The fastest-growing category of portable computer is the tablet, which in 2011 accounted for some 15 percent of the market. A fiercely competitive market has developed, as Apple's competitors queue up to try and topple the iPad from its dominant position and gain traction in the developing BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) IT landscape.
Articles about Tablets
The 8-inch Galaxy Note 8 is reasonably comfortable to hold one-handed in portrait mode to make jottings with its pressure-sensitive pen, and is a delight to use. Still, you'll need to really want the added features that pen input brings to the device, because it's relatively expensive.
The chunky Toughpad FZ-G1 has a high-resolution outdoor-visible screen, is moderately rugged, and delivers decent performance and middling battery life with the standard battery. The biggest drawback, however, is the price.
The second generation of this dockable smartphone/tablet combo has a lot to recommend it, although we'd prefer a better tablet screen, a storage expansion slot (or two) and a standard Micro-USB connector.
Although it's expensive for a moderate-performing Atom-based Windows 8 tablet, the ThinkPad Tablet 2's design and build quality are excellent, while pen support is a real bonus.
The Atom-based Latitude 10 is short on performance, but delivers excellent battery life — especially with the optional 4-cell battery. Although some aspects of the industrial design and build quality could be better, this is a decent business-class Windows 8 tablet.
Tech Pro Research's survey on tablet usage revealed that only 5 percent of companies specifically prohibit tablet use.
The swivel-screen XPS 12 offers clever design, solid build quality and a high-quality (if reflective) screen. Battery life is not great, though, and this system is severely lacking in connectivity — even by ultrabook standards.
The Core i5-based Surface Pro combines ultrabook components with a (chunky) 10.6in. tablet form factor to deliver decent performance and excellent build quality. However, a few design issues, missing features and, above all, disappointing battery life suggest you'd be wise to wait and see how this product develops.
An ultrabook that can convert to a tablet when the occasion demands, the ThinkPad Twist has a lot going for it. The build quality is very good, and there are enough business-friendly features to make it acceptable as a BYOD system. Battery life may be an issue though.
Microsoft's ARM-based tablet has plenty of good points, but there are enough downsides to make caution advisable. The hardware platform and the Windows RT ecosystem will undoubtedly improve, so we'd suggest giving version 1.0 a miss unless you're an avid early adopter.
The Nexus 10 sets the standard for other tablet manufacturers. If Google can persuade developers to fill in the gaps in the app market, then it will deserve to be wildly popular.
Evernote is one of the most useful apps I have on my devices, but I still like to put a pen to paper and make notes. Thanks to a new product from Moleskine, Evernote fans can record in a cool Evernote-themed notebook and get their notes accurately into a digital archive.
When it works well, the Galaxy Note 10.1's S Pen functionality is impressive and reliable. However, we'd like to see more emphasis on handwriting recognition. The quad-core processor can surely handle this, and we'll be looking for it in the next-generation Note device.
The Nexus 7 offers an appealing combination of 7-inch form factor, quad-core processor, Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) OS, pleasing design and solid build quality. Affordable pricing ensures that Google has a winner on its hands.
This smart-looking, lightweight 10.1in. Android tablet comes with a good range of preinstalled business software. Although its lack of support for USB devices and USB charging is unfortunate, Fujitsu has made an admirable job of producing a tablet that's equally usable in the office and at home.