Tablet PCs – A Comparative Review

This evaluation, part of the series of reviews on best value notebooks and netbooks, is on another class of computers with an even lower form factor than netbooks – Tablet PCs. Tablet PCs differ in that they boast a touch screen and a stylus that allows easy navigation. The stylus permits freehand drawing/writing (uses handwriting recognition software), a cumbersome task to achieve with notebook or netbook.

Though Microsoft coined the term “Tablet PC” in 2001, the first successful mass-market product was the Apple iPad launch on 4/2010. Over the years, Tablet PCs underwent various iterations. Chief among them are the Slate Tablet PCs that was similar to a writing slate and the Convertible Tablet PCs whose swiveling keyboard allowed for dual functionality – slate tablet as well as a netbook. Most Slate Tablet PCs also allow enabling an external keyboard through USB or wireless.

Ample selection is on hand for consumers on the lookout for Tablet Computers. Since the Apple iPad launch, a plethora of announcements and products rumored to have been in concept stage have bombarded the market. Tablet Computers still in concept stage include announcements by Freescale, Foxconn, HTC, MSI, and a prototype by the Government of India for Tablet PCs with an expected price of $35. One major disappointment among the Tablet Computers rumored to have been in the concept stage was from Microsoft when they shelved the MS-Courier product at announcement this April prompting a petition from the Internet community asking them to reconsider this move.

Below is a look at Tablet PCs currently available in the market selected on the basis of web popularity, sorted by price:


ProductThumbnailBest PriceDetails
Archos 7$149Outstanding Value! 8GB HD, 7” TFT LCD touchscreen, Android-based OS, Wi-Fi.
Coby Kyros MID7015 7-Inch Android Internet Connection Tablet$154Great low-cost alternative as a media and internet device. Android 2.1 OS, 7-inch resistive tourchscreen, microSD card slot up to 16GB, built-in 4GB, Accelerometer, EBook reader, 3200 mAH battery.
Zenithink 10” Touchscreen Android 2.1 Tablet$210Great choice for early adopters who do not mind firmware upgrades and other optimizations. Android 2.1 OS, 1080p HD video, MicroSD Card Slot.
Velocity Micro T301 Cruz 7-Inch Android Tablet$220Read Kindle books in full color. 4GB Internal, Android-Based OS, Cruz Market interface to download/install other apps.
Motion Computing Le1600$265Good choice for people those who want to stick with the ubiquitous Windows XP. Windows XP Tablet PC – superset of XP professional, 60GB HD, 1.5GB RAM, View anywhere screen, Bluetooth, Full Digitizer Pen.
iRobot Google Android 2.1 Apad$300Apple iPad clone that runs on Google Android. PDF, Word, Excel, Email. 128MB RAM and 4GB storage, WiFi, GPS via Google Maps.
Compaq TC1100 Tablet PC$3202003 Model. Windows XP Tablet Edition OS. 512MB RAM, 40GB HD.
Viewsonic G-Tablet $440Great Apple iPad alternative for folks willing to invest in enhancing the user experience – ROM replacement, etc. Solid cutting-edge hardware, but firmware replacement is a must as the in-built one is below par. 10” Multi-Touch LCD Screen Android OS 2.2, MicroSD slot upto 32GB, 16GB HD, 3D-Like graphics – NVIDIA Tegra 2 Processor, Virtual QWERTY keyboard, 8-10 hour battery – 3650mAH Li-ion.
Toshiba Portege m200$450Another 2003 Edition Windows XP Tablet for folks wanting to tinker with older models and/or wanting to stick with Windows XP.
ASUS Eee PC T101MT-EU27-BK Convertible Tablet$459Great choice for folks having a hard time to choose between a netbook and tablet. Item ATOM N455 CPU, Winodws 7 Starter OS, Multi Touch when loaded with Windows 7 Home Premium. 250GB, 3 USB Ports, 6.5 hour battery.
Apple iPad (16 GB WiFi)$499First machine to make truly mobile computing a reality! 9.7” LED-backlit glossy mult-touch display, 16GB flash drive, Wi-Fi Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, 256MB RAM, iWorks utilities for laptop-like functionality, 10-hour battery. There are versions with additional HD space and 3G for up to $300 more.
Lenovo Ideapad S10-3t Netbook Tablet$499Touch Tablet with 180-degree screen rotation. NaturalTouch panel, Wi-Fi, Windows 7 Home Premium, Webcam, Sterio speakers, 1.3M webcam, Card reader, USB 2.0 connectors, 250GB HD, 4-cell Li-Ion battery (3 hours). No Bluetooth.
Hewlett Packard TM2T Tablet PC$1050Good choice for folks having a hard time deciding between netbook and tablet at a higher price point than the ASUS. Comes with Windows Home Premium 64-bit standard, Touchscreen, WEBCAM, Intel Wireless-N Card.
Fujitsu LifeBook TH700 Tablet PC$1050Another good choice between netbook and a true tablet. Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit, 2GB Memory, Intel Core i3, Card Reader, DVD Writer, bi-directional display hinge with dual digitizer, 320GB HD.


To do a Best Value comparison of Tablet Computers, we chose four best values from the spreadsheet above. Below is a look at our selections and a comparative spreadsheet:


Product/FeatureArchos 7Apple iPadLenovo Ideapad S10-3tFujitsu Lifebook TH700
Thumbnail
Best Price$149$499$499$1050
TypePure TabletPure TabletHybrid – Netbook TabletHybrid LIFEBOOK Tablet
Base Hardware600 MHz ARM Cortex-A8 32 bit processor and 32-bit DSP, 439MHz1GHz Apple A4 custom-designedIntel Atom 1.66 GHz N450Intel Core i3-350M 2.26 GHz
Base SoftwareLinuxiPhone OSWindows 7 Home PremiumWindows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
ConnectivityWi-Fi (802.11 b/g), USB 2.0Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n), Bluetooth 2.1 + EDRWi-Fi (802.11b/g/n)Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n), Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, 1000/100/10Mbps Ethernet, Modular Bay.
Size & Weight8x4.2x0.5 inches, 10.6 ounces9.56x7.47x0.5 inches, 1.5 pounds6.9x11x1.1 inches, 2.8 pounds11.69x9.17x1.43 inches, 4.4 pounds.
Screen7-inch TFT LCD touchscreen 800x480, 16m colors, matte9.7-inch LED-backlit glossy widescreen multi-touch, 1024x768, oleophobic coating, multi-language character simultaneous support10.1 inch LED backlight 16:9 widescreen with NaturalTouch (responsive fingertip touch), 180-degree screen rotation12.1 inch WXGA TFT with dual digitizer 1280x800, anti-glare.
Memory128MB512MB1GB4GB
Storage8GB16GB250GB320GB
Battery7-hours9-hours3-hours (4-cell)4.56 hours (6-cell)
OthersVirtual Keyboard and Auto-firmware updates. There is a new version with Android 2.1 Éclair and new 800MHz processor for around $30 more. Ambient Light Sensor, Dock connector port, headphone jack, built-in speaker, microphone, multi-language, multi-docsActive HD Protection System, Instant ON, OneKey Rescue, DirectShare, Card Reader & USB 2.0, 1.3M web camera. Dual Layer Super Multi Writer, Intel HD Graphics, RealTek stereo speakers, HD Audio-in/out, 2M web camera, Spill-resistant keyboard, Intelligent Touch Pad, ExpressCard & SD slots, USB 2.0x3, firewire, external display, HDMI-out.


Summary & Recommendation:

Choosing among our best value selections simmers down to establishing a price range and going by preferred hardware/software. At the low end, the ARCHOS 7 Home Tablet is an outstanding value – an Android-based tablet with reasonable functionality for $149 is great for anyone looking for something which is in between a smartphone and a notebook. Overall size and weight makes this choice an ultra-mobile option. Firmware updates are a necessary evil and that is the one downside for the technically challenged.

Choosing between the Apple iPad and Lenovo S10-3t is a matter of personal preference than anything else. Sure, Lenovo beats Apple iPad hands-down when comparing the specs, but that won't make a believer out of a diehard Apple fan.

Fujitsu Lifebook TH700 grays out the line between a Netbook and a Tablet. Size-wise, this tablet is heavier and bulkier than most netbooks, but the bonus is the superset of the functionality in both. It is a great choice, for those in pursuit of the complete functionality of a laptop (swappable bay, external keyboard/screen etc through USB, and performance) as well as a tablet (touchscreen, drawing, and other IPAD functionality). This is a great alternative for those seeking to replace existing computing machine (laptop/desktop) while also adding tablet features.

Related Posts:
  1. Best Values in Netbooks & Notebooks - A Comparative Review.
  2. Best Value Portable Computers for Students (Laptops, Netbooks, and MacBooks) - A Comparative Review.
  3. Tablet PCs - A Comparative Review (this post).

Last Updated: 07/2016.


    1 comment :

    Charles said...

    WOW, a great comparison, it's actually what I was thinking of this morning when I was using my old trusty thinkpad, time to upgrade!

    Labels

    401k ( 15 ) Abad Turtle Beach ( 1 ) Abrams Capital Management ( 5 ) Acoustic Electric Guitars ( 1 ) Acoustic Guitars ( 1 ) ACT ( 1 ) Activist ( 4 ) Address Change ( 2 ) Advanced Placement ( 4 ) air asia ( 2 ) airlines ( 2 ) Akre Capital Management ( 18 ) Alex Roepers ( 5 ) AP ( 4 ) apartments ( 2 ) Appaloosa ( 15 ) ARIUS ( 1 ) Arlington Value Capital ( 3 ) Atlantic Investment Management ( 5 ) Ayemenem ( 1 ) Bangalore ( 3 ) Bangkok ( 2 ) Bannerghatta National Park ( 1 ) barbuda ( 2 ) Battery Park ( 1 ) Baupost ( 2 ) Baupost Group ( 17 ) bay area ( 2 ) BDCs ( 3 ) Benjamin Graham ( 2 ) Benjamin Graham Model ( 2 ) Berijam Lake ( 2 ) Berkshire Hathaway ( 30 ) best sites ( 9 ) Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation ( 15 ) Bill Ackman ( 19 ) Bill Gates ( 16 ) Blue Ridge Capital ( 15 ) Blum Capital Partners ( 12 ) books ( 4 ) Boone Pickens ( 2 ) BP Capital Management ( 2 ) Brave Warrior ( 3 ) Brave Warrior Advisors ( 12 ) british honduras ( 2 ) Bruce Berkowitz ( 19 ) Bruce Fund ( 13 ) Camcorders ( 3 ) canada ( 4 ) cancun ( 3 ) CANROYs ( 7 ) Cantillon ( 12 ) carl icahn ( 9 ) Carl Ichan ( 8 ) casino ( 3 ) Casio ( 2 ) CBRE ( 2 ) CEF ( 2 ) Charles Akre ( 15 ) Charlie Munger ( 15 ) Chase Coleman ( 15 ) Chou Associates ( 20 ) Christmas gifts ( 7 ) Christopher H. Browne ( 7 ) Chuck Akre ( 13 ) Cisco ( 2 ) Class Action Settlements ( 2 ) CLEP ( 1 ) Coatue Management ( 15 ) Cochin ( 2 ) coin collecting ( 266 ) collectibles ( 266 ) Consumer Product Reviews ( 29 ) cook islands ( 2 ) coonoor ( 2 ) Covered Calls ( 2 ) credai ( 4 ) Daily Journal ( 15 ) Dalal Street ( 8 ) Dan Loeb ( 10 ) DAT ( 1 ) David Abrams ( 5 ) David Einhorn ( 22 ) David Swensen ( 17 ) David Tepper ( 15 ) David Winters ( 15 ) DCF ( 2 ) Digital Piano ( 3 ) Dinakar Singh ( 15 ) Donald Yacktman ( 10 ) dry bulk shipping ( 2 ) Duquesne ( 20 ) Education ( 37 ) Edward Lampert ( 16 ) Egerton Capital ( 15 ) Egypt ( 3 ) Elementary Education ( 10 ) Elementary School Textbooks ( 5 ) eReaders ( 2 ) Eric Mindich ( 13 ) ESL Investments ( 11 ) ESPP ( 6 ) ETF ( 2 ) ETN ( 2 ) Eton Park ( 13 ) Everyday Musings ( 58 ) Exam Prep ( 7 ) Exiting the rat race - how to? ( 19 ) EXPLORE ( 1 ) Fair Value Estimates ( 4 ) Fairfax Financial ( 4 ) Fairfax Financial Holdings ( 14 ) Fairholme ( 19 ) Fairpointe ( 15 ) Family Office ( 5 ) FD Laddering ( 1 ) Financial Independence ( 93 ) Fisher Asset Management ( 10 ) Flash Camcorders ( 3 ) flat ( 4 ) flats ( 2 ) Flip ( 3 ) Francis Chou ( 20 ) free ( 17 ) frugal ( 3 ) Frugal Living ( 34 ) Fund Holdings ( 795 ) futures ( 2 ) FVE ( 2 ) gambling ( 3 ) garmin ( 2 ) Genting ( 2 ) george soros ( 21 ) giveaway ( 15 ) Glenn Greenberg ( 16 ) Glenview Capital ( 10 ) GMAT ( 1 ) Google ( 2 ) Gotham Asset Management ( 7 ) gps ( 5 ) GRE ( 1 ) Greenlight Capital ( 22 ) Guitars ( 3 ) Half Marathon ( 2 ) Hawaii ( 2 ) Hedge Funds ( 814 ) HELOC ( 1 ) High School Education ( 7 ) High School Textbooks ( 6 ) HOA ( 3 ) hobby ( 17 ) holiday shopping ( 7 ) Holidays ( 3 ) Holyland ( 11 ) Home Improvement ( 2 ) home ownership ( 5 ) Homes ( 18 ) Homeschool ( 18 ) Houses ( 2 ) Housing ( 3 ) Hykon ( 2 ) Ian Cumming ( 15 ) Icahn Enterprises ( 6 ) india real estate ( 5 ) Infinuvo ( 6 ) Insurance ( 2 ) invesco ( 17 ) investing strategies ( 2 ) Investment Portfolio ( 94 ) Investment Research ( 10 ) Investments ( 7 ) iRobot ( 5 ) Irving Kahn ( 10 ) israel ( 5 ) Jason Maynard ( 10 ) Jefferies ( 2 ) Jeffrey Bruce ( 15 ) Jeffrey Ubben ( 12 ) Jerusalem ( 2 ) Jim Chanos ( 15 ) Joel Greenblatt ( 7 ) John Armitage ( 15 ) John Griffin ( 15 ) John Paulson ( 17 ) Joho Capital ( 15 ) Jordan ( 3 ) Joseph Steinberg ( 9 ) Julian Robertson ( 4 ) Kahn Brothers ( 10 ) Kakkanad ( 4 ) Kanyakumari ( 2 ) Kawai ( 2 ) Ken Fisher ( 10 ) kerala real estate ( 5 ) Kids ( 49 ) Kids Yamaha ( 3 ) Kindle ( 2 ) kochi ( 8 ) Kodaikanal ( 2 ) Korg ( 2 ) Kraft ( 2 ) Kuala Lumpur ( 2 ) KWA ( 2 ) Kynikos ( 15 ) laptop ( 5 ) Larry Robbins ( 10 ) Las Vegas ( 2 ) Leon Cooperman ( 16 ) Leucadia ( 2 ) Leucadia National ( 13 ) Lone Pine Capital ( 9 ) long ( 6 ) long call ( 2 ) long puts ( 3 ) Lou Simpson ( 15 ) LSAT ( 1 ) Mahabalipuram ( 2 ) Malaysia ( 3 ) Marathon ( 2 ) Mark McGoldrick ( 10 ) Markel ( 15 ) Mason Hawkins ( 4 ) MCAT ( 1 ) Melinda Gates ( 9 ) memorabilia ( 266 ) MFP Investors ( 15 ) Michael Dell ( 17 ) Michael Price ( 15 ) Middle School Education ( 4 ) Middle School Textbooks ( 3 ) Mini Notebook ( 3 ) MODUS ( 1 ) Mohnish Pabrai ( 21 ) mortgage ( 2 ) Mount Kellett ( 10 ) MSD Capital ( 17 ) Music ( 6 ) Mutual Funds ( 5 ) mysore ( 2 ) Nelson Peltz ( 9 ) Netbook ( 4 ) Notebook ( 3 ) numismatics ( 266 ) O-Duster ( 1 ) Oahu ( 2 ) offers ( 2 ) Ole Andreas Halvorsen ( 10 ) Omega Advisors ( 16 ) online tax ( 4 ) ooty ( 2 ) Options ( 4 ) Pabrai Fund ( 17 ) passive income ( 7 ) pattaya ( 2 ) Paulson & Company ( 7 ) Paulson and Company ( 9 ) PEG ( 2 ) Pershing Square ( 19 ) Phil Fisher ( 5 ) philately ( 283 ) Philippe Laffont ( 15 ) Piano ( 9 ) PLAN Test ( 1 ) portfolio ( 4 ) Prem Watsa ( 17 ) product reviews ( 13 ) Property Taxes ( 2 ) PSAT ( 1 ) R2I ( 24 ) R2I Finances ( 3 ) R2I Housing ( 5 ) Raising Kids ( 41 ) Rat Race ( 15 ) RBS Partners ( 14 ) reading ( 5 ) real estate ( 6 ) Reducing Expenses ( 2 ) REIT ( 3 ) Retirement Portfolio ( 9 ) Reviews ( 81 ) Richard C. Blum ( 12 ) Robert Bruce ( 15 ) Robert Karr ( 15 ) Robotic Vacuum ( 4 ) Roland ( 2 ) Roomba ( 10 ) schooling ( 2 ) Sears ( 11 ) seeking alpha ( 2 ) Services - Reviews ( 33 ) Seth Klarman ( 19 ) Shipping ( 5 ) Shopping ( 3 ) short ( 5 ) short calls ( 2 ) short put ( 2 ) short puts ( 2 ) short selling ( 9 ) Ski ( 5 ) Sled ( 4 ) Solar Stocks ( 13 ) Soros Fund Management ( 14 ) Southeastern Asset Management ( 4 ) Southwest ( 2 ) spin-offs ( 2 ) SQ Advisors ( 15 ) stamp collecting ( 283 ) Stanley Druckenmiller ( 20 ) Statue of Liberty ( 2 ) Stephen Mandel ( 9 ) Stock Analysis ( 84 ) Stock Investments ( 4 ) Stock Portfolio Updates ( 6 ) stocks ( 3 ) summer ( 2 ) tax ( 6 ) TaxAct ( 3 ) TaxCut ( 1 ) Teacher's Editions ( 5 ) Technology ( 4 ) Test Prep ( 11 ) Thailand ( 3 ) Thekkady ( 2 ) theme park ( 2 ) Third Point ( 10 ) Thomas Gayner ( 15 ) Thyra Zerhusen ( 15 ) Tiger Cub ( 32 ) Tiger Global ( 16 ) Tiger Management ( 13 ) Time Square ( 2 ) TOEFL ( 1 ) TPG-Axon ( 15 ) Travel ( 278 ) Travel Reviews ( 82 ) Trian Fund Holdings ( 9 ) trip report ( 21 ) TurboTax ( 3 ) Tweedy Browne ( 10 ) Vacations ( 28 ) value investing ( 12 ) ValueAct ( 5 ) ValueAct Holdings ( 6 ) Vancouver ( 2 ) Video ( 3 ) Viking Global ( 10 ) Wallace Weitz ( 10 ) Warren Buffett ( 30 ) Wayanad ( 4 ) Weitz Investment Management ( 9 ) wilbur ross ( 17 ) William Von Mueffling ( 12 ) Wintergreen Advisors ( 15 ) Yacktman Asset Management ( 10 ) Yale Endowment ( 17 ) Yale University ( 7 ) Yamaha ( 7 ) YDP ( 1 ) YPG ( 1 )