Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Gadget Bag: Time For A Tablet
Incredible high-resolution screens, an ever-growing number of photography apps and an undeniable cool factor make a tablet a must-have accessory for every nature photographer
Packed with everything except a high price tag, the sub-$500 Acer Iconia as configured above features a 10.1-inch, 1280x800 wide-screen display, 1 GB of operating RAM and 16 GB of storage, NVIDIA GeForce graphics and an NVIDIA Tegra 2 dual-core 1 GHz processor. It runs on Android Honeycomb OS, which can be upgraded to version 4.0 Android Ice Cream Sandwich. User experience is enhanced by dual speakers and a front-facing webcam. There's also a built-in USB port and a slot for MicroSD memory cards, features that are extra-cost options with some brands. It's Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n- and Bluetooth-enabled.
Apple 16 GB New iPad With Wi-Fi
Apple's $499 entry-level model is built on a dual-core A5x processor and provides 10 hours of battery life under normal use. The multi-touch Retina display is 9.7 inches and delivers 2048x1536 resolution. The five-megapixel iSight rear camera and front-facing camera support FaceTime, a proprietary Apple communications program that converts the iPad into a video telephone. Owners of Mac computers and/or iPhones will appreciate seamless, synchronized file sharing and other compatibility features thanks to the legendary Apple iOS. While it's always great to have the latest model, careful shoppers will find some good deals on older Apple iPad 2 tablets.
Following the beat of a different drummer—and staying below the $399 price point—the Archos 9 PCtablet with 32 GB of SSD storage is a Windows 7 machine and includes a software suite with Windows Live and Lotus Symphony, plus Antivirus/Antispyware, Office Productivity, Web TV, Radio Player and email programs. It features an Intel Atom Z515 1.2 GHz CPU, Intel Poulsbo US15W and Realtek ALC269 support chipsets and other high-tech hardware. The 8.9-inch resistive backlit display supports 1024x600-pixel resolution. You'll find multiple USB ports and a built-in Ethernet connection.
Asus 64 GB Eee Pad Transformer Prime 10.1-Inch Tablet
The Transformer from Asus ($599) offers a comparatively huge 10.1-inch, 1280x800 LCD display that has an enhanced viewing angle and is protected by a layer of scratch-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass. Powered by an NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core mobile CPU, it runs Android 3.2 Honeycomb (upgradeable to Android 4.0) and features micro HDMI, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1 connectivity. You'll also find an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera and a 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera, dynamic 3D stereo speakers and other advanced features. For those of us who prefer not to type on glass, there's even an optional keyboard docking station.
Built for use under extreme conditions, the Panasonic Toughbook Field Tablet is built on a magnesium-alloy internal frame that has been military-tested and -certified. The tablet ships with Windows 7 Professional OS, which is powered by an Intel Atom Z540 1.86 GHz processor. It comes complete with 2 GB of RAM and features 64 GB of storage space on a specially protected solid-state drive. Powered by a pair of hot-swappable battery packs, this Toughbook can operate in the field for up to 12 hours between charges. Although the price will turn away some buyers (over $3,000), the 3.4-pound Toughbook offers protective features that allow it to be used in places where other tablets dare not go.
Samsung 128 GB Series 7 Slate 11.6-Inch Tablet PC
Stretching the limits of specifications in all directions, the Samsung Series 7 Slate ($1,579) features an 11.6-inch multitouch backlit LCD display that supports 1366x768 HD resolution, 4 GB of DDR3 operating memory and a whopping 128 GB SSD storage drive. Built on an Intel Core i5-2467M 1.6 GHz processor, it runs Windows 7 Professional (64-bit) and provides Intel HD Graphics 3000 and stereo speakers. Also built-in are front- and rear-facing cameras, HDMI and USB ports, and a slot for MicroSD memory cards.
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