The iPad 2 Competitors – Which tablet is better?
So in our iPad 2 Guide: 5 reasons to upgrade, 5 reasons not to we said we would recommend you waiting for a iPad 2 competitor at the very least, if you weren’t sure about getting one, so what we decided to do is to show a break down the biggest potential threats to the ipad 2 crown. So apart from the iPad 2, we have the Motorola Xoom (using Android 3.0), the HP TouchPad (using webOS 3.0), and the BlackBerry PlayBook (using BlackBerry Tablet OS), and obviously the iPad 2 with iOS 4.3.
Now none of the other 3 tablets have been released yet, so we don’t have a hands on review or anything to show you, so we’re just going to have to show you on paper how they compare, so we’ll be doing that by breaking it up into different categories. Looks (how nice the tablet looks), Mobility (ease of carrying, moving place to place with the tablet), Speed (how fast the tablet runs), Screen Quality, Apps, Camera Quality (since they all feature a camera), and Price. Have a look at the table below, as Engadget managed to sum up the specs really well on the table.
Now obviously we think looks are important, as would most people when factoring in which tablet to get. We’re talking about how the tablet looks in terms of aesthetics, not software here. Based on what we have seen we would call the BlackBerry PlayBook the worst looking of the lot (that’s not to say its ugly, it’s just a comparison). It square(ish) and slightly boring to us. It gets harder than this from here, because we couldn’t decide which looked better – the Motorola Xoom or HP TouchPad. In the end we decided, that from the Xoom just lost out, as it looks slightly fatter and less appealing than the HP TouchPad. However, the iPad 2 still reins king here in the looks department, as they’ve made (as always) a sexy little package with a minimalistic look that is shapelier than the original iPad.
Winner: Apple iPad 2
In Mobility, we look at the lightest and smallest tablet, the one that won’t make your arms as sore for prolonged periods of use, and are the easiest to carry from place to place. To do that, we first have a look at the weight (based on the above table). It’s clear that the HP TouchPad and Motorola Xoom are easily the heaviest of the bunch, but the iPad 2 isn’t that much lighter (but it is the thinnest), and it is just over 100 grams lighter. But the real winner here is the BlackBerry PlayBook which is not only the lightest (176 grams lighter than the iPad 2), but it also has the smallest screen, coming in at 7-inches while the other tablets are a minimum of 9.7-inches. While you may enjoy watching videos or playing games on a larger screen, this section only looks at mobility, so that is irregardless. The BlackBerry Playbook should prove to be the perfect travel companion.
Winner: BlackBerry PlayBook
Speed is probably one of the most essential aspects in deciding whether to buy a tablet or not. I wouldn’t want my tablet lagging in the middle of a game, or lagging while opening an App, or.. well you get the point – Speed matters. A lot. The iPad 2, Xoom and PlayBook all feature a 1Ghz (Giga hertz) processors which will allow each tablet to go about their tasks extremely quickly. However, recent testing by AnandTech has shown that the iPad 2 is substantially faster than the Xoom on a one to one testing scenario (in most tests), despite their similar power. We would assume the Blackberry PlayBook would be somewhere in the mix between the iPad 2 and Xoom, but without accurate tests we can’t be too sure. Based on paper though, the HP TouchPad features a 1.2Ghz processor which certainly seems like it will be the fastest of the lot, and while we can’t be too sure, Snapdragon processors are generally quite quick. For that reasoning, the TouchPad takes this one.
Winner: HP TouchPad
Right up there with speed, I want my tablet’s screen to look amazing when I’m using it, I want the colors to pop, and I want the quality to be crystal clear. So with that said, the iPad 2 looks great sure, but it’s still the screen as the iPad 1, and in no way is it anything like the iPhone 4 screen quality (with a resolution of 1024 x 768 – this means the number of pixels that fit onto the screen, the more pixels in the screen, the better the quality is usually), so we feel Apple dropped the ball with this one. The poorest screen might be the Blackberry PlayBook with its resolution of 1024 x 600, but it does have a smaller screen so until we see it we can’t confirm if it works or not. The HP TouchPad features exactly the same screen as the iPad (resolution of 1024 x 768), meaning those two should theoretically be close in quality. That leaves the Xoom with a resolution of 1280 x 800, and while it does have a bigger screen, it has a screen quality better suited for watching HD (High Definition) movies on it than the iPad 2 (even if the screen is brighter than the Xoom’s).
Winner: Motorola Xoom
From the start, we can eliminate the HP TouchPad and the Playbook from this race, since both companies are making their first tablets. The Blackberry Playbook might be able to run Android Apps in the future, and if so, then that means it wins out over the TouchPad which has very little Apps. Now the actual Android Market has about over 200,000 Apps, and the Apple App store has over 300,000 Apps in it, however not all apps are designed for tablets, but rather for phones so putting them on tablets would stretch and lessen their quality. Unfortunately for the Xoom, there are only around 100 tablet-specific Apps for Android tablets (which the Xoom runs on), while the iPad 2 has close to 65,000 Apps specifically tailored for the iPad screen, making it the clear winning here.
Winner: Apple iPad 2
Front Camera – The Front Camera is used for video calls and such and based on testing out the iPad 2, the cameras employed within it are pretty bad. A 1 megapixel count would be our guess, and that means it has the worst camera quality of the 4. This is followed by the HP TouchPad which has a 1.3 megapixel camera. which is quite poor as well. The Xoom takes it up a notch with a 2 megapixel camera which supposedly takes decent shots but it’s still better than the iPad 2 or TouchPad. Of course, the Blackberry PlayBook is unmatched in this regard, featuring a 3 megapixel camera which should outshine all its competitors.
Rear Camera – The HP TouchPad doesn’t have one, which puts it out of the running right away. The iPad 2’s rear camera while better (and can take 720p videos) than its front camera is still poor, in that it’s only featuring a 1.3 megapixel (estimated) camera. Both the PlayBook and Xoom feature a 5 megapixel rear camera (which blows the competition out of the water), but the Xoom can only record videos on 720p quality (which is low High Def.), while the PlayBook records videos at Full HD – 1080p, making it the winner in both camera fronts.
Winner: Blackberry PlayBook
OVERALL WINNER: TIE – Surprisingly, It’s a tie based on our competition between the Blackberry Playbook and the iPad 2. Of course, this doesn’t mean we recommend either, its up to you which of these categories are important to you and then choose from there. All these tablets will be out in 2011. If we could we would choose all four, as none are perfect, but each one has an advantage over the other in something, but time will tell which one of these are the best. For now, use this as a guide for which tablet you’ll be purchasing or upgrading to. Even the Motorola Xoom and HP TouchPad have their advantages, so take your time deciding, and enjoy it when they are released, and we hoped you’ve enjoyed our Guide / Face-off.