said, the nicer the nice, the higher the price.”
Recently I was at Best Buy to check out netbook computers, and while I was there I decided to look at the tablets. I recently wrote a Squidoo page and article comparing tablets to e-readers, but that was based on technical specifications and my own general knowledge about the technology. I figured it would be a good idea to mess around with these devices a bit, since there is no way I’m going to be buying one anytime soon.
The main three tablets available right now are the iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab, and the Xoom.
First, I looked at the Samsung Galaxy Tab. All I could find was the 7″ model (like these). The price for these was $499. I didn’t see the newer 10.1″ model anywhere (not sure if they are even in stores yet). The size of the device seemed too small to really function as a tablet. It’s inbetween the size of a phone and a larger tablet like the iPad, which just leaves it in some kind of no-man’s land. I felt like if I owned one, there would be no real reason to use it instead of my phone or laptop. Its response time seemed just a tad too slow, as well, but I don’t know if that was just a problem with the particular display model I was using. When I would tap the icon to see the apps, the screen didn’t change instantly so I tapped it again, thinking that it didn’t register my tap. Then everything processed all at once, and the app screen appeared and then closed again. I went through this twice before realizing that it was just a bit slow. It’s okay if it takes a second for the screen to change, but there was no indication that anything was happening, so it caused me to tap again and again, waiting for something to happen. Once I was able to get to an app and open it, the graphics looked nice, though.
Next, I looked at the iPad. To be totally honest, I’ve never been that impressed with the iPad. It’s basically a big version of the iPhone. I used an iPhone for about three years (before the upgrades in iOS caused my 3G model to function really poorly) so I’m just not excited about the iPad because it’s the same exact thing. I do like the size of it, though. If I owned one, I would definitely use it to read ebooks and other texts. I think it would also be fun to play games on it. I think it would be excellent to use during travel, especially while waiting in an airport, but I rarely fly anywhere. Again, the price was $499.
Finally, I found the Motorola Xoom. It was displayed next to the netbooks, which was my main reason for going to Best Buy in the first place. I’m glad that they had the Xoom in that location, because it was amusing to see the size comparison. The netbooks have a 10.1″ screen, and so does the Xoom, so the Xoom looked like a netbook that was missing its keyboard. The Xoom is way fancier than a netbook, though. I was more impressed with it than the other tablets by far. It was very responsive, no matter how much I tapped or flicked through the screens. Something about the design of interface seemed futuristic, which was cool. Without paying attention to the actual specs, it felt like it was the most powerful device. It was also the most expensive, at $799. If I were shopping for a computer, I’d buy a whole laptop at that price instead of a tablet.
I didn’t end up getting a netbook either — I mostly went to the store because I wanted to see how big the keyboards were, to get an idea of whether it would be comfortable to type on one. I’m considering buying a netbook to use for some writing projects that I’m going to be doing soon, as well as possibly using it as a backup hard drive because they come with a lot of disk space. If I get one it will be the HP Mini. At $299, it would give me a very lightweight and portable laptop with a real keyboard. For my purposes, I would prefer that over a tablet.