We’re kicking off the first Tablet World Series with a match of epic proportions in the 10-inch league. Think New York Yankees vs. Tampa Bay Rays on crack. In this inaugural game, we’re pitting the master of the category, the Apple iPad, against a relative unknown Canadian entry in the ExoPC Slate. Let’s break down the competitors.
Update: ExoPC Slate takes this round with 77.34% of the vote.
Apple’s entry has literally redefined the tablet, and arguably computers overall. The 1.5-pound iPad has a large 9.7-inch (1024 x 768 pixel) multitouch display, a 1-GHz Apple A4 CPU, and runs the very elegant iOS, which turns on instantly. This Editors’ Choice-winning device sports an enormous app library, a good eBook store, and long battery life. Plus, an upcoming software update will add multitasking and the ability to stream content to AirPlay approved devices (including the Apple TV).
So what’s not to like? There’s no camera. Typing can be a challenge, especially if you like to go at a rapid pace. And you don’t get a standard video output connection, like HDMI. Some may also lament the lack of Flash support. If you spring for the 3G model, you have to put up with AT&T’s already crowded network.
Nevertheless, the iPad has some many strengths that it has already become one of the fastest selling gadgets of all time.
Sitting in the opposing duggout, the unproven ExoPC Slate is expected to throw some wicked curve balls, starting with its unique user interface. This Windows 7 tablet features a custom UI with a home screen loaded with tiny discs that serve as shortcuts to subscreens or folders or to apps themselves. The discs have a configurable wallpaper that fills in unused space.
Other specs, such as an 11.6-inch, 1366 x 768-pixel capacitive touch display, 2GB of RAM, and either a 32GB or 64GB SSD, round out the lineup. The ExoPC is powered by an Intel N450 CPU, and claims 5 hours of battery life (that’s only half as much as the iPad). It does include a front-facing webcam, and several ports, including an SD card reader and USB port.
Despite some positive scouting reports, this slate weighs a hefty 2.1 pounds, and suffers from a negative stigma attached to Windows when it comes to tablets. You won’t find GPS or a robust app store from this no-name brand. It also has yet to launch, with delivery of pre-orders having already been delayed until 10/15, leaving us questioning its long-term staying power.
So, which tablet is best?
Check back at 10 a.m. ET on 10/14/2010 for game 2, which pits the Samsung Galaxy Tab against the Cisco Cius. As always, you’ll find the games at laptopmag.com/tablet-world-series.