Almost Recommended Tablets - Quick reviews of the Samsung Note, Google Nexus, and the aging BlackBerry Playbook...
This year, there really are quite a large number of tablets available, and while the page of recommended slates includes those with slightly better all round capabilities, there are plenty of good reasons to buy devices which didn't quite make it to that list. Check out what we've listed below. In many cases there's an idea of the particular selling point that might make the model here than one that is best for you.
As with those on the main list, these too are grouped according to their form and function so you can compare them side-by-side...
And now for a brief summary of ecosystems. You could well disagree staunchly with these views, but if you do, that probably means you already know which ecosystem is your preferred choice... But do feel free to comment at the bottom here.
These run the IOS platform. Probably the best app store with many prestigious companies building their apps for Apple products first. Updates to the system have been made available to all users at once - for iPads, iPods and iPhones - meaning that the products date more slowly. It is though, a very controlled environment, with a small range of products available and all of them coming from Apple.
Like Apple's platform, this is used both in mobile phones and in tablets. There is an absolutely enormous range of Android products available now though, catering for pretty much everything current technology will support. A basic user profile can be transferred between products from different manufacturers, but there is a problems with some products not keeping up with the latest versions of Android. This and a few other confusing challenges make Android just slightly less easy to use that the Apple products - but don't be frightened. If you have an Android phone, you're already half way there.
The Amazon Kindle Fires (Fire OS 3.0 Mojito)
These tablets operate a variant of the normal Android platform. Although they look quite different at first sight, scratch the surface and they are quite like the other Android slates - crucially, they will run the same apps in most cases, although it's easiest to buy these from the Amazon app store. Currently the Fires come with an extra advert infested skin unless you pay a few extra pounds to get yours without. For the newer HDX models, you get a MayDay button which allows you to connect to an expoert and any time. Sometimes, they can also take control of the Kindle Fire and fix your problem.
A lot of effort has been put in by Microsoft to get this new "touch-friendly" version of the Windows platform to work properly on mobile devices as well as on desktop PCs. It still has to be said, though, that none of these tablets really make the grade. For the most part, they are either slow running, with things like stuttering video playback, or they still suffer from the age-old problems that Microsoft products have on the mobile world - they are heavy, expensive, and have a significantly shorter battery life. Windows is probably a year behind the Apples and Androids of the mobile scene - and currently that's the difference between having a viable product, and not having one. But... if you have to have something like a particular Excel spreadsheet available, with its macros and complex formulae, then you have to choose between buying a Windows 8 product, accessing your systems remotely, or... buying an older Windows 7 product, or... nothing.
RIM Blackberry QNX
This is entirely restricted to Blackberry smartphones and the one model of Playbook so far - and that is looking fairly long in the tooth. But there is a devoted following for Blackberry and maybe things will turn around for them. Keep in mind, though, that the company behind it all - Research In Motion (or RIM) - the company itself is in a pretty bad way.