10 Best Android Tablets 2011

1. Samsung Galaxy Tab 4G
Right now the Samsung Galaxy Tab is available on Verizon, but a new 4G version with LTE technology should be available soon. If you get one today it will be using the Android 2.2 operating system, but you should be able to get it with Honeycomb later in 2011. It has a 5MP camera on the back, a 1.3 MP camera on the front, and is powered by a 1.2 GHz Hummingbird processor. One of the cool things about the Samsung Galaxy Tab is that it can function as a WiFi hotspot for up to 5 devices. This is great if you have a WiFi printer or music player and want to conveniently use them over the 4G network. Some users have rated the device as being a bit sluggish when running Flash.

2. Archos 7 Home Tablet
The Archos 7 Home Tablet has been around since June 2010, and so has been reviewed a bit more than some of the other Android options out there. Compared to the iPad’s 9.7 inch screen, the Archos is small, with only a 7-inch screen, but it’s still a great Android alternative to the iPad. The display is a thin film transistor (TFT) LCD display at a resolution of 800 x 480. The tablet is powered by a 600 MHz, Arm9 Rockchip RK2808 processor. It comes set up with Android 1.5, which is not the latest, but which still looks new compared to the latest iPhone OS.

If you want a faster device, the Archos 5 Tablet runs on an 800 MHZ Texas Instruments OMAP 3430 processor. But it has a smaller screen (5 inch). To some, the Archos 7, with it’s 600 MHz processor may feel sluggish, depending on the applications. Another thing some users might not like about the Archos 7 is that it uses resistive single touch technology, even though most devices use capacitive multi-touch technology these days. But you really can’t beat it for price: around $200. If you go for the smaller Archos 5, it will set you back about $250.

3. Toshiba Folio
Next to the Galaxy Tab, the Toshiba Folio may be one of Apple’s biggest competitors in the tablet market. Like the Android 3.0 Tablet, it has a 10.1 inch screen, though at VGA resolution (1024 x 600). It comes with 16 GB of internal storage and runs Android 2.2, powered by the Nvidia Tegra 2 processor running at 1 GHz. With a multi-touch capacity screen, the Toshiba Folio looks to be one of Toshiba’s higher-end Android alternatives to the iPad. Though official specs haven’t come out yet, the ARM Cortex A9 dual core can run up to 1 GHz per core. One questionable aspect is the battery. The Li-ion 1020 mAH battery claims a 7-hour battery life, but whether it can last that long considering the speeds this tablet runs at, who knows?

4. T-Mobile LG G-Slate 4G
The particulars of T-Mobile’s LG G-Slate 4G are still shrouded in mystery. It was only announced at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show, but you can pre-order it already, and it’s supposed to be running Honeycomb (which is Google Android 3.0). The tea-leaf readers of the electronics world are all speculating about what it means. It could mean that the mythical Google Slate is closer than ever. Or it could simply mean that tablets are super hot right now and T-Mobile didn’t want to be left out of the party.

5. Dell Streak 
(in 5 inch, 7 inch, and 10 inch versions, starting around $650 for the 5 inch version)

It’s tiny, sleek, and powerful. The Dell Streak 5 has been around for awhile now, but 7 inch and 10 inch versions will hit the retailers this year too. The Dell Streak 5 uses a Snapdragon processor, but the newer, larger models will have dual-core Tegra processors. All of the Dell Streak models have Bluetooth, WiFi, Flash 10.1 support, and are fronted by Gorilla Glass.

6.ASUS Eee-Pad Transformer, ASUS Eee-Pad Slider
Both of these are tablet computers with attachable keyboards, and both come with a 10.1 inch 1280 x 800 touch screen. Both are powered  by Nvidia Tegra processors and run the Android 3.0 operating system. While the Transformer model has a docking option that adds a full QWERTY keyboard, the Slider model comes with a sliding keyboard. Both of them come with a 5 MP camera with LED flash, as well as a 1.2 MP camera on the front. These two tablets seem poised to take over for those people who bought an iPad but cannot make the most of it with out a real keyboard. Prices haven’t been formally announced, but expect to pay roughly what an iPad costs

7. Motorola Xoom
Hmm, could the Motorola Xoom be the proverbial “iPad killer?” Hardware wise, it seems to have the iPad beat, with twice the processing power, cameras on the front and back, plus the ability to make video calls and play Flash video. The Xoom looks like it wins hands down. The only thing the iPad has over it is a larger selection of apps (with Android apps catching up rapidly), and of course, the Apple name cachet. But if the Android fan base rallies around the Xoom, it could be a real challenger for best tablet. Then again, Apple will launch a new version of the iPad sometime in 2011, but it will have its work cut out for it in terms of hardware if it wants to keep up with the Motorola Xoom, which, incidentally, won the CES 2011 “Best Gadget” award. It should hit the stores this spring.

8. Toshiba Android 3.0 Tablet
Toshiba is good about offering affordable products. One reason their notebook computers are so popular is because they represent great value for the money. No word yet on what the Android 3.0 is going to cost, but if it’s at the affordable end of the scale, it should be a very popular alternative to the iPad. As for specs, it doesn’t disappoint. With a Tegra 2 processor and a 10.1 inch, 1280 x 800 display, it looks beautiful. Slots for mini-USB, full sized USB, full sized HDMI, and full-sized SD cards are all included. The Toshiba Android 3.0 is expected to be available through Sprint.

9. Smartbook AG Surfer 360
Well, now, the Smartbook, like the Motorola Xoom, is going to be using a Tegra 2 dual core processor, and will cost about $500. This 10 inch tablet will weigh about a pound and a half, with screen resolution of 1024 x 600. It has 512 MB of DDR2 memory as well as 512 MB of flash storage, plus slots for micro SD cards and a mini USB port. It has WiFi and Bluetooth 2.1 technology, a 1.3 MP webcam, and capacitive touch screen technology. And for people who care about such things, it’s really cool looking too!

10. Acer Mystery Tablet 
The new Acer tablet doesn’t have a name yet, but it’s expected to come out in April. It’s a 10.1 inch Android tablet with the Nvidia Tegra 2 processor under the hood, and it will support Flash 10.1. It will be outfitted with front and rear cameras, plus HDMI-out port. You will also be able to get a 7 inch version, but it will use a Qualcomm dual core CPU (and will also support Flash). These tablets lean more toward the “consumption” end of the media production-consumption scale, with more focus on media playback and game playing. It could be just the thing for the video junkie or game fanatic.

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