If you're looking for something different this year, you may want to hold out for the first wave of Windows 8 tablets. Unlike all those Android tablets and the iPad, Windows 8 offers a fresh, new look with its tiled "Metro" layout. Most of the big manufacturers have plans for Windows 8 tablets.
The Transformer Prime is amazing, but if you're willing to wait a bit longer Asus has plans for an updated model with a screen that can display full HD video. It should launch this spring. The specs will be pretty much the same beyond that, but it will have a better front-facing camera for video chat.
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Samsung is about to release a new version of its 7.7-inch Galaxy Tab that runs on Verizon's super fast 4G network. It even shows you what's playing so all you have to do is tap the show you want and it'll appear on your TV. This Android tablet includes an app called Peel that turns the device into a remote control for your TV and home theater.
So far, the Kindle Fire appears to be the only non-iPad tablet that people are buying by the millions. At $199, it's a decent option for people who don't feel like spending that extra $300 on an iPad.
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The most persistent rumors say it will still look a lot like the current iPad 2, but have a higher resolution screen and a faster processor. It may also connect to 4G networks. We're getting really, really close to an iPad 3 announcement. (The current iPads only connect to 3G.).
Those, along with some rumored devices and great new tablets from late last year make our list for the best you can buy. At the Consumer Electronics Show this month, we got a good look at a bunch of excellent tablets arriving later this year.
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There isn't a launch date yet, but we're expecting it this spring. It's light, but still a bit plasticky for our tastes. Acer has a handful tablets in the works for 2012, but the one we're most excited about is the Iconia Tab A510. This 10-inch tablet will display full HD video and run Google's newest version of Android. We got to play around with the Iconia Tab a bit at CES this year.
Just because Apple still has the tablet market locked up with the iPad, doesn't mean there are some decent competitors out there.
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(But don't worry, it's here too.). Looking beyond the iPad.
Say what you will about how well they'll be received by consumers, we still think they're pretty cool. We saw a bunch of tablets running Windows 8 at CES this year.
Unlike what we saw in 2011, tablet makers are beefing up their offerings with better design, software, and speed.
(Yes, even faster than the current iPad 2.). This tablet is also one of the first to run Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, the latest version of Google's operating system for tablets and smartphones. Under the hood, it has a fancy new processor that makes gaming and other tasks extremely fast.
This year, it looks like the company learned its lesson with the Excite X10. Toshiba released two tablets last year that were panned for being too thick and clunky. It should launch early this year. This Android tablet is lighter and thinner than the iPad 2, yet still has some great expansion ports for SD cards, USB, etc.
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The device isn't finished yet, but we'll probably see the finalized version at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next month. The Padfone is an Android tablet that comes with a smartphone that docks in a hatch in the back. It's been several months since Asus first introduced the Padfone, but it finally looks like it'll see the light of day within the first half of the year.
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Just keep in mind the Kindle Fire is designed for things like reading, streaming video from services like Netflix, and shopping on Amazon. It's still missing a robust selection of high-quality apps and some other essential features like a front-facing camera for video chat.
(Unlike many of those other plasticky Android tablets.). The Transformer Prime is only about a month old, but it quickly became our favorite Android tablet. It's thin, light, and feels like it's built to last.
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Rumors also suggest Apple will keep the iPad 2 around in 2012 and sell it at a lower price than the iPad 3. That'll give people almost the same iPad experience at a fraction of the cost. It could also draw in those who were debating between buying an iPad or one of the cheaper Android tablets.
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There isn't a release date or price yet, but the Galaxy Tab 7.7 should arrive on Verizon soon.
An early rumor from BGR suggests that the new tablet will have an 11.6-inch screen with very high resolution. We're expecting Samsung to unveil its next new Galaxy Tab at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next month. (Similar to the Retina Display on the iPhone 4 and 4S.) We'll know for sure in about a month.
The Galaxy Note, which will launch pretty soon on AT&T, isn't your typical smartphone. Usually we're not fans of styluses, but we were pleasantly surprised with how well the Note works when we tested it at CES this year. It has a massive 5-inch screen (that's about 1.5 inches larger than the iPhone's) and includes a stylus for writing and doodling. Samsung is marketing the device as a phone/tablet hybrid.
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You can also get an optional keyboard dock for the Transformer Prime, which turns the device into a funky tablet/laptop hybrid.
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Best business tablet 2012