Best Android Tablets of 2011

January 17, 2011

    Updated, April 5th, 2011: Comprehensive Spreadsheets Below

    The tablet space is heating up in a big way. At CES, we witnessed the unveiling of over 70 different tablets. Mobile World Congress demonstrated that Manufacturers, like HTC, Samsung and LG, all of whom have significant clout in the marketplace, are putting their money where their mouth is too, and we now have some serious Xoom contenders. We have compiled a list of the best Android Tablets in 2011. Most of these won’t be available for a few months, but we wanted to ignite your techno lust prematurely so you know where to throw your hard earned dollars. Good news for Qwerty lovers everywhere too, as some unique designs are coming your way. Read on below and let us know which one you like best! 2011 is looking to be the year when some excellent Tablet offerings will be available for all to enjoy.

    Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1-inch

    Unlike its seven-inch predecessor, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 will run the true Honeycomb OS with no overlaying customization or TouchWiz UI. This particular tablet will feature a 10.1-inch TFT display with a 1280 x 800 resolution and 1GHz dual-core Tegra 2 processor. Furthermore, it will come in 16GB and 32GB varieties, and feature a front-facing two-megapixel camera and eight-megapixel rear.Unfortunately, it’s looking like this tablet won’t have HDMI – which is definitely not a good thing.

    All the usual connectivity stuff is there, like b/g/n Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR. With Nividia Tegra 2 Dual Core under the hood, this tablet should have no problems supporting 1080p video playback at 30 frames per second and, thanks to its massive battery, will easily achieve 10 hours of heavy usage. Additional goodies on board include a gyroscope, accelerometer, digital compass, and proximity sensor. Finally, the 10.1 Tab will measure .4-inches thick and weighs just 599 grams.

    Samsung claims it will launch in Europe in June, coming to Vodafone first. Samsung did not say when it will be available in the United States, or which carriers will support it. Samsung has also also finally offered us details into pricing, with the 16GB Wifi-only 10.1 Inch Samsung Galaxy Tab going for $499. Being that it’s a full-fledged Google Experience device with no custom skin means you can anticipate much faster updates than what Samsung has become (in)famous for. You can expect a full review once we get our hands on the device.

    Motorola Xoom: This 10.1-inch Android 3.0, or Honeycomb, tablet sports an Nvidia Tegra 2 dual-core processor, uses a laptop-like 1280 x 800 resolution, and has two cameras: a 2-megapixel sensor in the front for video chat over Wi-Fi, 3G or 4G and a 5-megapixel rear camera for stills and 720p video recording. It will initially work on Verizon’s 3G network but will be upgradeable to 4G / LTE soon after launch. The Xoom is expected to be available in the first quarter, although no pricing has been announced. Most analysts and tech bloggers are saying this is the one to watch, and we are inclined to agree with them. Finally a manufacturer has realized that consumers want a quality, performance tablet with a high resolution screen, and a relatively thin bezel. We will keep you posted and offer you a hands-on as soon as we can. You can find our in-depth analysis and review on the Motorola Xoom here.

    ASUS Eee Pad Transformer: The 10.1-inch Android 3.0 tablet runs for 8 hours and can mate with a keyboard dock, providing a laptop-style configuration while boosting battery life up to 16 hours. The slate runs on the dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2 processor and features two cameras. It will sell for $399 to $699 and be available in April. While different than the Slider, it offers a significantly better keyboard to use, but also a bigger footprint, so its QWERTY magic comes at a price. The 10.1-inch tablet will both be fully functional as a keyboard free device, and be even further functional once it’s docked into the external keyboard.

    ASUS Eee Pad Slider: The smartbook-like 10.1-inch Slider is similar to the Transformer, but features an always-attached, slide-out keyboard and weighs in at 2.2 pounds. It features Android 3.0, a Tegra 2 processor and two cameras. It will sell for $499 to $799 and be available in May. We like the form factor here, and while it feels a bit like there’s wasted space on the keyboard base because of the screen tilt, this is one is compact and light. For those wanting something neater and better looking than a netbook, this is a good one to keep an eye on. People still love having the convenience of a full QWERTY. We can see a clear use for the Asus Eee Pad Slider for many people out there. Many tablets are striving to be just tablets, and it’s good to see a few unique designs being proposed.

    Acer Iconia Tab A500: Iconia is another thin Android tablet, but Acer added a custom UI to the device, which could make future updates a challenge. The lack of hardware buttons on the display bezel required Acer to create gestures from the bezel; sliding a finger from the right edge towards the screen brings up software buttons to go back or home, for example. The 13.3 millimeter thick Iconia runs on a Tegra 2 and will follow the Xoom as an LTE-enabled tablet on Verizon’s network later this year. Judging from what we are hearing regarding the phasing out of physical buttons in favor of gesture based commands and an active taskbar, it seems like the Iconia Tab is going to keep pace with the most recent developments of Android 3.0. The Acer Iconia Tab A500 comes with fabulous features such as a 10-inch touchscreen display, built-in gyroscope, etc. It will be powered by dual core 1 GHz NVidia Tegra 2 chipset processor and bundled with Verizon 4G wireless data plan and 4G LTE connectivity. It will be able to play full HD 1080p video through its built-in HDMI.

    Lenovo IdeaPad U1 Hybrid. This true hybrid of tablet and laptop and is actually two devices in one. Lenovo showed the U1 last year, but retooled the software: Gone is the custom Linux tablet UI in favor of the more popular and recognizable Google Android platform for the detachable screen. The screen detaches for tablet use and can be purchased alone as the $530 LeTab with either 32GB or 64GB of storage. When attached to a keyboard, the device becomes a laptop running Windows 7 with 320GB of storage, 2GB of RAM and Intel 1.2 GHz CPU. All together, it’s $1,300 and is reportedly available in China first. While pricey, some users will prefer to have access to both Windows and Android. This will surely be a niche device, but it does demonstrate that Lenovo is committed to staying on top of the latest trends.

    Toshiba Tablet. Toshiba hasn’t named its 10.1-inch tablet, but like most others, it has outfitted its tablet with Nvidia’s Tegra 2 dual-core processor, a 1280 × 800 touchscreen, two cameras and Android 3.0. Unique to the devices is a nice rubberized back, making the tablet easier to handle. It should be available in the second quarter with Honeycomb, although Toshiba was showing it off with Android 2.2 at CES.

    Notion Ink Adam. Adam features the unique 10.1-inch, 1024 × 600, transreflective, PixelQi display that has an eInk mode to save battery life. Nvidia’s dual-core 1 GHz processor will power Android 2.3 with Notion Ink’s custom Eden interface. Instead of separate front and rear cameras, Adam sports a 3.2 inch swivel camera. The tablet will boast battery life of 16 hours, or 160 hours with the backlight off and costs between $375 and $549, depending connectivity and screen configurations. Tegra 2 is based on a low power ARM processor and high performance NVIDIA graphics that allow tablets like the Adam to handle 1080p HD video playback without breaking a sweat. The chipset can also handle games that will be able to reach up to 1080p resolution.

     

    Also, if you’re not convinced on how great this latest iteration of Tablets are – check out this lengthy video detailing a day with the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1


    The comparison charts above come from our article Tablet comparison posted on April 5th 2011.

    We’d love to hear your thoughts – as always.

    Here’s the download links for high quality versions of the spreadsheets – just right click and save away.

    Best Android Tablets of 2011
    Best Value Android Tablets of 2011


    Comments

    • http://www.flashbynight.com mookstar

      So difficult to choose!

      • nev

        yes you are correct. i will lean towards something that’s bang for the buck and a brand that has good aftersales such as support and updates like apple does. some manufacturers just want to sell their products then leave you to rot.

    • Humus B. Chittenbee

      Would it have been too difficult to end with a spreadsheet comparing/contrasting each against the others with regard to the salient facts? Even a simple ‘processor’ / ‘price’ / ‘resolution’ /’memory’ / ‘input-output ports’ / [and you could go wild with 'GPS - Y/N' ... 'WiFi - Y/N'....etc. if you wanted to enable us to intelligently compare (excuse me) apples to apples.]

      • Dave

        Dude, their simply being introduced. Be thankful you got what you got. (some peeps…Never satisfied)

        • huh?

          Dave Dude… I think Chittenbee has a great point… Sounds like you wrote the article – LOL

      • Darcy Alexander

        I made it for you. Hope you like it.

        • Gatorproof

          Since you included the Viewsonic G perhaps the Elocity A7 deserves a peek? elocitynow.com made by StreamTV and American company.
          Owner Review after 6 months: I have been thru all the ups and downs with this unit and I have to say overall it is great. I have owned 5 or 6 tablets including the Zoom. After 6 months I have been thru all the updates from Elocity and XDA and ModyourMobile (I think it is called).
          Ok: bad 1) heavy and homely, screen is not as fun and wild as my Epic phone. (1+1) however, the tap to enlarge is the best way to make the text larger. No Google market from birth, but that is about it for bad.
          The Good: Decent display, very quick with duel core bench marks in upper 2500′s. Faster then most cell phones and many other tablets. The factory has worked hard in correcting problems. $269 from BJ’s at times. I think I even saw it for like $215 someplace. Now the tablet is an open format meaning that you can do what you want with it firmware wise. I was running a Dexter Mod which was MotoBlur for awhile on my tablet. However, that update did not support the camera, gallery didn’t work but app did, was buggy in the USB, had some size issues because it was running a cell phone display input I guess.The sound and the wifi was buggy. I got to where I hated that firmware, and I tried to get it off the phone and was unable to restore the Elocity firmware and it was simple. I was using recovery and I typed in update.zip as informed when what did the trick was to name the file just update without the zip extention. I then loaded the honeycomb 3.0 firmware or Rom or what ever and played with it for awhile. Cool stuff, but again, no camera but at least the gallery worked but I had to hard boot it way too often. So I finally returned the tablet to the latest Elocity firmware update and used the “signed-update-a7-bbmod” from a young bright lad at XDA (I think) and no my A7 tablet is running all the factory firmware, plus the Google market, and all the USB, Camera and so on work. So here is a little 7″ tablet that is quick as lightning, for less the half the cost of a Zoom or Ipad2 plus it can take SD cards (micro) direct from another source like a camera, up to 32 GB and it also takes standard USB A memory sticks up to 64 GB. So yes it only has a 4 GB factory SSD storage, but when you add the 32GB and the 64GB storage you have a Tegra 2 tablet that will handle 100GB of storage. Ipad2 or Zoom can not do this. When you consider the price you don’t have to make a huge decision to buy this tablet. I use the App 2 SD market app to move most of the apps off the tablet and over to external storage and I have never run out of room on the tablet. Now you have the entire Google market, the entire Getjet market and the Appoke market as well. So not sure how many apps that is but am guessing like a half a million. How may apps does one family need? I bought a little stand on Amazon, two foam cases at the dollar store and double them up to protect it. I put on a skinomi (I think it is called) screen cover. In fact, I bought a 10″ cover, because I was going to use it on the Zoom I bought and when I returned the Zoom, I was able to get 2~ 7″ covers out of the one 10″ display cover. I plan to replace this tablet when a good quality 3D no glasses tablet comes out or now that I saw a 3D 51″ Samsung Plasma TV/monitor for $779 yesterday which is comparable to the LG 3D slate, I may buy the 51″ 3D use it with my tower and just keep the A7 until it dies. What do you really use a wifi tablet for other then laying on the couch or in bed checking you email or surfing or showing you friends photos. Keep in mind this tablet takes a standard HDMI cable and plugs into your big HD TV with full 1080p and looks great on the big screen. Hope this helps anyone who wants a low price and high quality tablet and might be afraid of the Elocity. They are on Amazon refurbs for about $200, I have tried the cheap Gen78, the Cherry Pad and the Viewsonic G 10″ and they don’t hold a candle to this little guy. Although the Viewsonic might be able to be hacked into something worth having? But the UI would have to go and it will never have the storage of (any Elocity, as they all have at least 100GB capacity) and the display is very soft on the Viewsonic G. Cheers Gator

    • http://www.rhlappraisals.com Richard Loor

      Lenovo IdeaPad U1 Hybrid sounds like the real winner out of the bunch and it is the one I would get. I cannot wait until it goes on sale n America.

      • GD

        The Lenovo IdeaPad U1 Hybrid, like so many good ideas that are simply too expensive or simply trying to do too much, is going to go over like a pregnant pole vaulter.

      • Dustin Rader

        The big problem is while you are essentially buying the equivalent of 2 devices, one running windows and one running android, the windows setup looks to be quite under par compared to other laptops this day and age, definitely not gonna be workt 1300 dollars to me when i can buy a good laptop and a tablet just as good if not better for less than 1300 dollars

    • nev

      this is good info. please update it always. thanks.

    • Angry spartan

      So in the end what is the best tablet? The Samsung 10.1?

    • Drag

      No… It’s motorola xoom

    • yehoshua

      I believe that the Gslate wins this round seeing how it has the same capabilities as the Galaxy and the Xoom but it has other ports that Samsung and Motorola decided to leave out such as HDMI out, micro sd reader and headphone jack, these are found in both previously mentioned tablets but not together like in the Lg slate.

      • AndroidDev

        Dude wth you talkin about, I got a Xoom and it has HDMI out, sd card reader and a headphone jack… You could argue the sd card isnt actually working, but it will soon… so no big deal…

    • http://googleandroidtabletpcs.blogspot.com Tom

      i order a android tablets give my son the Birthday gifts only $99 USD !!!!! i think is okay

    • Aisha

      Great list, Keep it updated.

      I wrote a similar post here: http://www.geekreaders.com/selecting-the-best-android-tablets/

    • BlackBerry Playbook price

      My choice would be motorola xoom or galaxy tab

    • http://rootandroid.net Root Android

      I prefer Xoom.

    • Mani

      What is lacking is -
      1. World-wide mobile broadband (GSM+3G/LTE)
      2. SDHC card support
      3. Full 1080p (with Retina Display) display
      4. USB 3.0, Thunderbolt(if open standard), HDMI ports (pick 2)
      5. 1080p video recording
      6. 4MP front and 8MP back cameras.
      7. Quad-core
      8. 10 hour battery with heavy use.

      We are so close, but not there yet.

      • Darcy Alexander

        Hi Mani,

        You sound like one tough customer – but i’m inclined to agree with you. The features/specs you mention are coming, but not for at least one to two years. Theoretically, it’s possible for the manufacturers to build a tablet like this, but it would cost an arm and a leg. Thankfully, technology never sleeps! It is coming – just a question of when. We’ve got you covered!

        • already now

          love where all this is going, but i wonder… is it just too much to ask to put a disk drive into one of these. i know it would make them just a little thicker and heavier, but im looking for a replacment for my laptop, not another accessory. if they could pull that off, i wouldnt think twice about buying one.

          • Guest

            With it the usb ports on them, and thumbdrives and flash memory fewer people use Disks, I know with my laptop I hardly ever use my cd drive. Maybe I’m weird, but I’ve been able to buy and find digital copies of pretty much everything, also with asus ee transform with the keyboard attachment you may be able to have a disk drive built into the keyboard? I’m not sure on the specs of the different keyboards, but I bet if you look hard enough you could find one! happy hunting!

            • Nukdookum

              Ideally what I would want is the model with the disk drive in the dockable keyboard. Use the tablet as a tablet when I was out and about, dock it to a keyboard to include the disk drive, additional batter life, whatever. I don’t want to be weighed down by something I am only going to use only occasionaly.

    • Stephanie Stiles

      Well, after using a Galaxy, Zoom, and a Slate, I chose the Acer Iconia A500. It really is a sleek tab that offers more than the others. Not only did i get a docking station for it, I also have the ability to sync with my PC & my Android phone. Plus, unlike IPads, I can use Adobe software! If you’re looking for the best bang for your buck, go with the Iconia A500 by Acer!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1037392015 Lisa Re Mayer

      I got a Xoom and love it . So it lacks sd support for now . But it does have micro hdmi . 4G speeds and that is all I will need for now . I do however would like to see in the future peripherals like a receiver for streaming to TV’s and stereos . And better accessories for cleaning and transport and in car docking . But I can say over-all I love my Xoom.

    • http://unlockboot.com/ UnlockBoot

      Siri is Cracked ! Now can Run on Android, iPhone, iPad
      http://unlockboot.com/2011/11/siri-is-cracked-android-mac-iphone-4.html

    • Anonymous

      Why pay $499 or more for an Android tablet

    • Anonymous

      I have a Freedom 10 tablet from Android World USA and its great! Only $250 for a 10″ Android tablet, 2 USB ports, 1 HDMI port, 1 MiniSD Card slot, camera for SKYPE and access to thousands of Android apps. I agree with baldeagle…why pay $500 bucks for a name?

    • KID ANDROID

      I have to agree with Stephanie Stilles the best bang for your Buck is thwe ACER ICONIA A500. I got one a couple weeks ago and am completely in love with it. It has without a doubt the best looking screen of any phone or tablet I’ve seen, way better then the screen on my NEXUS S and it has a sweet lookin little screen. *This is after you update the ACER ICONIA to 3.2 and it’s playing in full 1080p instead of the 720p that it’s running at when it’s straight from the factory, which is what you’ll be seeing when it’s in the store*. It has all the inputs /outputs you’ll need including the full 1080p mini HDMI out. It has a full aluminum outer shell that looks absolutely blingin and which makes the unit ultra durable, it still surprisingly light considering that’s one nice size chunk of metal. The entire tablet just oozes style, even with the black suede like cover that comes with it, that’s fully functional so it can be used while it’s in the cover which is a great idea considering the tablet is a little slippery due to the smooth aluminum back. You look like a real electronics pimp sporting the ACER ICONIA lol and you’ll definitely impress everyone that checks your investment out, they won’t have a bad thing to say about it as they ogle it in pure envy. — ☆ KID ANDROID ☆ ACER ICONIA. A500 / NEXUS S OWNER AND LOVER; -)

    • http://www.mspy.com/ Alek

      Agree that Google’s Android mobile OS is the best alternatives to Apple’s iOS when it comes to smartphones and tablet computers. Among my favorites is Sony Tablet S (32GB), no doubt.

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