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3/8/2012
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iPads Vs. Android: 3-Way Tablet Shootout

Is Apple's new iPad, the iPad 2, or Asus' best Android tablet right for you? We do a detailed comparison of cost, features, design, and other key criteria.

The Retina display in Apple's new iPad looks gorgeous. For once, Apple's marketing hyperbole seems restrained. But is it enough to justify a tablet pricetag of $500 or more?

the new iPad
Apple's New iPad

If you're in the market for a tablet at the moment, you can't do better. The most direct, known Android-based competitor, the Asus Transformer Pad Infinity doesn't yet have a release date. And it starts at $100 more.

The main argument for an Android tablet rather than an iPad has to do with openness. Beyond the fact that Android apps in Google's store can be sold without the approval that Apple requires for iOS apps, the Transformer Pad gives users more control over the movement of files. It includes a microSD slot and USB port, thereby allowing users to transfer files on and off the device as they see fit.

Apple would rather that its customer avail themselves of iCloud and iTunes for moving files around. That's fine for most people, but not everyone welcomes Apple's gate keeping.

Frankly, the new iPad's strongest competitor at the moment is the iPad 2. At $399, it's a pretty good deal, and is arguably a better deal than Amazon's $199 Kindle Fire, considering how much more the iPad 2 can do.

For developers, the new iPad will be a necessary expense. Competitors will buy them for tear-downs.

Consumers may find the choice more difficult. If you own an iPad and use it primarily for leisure reading or games with 3D graphics, like Infinity Blade, then you'll probably appreciate the vivid screen in the latest model. Gazelle.com is presently offering $220 for a 32 GB iPad 2 with WiFi in good condition, so the trade-up cost is not that bad.

[ What did Samsung and nVidia think of Apple's iPad announcement? Read iPad Rivals Fire Back. ]

If, on the other hand, your iPad or iPad 2 is primarily something you hand the kids to keep them away from your laptop, the new iPad probably doesn't make sense. Angry Birds on a 2048 x 1536 pixel screen isn't that much more wonderful than it is on a 1024 x 768 pixel screen.

Business travelers who prefer an iPad to a laptop may find the new iPad's 4G LTE capabilities compelling, to say nothing about what the screen will do for presentations. But if your work doesn't require the the Retina display or the ability to transfer of large files, 3G connectivity is likely to be adequate for the times when you don't have access hotel WiFi.

Judging on specs alone, the new iPad looks quite compelling.

Which tablet suits your needs best? Dig into our detailed comparison of the two iPads, then compare the new iPad and the Android rival from Asus.

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ANON1237925156805
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ANON1237925156805,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/12/2012 | 5:57:12 PM
re: iPads Vs. Android: 3-Way Tablet Shootout
Far and away the most balanced and useful comment I've read on this apparently controversial subject..

One does not have to be a fanboi (I'm surely not) to say that in the tablet universe iPad sets the standard. This isn't surprising really. Apple was the first to try to introduce a tablet into the PC spectrum with its failed Newton. Realizing the potential of such a device has been in Apple's DNA for 15 years. Mr. Jobs was resistant when he rejoined Apple, but we're now reading that what became the iPad was proposed prior to the iPhone and the work on what became iOS was at least partly targeted at a potential tablet. Thus once the iPhone proved itself and in particular the app market proved itself, they moved on quickly to the design and development of what became the iPad. No one else got serious about tablets until after the iPad hit the marketplace and sales took off. So even discounting the lessons learned from the Newton flop, Apple had several years head start on the competition. Frankly that shows in the finish, polish and maturity of the device and the total user experience. Competitors will most likely catch up; in fact given Apple's stubbornness they may even leapfromg the iPad over time. Software and hardware will mature. Manufacturers will find a way to work in harmony with the chaotic upgrade patterns of Android and the Android market. Windows will be more stable than Android and a bit more open thaqn Apple. Etc., etc. We're just not there yet.

Unless one goes with the inexpensive recreational devices like Fire or Nook, a tablet is a weightier investment than a smartphone, both literally and figuratively. Tablets are replacing laptops in the enterprise and PCs in the home. It only makes sense that Apple is the preferred choice at this point.

That doesn't mean that the iPad is everyone's cup of tea or that it's the best choice for everyone. There are specific features that it lacks; if other devices have those features and those features are critical to you, well then your decision is made. Likewise if you oppose on principle the tightly integrated Apple environment your decision is made. Rock on with your Playbook or Galaxy or Xoom or Fire. . .

melgross
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melgross,
User Rank: Ninja
3/12/2012 | 2:26:29 PM
re: iPads Vs. Android: 3-Way Tablet Shootout
What? Where have you been?

Adobe has lost that war. A couple of months ago they said that after this Flash update they won't be supporting it on mobile anymore. MS doesn't support it on anything using Metro either. It's dead and gone.

In addition, all iPads use an LED backlight. Really, you should know something about what you post about.

Please try to keep up.
mhill616
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mhill616,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/10/2012 | 9:48:54 PM
re: iPads Vs. Android: 3-Way Tablet Shootout
Where did you get that idea from? Most iOS apps use DropBox or their own wifi or Bluetooth sharing or now iCloud to exchange data files.
E.000
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E.000,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/9/2012 | 9:56:36 PM
re: iPads Vs. Android: 3-Way Tablet Shootout
Still no flash supported for iPad HD... What a disappoinment.. And again like its predecessors the new iPad HD is missing an LED backlight..
E.000
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E.000,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/9/2012 | 9:53:44 PM
re: iPads Vs. Android: 3-Way Tablet Shootout
Transfering files or pictures still have to be done through itunes, where as android os provides simple drag and drop like a USB drive. I think that what he means apple gateways is iTunes.
E.000
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E.000,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/9/2012 | 9:49:25 PM
re: iPads Vs. Android: 3-Way Tablet Shootout
LOL apple fans... Have enough apples today brother?
TommyR
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TommyR,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/9/2012 | 9:23:07 PM
re: iPads Vs. Android: 3-Way Tablet Shootout
The entire concept of your article is laughable. Apple is so far ahead, comparisons are no longer possible.
PWHITE000
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PWHITE000,
User Rank: Guru
3/9/2012 | 8:44:20 PM
re: iPads Vs. Android: 3-Way Tablet Shootout
You're telling me something new. I had never heard this.
But that said, as an artist and a 40-hour-per-week photoshop user, I never felt like the displays on my Android tablets looked as nice as the iPad display. I even had a salesman tell me the specs proved me wrong. My answer was "well, if the iPad's display isn't as good as the Android, Apple sure pulled some amazing trick to make it look better." He thought I was crazy.
herman_munster
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herman_munster,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/9/2012 | 7:32:21 PM
re: iPads Vs. Android: 3-Way Tablet Shootout
I'm running iOS 5.1 on both my original iPad and iPad2. Not really sure what features of it I'm missing out on other than a severely disabled Siri
hlubinv8l
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hlubinv8l,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/9/2012 | 7:29:18 PM
re: iPads Vs. Android: 3-Way Tablet Shootout
Charts comparing hardware specs are useful, but they don't really tell you anything about the user experience... which is really what consumers are interested in.

The iPad is more than just its hardware. It is also the operating system, the apps, the build quality, the related services, and everything else that makes up the user experience.

Just comparing the iPad and its competitors based on hardware specs alone is the same as comparing a garbage truck to a Ferrari, based on hardware specs alone.

The garbage truck's engine is a much bigger capacity, and produces much more horsepower than the engine in the Ferrari. Yet, the Ferrari is faster and much more fun to drive. It's the better user experience that makes the Ferrari the choice of vehicles most people would opt for.
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