3 Android Tablets that Give the New iPad a Run for Its Money

Posted on March 15, 2012 by Joe Thomas

There’s no denying Apple’s newest iPad is a killer tablet. But no matter how much RAM or how many processor cores the iPad has, it’s still an Apple. Living in the heart of innovation—Silicon Valley—I encounter two groups of distinct individuals: hardcore Android users and Apple fans.

Android vs. Apple

Based on my personal experiences, hardcore Android users wouldn’t be caught dead with an iPhone or an iPad. You might find them using a MacBook Pro, but that’s because it’s one of the only decent, nonplasticky rigs out there. Android folks are more concerned with specs than design.

Android Fans 

This is exemplified in the latest Android phones—they have RAM up the yin yang yet still crash more than iPhones with half as much memory. Moreover, Android users embrace freedom and despise locked down environments.

Apple Fans

Apple fanatics, often called fanboys, are extremely loyal to the Apple brand. Every pore in their body oozes iPhones, iPads, and Macs. They value the stylistic elements of their iDevices and prefer design over functionality.

For example, the iPhone 4 had antenna issues because of the design, yet Apple sold gazillions of them. Seventeen Apple fans are also willing to pay for the premium design. For example, a 17-inch MacBook Pro costs $2,500, whereas a 17-inch Windows laptop with the same spec sells for $1,000.

I wouldn’t classify myself as a hardcore Apple fan, but I’m definitely not on the Android bandwagon, either. Yes, I could open up an Apple Store in my living room—or briefcase—but I believe in keeping an open mind. For example, if Apple doesn’t boost the iPhone’s screen size, I’ll seriously consider an Android smartphone come October (after the rumored iPhone press event).

Top 3 Android Tablets to Battle the New iPad

Interestingly, the new wave of Android tablets to contend the new iPad have quad-core processors and 1920 x 1200 displays. But, will those specs alone be enough to take on Cupertino? For the Android faithful, here are a few Android Tablets to take on the new iPad:

Asus Transformer Pad Infinity 700

If there was one Android tablet to battle the new iPad, it would be the Asus Transformer Pad Infinity 700. This is the mothership of Android tablets, sporting a quad-core Tegra3 processor and 1920 x 1200 10.1-inch display. It has an 8-megapixel rear camera and 2-megapixel front-facing camera for videoconferencing, and comes in 32-gigabyte or 64-gigabyte editions.

Most of the other specs remain the same compared to Asus’s original Transformer Prime, with the exception of the back panel, which was redesigned to improve wireless performance. The tablet supports 1080p playback and micro HDMI for A/V mirroring.

The Asus Transformer Pad Infinity 700 weighs slightly less than the new iPad, but only has a 25WHr lithium polymer battery. Plus, the TF700T is compatible with the original Transformer Prime keyboard dock, making it a viable upgrade option.

While the Transformer Pad’s screen doesn’t quite match Apple’s Retina Display, it is one of the highest resolution LCDs you’ll find on an Android tablet these days. Although the Infinity has a quad-core processor, Android apps aren’t designed to fully leverage the four cores simultaneously. But, the same could be said about Apple’s new four-core GPU.

The Asus Transformer Pad Infinity 700 is available starting in Q2 2012, with a 4G LTE model to be released in the distant future.

Lenovo IdeaTab K2

Admittedly, I was surprised to see Lenovo make this list. They’re not the first company that comes to mind when you think “iPad killer.” Nonetheless, the IdeaTab K2 is a powerful multimedia tablet. The IdeaTab K2 has an ARM-based quad-core processor and 10.1-inch IPS+, 1920 x 1200 display that is similar to the new iPad.

Besides the usual run-of-the-mill features like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, the Lenovo IdeaTab K2 has DDR3 RAM, which is much faster than the typical DDR2 memory found in tablets. Interestingly, users can add up to 2 GB of RAM via Lenovo’s website, which is twice the amount of memory found in competing tablets. Plus, the IdeaTab K2 also supports SRS virtual surround sound, similar to HTC’s Beats Audio™.

The IdeaTab K2 packs a front-facing 1.3-megapixel camera for video chatting and a 5-megapixel rear camera, which has built-in LED flash and autofocus. Surprisingly, Lenovo includes a GPS chip in the IdeaTab K2, which is available in Wi-Fi only, 3G, and 4G models.

All in all, the IdeaTab K2 is a consumer-centric tablet built by a business-friendly computer company. Typically, that combination doesn’t always work, but if early reviews are any indication, the IdeaTab K2 stands a good chance against the new iPad. Pricing and release information are unavailable, although analysts predict the K2 to launch by Q3 2012.

Acer Iconia Tab A700

Despite lackluster sales figures for Acer’s previous Iconia Tab A500, the company is gunning for the high-end tablet market with the Iconia Tab A700. The A700 sports a Tegra3 quad-core processor and super HD 1920 x 1200 display. Unlike the previous tablets, the A700 doesn’t support in-plane switching (IPS), but offers a similar viewing experience.

The Iconia A700 matches the iPad’s 5-megapixel rear camera on the spec sheet, but doesn’t have the other bells and whistles, such as the backside illumination sensor. The Iconia Tab A700 also has a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera for video chat.

The tablet maintains its full-sized USB port, plus micro HDMI, microSD, and mini USB ports. The Iconia Tab A700 runs Android 4.0 and is available June 2012 in 16, 32, and 64 GB models. Overall, the A700 appears to be a solid tablet, but based on Acer’s previous sales figures, it’s hard to think the A700 will outsell other similarly designed tablets.

What’s Your Tablet of Choice?

Do you currently own a first-generation tablet? Are you looking to upgrade? Are you a first-time tablet shopper looking for the best value? Tell us on Facebook or Twitter!

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