Is There a Good Alternative to the iPad?

Good News 13

With the rise of new Android tablets, and the LeapPad for kids, is there any reason to get an iPad anymore? After all, competition is good, and Apple hasn't updated their device for a few years, leaving a chasm of opportunity for better tablets to fill in the gaps.

Unfortunately, that hasn't happened: Nothing has really appeared that could give the iPad a run for its money. But things could change and, more important, it might be a good idea to shop around if you're thinking about picking up a new tablet or e-reader this year. Here are a few ideas to make your decision easier.

Android is getting better. New tablets are running an improved version of the Android OS called Honeycomb, as well as a new phone version called Ice Cream Sandwich. If the tablet you're looking at doesn't run those OSes, don't even think about buying it. Older and cheaper tablets are rarely, if ever, upgraded to the new hardware and anything other than Honeycomb on a tablet is an exercise in frustration.

Honeycomb adds lots of next generation features and offers a much-improved interface over older Android versions. iOS die-hards should note that Android is often confusing at first, but these tablets can do much that iPads can do at cheaper prices.

There are some great single-purpose tablets out right now. If you don't want to spend all that cash on a new iPad, why not look at the Nook Tablet or Kindle Fire? These tablets are actually e-readers designed to consume only Barnes & Noble and Kindle content, but they work well and support the Android Marketplace.

The Kindle Fire is surprisingly powerful for an e-reader, and if you've been using the e-ink readers in the past, this is an obvious next step. Think of the Kindle Fire as an inexpensive, entry-level tablet with plenty of cool features. It's great for parents, kids, and book fans.

Windows will have some surprises up its sleeve. Windows 8 is going to be a very unique tablet experience with all the power of Windows with a lot of the user interface features found in many new tablet systems. For example, there won't be a desktop in the way we all know and love, but instead the tablet will have a set of tiles that launch apps like Word and Exchange. It is a complete change from what came before, but you'll have to wait until next year to really see a rise in Windows 8 availability.

So, given that there are a few great reasons to go Android this year, why would you go iPad? Well, for starters... 

There will be a new iPad in March. If the rumors are true, expect a new iPad with a better screen this spring. The iPad 3 won't have a "retina display" like the new iPhone, but people are reporting that the screen is indistinguishable from printed text and will improve gaming and graphics considerably. 

Again, no one knows what Apple will (or won't do), but most rumors have a grain of truth, especially when it comes to iPhones and iPads.

Nothing quite matches the iPad right now. It's easy to make a tablet these days, but it's almost impossible to make a good one. I've used quite a few devices over the past year, and nothing has knocked the iPad out of its place in the gadget pantheon. If you're an "anything but iPhone" family, Android will work and work well. If you're looking for the best of breed -- at least right now -- iPad is your best bet.

Are you considering purchasing a tablet? Which one?


Image via Apple



ereaders, gadgets, tablets, apple


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Sidthe Sidthe

I love my Android only complaint is where I got the first one from. It was a refurbished parents bought it for me for Christmas. And if it wasn't plugged into the charger there was no using it because it wouldn't turn on. And I couldn't hook up to WiFi because it was still set to the previous owners information. I know this because the email function was set to his email. The second 1 I got has none of those problems got in brand spanking new and cheaper then the first! And with a warranty!

Also buyer beward if you buy from LJ Distributer...the person I got the original tablet from. There feedback my be really high but read some of the negative comments they aren't pretty at all!

sweet... sweet.lil.mama

I have a Acer tablet. I love it..its the same as my smartphone which is an android as well. I just wish it wasn't so dang heavy

lalas... lalasmama2007

I got an iPad2 for Xmas and I love it!

Colet... Colette923

I LOVE my nook tablet. Ipads are too damn big

angie... angiea2105

Dh is tech geek and we went with the motorola zoom. One because we thought the iPhone sucked and were already Android favs. For only $100 cheaper then the iPad and cost was not an issues in the choosing. I couldn't be happier with our decision in getting this tablet. It's even exceeded my expectations. Recommend it to everyone!

Sierr... SierraLynn

I have a kindle fire that I love love love! It does everything I need it to, beside creating its own network, but I really don't mind that much. Plus the price tag alone was worth it. It's awesome. I think apple is wayyyyyyy over hyped and over priced.

twinp... twinplus2

For the price of an IPOD I got a laptop and a Nook. The Nook fits easily in my purse and the laptop is nice to have around for kids homework and the like. It is just a matter of preference.

Marjc... Marjchaos

I love my Nook Color. It's awesome.

bingo... bingogurl

I love my Kindle Fire I purchased a couple weeks ago. No regrets and it has come in handy with the kids.

nonmember avatar Crystal

don't leave out the nook tablet. i love mine, santa brought one for my husband too and he loves his. our son received the nook color and it's definitely a great choice for the younger set. so it doesnt have a camera, so what? if i want to take photos i'll use a camera or my phone. ipad is way over hyped and over priced. just my $.02.

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