VDH’s iPad Alternatives

If tablets are not already all the rage, it’s certainly looking like they will be very soon. The iPad is currently on its third iteration, and leads the field admirably, with a razor sharp screen, instinctive functionality and a comprehensive app store, iPad sales outstrip competitors by some distance. 

However all of this comes at a price. The latest iPad ranges from £399 (16GB, wifi only) to £659 (64GB, wifi+4G), which pushes it out of the price range of the tablet curious and into the realm of the tech lover. 

So what alternatives are there? We’ve put together a list of our three favourite tablets that cost less than the iPad but still pack a punch. Let us know if you think we’ve missed any. 

Motorola Xoom 2 (10.1 inch screen, 16GB memory, wifi only, £359)

Running on the Android Honeycomb 3.2 operating system, the Motorola Xoom 2 is a marked improvement on its predecessor. Boasting stylish, tapered edges and a rubberized band around the back to help with grip, the Xoom 2 is a pleasure to use. 

The screen is protected by Gorilla glass, and the design means that the device is splash proof, meaning it can deal with spills and tumbles with ease. Clever little additions (a screen that recognizes the difference between a grip and a touch, meaning you can hold the tablet with your thumb on the screen and it will be ignored, for example) make the Xoom 2 fun to use. The screen is bright and responsive, and the HDMI port means you can play things on your HD TV. 

Let down slightly by the camera, and perhaps too close to iPad pricing to be a serious contender, the Xoom 2 is, nonetheless, a fine tablet.  

Kindle Fire (on sale soon from around £150 for 8GB, wifi only, 7 inch screen)

<Image courtesy of Engadget>

The Kindle Fire is taking America by storm. The reasonably priced 7 inch tablet runs on Android, but not as we know it. Amazon, the makers of the Kindle, have tailored the entire user experience to be geared towards the viewing of books, movies, games and other media – it’s not for work, it’s for fun. 

This is reinforced by the fact that the Fire has no cameras, microphone or geolocation facilities – Amazon say it’s not a device built for communication, it’s built purely for the consumption of media. 

The internal memory is perhaps too low, and Fire users are bound to Amazon for their apps, music and books, however for this price, you really can’t go wrong. 

Samsung Galaxy Tab (10.1 inch screen, wifi only, 16GB from around £270)

When the Samsung Galaxy Tab was released, it was roughly price matched with the iPad – and for a good reason, the Galaxy is a fantastic device that runs the iPad close in every department. 

A year or so on, the Galaxy Tab can be picked up from around £270. For that money, you get a lot of tablet. Lighter and thinner than the iPad 2, the Galaxy is a pleasure to use. Well built, great to look at, responsive screen and a browser that supports Flash means the Galaxy is the ideal alternative to the iPad, and the perfect tablet for those who’d prefer not to be tied into the Apple ecosystem.