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Slim, sleek and sophisticated, tablet computers have never been so user- friendly, writes Jennifer Dudley- Nicholson
SONY TABLET Sony, $ 579-$ 689; sony. com. au
Sony’s first tablet doesn’t look like any other. It looks and feels like a magazine that has been folded over, thanks to one side being thicker than the other and textured for easy holding. Though an unusual design, it’s comfortable in the hand, weighing only 598g, which is lighter than the ipad2. Sony’s Tablet S runs Google Android 3.2 software smoothly thanks to a 1GHZ dualcore processor and 1GB RAM. Sony also offers a 5- megapixel camera, basic front- facing webcam, a memory card slot, and access to its Playstation Store for games, music and video streaming services. This oddly shaped 9.4- inch model has all the trappings of a standout model. All but a 3G net connection, that is. The 16GB and 32GB models rely on wi- fi only.
ACER ICONIA TAB A100 Acer, $ 479; acer. com. au
They may not be for everyone, but 7- inch tablets are convenient. Acer’s small model is no exception, as the Iconia Tab A100 is small enough to slip into the pocket of a pair of cargo pants or a backpack. The Tab runs Google Android Honeycomb software in an impressively fast fashion, thanks to a dual- core 1GHZ processor and 1GB RAM. It comes with 8GB memory built- in, though more can be added with a memory card, and a 5- megapixel camera out back and 2- megapixel camera on its front. The A100 connects to the internet via wi- fi only, but users may be put off by its slightly chunky 410g body and its screen, which offers a very restricted viewing angle.
PENDO PAD Dodo, free with subscription; dodo. com. au
With its sleek 7- inch screen, curved back and rounded home button, the Google Android 2.1- based Pendo Pad looks like an oversized smartphone. Sadly, its 360g body, measuring 19cm by 12cm, is too large to hold comfortably in one hand and the touchscreen is a bit grippy, failing to make a smooth transition from one app to the next. With a built- in 2GB memory there is not a lot of room for photos or music. On the plus side, the Pad is wi- fi- enabled and downloads arrive reasonably fast. There is also a camera that is adequate for Skype calls. This basic Pad is best given to the kids to play with. But, as it comes free with a 24- month mobile broadband subscription to Dodo, the price is right.
FUJITSU STYLISTIC Q550 Fujitsu, $ 1688; fujitsu. com. au
Fujitsu’s tablet computer is not designed to suit everyone. This 10.1- inch slate is unusual because it is designed for serious business use. The Stylistic Q550 is powered by a 1.5GHZ Intel processor, has 2GB RAM, a Smartcard reader and fingerprint scanner, and is loaded with a full copy of Windows 7 Professional but users need to employ a battery- powered stylus to select small boxes. A removable battery, 30GB hard drive, two basic cameras, SD card reader and slots for USB, HDMI, dock and headphones also feature. Heavy and sluggish, but secure.