Tablets: Five of the best

It is officially tablet season with every brand, large and small, announcing a new model with mind-boggling specifications day by day and if you simply must have one now, here is a rundown of our top five:

Best for design: Apple iPad
Mighty Apple rarely get it wrong when it comes to style and the iPad is no exception. A spectacular minimalist lightweight design, the iPad weighs just 1.5lbs and is 0.5 inch thick with a 9.7 inch screen. Its screen is LED, multi-touch, capacitive and supports HD.  As well as the expected bells and whistles including Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, speaker and microphone, it also comes with a compass and a accelerometer and is powered on a speedy Apple 1GHz A4 chip.  Then there’s all the fun you can have with apps specially pixelated to fit across the larger screen.  At a cost of between £300 – £450, it isn’t as costly as some of Apple’s other products too.

Best for budgeting: Freescale Smartbook Tablet
With so many competitors on the market, Freescale have been the only to advertise a recession-friendly Tablet estimated to cost £125.  At that price you’d think you would be giving up a lot of critical tablet-esque features but it seems not when you look at the specifications – see my last review [insert link]. The tablet has a 7 inch screen, wi-fi, Bluetooth, and a 3MP camera.  It also comes with an optional keyboard docking station should you find yourself craving the miss the traditional laptop set up.

Best Hybrid: Lenovo IdeaPad U1 Hybrid
Lenovo was the first to introduce the laptop-come-tablet model making other PC makers kick themselves for not thinking of it first. The IdeaPad U1 functions as a laptop or a tablet.  Once detached, the tablet will get running independently in under 3 seconds. The two devices also work intrinsically with each other when apart by sharing battery power, 3G wireless, data and documents.  It gets points for style too, with a shiny red cover and rounded edges it looks like a trendy laptop.  The IdeaPad U1 notebook has an 11.8 inch HD, LED, multi-touch screen and it runs on a powerful ARM processor.

Best for durability: iTablet
The cheekily named iTablet, produced by British PC makers X2, has made a big impact in the UK market.  X2 design specifically for corporate use therefore might be the tablet of choice should larger companies decide to adopt slate culture.  It weighs in at 1.2kg and is around 1.5 inches thick.  It has a 10.2 inch capacitive screen with multi-touch, and is powered by an Intel Atom 1.6Ghz processor, 3 USB ports and an inbuilt webcam. It also has a large storage capacity and uses Windows 7 as its operating systems.

Best for portability: Dell Mini 5
If you’re not quite ready to embrace slateism, you could pick up the Dell Mini 5 which functions as a cross between a smartphone and a netbook in a mid size 5 inch package. Like other tablets, it allows for internet browers, e-book reader support and built with a Qualcomm snapdragon chip which should enable it to use various operating systems.

Freescale announce recession beating tablet

At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this week some impressive technology has been unveiled, among them, the new Freescale Smartbook Tablet which is due to be launched this summer.

At the risk of sounding like a complete luddite, I’m not sure I fully comprehend the excitement and hype around the tablet.  Essentially it is what would happen if a smartphone mated with a laptop, or maybe a smartphone and an eReader – either way, I’m not entirely sure what is wrong with the classic netbook design as it stands but then if we all thought like that there would be no room for innovation would there?

Much scope has arisen recently around Freescale’s announcement especially as the creators behind the Kindle chip have promised the new Tablet to cost a very recession-friendly £125.  From a purely superficial perspective, it certainly looks impressive.  Its sexy design carries a smooth and simple 7-inch wide touchscreen fixed within a black soft-edged frame that gives it the sort of newness that makes you want to use it once then polish it clean of fingerprints.

Internally it comes with a 3D desktop framework, the ability to support web browser applications, an RSS reader, an office suite and add-ons for all of your favourite social networking sites.  It also has between a 4 and 64GB storage space and 512 MB memory, wi-fi and bluetooth connectivity, USB, audio and SIM ports, a speaker and a microphone as well as a 3MP webcam and an optional keyboard docking station. The only oversight seems to be the absence of non-capacitive screen, left out presumably to cut costs; but given all they promise to pack in isn’t £125 somewhat unrealistic anyway?

Remember though, that this is the first of many tablet designs to launch with Apple and Dell also promising their own models to be built with added wow-factor.