$500. Five Benjamins. Seems to be the magical price started by Apple as the release price point for all new major tablets. With options, the prices go way north, but you can also come south of the border if you'd like a more pedestrian experience. So what can you get for each $100 you spend on tablets? Starting at $100 all the way up, let's go find out!
$100 and Up
Amazon Kindle Touch
: You could save a few bucks and get the basic Kindle for under $100 but the Touch version adds that ever marketable "multi-touch" feature that we so love and hold dear. Not really so much a tablet but a basic eBook reader, the E Ink display makes the screen readable in bright daylight and the battery lasts forever. You can step up to 3G models with an always on internet connection for instant downloads too.
Barnes & Noble NOOK Simple Touch
: It seems all the names and products pretty much read the same. Long battery life, E Ink display, and a huge library of content. Sounds good to me for $100.
Other Notables (Some Not So Notable): Coby Kyros, Sungale Cyberus, Itomic Tablet
$200 and Up
Amazon Kindle Fire
: Amazon put out a really nice product with its Kindle Fire, introducing a quality full-featured eBook reader/tablet for $200. Riding the Amazon ecosystem of over 19 million movies, TV shows, songs, magazines, and books, the Kindle Fire has been doing quite well. The Kindle Fire only has a 7" screen but being primarily an eBook reader most buyers don't seem to be complaining, especially at this price point.
Barnes & Noble NOOK Tablet
: Having gotten its feet wet with the NOOK Color, the NOOK Tablet took the next step in becoming a true competitor. Although not quite as much content as Amazon, the Barnes & Noble content machine is still quite a heavy hitter. Like the Kindle Fire, the Nook is only a 7" screen for the eBook reader crowd.
Other Notables (Some Not So Notable): Le Pan II, Velocity Micro Cruz, Acer Iconia Tab, ARCHOS G9
$300 and Up
BlackBerry Playbook Tablet
: Not interested in playing either the iOS or Android game? Try out the PlayBook OS, BlackBook's foray into the tablet game. Don't worry though, they have Angry Birds too. They even offer 64 GB at the starting price point while other tablet makers are starting at 16 or 32 GB.
$400 and Up
Sony Tablet S
: Sony's big splash into the tablet world, the Tablet S, launched at that $500 price point, but recently had a $100 price drop to give it a little competitive edge (read: wasn't selling at all). A 9.4" Android experience from big-name Sony can't be that bad, can it....?
Samsung GALAXY Tab 10.1
: We recall the GALAXY Tab making waves pending its arrival and Samsung makes decent products. It's no surprise that it's never really caught fire in the tablet race, although from all accounts it's a solid performer. For less than other Android tablets and the iPad, why not?
$500 and Up
Apple iPad 2
: Ladies and gentlemen, may we present the big dog of the group, the Apple iPad 2. Amazing. Magical. Outselling Android tablets at a pace of 8 to 1
. Apple's coffers must be looking like Scrooge McDuck's vault
, and the cash pile is growing larger by the minute.
ASUS Transformer Prime
: We played with the previous generation ASUS Transformer on a road trip and absolutely loved it
. The Transformer series from ASUS is an excellent Android tablet experience and its detachable (or should we say attachable) mobile dock with a full keyboard, touchpad, and USB port make it worth truly looking into as a laptop alternative.
Motorola XOOM 2
: The second generation XOOM is coming in at a bit higher price point, anticipated over $600 as the starting point.
$1,000 and Up
Acer ICONIA Dual Screen Touchbook
: What does twice the price of an entry level iPad get you? Two 14" multi-touch screens on a single tablet. Pretty cool idea, but can't imagine much serious on-screen typing.
Anyone else want to play?
Not intended as an all-covering guide, apologies if we left anyone off this list. Let us know about your favorite tablets for any price point!