Best tablets of MWC 2011: PhoneArena's pick
Except for the tablets already announced at the CES show last month, some of which were present here as well with more polished versions, there was another influx of Android slates, so lets recap what we found most worthy of attention, we've linked our hands-on articles in the names, if you want to preview the tablets in-depth:
1. HP TouchPad - a refreshing step away from the "me too" world of Android tablets, the first tablet with the excellent webOS mobile operating system was showcased once more at the MWC Expo, and we came away impressed how fluid and natural to navigate webOS has become when grown up to a tablet size. Not to mention the dual-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon chipset. A real disappointment here is the summer release, as well as the lack of a rear camera and HDMI port, but the HP TouchPad has the rather cool Touch-to-share function.
2. LG Optimus Pad / T-Mobile G-Slate - Along with the LG Optimus 3D, the Optimus Pad (or the T-Mobile G-Slate, as it will be known in the US) tablet represents the manufacturer's intention of introducing 3D to the world of tablets and cellphones. The Optimus Pad may lack a glasses-free 3D display, but on the other hand it promises to be very comfortable to operate with its 8.9" size, which places it right between the iPad and the Galaxy Tab. The 3D camera on its back will allow you to capture 3D snapshots and video, which you'll be then able to watch on a compatible 3D TV or monitor. In addition, YouTube 3D will be integrated so that you can easily share your content with the world.
3. Acer Iconia Tab A500 - another underdog that turned out one of the most compelling tablet offerings at the MWC this year. Slated to appear on Verizon in its LTE reincarnation, the Acer Iconia Tab A500 boasts aluminum enclosure, and all the high-end specs cited above. The only thing missing in comparison with the Toshiba Tablet is the miniUSB port, but full USB and HDMI are still here.
4. Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 - Samsung takes all high-end specs above, save for the HDMI and USB ports, and bumps the rear camera resolution up to 8MP. Resolution doesn't mean much for good photos and video, though, and is even less so important on a tablet. Besides, it has an uninspiring all-plastic build, but what the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 brings to the table is its rather slim and light design for a 10" slate - it is less thick and is lighter than all of the above offerings, which might make it the tablet of choice for some, if you can make do with only Samsung's proprietary connector and DLNA.
5. HTC Flyer - last but not least is HTC's first attempt at a tablet device, and we only tell about it last because it comes with a 7" display, and the rest were 10-inchers. It is much easier to carry around in this size, though, and looks and feels better than the first brand-name 7" Android tablet - the Galaxy Tab. It is the only one with a single-core CPU, but it goes way up to 1.5GHz, so don't worry it is underpowered. HTC brings in its usual unibody aluminum shell design to the HTC Flyer, so it looks like a true product from the company that won the "Device Manufacturer of the Year" award at the MWC Expo. Moreover, HTC managed to tailor its excellent Sense UI to the tablet experience, which, considering all the stock Honeycomb offerings (it runs Gingerbread), will differentiate it even further. Did we mention it also has a capacitive stylus for doodling and note-taking, as well as OnLive cloud gaming pre-installed?
All of the above tablets are due in the Spring, save for the HP TouchPad, which will most probably hit the shelves in the summertime. With most tablet offerings already announced, we are waiting for the last major contender, Apple's iPad 2, so that the tablet wars can truly begin.