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Slate Comparison Chart

Budget Slate Comparison Table

One to watch in 2013 - the Archos 9.7 Titanium HD

Alex Fergusson Architects

Amazon Top Twenty Tablets 2012 1st Quarter

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Amazon UK publishes a list of its bestselling tablets. Although calmer now than it was earlier in the year, it still changes quite often. However, aggregating the lists over time and refining the definition of a tablet allows us to see trends that have persisted over the months since the market became large enough to reveal useful information. Prices have dropped to down to £194 since the launch of the "New iPad" last week. Amazon's list has stabalised which will allow us to add more to this list over the next few days. For more detail on the market as a whole, look at the trends tab.


Apple iPad 2

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Having led in overall sales through much of last year, the iPad has dropped back a little with time and with the new model expected in the shops in the next couple of weeks.

Globally Apple's its market share is starting to come under threat. However, in the UK, where we cannot buy America's number two - the Amazon Kindle Fire - the iPad reins supreme.

The iPad is a fabulous product - apparently unlike the Kindle Fire for which technical reviews have been rather luke warm.

Both of America's bestsellerss have a substantial ecosystem and the iPad has a huge range of available apps, but up to now, buyers have been getting their iPads at the lovely Apple retail outlets - hence it normally has had a lower showing on Amazon.

Compare the Specifications


NATPC / Tabtronics M009S / M010S Capacitive, 7"

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Capacitive Screen

New for 2012 - the capacitive screen version of this original. It's not at all bad, considering the price which is perhaps why it has spent quite a bit of time showing as out of stock, but now it's back to the top of the list.

It has 512Mb of RAM (quick access memory) which is not that bright, but it is better than the really budget offerings, and it has quite a fast processor (1.6GHz).

The NAND Flash memory (a slate's equivalent of a hard disk drive) has now been increased to 8Gb. This is equivalent to the lowest option for most of the branded offerings.

Again, common amongst the cheaper models, is the lower resolution - 800x480 pixels.

Like many of the cheaper slates, this runs Android 2.3 (called Gingerbread.) This is a pretty robust version of the platform, but a little out-dated and, according to Google, who developed it, it's better suited to phones than slates. It still works well enough for most purposes, though.


NATPC / Tabtech M009S / M010S

Resistive Sad ScreenResistive Screen - not so good.

These more or less identical black (M009S) and white (M010S) models of a 7" model make quite a few appearances in Amazon's list. There is now also a slightly faster cousin, the M009F. The "company" or companies (NATPC or their friends Tabtech, Tabtronics, TTfone, Fineslate and Ployer) have been amongst top sellers of Android tablets for months now, if the data from Amazon is representative, yet you will struggle even to find their websites. 

But what about the compromises? Check out our article on whether budget tablets are worth the saving.


A1CS X220

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The X220 has the larger 10" format, but no capacitive touchscreen for easy finger operation, or sexy high resolution. Notice that it has only four rows of icons - one less than the original 7" Samsung Galaxy Tab. Some versions promise GPS, though, and an HDMI output, so that's some boxes ticked...

Some variants of the X220 are called the Flytouch 3 and some come with space for a 3G SIM which would mean they could perform as SatNavs without your having to rely on the caching function in Google Maps.



Samsung Galaxy Note N7000

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Down a little since last time.

In truth, it's something of a crossover between a tablet and a mobile phone with a screen of only 5.3" diagonally. Many of it's sales will no doubt be with a phone contract, so it is likely to sell better overall compared with its showing in this list. We have rated it as a tablet though, on the rather arbitrary criterion that its screen is larger than 5 inches. (Amazon have it as a "SIM-free mobile phone" and not listed with the other tablets.)

The hardware is pretty impressive with dual 1.4GHz processors and a stylus that helps take this slate to a more mature market niche. The Note stylus also comes with a screenshot function which is available in one form or another on several Samsung Tabs. To be honest, the lack of an easy way to take a screenshot was a significant shortcoming in the basic Android platform. Apparently it is added in the latest Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich which will shortly be available for download for the Note.

A commentator here likes the stylus because, for her, sometimes a "finger just sometimes isn't enough."

6. Minigadget MG638
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This comes with a resistive screen, a slower 800MHz processor and the older Android 2.2 Froyo.



Samsung Galaxy Tab P4 10.1 inch

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This is the upgrade to Samsung's original 7" Tab introduced in 2010. It's been accused of being copied from the iPad, and there are similarities. Both are slimmer, sexier and more expensive than some of the other slates on this list. Both also share the annoying assumption that you'll be happy to go out and buy accessories for things like the HDMI screen output because the basic "fondleslab" has only one propriety socket (apart from the headphone jack).

But these similarities are not enough to justify Apple's recent litigation against this product which has taken patent actions into worrying new territories. It currently looks as if Samsung are going to win on balance and the slate will remain on sale.

Probably too late for the this Tab 10.1 to be a big winner, though, because it has been replaced as the most technically desirable Android slate by the new Asus Transformer EeePad Prime.

Like most of the newer and larger Android tablets, this comes with version 3 of the platform - also called Honeycomb.

RIM BlackBerry PlayBook

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Matt cartoonThis has always looked a more sensible choice for existing owners of the Blackberry smartphones rather than for anybody else. The Playbook runs a unique platform called QNX. At last, a new version of QNX has just come out offering proper Email and contact management independent of the Blackberry phone.

Amazon's best-selling Playbook entry is currently not listed as a tablet, so take care to get the right thing.

At this stage it's probably only fair to warn any potential buyers of the parlous state of the RIM company after poor sales for the full-priced Playbook and the catastrophic failure of their romantically-located Slough messaging server last autumn. The company, Research in Motion (RIM) has also lost their joined-at-the-hip joint CEOs and seen their share price fall more than 70% during last year.

(Matt cartoon, thanks to The Telegraph)

Storage Options 53511 Scroll Essential 7

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Another budget device running the Gingerbread version of Android.

There is a very similar, but updated second-generation version of this slate sometimes available - the 53715 Scroll Excel 7 .

Perhaps this Essential would suit the children?

Asus Eee pad Transformer TF101 (with keyboard dock)

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With the new Transformer Prime having suffered from some adverse publicity (see below), the first generation Transformer is back for a swan song.

Optionally, it comes with an extra battery and a USB socket on the quite solidly built keyboard dock.

Like most of the branded offerings here it runs the newer tablet-specific Honeycomb flavour of Android.



Lenovo A1 7" TI_3622

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The Lenovo A1 is often actually at the top of the list. This could have quite a bit to do with a pretty persuasive price!

The specifications are adequate, with a fairly standard 1GHz processor, and the smaller, but still usable 512Mb of memory.


12. Archos 70 (250Gb)

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This French company has been chipping away at the market since before the release of the iPad and has built up a share ahead of many more famous rivals. And with some justification: they have steadfastly kept the faith while some larger companies (E.g. Dell) have come and gone.

And this slate really has a Unique Selling Point (USP for any marketing types out there). And the USP is in its hard disk - offering 250Gb of storage for your music, videos, films etc. This is double the size of the largest of the solid state drives (SSD) offered by the competition. The traditional spinning disk, however, is slower, heavier and probably less robust, but still.

Anyway, if you want an Archos with an SSD you can get one.

Archos have quite a range on offer, with new sexy models now released.

Is Archos a bona fide manufacturer?


HTC Flyer

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This slate has been around for a while but it is now benefitting from quite serious price reductions so it has arrived in this best seller list.

While it is in many ways quite a standard 7" model, it does have the option, like the newer and smaller Galaxy Note, of using a stylus to annotate screenshots, PDFs, presentation and so on - quite a neat feature hence it's appearance in

For the business traveller with back trouble

HTC have also promised Ice Cream Sandwich "this quarter."

14. Tabtronics Apad WM8650
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Very cheap.

15. MID 7" E-Pad
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This has more RAM memory at 1Gb than many budget tablets. However, it comes with the older version 2.1 flavour of Android - and that's quite old. This can be bought with a flash expansion card and a wallet which includes a USB keyboard. This will make up for some of the deficiencies and still the price is quite modest.


16. Motorola
Xoom 1

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Note that this is version 1 of the Xoom. Presumably it is owing to sales of used examples that it has consistently outperformed the Xoom 2 which is now available in a 10-inch version as well as an 8-inch Media Edition.

This was the product with which Google first introduced the "true tablet version of Android" - which was called Honeycomb and was version 3 of the platform. Now it's possible to download Ice Cream Sandwich.

The feeling was that the product was rushed to market to beat the iPad 2 and that its reputation suffered as a result. The first versions released had a memory card slot that could not be used and surely that's not good, but more recently things have improved.

17=. Archos 10.1
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This is a slightly better specced and better branded alternative to the A1CS / Superpad X220. It has all the basics and quite a little more, while Archos are carving out a significant niche for themselves supplying a broad range of MP3 players and eReaders as well as slates.

This slate is from their older G2 range. The next generation from Archos (Gen9) are now becoming available. The slates don't look that different and you should take care to get the one you actually want.

Is Archos a bona fide manufacturer?


Asus EeePad Transformer Prime TF201

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It has not been plain sailing for the new version of the Asus Transformer. The original was last year's best reviewed slate and it still performs well. This new model has a very sexy brushed metal back and is the first to come with the Tegra 3 processor which confusingly has four cores.

Problems surfaced around the issue of wireless reception both for WiFi (although Asus deny this) and for the GPS receiver. The claim to have GPS has been removed from the specification altogether and the supply has been kept tight, but now it has moved up to number 3 in our list despite a pretty high price.

For all the issues, this is probably the best buy amongst quality Android tablets.

Arnova 7

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This is a budget offering from the Archos' large stable, but it does have most of the standard features - and the Archos company do provide some support and updates.

Is Archos a bona fide manufacturer?

Motorola Xoom 2 10.1-inch

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This is Motorola's 2nd generation Xoom. It's faster than the Xoom 1, but sales have not been astounding.

19=. Storage Options 53715 Scroll Excel 7

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This is similar to the Lenovo A1, this time with Android Gingerbread. Supply for this model is rather intermittent and it is quite often listed as unavailable.

There is a very similar, but slower and cheaper first-generation version of this still available - the 53511 Scroll Essential 7.

Perhaps the Essential would suit the children's gift?

22. Apple iPad 1
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Of course, this is the tablet that spawned them all...

And here mostly through the trade in used examples - dare we use the phrase second hand.

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