Bryan’s top 3 tablets for February, 2012

Top 3 Feb - for some reason we don't have an alt tag here

When I started thinking about what three tablets I would choose to highlight this month, I think about all the people that have asked me for advice on what tablet to buy. It seems like a week doesn’t go by without someone asking me about a tablet. Just yesterday I was talking to someone who was interested in the Galaxy Tab 10.1, and I told him not to bother waiting for the Galaxy Tab 2 to come out. I also suggested he look into the Transformer Prime if he had the money for one. But I digress. For this months top three tablets, I chose the top three that I would recommend to people who are asking me for advice. I didn’t rank this month’s tablets because each one I selected is targeted at a different segment of the market. Hit the jump to find out which three I chose and why.

Nook Tablet (16GB)

My first choice that I recommend is the Nook Tablet. I live in Michigan, and to say our economy is pretty bad would be an understatement. That means that when people have a little extra cash, they still want to be frugal in their spending. That’s where the budget tablet line comes in. The Kindle Fire really kicked off this section of the market, but I always recommend the Nook Tablet over the Kindle Fire. The reason is pretty simple. Even though the Kindle Fire comes in at $50 cheaper, the Nook Tablet beats it out with hardware specs.

When it comes to tablets, and computers, the better hardware you can get at the beginning of it’s life usually means the longer you will enjoy it during it’s life. Everyday computer hardware is getting better, and everyday developers are taking advantage of the better hardware and creating apps that use up more memory and processor speed. What this means is that the longer that you have a certain device, it almost seems like it gets slower over it’s age. This isn’t always so much about it getting older as it is that the newer software keeps needing more resources. This is why the better hardware you can get up front, the happier you will be in the long run.

The Nook Tablet has a 1024 x 600 display with a 1Ghz processor and 1GB RAM. The Kindle Fire is pretty similar with the same 1Ghz processor, but only 512MB RAM. Now double RAM in the Nook doesn’t mean it is twice as fast, but it does mean it will perform better. I’m also talking specifically about the 16GB Nook Tablet, which has double the storage space of the Kindle Fire. The Nook Tablet also has a MicroSD card slot so you can add an additional 32GB of storage, while the Kindle Fire doesn’t have an SD card slot. If you are looking in the budget category than I would choose the 16GB Nook Tablet. If you really can’t afford the $250 price tag, Nook recently released an 8GB model with 512MB RAM. It also has a MicroSD card slot to expand storage, and is selling at the same price as the Kindle Fire, $200. I have used both the Kindle FIre and Nook Tablet and was more impressed with the way the Nook Tablet functioned. I can’t really say exactly why, just that I enjoyed using it more.

iPad 2

Yes, I know that the iPad 3 is supposed to be announced March 7. Yes I know the iPad 2 has been out for almost a year, making it ancient in terms of tablet life. And yes, I am recommending an Apple product even though I would never buy one myself. The reasons are pretty simple. I know not everyone is like me, has the same needs as me, enjoys the same things as me. Apple makes a great product that is very durable, easy to use, and reliable. It also holds its value very well. I regularly see used iPad 2’s selling for close to $500, almost a year after they have been out. All of Apple’s products hold their value well, and that is a testament to their being very well built.

I work for a church and have found that when it comes to church technology, Apple still reigns supreme. From the presentation software used on Sunday mornings to the lighting software and digital sound boards, you can find an iPad app for just about all of it. What you can’t find is anything comparable on the Android Market. What this means is that if I am recommending a tablet for someone that is planning on using it in a church, I recommend the iPad. I’ve said before that the apps make the tablet, and without Android apps that means that this segment of the tablet market will be dominated by Apple until some companies realize that people own Android tablets in the church technology field.

Asus Eee Pad Transformer

For my third tablet pick I chose the Asus Eee Pad Transformer, not the Transformer Prime. One reason for that is the price point. You can pick up the older Transformer for a few hundred dollars cheaper than the Prime, and for what most people will use it for, it will work perfectly. As for specs it has all the things most people want in a tablet. Cameras, microphones, SD card slot, and a nice big 10.1 inch multi-touch display.

I know of a couple people that have purchased these tablets, and are very happy with them. As a bonus just this last week the Eee Pads got updated to Ice Cream Sandwich. From what I was told it was a very painless upgrade process, which isn’t always the case. That’s another great reason to pick up this tablet, ICS. There are still only a handful of tablets available that have ICS on them, unless you include the rooted ones running custom ROMs, which I’m not since most consumers don’t plan on rooting their devices.

Conclusion

I’ve picked three tablets that aren’t even in the same category as each other. We have a 7 inch tablet and two 10 inch tablets; two Android tablets, and one Apple tablet; one budget tablet, and two more pricy tablets. These three tablets cover a considerable amount of the tablet market, and I will say that if you purchase one of them you will be happy with your choice, all the people that I know who own them are.

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Bryan Faulkner

Bryan Faulkner is a former associate editor at Pocketables. He loves to find new ways to use his tablets while working as the Tech Director at his local church. Mixing sound from the iPad is his newest obsession. He currently has a pair of HP TouchPads, an iPad 2, a decommissioned HTC EVO 4G, and a Samsung Galaxy Note II to tinker with.

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