Are eBooks a bargain in comparison to traditional books? Read our analysis to find out the pros and cons of each.
Tablet Processors & Tablet Touch-screens
Tablet reviews indicate that two elements in particular separate a good tablet from a mediocre one: the processing speed and the screen. Tablet reviews note that the CPU does more to affect performance than any other single component.
Tablet Speed.Experts' tablet reviews say the budget devices on our list deliver sufficient to very good speed. The Nexus 7 (starting at $199, Amazon) is particularly fast, according to tablet reviews, thanks to its 1.2GHz quad-core processor. An expert from Engadget describes the Nexus 7 as quick and snappy, and a reviewer from PC World reports it "excelled" in performance tests. The Nook HD (starting at $199, Amazon) also runs on a 1.3 GHz dual-core processor and an expert tablet review at CNET asserts that its processing muscle shines while playing games.
The Amazon Kindle Fire ($174 without ads; $159 with ads, Amazon) also contains a 1.2GHz CPU, but of the dual-core variety. Tablet reviews say the Kindle Fire tends to lag when opening apps and an expert tablet review at PC Mag concludes that its performance is not quite on par with the newest crop of budget tablets -- a point that's also made about the Kindle Fire HD (starting at $214 without ads; $199 with ads, Amazon). A 1GHz dual-core CPU graces the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 (starting at $199, Amazon), resulting in performance that Laptop Magazine asserts is slower than competing models. Still, tablet reviews contend the Galaxy Tab 2's performance is decent even though the CPU is hardly a speed demon.
Somewhat mixed assessments of tablet speed attach to the Acer Iconia A110 (starting at $200, Amazon) and Coby Kyros MID9742 (starting at $160, Amazon). The quad-core 1.2GHz CPU guts of the Iconia A110 should be pretty quick, and tablet reviews generally say its performance shows no lags, but in testing Computer Shopper found it a tad slow compared to others in its class. Inside the Kyros MID9742 is a 1GHz single-core CPU that isn't always up to the task, according to tablet reviews. Posts at Amazon say this model has a tendency to lag and applications sometimes crash. Similarly disappointing results were recorded by an expert tablet reviewer at PC Mag.
Tablet Screens.A high quality tablet screen is essential for the best user experience, be it movie watching, photo viewing, online surfing, or text reading. Generally, the higher the tablet screen resolution, the better the display will look.
Among the tablets we researched, the Nook HD boasts the highest resolution at 1440x900, and reviewers are nuts for the display. An expert from Slashgear says video looks "awesome" on this tablet screen and goes on to commend the all-around vibrant and crisp display and wider-than-average viewing angles. A review by CNET flatly declares that the tablet screen on the Nook HD is the sharpest of any 7-inch model and delivers excellent clarity for both text and HD movies. The 1280x800 tablet screen resolution on the Nexus 7 wins praise in reviews for very good color reproduction and text rendering; at Engadget, tribute is paid to the tablet screen's brightness, excellent contrast, and wide viewing angles.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0, the Kindle Fire, and the Acer Iconia A110 all feature a resolution of 1024x600. A reviewer at Laptop Magazine says the tablet screen on the Galaxy Tab shows nice contrast in video but displays some fuzziness around text. A CNET review concludes that the Kindle Fire's display is OK but bested by both the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD (no surprise, there). At PC Mag, an expert pans the Acer Iconia A110 tablet screen for its muted colors and poor viewing angles. The display also fails to impress a reviewer at Computer Shopper who notes that it lacks the clarity and detail of competing, higher resolution tablet screens.
In reviews of the Coby Kyros MID9742 by PC Mag and Computer Shopper, experts complain about the tablet screen's 4:3 aspect ratio. Most tablet screens use the familiar wide 16:9 aspect ratio, which is ideal for widescreen video such as HD movies. The 4:3 aspect ratio on the Coby Kyros MID9742 means you'll see space-wasting sidebars on the top and bottom of the screen while watching widescreen video. Reviewers are also lukewarm about the display's 1024x768 resolution.
Don't Bother Cheap Tablets
Coby Kyros MID9742 Review
Acer Iconia A110 Review
Amazon Kindle Fire Review
Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 Review
Google Nexus 7 Review
Nook HD Review
Samsung Galaxy Tab
Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet
Asus Eee Pad Transformer
Acer Iconia Tab
Coby Kyros MID7015
Samsung Galaxy Tab
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