With Father’s Day just around the corner, these iPad alternatives may be the best Father’s Day gifts for gadget-addicted dads who want something other than an Apple product. The original iPad and the newer iPad 2 are excellent tablet computers for those who need a device that fulfills their daily computing needs while also offering superior portability. The iPad alternatives listed below share the same form factor as Apple’s offerings but may outperform the iPad in some aspects or represent a greater value for the money. Congratulations! Dad’s finally going to upgrade you to most-favored-son status.
1. Motorola Xoom. The Xoom may be the best non iPad tablet currently in the market. It has a comparable 1GHz dual core processor and comes with 32G of storage space. The Xoom runs on the popular Android 3.0 operating system, which supports Adobe Flash for a fuller web-browsing experience (iPad and iPad 2 do not). Those who use their tablets to watch movies should also consider the screen dimensions of each device. The Motorola Xoom sports a 10.1” screen, slightly bigger and better for movies than the Apple tablets’ 9.7” display. The Xoom retails for around $599. Get the MOTOROLA XOOM Android Tablet (Wi-Fi)
2. Blackberry Playbook. The Blackberry Playbook from the fine folks at Research In Motion (RIM) is by no means an iPad killer. It uses a similar 1GHz processor, it is smaller, and it has a screen size tinier than the iPad. With the 16GB version going for around $499, it is similarly priced to the iPad 2. The main thing going Playbook is that, for loyal Blackberry smartphone users, it complements and works well with their mobile phone. It is also optimized for web browsing. It handles Flash beautifully and is also able to handle HTML5. Get the Blackberry Playbook 7-Inch Tablet (32GB)
3. Nook Color. An e-reader in a list of iPad alternatives? This is blasphemy! This is madness! Seriously though, the Nook Color is not your grandmother’s e-reader. Equipped with a stunning 7.0” color touchscreen display, it runs on the popular Android 2.2 Froyo operating system. With a $250 price tag, it easily beats the iPad or iPad 2 on price. More than a few iPad users actually use their tablets primarily for web browsing and reading e-books, anyway, and the Nook looks just about as cool. Get the Barnes & Noble NOOK COLOR eBook Reader Tablet (WiFi Only) w/ SanDisk 1GB microSD Card
4. Velocity Micro Cruz T103. Sounding like a Tom Cruise offspring, this baby has all the features needed to effectively browse the web, handle email, play music and watch videos. Admittedly, it is geared more toward buyers on a tight budget. The Velocity Micro Cruz has a small 7.0” screen, a paltry 512MB of memory, a miniscule 1GB of storage and no camera to speak of. But given that it fits in a large cargo pocket and sells for only $250, it is still pretty enticing, especially for Android fans. Get the Velocity Micro T301 Cruz 7-Inch Android 2.0 Tablet (Black)
5. Sylvania SYNET7LP. Because Sylvania is best known for light bulbs, buying a cheap Sylvania tablet may feel like scraping the bottom of the barrel. Much like other budget iPad alternatives, it has a 7.0” screen, a 1GHz processor, 256MB of RAM and 2GB of built-in storage. It hardly compares to even the original iPad, but it will work just great for those who want to do instant web browsing and light computing work on the go. And at a mere $149, if you end up hating it, you can always give it to your kids to keep them preoccupied during long road trips. Get the Sylvania SYTAB10MT 10-Inch Magni Tablet (Black)