There is no single tablet out there that can satisfy everyone’s needs, although they come in variety of sizes, specs, and prices. But despite this diversity, it turns out that the amount of smart choices a potential tablet buyer will have throughout the end of 2012 will not be that numerous. This is intended to be a preliminary tablet guide for 2012.
Here are the candidates we have so far:
#1: Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7
The Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 7.7 has a number of qualities that qualify it as one of the best tablets of 2012. The LTE connectivity (in the Verizon version reviewed here), the 1.4 GHz dual-core processor paired with 1GB of RAM, and the amazing portable design (7.9mm thick) are reasons enough to call it one of the most desirable tablets Samsung currently has to offer. But what really makes it a smart choice is the fact that the Galaxy Tab 7.7 is the only SAMOLED Plus tablet around. The amazingly bright 7.7-inch Non-Pentile display is capable of a 1280 x 800 pixel resolution at a 197 dpi and represents a totally unique experience.
The cons of choosing to buy a Galaxy tab 7.7 lie in its steep price (the Wi-Fi + 3G unlocked international version will set you back $660) and its outdated Android version. Currently shipping with Android 3.2 Honeycomb, the Tab 7.7 is expected to receive an update to Ice Cream Sandwich over the following months.
The Galaxy Tab 7.7 was released in March 2012, and there is currently no available information regarding the imminent follow-up. Bear in mind that a recent Digitimes report claims Samsung is about to introduce SAMOLED displays capable of pixel densities of around 290ppi, but we’re still waiting for official confirmation on that. In addition, at MWC 2012, Samsung has revealed its quad-core Exynos chip designed to go into upcoming high end tablets and smartphones, so the future of portable SAMOLED tabs might be even brighter than we think.
#2: ASUS Transformer Prime
The ASUS Transformer Prime holds the very respectable title of being the first quad-core tablet available on the consumer market. What’s even more respectable is the fact that over four months have passed since its release, giving ASUS a once unthought advantage over other tablet makers. Built on the Nvidia Tegra 3 SoC paired with 1GB of RAM, the Transformer Prime features a charming 10.1 inch Super IPS+ display capable of a 1280 x 800 resolution, and was recently updated to Ice Cream Sandwich – the freshest version of Android available. In justice to its name, the Transformer Prime can be quickly transformed into a laptop using its dedicated keyboard dock. Available for $150 extra, the dock prolongs the battery life for about 6 hours and is also able to transfer juice to the tablet in order to increase its autonomy.
Soon after the Prime was released, many users started reporting trouble with their Wi-Fi and GPS, but fortunately, the problem has been since solved with a firmware update. The 32GB Wi-Fi only version costs around $600, but I do get the feeling that we are also charged some kind of ‘early adopter’ fee along with the tablet itself. Most likely, the Transformer Prime price is about to drop considerably over the next couple of months, when other quad-core devices are expected to start hitting the market.
A follow up to the Transformer Prime is expected to arrive at some point in Q2 under the Asus Transformer Infinity name. Along with a subtle redesign, the Infinity will also feature an impressive 1920 by 1200 pixel resolution, ensuring the fact that the Transformer line will continue to be attractive throughout 2012.
#3: The new iPad
Take a deep breath, Android fanatics. Now carry on. The third version of Apple’s iPad has recently hit the consumer market, with record sales reported since. Although slightly thicker than the iPad 2 and boasting the same CPU performance as the previous model, the new iPad features a 10 inch retina display running at a native 2048 by 1536 resolution. The design is Apple-esque and those familiarized with the iOS ecosystem are well aware that the number and quality of apps available are both remarkable. On the downside, you get slight overheating issues plus the feel that Apple could have delivered more.
The fourth iPad generation will definitely not be unveiled until 2013, so there is no point of talking about it in this article’s context.
#4 OLPC XO 3.0
When it comes to dirt-cheap tablets, the XO 3.0 tablet designed under the “One Laptop Per Child” UN initiative is definitely the one that stands out the most. Evidently, the specs are definitely not top-class: Marvell Armada PXA618 CPU, 512MB of RAM and definitely not the best display around, but you’ll find that it’s sure worth its $100 price tag.
The OLPC XO 3 is not a slim tablet by any means, but that can be easily overlooked since it is meant to withstand tough conditions: rubberized, waterproof back, as well as a glass display. On top of that, the Marvell Armada chip enables it to consume less than 2 watts of electric power. In fact, the OLPC XO 3.0 is so power efficient that you’ll be able to charge its battery at a 10:1 (10 minutes of use for 1 minute of charging) ratio with a hand crank and at a 2:1 ratio with the optional solar panel cover. Cool specs for a $100 tablet right?
#5 Huawei MediaPad10 FHD
Huawei are bound to hit all sectors of the smartphone/tablet market in 2012 and have already announced a slew of devices with fairly impressive specs. The Huawei MediaPad10 FHD, pegged for a Q2 release date, will use Android 4.0 and is based on the same quad-core processor as the Ascend D Quad, namely the 1.5GHz K3 CPU, that preliminary benchmarks suggest as being the fastest CPU available for smartphones and tablets. On top of that, the 10-inch IPS+ display will capable of a 1,920 by 1,200 pixel resolution. Other specs include Dolby Surround Sound audio processing, HSPA+/LTE connectivity, 2GB of RAM and a 8MP primary camera.
No pricing information has been made available yet but from the looks of it, the Huawei MediaPad10 FHD is a serious contender for the number one spot in the 2012 tablet wars. Just read the specs again!
So there you have it! These are the devices that are most likely to make the biggest impact on the tablet market during the remaining of 2012. Any preferences? Did we omit your favorite tablet? Let us know in the comment section below!