New entrants make the tablet solar system shine brighter.
A good brand name usually does the trick for most devices,even if the device itself is not that good. But if there is no name to bank on,then the device has to rely on its own merits. For many,Milagrow might not ring a bell,so the company has ensured that its first product,a very Indian tablet,is good enough to make it a household name. They have packed so much into their 8-inch tablet that the company is selling it as the worlds only TabTop PC.
So what is unique about this tablet? Milagrow claims this is the first tablet to sport a micro USB,full USB,HDMI and SD card reader as a content transfer option. Then you have a SIM slot,Wi-Fi,Bluetooth as well as LAN connectivity using a converter. The multi-touch capacitive LED-backlit screen is as good as it gets,though it is a slightly awkward 4:3 shape. But the company claims this size is ideal for tablets and better than the more popular 16:9 screens,which are cheaper.
The tablet runs Android 2.3.1 Gingerbread,which might have become an underdog after the 4.0 version of the OS became available. But the screen and interface have been customised to keep boredom away. The TabTop sports 1GB and a DDR3 RAM,which ensure super-fast transfer rates.
The tablet is very good at multi-tasking. But make sure that this is not at the cost of the batterys life. A double press of the home key on the screen opens up the app-killer,a unique feature of this tablet.
To cut through the confusion of the Android market,the tablet will come pre-loaded with the best apps. Users will just need to install the apps they need. The tablet also has front and back cameras,though the former is good only in sufficient light. The tablet supports full HD video and has speakers that clearly complement the picture in terms of quality. The TabTop weighs about 455 grams and comes in a nice leather case,which makes it look like a book. The 16GB version sells for Rs 24,990 and the 32 GB for 29,990. If it were a little cheaper,we would have had an outright winner here.
The Galaxy returns
Over the past year,we have been reading and writing about various iPad competitors. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is also in the same league,the difference being that maybe Apple also thinks of this Android tablet as a challenger. Samsungs earlier tablet,the 7 Galaxy Tab,was the only one which could make any dent in iPads sales,so it is expected that the larger tablet will put up a real fight.
To start with,the new Galaxy Tab 750 is a bit lighter and larger than the iPad. But the comparison sort of ends there,for this device runs Honeycomb,the Android OS developed specially for tablets. This is not the first Honeycomb device in the Indian market,so the OS has no novelty.
There are no tweaks or customisations and it is up to the user to make the changes. I couldnt find any new Samsung apps either and it looked too similar to Samsung SII smartphone with the old social hub and Samsung e-mail. And the tablet hasnt been able to shrug off the phone tag,for I kept getting SMSes on my MTNL 3G SIM,(something you will never get on an iPad).
The tablet has two cameras a 3 MP one on the back and a 2 MP one in front both are up to the task of video chatting and non-professional photography. Like other Honeycombs,there is no home button on the tablet and everything is on the touchscreen. The keypad features Swype,like all the new Samsung phones,and this is really handy for a tablet once you get the hang of it. I loved the vibrate-on-keypress option which feels like the tablet is responding to your touch.
The device supports flash,and the browsing experience is really fast and obstacle-free,like on the iPad. The battery is good enough to last a whole day if you are careful to shut off apps that are working in the background. Users will also have to be careful about their data plan,for while the iOS forbids you from downloading anything above 20MB through your SIM,there are no restrictions here and you can easily overshoot your monthly plan.
One big drawback for the Galaxy Tab 750 has to be the Rs 33,999 for a 16 GB device. But it is still worth buying if you arent a great Apple fan.
HCL ME X1 is one of the cheapest tablets in the market now at Rs 10,490. The 7 tablet works on Android 2.3 and has a host of local applications. The X1 has an 800 X 480 pixel capacitive screen, 1Ghz processor,2 MP Camera and 512 MB RAM with an internal memory of 4GB expandable to 32GB.
Fly Vision is another 7 Android tablet at a very affordable price tag of Rs 7,299. The Vision runs on Android 2.2 Froyo.
Your personal cloud
If you have been struggling with lack of space on your 16GB iPad here is an out of the box solution. The GoFlex Satellite is out of the box in a literal sense,for this is an external hard drive that connects to your device,anything from an iPad to an Android phone wirelessly. It does not piggyback off your Wi-Fi connection and creates its own wireless network. Once you have copied files on to the external hard drive using the USB port,you have to disconnect and click on the Wi-Fi button on the device. The signal immediately starts showing in the Wi-Fi list of mobile devices within a 150-foot radius.
But to stream songs,movies or other content on to an iOS or Android device you will need to download a free app from iTunes or the Android market,respectively. While the iPad can play MPEG4 files from the drive,you will need to install additional apps to play other formats.
The satellite is portable and easy to use. However,it is now available only in a 500GB version,which is quite a lot when you consider that iOS devices have a maximum capacity of 64 GB. Price Rs 11,500.
The tablet pen
A few years ago,with the advent of the touchscreens,the stylus gradually became redundant. But the stylus has been making a comeback as more people turn to tablets for creative ventures. Wacom has been a leader in making gadgets that make life easier for artists and designers. So it was only natural that the company would come up with a stylus for the iPad. The Bamboo Stylus feels like a real pen and works like one,especially when used with the popular Bamboo Paper app (free) for iPad to take notes or make quick sketches and annotations. However,the iPad app is not pressure sensitive and you will need to download costlier apps to create something more intricate with the stylus. The 20-gram stylus is compatible with other tablets featuring capacitive touch technology similar to the iPad. Users might have to replace the nib occasionally . It costs Rs 1,750.
Many believe a touchscreen tablet isnt good for typing. But now,thanks to external keyboards,you dont have to limit yourselves to short missives while using the iPad or an Android tablet. Logitech gives you the lightweight keyboard option for both types of tablets. The keyboards come with a stand for the tablet and are easy to set up. The iPad keyboard costs Rs 3,470 while the Android 3.0 option sells for Rs 3,360.