Apple’s iPad is due to land on these shores in a little over a week. But amid all the hype, it’s easy to forget that there are plenty of smart alternatives to the so-called revolutionary gadget. Some are yet to arrive, but if you’re considering laying down a minimum of £429, you need to see what your options are. So dive in now and we’ll give you our Top 10 iPad alternatives.
1 Notion Ink Adam
Billed as a “revolutionary” product, just like the iPad, the Notion Ink Adam is amazing. It works as an eInk or LCD panel depending on the ambient light conditions. It also has a 10-inch screen, as well as HDMI out and a more than ample three USB Ports, not to mention GPS, 3G and Bluetooth. No word yet on UK availability, but this is deffo one to keep holding out for.
2 JooJoo Tablet
Originally the Crunchpad, this slate is similar in looks to the iPad, but packs some rather important extras. Not least of which is Flash support, as well as a bigger 12.1-inch screen, a USB slot for adding extra storage and a multitasking OS. But the real sweetener is the price. At £310, it’s £110 cheaper than the basic 16GB iPad. Any issues? Well it only has 4GB of storage and battery life is a mere five hours.
3 Lenovo IdeaPad U1
This manages to combine the best of laptops with the best of tablets. Simply put, you can yank off the screen to turn this laptop into a proper tablet. The screen has its own 3G connection and Snapdragon processor, using the Skylight UI seen on certain smart-books. It’s scheduled to land next month and will definitely turn heads.
Rocking a spec sheet which would make Steve Jobs blush, the WePad has been widely touted as the best way forward for Apple haters who still want to get on the tablet bandwagon. It includes Android Market access, two USB ports and support for Adobe Flash. It also plays nice with all e-Book formats. It’s set to cost about £384 for a 32GB model, so cheaper than Apple’s effort.
5 Archos 7 Home Tablet
Archos has been on the tablet bandwagon for years and this new Android edition takes things up a notch. Ok, Android here is only version 1.5, but it still has Market access and a lovely proddable panel. Not to mention a US price tag of $199. That makes it the very best budget alternative to the iPad and its sky high cost.
6 Asus Eee-Pad Tablet
Rumoured for over a year, this was spotted at CES, but is yet to get an official nod. Word is it’ll be shown off officially at the Computex expo next month, with Flash support, a USB port, an NVIDIA Tegra chipset and, even, Google Android ready to roll. After instigating the netbook craze, Asus will be hopeful it can take the tablet fight to Apple.
7 ICD Vega
Available as tie-up with T-Mobile, the ICD Vega comes with a massive 15-inch touchscreen, as well as full Android support and the NVIDIA Tegra chipset, which is fast becoming the alternative to Apple’s A4 silicon. It even comes with remote access so you can nab songs and docs from it wherever you are. The only issue is the unknown release date.
8 Dell Streak
Dell’s Streak, or Mini 5 as it’s also known, was shown off at gadget megashow CES back in January. CEO Michael Dell has since confirmed it’ll land in June on O2. It has 3G connectivity and comes with Google Android. Plus it's got business skills too, tying in with Citrex software to remotely control your PC. With a 5-inch panel, it’s a small time compromise compared to the bulkier iPad.
9 HP Slate
Touted heavily by CEO Steve Ballmer, the HP Slate looks like a worthy iPad alternative, on paper at least. With full Windows 7, up to 64GB of storage, an 8.9-inch screen and full 1080p HD video support, as well as a camera for video calls, it looks as if it could five the iPad plenty to chew over. The only issue is Windows 7 being shrunk for a touchscreen. Plus the rumours HP is ready to scrap it for a webOS backed machine.
10 Sony Dash
More of a home machine than the others, thanks to it being tethered to the mains, the Sony Dash is like a specced up O2 Joggler. It has web access, weather on the homescreen and acts as a photo viewer as well. The seven-inch screen means it’s perfect to slap on a table in your living room and get info as you need it while watching the box. Not one to trouble the iPad on the road, though.