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Top five tablet PCs for business

Matt Chapman

The Apple iPad

Tablet PCs are proving to be a real option when it comes to doing business. Matt Chapman rounds up the machines that could soon be replacing your laptop

Apple iPad 3

If you’re hoping to make other professionals jealous when you bring out your tablet computer, buy an iPad 3.

It’s still the best looking device available and the new Retina screen, with its 2,048x1,536-pixels, will even stop you pining for the HD TV at home.

However, when it comes to business even that extremely useable operating system can’t save it from being left behind.

The iPad 3 can still only use one app at a time, which is a real time waster when you’re switching important information between them.

A bigger battery has also added extra charging time.

RRP £399-£659

Blackberry PlayBook

The Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime does have the necessary mix of style and usability to take on the iPad in an office environment – and win.

If you already have a BlackBerry mobile phone permanently glued to your hand then the PlayBook may be the only tablet here you need to consider.

‘Bridge’ software allows BlackBerry devices to work together, so if your thumb typing speed is legendary on your mobile phone you could use that keyboard to type quickly on the tablet (or use the phone’s rollerball to scroll through websites).

Version 2.0 of the PlayBook operating system has also improved office tasks by increasing the number of features in its Documents to Go application and has added a print program too.

The tablet also looks great and is so small it’s easily the most portable device here.

RRP £169-£249

ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime Recommended choice

The kind of good looks an Apple fan expects, bundled with a dedicated mobile interface and a detachable keyboard included as standard – no, this isn’t an early prototype of the iPad 4.

However, the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime does have the necessary mix of style and usability to take on the iPad in an office environment – and win.

With a metal shell only 8.3mm thick and 12 hours of battery life in the main unit (backed up by six hours from the keyboard dock), it’ll last on the road without weighing you down.

A 4GHz processor and 1GB of RAM are the start of a long list of impressive specs.

RRP £499

Dell Latitude ST Tablet

‘Hefty’ and ‘clunky’ aren’t adjectives you’d normally associate with a tablet PC but those are the words that come to mind when you pick up the Dell Latitude ST.

Compared with some of the other machines on test here, it’s heavy at around two pounds.

Still, the Dell is probably the machine your IT team would prefer you to buy, given that it runs a full version of Windows 7 and will easily integrate into your corporate network.

Unfortunately, Windows 7 wasn’t specifically designed to run on tablets, so even though the Latitude ST can handle it – and the device boots very quickly – it’s not exactly lightning quick in everyday use.

RRP £575

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

A strong rival against the iPad 2, the Samsung Galaxy Tab now trails slightly behind the world’s favourite tablet thanks to Apple’s recent update.

The Galaxy is still slightly thinner and just a smidge lighter than the Apple device but the impressive screen has been eclipsed by Apple’s new Retina display.

One important niggle for those carrying this on business trips is that you will need to carry the charger around with you.

Even though the Galaxy Tab 10.1 uses a similar USB connection cable to the iPad, plugging it into a PC’s USB port won’t allow you to charge the tablet.

RRP £399

Sony Tablet S

With an unusual look (a fat top thinning towards the slim bottom) and a pretty screen, Sony’s Tablet S is a fun, light, useable machine.

Yet in a market that contains Apple’s iPad and Asus’s Transformer Prime, it just doesn’t do enough to justify a place in your briefcase.
Its processing power is underpowered when compared to the best on test here and it also uses an older, less intuitive version of Google’s Android operating system.

At least the ability to use it as a remote control for a huge range of devices that have already been pre-programmed means you won’t have to waste time finding your other remotes.

RRP £350-£550

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