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The top 4 alternatives to the iPad

An iPad is great, but it shouldn’t be the only tablet you’re looking at buying. 2012 has seen a few worthy competitors enter the tablet market, some are great value for money and others look just as sexy as the iPad. There is a huge market for low-cost Android tablets, they’re cheap, get the job done and can be easily shipped to any destination in the world. On the other hand, there are high-end tablets that are just outstanding. Tablets are really making a stand in the industry and they’re definitely here to stay.

Lets take a closer look at some of the best alternatives:

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Value for Money: Google Nexus 7

The Google Nexus 7 is the best value for money in a tablet. At R3 000 for the 16GB version, its specs can’t be matched. It’s packed with a Quad-core Tegra 3 processor, which will definitely stand up to most tasks and is equipped with Android’s Jelly Bean OS. Its sleek and offers good battery life.

What do users sacrifice at this price? For starters, this tablet does NOT have a back facing camera. Also, users will be forced to limit their storage on the device. Both the 16GB and 32GB versions aren’t expandable. This does enforce the use of their cloud storage system Google Drive as well as Dropbox. Overall, this tablet is great for daily use if you can get past the fact that it has no back-facing camera.

Windows lovers: Microsoft Surface RT

While this tablet hasn’t been garnering a great response from users, it has one major advantage, the OS is Windows. While Windows RT doesn’t resemble any previous Windows version, it is still safe. Applications run well and the interface is sleek. Another advantage this tablet has is the keyboard built into the peripheral smart-cover. For users who aren’t comfortable typing on a touch-screen, an add-on keyboard is a must-have. A big disadvantage however, would be that no 3rd party applications can be downloaded on the tablet.

The tablet is a little pricey, starting at US$499 for the entry-level model, especially if you value a rich app-store. It’s just a pity that some members of Gearburn hate the blighter.

Best all-rounder: Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

Samsung and Apple have been toe to toe in recent years, both in regards to phones and tablets. There has to be a reason why Apple forcefully prevents Samsung from distributing this tablet in certain countries. The Galaxy Tab is sleek, efficient, packs a great processor and Android’s Ice Cream Sandwich OS. It’s definitely one of the sexier alternatives. However, if price is to be taken into consideration, then this isn’t the best choice.

The Galaxy Tab 10.1 retails at around R6 000 which is double the cost of the Google Nexus 7. There is a large amount of add-ons available for the Galaxy Tab including keyboards, smart covers and adapters that really make this tablet one of the best alternatives if you’re willing to spend a fair amount of money. If you’re looking for a real iPad alternative, the Galaxy Tab really is the closest contender.

For the readers: Kindle Fire HD

Not necessarily an iPad alternative, the Kindle Fire HD is more of a tablet alternative. A relatively low-cost tablet at US$299, its great for those using it solely for browsing and reading. The Biggest disadvantage however would be that a large amount of Amazon content is not available in South Africa due to regional restrictions. It has a limited amount of features, but if you do plan to use your tablet for reading and browsing online, then the Kindle Fire HD is a good choice.

Tablets have become independent of the iPad and 2013 is looking good, as we’re hoping to see some more worthy competitors enter the market.

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