The consensus today among hardware makers seems to be that people “don’t want a tablet,” but instead “want an iPad.”
Here’s proof that there are some serious tablet contenders out there that have the unique flexibility and features to be worth your money.
Despite the fact that we like how the PlayBook feels to hold, and we enjoy using the inspired QNX operating system, it's tough to recommend it because it still doesn't have the basics like a native e-mail client.
Also, there's an incredibly limited number of apps for the PlayBook, which sets it even farther back than the HP TouchPad, which is $99.99 cheaper and has a bigger screen.
Sprint just ditched a 4G-enabled PlayBook, and it could be a year before we see a 3G/4G-enabled model.
Price: $499.99 (16GB)
The Thrive is a nerd's dream tablet, but it's as big as a birthday cake and feels like junk from 1999.
Unlike any other tablet, it has a ton of ports, SD card expandability, and a removable battery. The Thrive has an HDMI port for video, and two USB ports which can handle external hard drives.
One other unique aspect of the Thrive line of tablets is that they're cheap, and there's even an 8GB entry level model starting for $399.99.
Price: $429.99 (16GB)
The NOOK colour doesn't have any crazy specs to match other Android-based tablets, but if all you need to do is browse the web and check some emails, this tablet could be perfect.
The NOOK colour is cheap, but it has a pretty decent 7-inch screen, and it can run many Android apps, including games like Angry Birds.
There's only 8GB of internal memory, but it's expandable via MicroSD card.
The first Honeycomb tablet is starting to look a little old, but it still works.
While sales have been a dud, the hardware is still pretty impressive. And Honeycomb keeps getting better with every update, so if you already have a Xoom, you won't be left in the dark.
But compared to the super-thin tablets like the iPad 2 and Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, the Xoom looks like a real clunker.
Price: $499.99 (32GB)
The HTC Flyer runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread instead of 3.0 Honeycomb, which might actually be a good thing.
It's a bit on the heavy side, but you can hold it in your hand like a pocket notebook. Using the HTC Scribe stylus accessory ($79.99), you can take advantage of a ton of unique stylus-optimised features.
Price: $499.99 (16GB)
The ASUS eePad Transformer was the second Honeycomb tablet to debut, and it beats the XOOM in just about every way.
It has a great screen (that you can see from almost all angles), a stylish look, and a keyboard dock that's actually pretty functional. This thing lasts forever with the keyboard attached--a 16-hour quoted battery life.
Price: $392.99 (16GB)
The HP TouchPad may be doomed, but that doesn't change the fact that WebOS 3.0 is a wonderful operating system and the TouchPad costs $99.99 less than competitors.
It's a bit bulky, but it's for the most part a joy to use. The biggest negative here is that there aren't very many apps available for WebOS tablets, but there aren't a ton of apps for Honeycomb either.
Our favourite thing about the TouchPad is the incredibly good Messaging app which combines all your favourite chat protocols.
Price: $399.99 (16GB)
The Iconia Tab A500 might be one of the prettiest computers Acer has ever designed.
It's not just pretty, but it performs well and even has Dolby-tweaked speakers built in. Battery life is just so-so, however.
Featuring a high-res 1280x800 screen, you won't find a better Android tablet for under four hundred dollars.
Price: $385.99 (16GB)
The G-Slate fits in an interesting niche because it has an 8.9-inch screen (vs. a 10.1-inch or 7-inch screen). It's very well built and speedy, thanks to LG.
The G-Slate feels very natural to hold in both portrait and landscape orientation, and delivers content to you on T-Mobile's super fast 4G network.
It's an all-around great device, and even has a pair of cameras (for 3D shooting) on the back of it.
The G-Slate is much more expensive because it only comes in a 32GB variety and always includes a 4G radio.
Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 is a thing of beauty.
It's built like a rock, from its ultra-thin waistline, to its aluminium backing, to its vibrant 16:9 screen.
The Galaxy Tab 10.1 is as quick as a fox, and is definitely the Android tablet that will turn the most heads. It's also the best tablet for browsing wirelessly--for $529.99, you can grab a model that runs on Verizon's 4G LTE network.
Price: $499.99 (16GB)