Best Windows tablets of 2011

 

By Jon M Simpson, Logical Design, April 25, 2011

As Steve Ballmer continues to pay for ignoring the great ideas of his rivals in this mobile market explosion, there are a handful of tablet manufacturers that believe in the value of Windows and are continuing to manufacture tablets for the OS – very good ones at that.

In spite of the iPad’s monstrous success, factors such as Apple’s notoriously closed ecosystem and Jobs’ rejection of Flash are allowing the competition to stay hot in pursuit. Add in the still shaky Android OS and the delay of Honeycomb, and Ballmer’s decisions may one day prove forgivable – well okay, let’s not get ahead of ourselves…

Sometime in late 2012 Microsoft is set to finally release an OS specifically for tablets, but in the mean time there are some very impressive Windows 7 tablet offerings this year that cater to everything from the ultra-mobile to the power hungry:

The titan: Asus Eee EP121
With both size (12’) and power (Intel i5 and 4GB ram), this Wacom compatible slate tablet is the workhorse of this years’ class of Windows tablets. It comes with a light-weight wireless keyboard, 2 megapixel web camera, an AFFS display, and the hardware to handle the rigors of the likes of Adobe’s Creative Suite, Netflix and Autocad. In spite of its sleek and sexy design, it is a bit beefy at 2.5lbs and has a meager battery life of 3.5 hours. But this is geared towards real computer work and a small trade off for the size, power and Wacom pen.

The midget: Viliv’s X70
For the ultra-mobile, this beautifully manufactured, 1 pound wonder from Viliv comes with a 7 inch screen, a 5 hour battery life, and features a nearly instant-on capability (less than 5 seconds), 1024 x 600 resolution, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 3G HSPA, WiMax, Verizon’s EV-DO, a dual camera and GPS. With 2GB of ram and 32GB drive, this puppy is perfect for content consumption.

A few noteworthy runner-ups are the yet to be released Lenovo IdeaPad, the Motion CL900 and currently unnamed Fujitsu. Among these Lenovo excels, with touch friendly dual viewing panes (one for work and one for play) and its Morgan’s Touch digitized layer and pen. Though release is set for sometime in May, at 499, it should be well worth the wait.

It is hard to predict where all of this is headed and what OS will dominate the tablet market of the future. But one thing we can be sure of, with offerings such as these emerging at a feverish pace, there is already a very clear winner – the consumer.

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