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CostHelper > All Electronics > Tablets > Android Tablets

Android Tablets Prices, Reviews and Specifications


Android tablets use a version of Google's open-source operating system -- there are several version, each named after sweet treats. Ice Cream Sandwich and Honeycomb and recent Android versions that are tailored specifically for tablets. Android tablets typically differ from Apple tablets by allowing Adobe Flash videos to run, something Apple devices cannot do.

Asus Eee Pad Transformer

Update: THe Asus Eee Pad Transformer was discontinued in 2012, but remaining inventory is available at select retailers.

The Asus Eee Pad Transformer is an Android-based tablet that sets itself apart from others in the field by having an optional $150 keyboard/charging dock that turns the tablet into a notebook. The Eee Tab Transformer is one of the least expensive Wi-Fi tablets available -- until the optional keyboard is added.

The Eee Tab Transformer rivals other tabs with its connectivity options, offering up an HDMI port (for mirroring images on a high-definition TV) and a micro SD card reader (for expanded memory) in the tablet itself. Add the dock and there are also two USB ports and a full-size SD card reader. In addition to the 32GB of memory offered on the Asus Eee Tab Transformer, owners get unlimited cloud storage through Asus WebStorage for the first year after purchase.

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Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime

The Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime is the sequel to Eee Pad Transformer, and the Prime is consistently called one of the best Android tablets currently available. It's also award-winning, following the Consumer Electronics Show at the beginning of 2012.

Like the original Eee Pad Transformer, the Prime has a $150 docking station that can be attached to virtually transform the tablet into a netbook with a full-size keyboard and touchpad mouse. The dock also adds a 6-hour boost to the battery life. It offers quite a bit of versatility in terms of connectivity options -- there is a micro HDMI port for mirroring images on a TV and a micro SD card reader for expanded memory. Add the dock and there's also a USB port and a full-size SD card reader. In addition to the 32GB or 64GB storage on the device, there's also 8GB of Asus WebStorage.

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Asus Transformer Pad

On the heels of the release of the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime comes a more affordable version with slightly fewer features. Starting at $379 for the 16GB version, the Transformer Pad delivers comparable power, but the shell is composed of plastic instead of the sturdier aluminum found on the Prime. The Transformer Pad is also slightly thicker and heavier than the Prime.

Like its transforming predecessors, the Pad is available with a $150 wireless keyboard dock that can turn the device into a netbook, although Asus made each dock proprietary, meaning older docks don't work with newer models.

The Transformer Pad offers a variety of uses: Polaris office allows editing and reading Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents; SuperNote allows a variety of note-taking features including scribbling with a finger; and PaintBook which transforms the tablet into a canvas with sensitive drawing tools.

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Asus Transformer Pad Infinity

The Asus Transformer Pad Infinity was released in early 2012 and is a modified version of the Prime. It has a sharper screen and a faster processor, but offers virtually the same features and dimensions. It uses an Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) operating system that launches apps quickly.

Like its transforming predecessors, the Infinity is available with a $150 wireless keyboard dock that can turn the device into a although netbook. The dock is also compatible with the Prime.

The Infinity improves on previous Transformer versions' rear camera, boosting quality to 8MP. It has a F/2.2 aperture and a five-element lens.

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Google Nexus 7

Google's Nexus 7 uses an Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) operating system that offers super-fast functions. Jelly Bean also includes a Google Now feature that provides current information to users including local weather, traffic conditions and their appointment calendars. The Nexus 7 has a voice-activated feature that answers spoken questions.

The Nexus 7 is made by Asus, creator of the popular Transformer series of tablets and a leader in the Android tablet market. But the Nexus is tied to Google's services including Maps, Books, Play and, of course, the search function.

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Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet

Update: The Lenova ThinkPad was discontinued in 2012.

The Lenovo ThinkPad tablet is an Android-based tablet with a 10.1" screen that is aimed more for professional business needs rather than personal use.

It comes loaded with apps to accommodate a variety of business uses from video conferencing to editing and reading Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents. The MyScript Notes app can turn handwriting into digital text on the fly, which is helpful for quick -- and legible -- note-taking.

An optional stylus is sold separately ($30-$40). A Printer Share app makes sending documents wirelessly to a printer easy The tablet also comes preinstalled with McAfee security software.

The Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet offers option 3G access, but not directly through a service provider: Customers must purchase a broadband stick to insert in the USB drive to access 3G connectivity.

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Motorola Xyboard

Update: The Motorola Xyboard was discontinued in 2012.

The Motorola Xyboard is a 10.1" Android tablet that replaces the world's first Android tablet, the Xoom. Running on an Android 3.2 platform (Honeycomb), the device is upgradable to the latest version, Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich).

Like other new tablets on the market, the Xyboard's new feature is a home entertainment remote control hub -- Motorola calls the app Dijit and it serves as both a guide for what's on TV as well as a universal remote to control TVs, cable boxes and other devices.

Motorola clipped the edges on the Xoom, which makes the tablet easier to hold. The device comes in both Wi-Fi models as well as 4G models offered through Verizon. Also, the tablet comes with a stylus and several note-taking apps.

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Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

Update: The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 was discontinued in 2012.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 offers similar pricing and capabilities as the iPad 2, but on Google's tablet-specific Android platform called Honeycomb. It doesn't stand up to comparison with Apple's 3rd generation iPad.

Honeycomb comes standard with an array of applications including Camera, YouTube, Maps, Android Market, Browser, Google Talk, Gmail, and Music, all of which are located on the home screen. But the market of Honeycomb-optimized applications is relatively limited (a few hundred) compared with Apple's 140,000 applications for iPad.

The Galaxy Tab 10.1 does support Flash, a key difference over iPads. The Galaxy Tab 10.1 comes with a set of ear bud headphones, which is rare for tablets.

While the Samsung Galaxy Tab was replaced with a new model, Galaxy Tab 2 10.1, the original model is still available from several retailers.

Samsung and Apple are involved in litigation that places restrictions on the sales of the device in the US. [See Prices, Reviews and Specifications]

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 is the clear successor to the original Galaxy Tab, but there are few changes from the original. The specifications are nearly identical, including the dual-core processor and 1280x800 resolution.

The second-generation Galaxy Tab is run with an Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) operating system and comes with a host of applications for productivity and connectivity. Samsung touts the Peel Remote Control feature that controls TV features and choices.

There are few features that separate Samsung tablets from the pack. Samsung has its own market of apps which the Galaxy Tab can access, in addition to all of the Android apps available through Google Play. The TouchWiz feature is also unique and allows users to customize their tablets.

While the predecessor to the model was involved in litigation, the refresh was not banned from sale in the US. [See Prices, Reviews and Specifications]

Samsung Galaxy Tab 7 Plus

Update: The Samsung Galaxy Tab 7 Plus was discontinued in 2012.

While the Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 is a slimmed-down Galaxy Tab 10.1, the Galaxy Tab 7 Plus is a slimmed-down version of 8.9". The 7 Plus uses a different processor than its larger siblings, and it delivers fast speeds both on Wi-Fi and on T-Mobile's 4G network.

Samsung bills the Android tablet as an entertainment hub, offering extensive gaming choices. Samsung also offers an app called the Peel Smart Remote that integrated home entertainment through the tablet allowing browsing of TV shows and control of TVs and cable boxes. It also provides access to audio and video in the MediaHub where users can download songs and videos at prices similar to iTunes -- songs for about $1, TV shows for about $2.

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Sony Tablet S

Update: The Sony Tablet S was discontinued in 2012.

Introduced in September 2011, the Sony Tablet S is an Android-based tablet with a 9.4" screen -- almost an inch smaller than most Android tablets, and smaller than an iPad as well.

The Tablet S is Sony's attempt to put its best technology in one place: There is access to the PlayStation store, access to Sony's massive music and movie archive, Sony's TruBlack technology to make the screen pop, and a universal remote app that borrows technology from a $250 Sony remote control model.

The remote control app can control TVs, Blu-ray players, cable boxes and game consoles, all of which don't necessarily need to be Sony products.

The Tablet S also has a unique wedge shape that many reviewers say makes it the most comfortable to hold. The wedge shape also reduces glare on the screen when it sits on a flat surface.

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Toshiba Excite 10 LE

Update: The Toshiba Excite LE was discontinued in late 2012. Remaining inventory is still available at some retailers.

The Toshiba Excite 10 LE comes with the standard array of connectivity and productivity tools including various ports such as micro HDMI and mini USB and apps such as QuickOffice and Kaspersky Tablet Security.

Reviewers, despite showing early enthusiasm for the features, were less than impressed with the tablet's capabilities.

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Toshiba Thrive 7

The Toshiba Thrive 7 runs on an Android 3.2 operating system and uses a fast NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor. It comes with the standard array of Google apps like Talk, Books, Reader, Mail, Maps and Search, but also adds Kaspersky Security software and QuickOffice for editing and reading Microsoft documents. There is also an integrated media player for movies and music.

The Toshiba Thrive 7 is not considered a slimmed-down version of its 10" sibling; it loses several features in the process. For example, the 7" has micro USB, SD and HDMI ports, instead of the full-size ports. There is also no longer a removable battery.

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