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iPad Competition

Here's a brief look at popular iPad competition.

samsung galaxy tabletiPad Competition

By Colleen C.









Since the introduction of the Apple iPad, competition has been fierce to rush other brands of tablets to the market. Arguably, none have sold as well as the iPad, but if you want the features of a tablet without the price of an Apple, there are other models from which you can choose.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab is a seven inch tablet that runs on the Android system. It poses some serious competition for the iPad, since it has a more convenient size, Flash compatibility and two cameras. But it actually works more like an oversized Android phone, rather than an alternative to a netbook. The Android operating system and the apps made for it are not really optimized for a larger screen. You may also be on the hook for a two-year contract if you get a Galaxy Tab with a cell phone service plan.

This machine has some features that will bring envy to iPad owners, but the odd size and the commitments to cell service may keep people from buying it as readily. The Galaxy Tab is a peer to the iPad, meaning it stakes out newer territory in features and design. But the screen is more than two inches shorter, diagonally, and the T-Mobile version comes with a hefty contract. You can also buy the Tab through AT&T, Sprint and Verizon, but all of these will tie you down to a contract. The price is much lower than the iPad, though, which makes for more willing buyers of this iPad competition tablet.

The Galaxy Tab uses Gorilla Glass to protect its touchscreen, and the LCD has a very crisp resolution, but the screen is only half the size of the iPad screen. This makes the pixel density a lot tighter. The multitouch, capacitive technology matches that of the iPad in usefulness and response time.

Above the Tab screen, there is a camera that works well for video chatting, and the Qik app is already installed. There are Android-style, typical buttons on the bottom for search, back, menu and home. You'll also find slots for a T-Mobile SIM card and a microSD slot. The Sprint models of the Tab have preinstalled microSD memory cards for added memory, making them a more worthy member of the iPad competition group. 

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Another of the newer competition tablets is the Dell Streak, which will offer you the optimum in screen size, processor power and quality of design. It supports Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and 3G, and it also contains a camcorder, and sophisticated calling abilities that blur that line between a phone and a tablet.

The battery life of the Dell Streak is nothing to brag about, but it is a tablet that should be taken seriously, even though the size places it somewhere between a smartphone and a tablet. Dell has given the Streak an updated operating system, with support for Skype text input, MS Exchange and Adobe Flash. These updates put the device on a level with other tablets like the Samsung Galaxy Tab, but the size is awkward for first time users.

The reviewers who have tried the Dell Streak say that it's the most serious of the iPad competition that is currently out there. It's pocked-sized, and it handles more like a phone, so actually it seems more like you're using an oversized smartphone. The price is a reasonable $299 if you get a two year contract from AT&T, or $549 if you get it without a contract.

The Dell Streak has a flashy design, and utilizes the capabilities of the Android operating system. The memory expansion, touch screen and camera are not new to reviewers or consumers. It's only six inches wide, which makes it nearly the smallest of iPad competition tablets. In addition, the width is only .35 inches, so it's almost a hybrid of tablet and smartphone.

The size of the Dell Streak is among the first of the middle ground tablets, and if you are looking to buy one, you should know that it's not actually a proper replacement for either your laptop or your phone. But it still offers a lot, if you wish to keep it on your shopping list.

The Streak shows good quality of design, and it's worth the $500 range in price. The touch screen is five inches and is covered by Gorilla Glass, which is nearly indestructible. This glass was developed by the Corning company. The tapered edges are made from plastic that is scratch resistant. The Streak also has soft keys concealed by the edges, for home, menu and back. Reviewers have carried the Dell Streak for weeks in bags along with loose items like change and keys, and it never got a scratch. That makes it a more worthy iPad competition tablet.
pink faux leather ipad case Another in the list of iPad competition devices, the Archos 9 PC Tablet is a solidly-constructed tablet with lots of storage space. But the controls are not as nimble as those on an iPad, and the CPU is slow. It does look like a valid competitor to the iPad, but the frustrating hardware may make it more difficult to sell.

Archos has many popular portable media players, like the Archos 5 Internet tablet, powered by the Android operating system. The Archos 9, the one that challenges the iPad, runs Windows 7 OS. But getting that recipe right is proving to be a bit difficult. The slower processor will hold it back somewhat, as a true competitor to the iPad.

The touch screen of the Archos 9 doesn't have an independent keyboard, and onscreen commands are needed to do anything. The 8.9 inch screen is resistive, and less responsive than you may want, whether you use the stylus or not. The keyboard onscreen which is brought up by a button located on the bezel, requires a firm finger tap to get it to accept letters or numbers.

The Archos 9 is also pricier than the lowest priced Apple iPad, but it does have abilities that the iPad doesn't. You can run Firefox on the Archos 9, and stream video. But basic tasks are sometimes just too difficult to perform. It needs a processor with more beef to it, and a touch screen that is more responsive.

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