Tablets: the rivals. Stand out on the tube with these slates

 
Steve Dinneen
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While we all wait for the next iPad, here are some made by other companies. But are they any good?

GOOGLE NEXUS 7
What is it? Google’s big push into the Apple dominated tablet market. The seven inch device comes with a super-fast processor, a great web experience and it looks pretty good, too.

Is it better than the iPad? It depends. It’s not as beautiful but if you’re in the market for a cheap tablet, or have a hankering for an Android device, this could well be for you.

£159; google.com/nexus

ASUS PADFONE 2
What is it? Is it a tablet, is it a phone? It’s both! Kind of. Asus’s PadFone 2 is a pretty nifty five inch smartphone that slots in the back of a tablet screen, allowing you to use the bigger interface.

Is it better than the iPad? No, but the comparison is a bit unfair. The PadFone is for people who want to see the contents of their phone on a bigger screen, not a stand-alone tablet.

£615 (out of contract); amazon.co.uk

KINDLE FIRE 2
What is it? Amazon’s latest colour e-reader. It comes with a tweaked version of Google’s Android software and is optimised for playing media like film, music and, of course, books.

Is it better than the iPad? If you’re a massive user of Amazon and aren’t overly bothered by looks then yes. It automatically syncs with your Amazon purchases, which is very handy.

£129; amazon.co.uk

SAMSUNG GALAXY TAB 2 10.1”
What is it? Until Amazon and Google came along, Samsung was the biggest contender for Apple’s crown. The Galaxy Tab 2 is a solid, light, thin Android tablet. That’s about it.

Is it better than the iPad? No. Unless you are a die-hard Android geek or a devoted Apple-hater, there isn’t really any reason to buy this device.

£249; johnlewis.com

MICROSOFT SURFACE
What is it? Microsoft’s belated entry into the tablet market. It runs the latest version of its operating system (either a tablet or desktop version) and is surprisingly well built. The cover doubles as a keyboard, which is pretty cool.

Is it better than the iPad? No, although if you transfer documents from your desktop to your tablet it is worth a look.

£479; johnlewis.com

SONY TABLET S
What is it? Who knew Sony made tablets too? The Tablet S comes in a wedge-shape which makes tabletop reading slightly easier and its hardware packs a real punch.

Is it better than the iPad? No, it isn’t. But it does stand out in a fairly homogenous non-Apple tablet market so if looking different on the tube matters to you, Sony could have the answer.

£289; amazon.co.uk