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Android tablet challengers trying hard, failing to catch iPad

Consumer Reports News: September 23, 2011 09:08 AM

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No news is good news—for the Apple iPad, anyway. We’ve added five new tablets to our Ratings, and while some were noteworthy for reasons of their own, none rose to the challenge that the iPad continues to present to its competitors.

Still, if you’re looking for an Android-based tablet, you might want to check out Lenovo’s IdeaPad K1. This 10.1-inch model is Lenovo’s consumer offering; the company also has a ThinkPad tablet geared toward business users. Its $500 price tag is low for a 10-inch tablet with 32GB of memory, and we liked its very responsive touchscreen. Battery life on the K1 was shorter than many other tablets its size, and it was also slightly heavier. It uses Android 3.1 as its operating system, but, like many other tablets, it has the manufacturer’s custom interface built over it. Take it for a test run before buying to make sure you like the tweaks.

Acer is first out of the box with the Android 3 OS running on a smaller 7-inch tablet, the Acer Iconia Tab A100. Android 3 was written specifically for the larger-than-a-smartphone tablet display, but until now, it’s appeared only on larger tablets.

Vizio wants its Vizio Vtab 1008 to become integral to your entertainment experience beyond the tablet. To that end, you can use the tablet as a universal remote, controlling your TV, sound system, Blu-ray player, and other devices. A 1.3-pound remote with an 8-inch display is a bit cumbersome, but Vizio says it’ll be worth it when its VIA Plus platform rolls out across its devices later this year. Vizio will use VIA Plus on its tablets, Google TVs, and cell phones, providing a single interface across multiple devices that will make it easy for you to move from one device to another without having to learn a new interface for each.

For more details on these and other new models, take a look at our tablet Ratings (available to subscribers).

Donna L. Tapellini

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