Tablet PC Throwdown: Pros And Cons Of The Top Tablets

Today's Tablet PCs

The CRN Test Center recently looked at eight of the industry’s most prominent tablet PCs that are available to the channel, and found a wide variation in functions, features, third-party technical support and even look and feel. Things like ultra-slim construction and even weight distribution don’t show up on spec sheets, but you sure do notice them when you hold them. Here’s a look at some key features that these tablet PCs have and don’t have. Note: We liked all of these tablet PCs for different reasons and can recommend them all for different segments of the solution provider channel.

Apple iPad 2

What it has: Broad and vetted app support; front and rear cameras; Exchange support; light, evenly distributed form factor; WiFi, 3G support and Bluetooth; SDK available for $99 annual developer subscription; 10 to 12 hours of battery life.

What it lacks: USB or USB 2.0 support; SD card support; support for Adobe Flash.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

What it has: Support for the Android Market for apps; front and rear cameras; evenly distributed weight; support for Adobe Flash; Exchange support; 15-18 hours of battery life in real world use; Nvidia Tegra 2 processor. (for more on this device, check out CRN's video review of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1)

What it lacks: USB or USB 2.0 support; SD card support.

Toshiba Thrive

What it has: USB 2.0 support; SD card support; HDMI support; rubberized grip on the rear panel; front and rear cameras; Toshiba-quality checked Android app market; Nvidia Tegra 2 processor (for more, watch the CRN video review of the Toshiba Thrive).

What it lacks: Ultra-slim form factor.

Fujitsu Stylistic Q550

What it has: Microsoft Windows 7; USB 2.0 support, SD card support; anti-glare screen; stylus; front and rear cameras; fingerprint reader; ultra-slim form factor.

What it lacks: Mobile-specific operating platform; ’pinch’ capabilities in its touch-screen.

BlackBerry PlayBook

What it has: Front and rear cameras; 7-inch display; native screen capture capability; BlackBerry App World app store; rubberized rear case; 12-14 hours of battery life in real-world use (for more, watch CRN's video review of the BlackBerry PlayBook).

What it lacks: USB or USB 2.0 support; SD card support; native email support; Exchange support.

ViewSonic ViewPad 10

What it has: Dual OS support for both Android 2.2 and Windows 7; front camera; USB 2.0 support; Mini VGA support; Micro SD support (for more, watch CRN's video reviews of Viewsonic's ViewPad 7 and ViewPad 10).

What it lacks: Rear camera; ultra-slim form factor.

Acer Iconia Tab A500

What it has: Nvidia Tegra 2 processor; front and rear cameras; 2G, 3G and WiFi support; USB support; HDMI support.

What it lacks: even weight distribution; smooth software update process.

HP TouchPad

What it has: VPN support; native printing support; native multi-tasking; front camera (for Skype); WebOS App Catalog; WebOS SDK.

What it lacks: Rear camera; smudge-proof case; even weight distribution; ultra-slim form factor; USB support; SD card support.

And now it also lacks the backing of its vendor: Only six weeks after its release, HP has decided to pull the plug on the TouchPad.