Hot tablets for just about everyone

By Hayley Tsukayama, Published: Nov. 16, 2011

From the iPad 2 to the T-Mobile Springboard, here's a look at the tablet market.


iPad 2

The top dog in the tablet market, Apple's iPad 2 starts at $499 and is still a well-designed, solid and easy-to-use beauty. With an incredibly intuitive interface, excellent app store and integration with your other Apple devices, the iPad 2 is great for just about anyone who wants a tablet.

  • Pro: It just works.
  • Con: The cameras aren't that great.
  • Ideal for: The tech geek and the Luddite alike.
  • Buy it


Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

One of the best Android tablets out there, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 starts at $499.99. Running Android 3.0 Honeycomb with a great screen and very little bulk, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is a great alternative to the iPad 2. Verizon also offers a 4G version, for $529.99.

  • Pro: Runs a pure Android interface, so no clutter.
  • Con: Its sleek design means no extra ports.
  • Ideal for: Person who hates Apple but wants an iPad.
  • Buy it


Amazon Kindle Fire

Amazon's low-priced tablet hit the market for $199 on Nov. 15 and is the company's first entry into the tablet market. With a form factor that looks like the BlackBerry PlayBook, the Fire isn't much to look at, but it packs a ton of functionality into its 7-inch screen thanks to access to Amazon's multimedia ecosystem.

  • Pro: The price can't be beat.
  • Con: Screen's glare can be annoying for Kindle fans.
  • Ideal for: People who love shopping at Amazon's stores.
  • Buy it


Nook Tablet

Taking on Amazon's Kindle Fire head-to-head, the Nook Tablet is a $249 souped-up e-reader aimed at the bookworm who wants to go digital. While the tablet won't be able to replace your laptop, it's perfect for those who want a little e-mail and multimedia with their favorite books and periodicals.

  • Pro: Screen is designed for reading.
  • Con: Not exactly a fully functioning tablet.
  • Ideal for: Readers who want a little tablet functionality.
  • Buy it


HTC Flyer/HTC EVO View

The Flyer, also known in its 4G version as the HTC EVO View on Sprint, is notable for its integration with its stylus. While styluses may sound like an accessory of the past, the Flyer's pen lets you highlight, annotate and draw with ease — perfect for those who love scribbling in the margins. The tablet starts at $299 or for $399.99 on Sprint.

  • Pro: It's small form factor, 7 inches, means it fits just about anywhere.
  • Con: The stylus costs extra.
  • Ideal for: People who love to share their opinions.
  • Buy it


HTC Jetstream

AT&T's 4G tablet, the Jetstream is a powerful and snappy tablet that uses the same stylus as the HTC Flyer, but with much more integration. While this tablet is a little on the heavy side, it has great cameras, solid battery life and a quality build. Quite expensive at $649.99, this is a serious tablet for serious people.

  • Pro: Full stylus integration.
  • Con: It's a tad on the heavy side.
  • Ideal for: Obsessive notetakers.
  • Buy it


Sony Tablet S

Sony's known for its great design and doesn't disappoint with the gently sloping Tablet S, with a form factor reminiscent of a folded magazine. The slight angle also makes this tablet great for typing when flat on a desk. Sadly, the software on the tablet isn't as well designed as its outside, with an user interface that is at times confusing. But if you're looking for a comfortable — and, quite frankly — cool tablet, the S can be yours starting at $499.99.

  • Pro: Great ergonomics, even with one hand.
  • Con: The software doesn't match up to its looks.
  • Ideal for: People who appreciate good design.
  • Buy it


Toshiba Thrive

This is a tablet for those who want to get things done. The 10-inch version of this tablet, which starts at $379.99, may not be the sleekest thing you've ever seen, but makes up for it with a full USB port, full HDMI port and full-sized SD card. While its girth makes it less portable than its slimmer competitors, the Thrive is perfect for people who always find themselves working at home with its intuitive filing system and ability to connect to almost anything.

  • Pro: Ports, ports, ports for everyone.
  • Con: Just a little bit clunky.
  • Ideal for: The business-minded user who always works at home.
  • Buy it


T-Mobile SpringBoard

A new offering from T-Mobile, this snappy 4G tablet packs a lot into its 7-inch screen and zips along at high 4G speeds. The build is solid but before you fall in love with this $179.99 tablet, remember that it comes with a two-year commitment. Even if you're dying for a tablet and enticed by its price, two years is a long time in an emerging market.

  • Pro: Great, solid hardware.
  • Con: Requires a two-year commitment for data.
  • Ideal for: Taking on a long train or car ride.
  • Buy it



I know this isn't a tablet, but bear with me here. If you want a tablet to do extra work from home — particularly if you want to create documents or presentations. Hooked completely into Google's cloud services, the Chromebook can be a bit useless without an Internet connection, but its 3G connectivity aims to make sure you're never in the dark for long.

  • Pros: Light, fast and great on the go.
  • Con: Loses a lot without a connection.
  • Ideal for: People who want to make, not consume, content.
  • Buy it

GRAPHIC: Wilson Andrews and Michelle Williams - The Washington Post. Published Nov. 16, 2011.