Tablets and Laptops to watch in 2012

Sat, Mar 17, 2012

Hardware Reviews

While 2011 was the year when touchscreen tablet computers finally exploded onto the scene, 2012 will be the year when tablets and laptops go head to head for the hearts of consumers. Already, much talk and practice has been had with tablets as a business tool to replace laptops while the normal consumer like a student or a family may easily consider a tablet before a laptop. The following tablets and laptops will be the models to watch in 2012 as they may be the final straw to tip the scales or at least offer users a good time trying it out.

Tablets to watch in 2012:

Tablets have a bigger advantage over laptops in that the market is still not saturated enough for new innovations. Tablet users still have no clear idea as to what will be the defining factor for that make or break decision in buying a tablet, as such there are a whole lot more choices. Because of this the tablet list is significantly larger with a number of models still not out for consumer consumption just yet. This list includes the:

  • Apple iPad3
  • Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime TF201
  • OLPC XO 3.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7
  • Sony Tablet P

Apple’s iPad3 – Future Contender

While not officially released just yet the Apple iPad3 is going to set the standard even higher than when the iPad2 came out. While most information about when it will be released (most say it will be in Q1 of 2012) is still rumor at this point the iPad3 will probably use a Quad-core processor with better graphics. Like the iPad2 and iPad before it the iPad3 will likely outperform the iPad2 by several times. The sub-par camera on the iPad2 will probably be replaced with the 8MP camera from the iPhone 4S and repositioned on the iPad3. Apart from this the only other things to expect are a thinner, lighter and longer lasting tablet, which won’t really be a surprise but will still be very much welcome. The specifications for the iPad3 would include:

  • A Quad-core processor
  • An 8MP rear-facing camera
  • Better graphics
  • slimmer and lighter design

Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime TF201 – Performance beast

This tablet is currently the one to beat as it not only comes with an NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core processor, it also features an 8MP camera with auto-focus and LED flash along with a Super IPS+ panel. Running on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime TF201 also transforms into laptop through its mobile dock, which also extends the battery life by up to 18 hours. In terms of features alone, this tablet beats out everything and anything currently on the tablet market, including the current market leader which is the Apple iPad2. What is notable here is that on top of offering much better 3D graphics and a quad-core processor capable of equalizing with a laptop, is the fact that Asus have also added in a fifth processor to handle background processes, enabling even better battery life. The specifications for the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime TF201 would include:

  • An NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core processor
  • An 8MP camera with auto-focus and LED flash
  • A Super IPS+ screen
  • Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich OS
  • Better 3D graphics
  • Fifth sub-processor (500MHz) for background processes

OLPC XO 3.0 – Tough and Cheap

While this touchscreen tablet from the UN sponsored One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) program offers rather mediocre specifications with its Marvell Armada PXA618 guts, 512MB of RAM and 4GB internal storage, it is being offered for just $100. Unlike other tablets, the OLPC XO 3.0 is tough, with a textured, rubberized, waterproof back and a glass display. It should be able to handle rugged third world conditions better than its consumer level compatriots. Its rather bright neon-green color may make it less suitable for the all-black business user but it can handle a much wider range of DC power inputs so you can plug in a hand crank or solar charger if there isn’t a power socket handy. Connection-wise it offers the basics with a USB, microUSB, audio in/out and sensor input port and will run on either Android or OLPC’s own Sugar OS. The notable specifications for the OLPC XO 3.0 would be:

  • A Marvel Armada PXA618 processor
  • 512MB RAM
  • 4GB flash memory storage
  • $100 price tag
  • Rubberized waterproof casing
  • Hand crank + solar panel charger

Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 – Display Master

Smaller, slimmer and above all, packing in the brightest, most awesome 7.7” Super AMOLED Plus display around, this tablet will put all other tablet screens, laptops and some HDTVs to shame. Specification-wise it isn’t entirely a slouch either with a 1.4GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, up to 64GB of ROM and the option to expand 32GB further via microSD flash memory. It also does very well in terms of wireless connections, allowing for Wi-Fi twice as fast as the competition and dual band wireless connectivity. Specifications of note for the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 would be:

  • Its 7.7” Super AMOLED Plus display
  • A 1.4GHz dual-core processor
  • 1GB RAM
  • 64GB internal storage + up to 32GB microSD
  • Faster wi-fi

Sony Tablet P – Dual-screen form factor

This isn’t the first time someone has come up with a dual display touchscreen tablet (the Toshiba Libretto comes to mind) but it is from Sony, manufacturers that are known to be just as big perfectionists as Steve Jobs. As such, it is worth noting that a lot of work has been put into the design of the dual 5.5” LCD touchscreens. Sony has used its TruBlack LCD technology for blacker blacks and whiter whites while the 1GHz processor and 1GB worth of RAM is just enough to propel this tablet down the line. While it won’t beat out other performance tablets, it will turn heads with the dual-screen and since it is a Sony product it is rated usable with Sony’s playstation gaming platform. Specifications for the Sony Tablet P include:

  • A 1GHz processor
  • 1GB RAM
  • Two 5.5” TruBlack LCD screens
  • Gaming compatibility

Laptops to watch in 2012:

As the more mature market, the Laptop market is understandably saturated and has less innovation as  compared to the tablet market. As such the list of laptops to watch in 2012 is rather small. These include the:

  • 15” MacBook Air
  • Lenovo Yoga
  • HP Envy Spectre 

15” MacBook Air – Ultimate ultrabook

While the new smaller screen MacBook Air has already been released, the 15” MacBook Air laptops are going to take over the Ultrabook laptop market. This is because, on top of being as slim as ever and packing in some powerful Intel Sandy Bridge processors, the 15” screen will offer more screen real estate without being too bulky. Like the other Apple product above, release dates point to the first quarter of 2012 with 17-inch models also being considered for the upcoming roll-out. Specifications-wise the 15” MacBook will probably feature:

  • Intel 2nd Generation Core i5 and i7 processors
  • Intel Thunderbolt technology
  • SSD internal storage
  • Multi-touch trackpad
  • Long-lasting battery life
  • Ultra-thin design

Lenovo Yoga – Bend Backwards Convertible

Convertible Laptops that convert into touch screen tablets are not new but what makes this laptop different is that it will bend over backwards to please. Previous convertibles have used a swivel hinge that have almost always broken off or got damaged very quickly. The Lenovo Yoga uses special hinges that allow you to flip the touchscreen over backwards. When in this mode the physical keyboard is automatically turned off, so you can lay this convertible down without worrying about pressing the keys. Since it is going to run on Windows 8 it isn’t available just yet, however, other possible specifications for the Lenovo Yoga include:

  • 17mm thick
  • 13.3” IPS panel touchscreen display
  • Windows 8
  • Intel Ivy Bridge processors
  • Samsung SSD

HP Envy Spectre – Classy and Glassy 

This 14” screen laptop may be on the edge in terms of Ultrabook size range with its 13.3” chassis but it brings to the table a design almost entirely devoted to glass. This includes an awesome ultra-thin design with tough, scratch-resistant glass used for both the casing, screen, bezels and trackpad. While this also means that it is also the ultimate smudge magnet, it offers looks that you won’t find on any other laptop in the market. It isn’t a slouch performance-wise either as it will pack in Intel 2nd Generation Core i5 and i7 ULV processors, up to 256GB SSD, up to 8GB of DDR3 memory, USB 3.0 support and beats audio. Full specifications for the HP Envy Spectre include:

  • 12.88"Wx8.7"Dx0.79"H
  • Under 4 lbs weight
  • Up to 9.5 hours battery life
  • 14" diagonal HD+ Radiance LED backlit display
  • 13.3" chassis
  • 128GB or 256GB mSATA solid-state drive
  • Intel Core i5 and i7 ULV Processors
  • 4GB or 8GB of DDR3
  • Mini DisplayPort
  • 1 USB 3.0 port
  • Beats Audio system (2 speakers and subwoofer)
  • External jogger dial
  • Integrated HP Wireless Audio

This article is brought to you by Ethan Simmons, a senior contributor at Honest-Laptop-Reviews.Com

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