Archive for August, 2011

Packard Bell Liberty


Since Packard Bell became a subsidiary company of Acer, it was clear that much of their technology would be closely related and very similar. The Liberty tablet is almost the same as Acer’s Iconia A500. With almost identical specification, the only real difference is in the design and we think the Liberty is the best tablet pc of the two.

The tablet comes in a beautiful red finish with metallic chrome strips around the edges. The corners are more round than the Acer, this makes holding this tablet a much easier task.

The Packard Bell Liberty comes packed with a Dual Core Nvidia Tegra 2, 1GHz processor and 1GB DDR2 RAM. The graphics are powered by a GeForce chip and multiple files can be stored on the 16GB hard drive. A 32GB version is expected to be released soon as well as a 3G version.

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The screen on the Liberty is 10.1 inches with 1280×800 resolution. The display itself comes with a glossy finish which looks superb but can sometimes reflect light if being used by more than one person at a time. Views on the screen are nice and bright, while we were very impressed with the look of colours on the display. Movies and images were extremely clear as well, on the same level of its best tablet pc competition.

The tablet comes with an inbuilt 5MP rear camera and a 2MP front facing one for video calls. Other features include USB input, Micro SD and a micro HDMI port allowing you to connect your Packard Bell Liberty to your television. There is also a connector port allowing docks or keyboards to be compatible.

View The Packard Bell Liberty 16GB Tablet

The Packard Bell Liberty comes with the Android Honeycomb 3.0 OS as standard, but there is now an upgrade to 3.2. This helps to make the tablet more stable, decreasing lag and allowing better use of the multi application functionality. The Android market comes with a plethora of apps, so finding the latest games and applications is simple.

Internet usage is extremely fluid and using the Liberty is very responsive in all applications. The inbuilt speakers provide good sound, up there with the best on the market.

Packard Bell claim a 10 hour battery life but in reality this is closer to 8 hours. Nevertheless, movie and video usage doesn’t drain the battery as fast as other tablets.

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SPECIFICATION
1GHZ dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2 processor
Google Android 3.0 Honeycomb operating system
Dual camera with 5 megapixel rear-facing camera and 2 megapixel front-facing camera
10.1-inch touchscreen display with resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels with a 16:10 aspect ratio
Supports 3G, Bluetooth 2.1, & Wi-Fi connectivity
3GB micro SD card slot
Built-in stereo speakers with support Dolby Mobile full stereo
Built in GPS antenna with support Google Maps application
Headphone jack
HDMI output
USB 2.0 ports
Supports Flash content, Google mobile service & access to the Android Market
10 hours battery life

Click Here For The Packard Bell Liberty 16GB Tablet

VERDICT
Overall the Packard Bell Liberty puts in a good effort for the best tablet PC title. The tablet comes with an excellent and unique finish and all the minimums you would expect from a top tablet. There aren’t any major negatives and this is definitely a tablet we would recommend, but it just falls slightly short when in comparison to the Asus Transformer or Samsung Galaxy 10.1.

HP TouchPad


The HP TouchPad is Hewlett Packard’s first contender for the best tablet PC title. The TouchPad is the first tablet to be built on the WebOS 3.0 Mobile operating system. This is based on the Linux OS which became a hit through Palm’s Pre, Veer and Pixi phones. HP bought out Palm and have produced this enhanced version especially for their new tablet. The main feature of this operating system is its multi-tasking capabilities which allows windows or “cards” to be added to form a “stack”. The cards can then be shuffled through easily or thrown into the garbage once they are discarded. This added to its cloud capabilities make it an excellent business tablet PC.

The HP TouchPad is 9.7 inches in size and is fuelled by a 1.2 dual-core Snapdragon processor. The tablet comes with 1GB in built RAM and there are 16GB and 32GB versions available. The Touchpad itself weighs 1.65 pounds (750 grams) and proves to be heavier than the Apple iPad 2, Motorola Xoom and the Samsung Galaxy 10.1. The rear of the tablet is heavy plastic, glossy and susceptible to picking up fingerprint marks. There is also a hollow feeling when holding the tablet making it lacking in the durable and solid feeling that so many of its competitors possess.

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The front of the TouchPad has a sleek, smart design and the 1024×768 display looks similar to the iPad 2. It even has a button on the front which reverts you back to the home screen like the Apple tablets. The screen is made using the strong Gorilla Glass, specifically designed for hard wearing. The display proves to be bright with a nice viewing angle and compensates well for viewing by more than one person.

The HP TouchPad comes with inbuilt support for Adobe Flash as well as a USB connector for charging and attaching to your laptop. The slate also comes with HP’s Touchstone wireless charger as well as Dr Dre’s Beats speakers. The sound quality from this tablet really is the best we have heard on any the standard being much like HP’s laptops and desktop machines.

View the HP TouchPad 9.7 inch Tablet PC

One glaring omission from the HP TouchPad is the absence of a rear camera, this tablet only has a front one. This is great for video calling but when it comes to taking photos, this tablet PC falls extremely short.

Performance wise, we were disappointed by the time the TouchPad took to start up but once it is running, applications open up nicely and the multi-tasking ability works extremely well. At times performance was slightly sluggish but we expect HP to iron out these issues with further updates.

The battery life is more than respectable running over 8 hours with heavy usage. There are also the capabilities for email, calendar, Facebook, Twitter, printing, and Skype video calling. The on screen keyboard is also impressive with number keys visible on the top row – something missing from other tablets.

HP have provided their own App Catalog, and while the Apps out there are good, their number is extremely limited when compared with Apple and Android. HP will look to improve on this, but in our opinion this will never compete with its rivals.

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SPECIFICATION
1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon dual-CPU APQ8060 processor
HP webOS operating system
9.7in (1024×768) XGA capacitive multitouch colour screen
front-facing 1.3MP camera
16GB or 32GB internal storage
rechargeable 6300mAh battery
3.5mm stereo headset/headphone/microphone jack
internal stereo speakers
802.11b/g/n WiFi
WPA/WPA2/WEP/802.1X authentication
Bluetooth
240x14x190mm
740g

Click here for the HP TouchPad 9.7 inch Tablet PC

VERDICT
If you are looking for the best business tablet, then we would definitely recommend the HP TouchPad over the Blackberry Playbook. It’s multi tasking facilities give it a user friendly approach and carrying out many tasks at once becomes effortless. If it’s apps you are looking for then you may want to give this tablet a wide berth and we were disappointed with the lack of a rear camera. With other tablets available on the market at a similar price, the HP TouchPad aims to be the best tablet PC but in our opinion falls slightly short.

Toshiba Thrive


The Toshiba Thrive is another new android tablet on the market looking to take the best tablet pc title. The tablet comes factory fitted with Android 3.1 and the in built specs make it an impressive all round tablet. The unique selling points about this machine are the abundance of in built slots – the Thrive comes with an SD card slot, Mini-USB, USB and HDMI ports providing compatibility to a host of other devices. With all this is a price point much lower than other tablets of similar quality.

The Thrive comes with a 1GHz Nvidia Tegra 2 processor like the new Samsung Galaxy 10.1 and other new Honeycomb tablets. It also has 1GB Ram, Wifi and Bluetooth connectivity. There is also a choice of 8GB, 16GB or 32GB versions available but the real difference is the SD card slot which is compatible with SDXC cards, the largest of which is a whopping 128GB.

The drawback to this tablet is the thickness. Despite being a decent looking slate, there have been a number of negative comments regarding the bulkiness of the tablet. The Toshiba Thrive comes in at 15mm, twice the thickness of the Apple iPad. This criticism is a little unfair though because when you actually use the tablet it doesn’t appear to be that bulky. The weight itself is 725g, a similar weight to the Motorola Xoom.

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In comparison to other available tablets, this one is somewhat lacking in its design. The rubber on the rear does make it look a little cheaper than other tablet pcs and the lines on the back aren’t flattering. On the plus side, the rubber makes it very easy to hold and decreases the chances of unsightly fingerprints. The back can also be removed and replaced with one of 5 different colours – all available from Toshiba resellers.

Like the 10.1 Samsung Galaxy, the Thrive has a 10.1 inch display with resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels. The picture quality like the majority of tablets is of a great standard and it performed well for movie and video viewing. The sound quality is adequate but we felt it could have been a little better, at times sounding tinny and containing echos. We would say though that the sound is still better than that of the iPad 2.

The Toshiba Thrive also has 2 cameras, a 2MP one at the front and 5MP at the back, we successfully carried out a video call and also took some great photos with the main camera. Despite having the same camera spec as other tablets, the Thrive’s pictures really turned out well.

The battery life on this tablet is advertised by the manufacturer as being over 11 hours. In reality after heavy usage, the battery only managed around 7 hours. This was a little disappointing as most other slates provide a better return.

View the Toshiba Thrive 10.1-Inch 16 GB Android 3.1 Tablet

The Google Android market comes with a huge number of available apps – all accessible from your Toshiba Thrive. Having Android 3.1 pre installed means that owners have immediate access to Google’s new Movies app as well as a number of useful standard ones. This includes Quickoffice and Kapersky Tablet Security.

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SPECIFICATION
Display: 10.1″ IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors, 1280 x 800 pixels.
Accelerometer sensor for auto-rotate
Multi-touch input method

OS: Google Android 3.1
CPU: 1GHz Nvidia Tegra 2 processor
Memory: 1GB
Storage: 8GB/16GB/32GB

Wireless Data Network: 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 3.0 connectivity

Camera: 2-megapixel front-facing camera and microphone, 5-megapixel 720p video camera
Audio: Stereo Speakers
Interfaces: SD Card, Mini-USB, USB, HDMI, 3.5mm jack
Multi-Task Support : Yes

Battery: 11 hours
Dimensions: 273x177x15mm
Weight: 725g

Click Here for the Toshiba Thrive 10.1-Inch 16 GB Android 3.1 Tablet

VERDICT
If you are the type who wants to make use of their tablet with many other devices (and we know the majority of you are) then the Toshiba Thrive really is the best tablet PC for you. The ability to connect your tablet easily to televisions, cameras, printers as well as all USB devices make this a winner. The real deal breaker is the SDXC compatibility allowing access to 128GB of storage. The tablet has been described as ugly but we beg to differ. After using this Android 3.1 tablet, you will grow to love it as we have.