Trio of Tablets – PC for 2011

 27 Apr 2011 - By Omar Yesid Mariño+

I have yet to see a tablet that would convince me to give up my desktop PC but I have to say that the newer models I have seen may just convince me that netbooks are officially dead. This time around, let us take a look at a trio of new tablets out this year that may not be iPad 2 killers but may very well be an affordable alternative. I’ve lined up a couple sporting the latest edition of Android for you converts, and a “throwback” rocking Windows 7 just in case some of you are as un-hip as I am. Let’s start with a little something from Packard Bell.

Packard Bell Liberty Tab

For those of you who thought Packard Bell is a has-been that never would reclaim the glory that they once held… you may be right. But that doesn’t mean they’re going to stop trying. The new Packard Bell Liberty Tab is a Honeycomb tablet that has just about all the essentials in the right place with few of the extra bells and whistles that inflate price tags.

Tablets - PC

This little 10 inch machine runs on a Tegra 2 processor and features dual cameras (one in the front and one in back—most likely a 5mp and 2mp respectively). You’ll only get 1GB of RAM but it should be enough for doing most anything the tablet can do. It looks like the base model will house up to 16GB of flash storage—which is a little disappointing–and there’s no word yet of an upgraded model.

There’s also an HDMI output so you can use the tablet as a portable media storage device and play movies and slideshows on any HD device equipped with an HDMI port.

Really, the Liberty Tab is a rebranded model of the Acer Iconia A500 tablet with the major difference being a wider availability.

The Packard Bell Liberty Tab is set to take Europe by storm (probably not) sometime in June with a wider release shortly after that.

And speaking of the Acer Iconia line . . .

Acer Iconia W500

The Acer Iconia W500 is just a Windows 7 version of the little A500. The spec’s are pretty much the same and the device is essentially just there to catch the eye of those folks who haven’t yet converted to the Android OS.

Acer Iconia W500

The Iconia is a 10.1 inch tablet whose 1280 X 800 display is quite sharp in comparison to similarly sized models. It comes packed with 2GB of RAM (which is a step up over most competitors) and AMD Radeon HD 6250 graphics on board. That power is coupled with a 1GHz Ontario AMD fusion APU.

You’ll also get two cameras, an HDMI out, and Wi-Fi. The battery life isn’t that great (6 hours) but the Iconia W500 does come with a keyboard dock so those of you who hate virtual keyboards won’t have to shell out extra for another peripheral any time soon.

The Iconia W500 hit shelves on April 15th and sports a price tag of $549—not too shabby. Hit up the official Acer website for more info.

Toshiba Regza AT300

The Toshiba Regza AT300 is a Japan-only release right now (which might explain the awkward name) but it looks like this shiny little tablet will jump the Pacific Ocean sometime shortly after the June Japan release date.

Toshiba Regza AT300

While it shares a few similar spec’s with the Iconia above, it has a very evolved style that looks a little Apple-inspired but clearly isn’t just a knockoff. The Regza is a 10.1 tablet which rocks a 1280 X 800 display and a Tegra 2 processor.

It runs on Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) and has a single 5mp rear-facing camera (no FaceTime knockoffs for you!) One thing it does have though is a USB port in addition to the HDMI out.

The tablet is set to hit the streets of Tokyo in late June with a price tag of roughly $723. I would expect that to come down quite quickly if the Regza does make it across the water. With competition like the higher-powered Iconia out there selling for less, the big price tag will no doubt stall sales. Oh, and chances are it will have a more Americanized name when it makes the trek east.

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