With the argument already out there that the Apple iPad is the best, strongest, most complete tablet on the market today, the secondary and tertiary questions have to be given a chance. Certainly, the iPad’s showing has been so strong, competition has been still-born. The true danger of getting a different tablet (and there are some out there) is that support may just up and vanish. But that’s only for wimps. If you DON’T need constant hand-holding tech support, then there are some valid things you still need to know when daring to consider a tablet other than the iPad.
This being the first of several ‘looks’ at tablet technology, let’s set it straight: A tablet is a FORM factor; the shape of the thing differentiates a tablet from a netbook or laptop and certainly from a PC (I use that term widely to include Macs as well). What we’re accustomed to seeing is the Slate Tablet form. This hardware, like all computer hardware, includes some way to recognize user input and has a way to render readable output. It’s that output, the screen, or display, that we’re talking about today.
What powers a tablet depends on the operating system. Information about Apple’s iPad OS installations can be found at everymac.com
The iPad 3rd Gen models — the iPad 3rd Gen (Wi-Fi Only), iPad 3rd Gen (Wi-Fi/4G LTE AT&T/GPS), and iPad 3rd Gen (Wi-Fi/4G LTE Verizon/GPS) — ship with iOS 5.1, which supports multitasking.
The iPad 2 models — the iPad 2 (Wi-Fi), iPad 2 (Wi-Fi/GSM/A-GPS), iPad 2 (Wi-Fi/CDMA/A-GPS) — shipped with iOS 4.3, which also supports multitasking and can be upgraded to iOS 5.1 at no cost.
The original Wi-Fi-equipped and Wi-Fi/3G/GPS-equipped iPad models first shipped with iPhone OS 3.2 (Build Number 7B367). This version of the operating system does not support true system-wide multitasking, and instead only supports Apple’s own Mail e-mail, Safari web browser, and iPod media applications running concurrently with other applications. However, the original iPad models do support multitasking when upgraded to iOS 4 or later.
That’s a heap of jibberish to anyone outside the new Apple monoculture. There’s more jibberish when looking at the iPad rivals that run on Android and more still when considering Linux-based tablets. One power-hungry consideration for this constant need to upgrade and update operating systems is the video. The resolution of tablets today rarely exceeds the 1920×1080 of HD television, except, of course, if you’re looking at the new iPad Gen3 which pulverizes HD resolution at 2048 × 1536 on a 9.1-inch screen. That’s just absolutely beautiful but demands software to push 1920 pixels out cleanly to 2048 to maintain a crystal, clear picture. It’s bound to be one of the best screens you’ve ever seen, but it’s processor and resources are busy extrapolating and interpolating to invent dithering and AA factors.
On to tablet PC resolution
For my money, the resolution of an iPad, while stunning to see, is too high a cost to the lovable “multitasking” that everyone’s clamoring for. BluRay spits out 1920 × 1080 – so, in the words of Fat Boy Slim, Why Try Harder? So something more logical might include considering for $50 less, the Acer Iconia Tab A700 which displays a just fine 1920 × 1200 on a 10.1-inch screen exceeding HD television. It runs a competent Nvidia Tegra3 processor at 1.3 Ghz where the iPad runs the mysterious AppleA5X at 1.0 Ghz. “I say mysterious because they’ve decided to make their own processors and benchmark them internally – and that’s annoying.)
More latelyier, the ASUS Transformer Infinity TF700 ties the Acer Iconia at 1920 × 1200 pixels on a 10.4-inch screen. This tablet manages to weigh less than the iPad (1.32 lbs compared to1.44 lbs) and shows that the Android run tablets are in it to win it. O! One more thing, that Transformer Infinity Slate Tablet? It can operate up to 1.7 Ghz with a Tegra3 processor; it’s a smoker!
A June 27th article from 2012 at CNET takes a positive look at the ASUS Transformer Infinity which comes to town as the tablet an earlier model, the Transformer Prime, should have been.
The slot of 1920 × 1200 resolution is currently only held by TWO tablets! But if you want to see a giant listing of tablet comparisons, visit a site called, Tablet Comparison.net