HotHardware's 2012 Back To School Shopping Guide - HotHardware

HotHardware's 2012 Back To School Shopping Guide

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Asus Transformer Pad Infinity TF700T

The Asus Transformer Pad Infinity offers a level of performance that is somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 - 20% faster all around, versus the previous generation high-end Transformer Prime. In fact, the Transformer Pad Infinity in many test conditions, especially in terms of graphics performance, is one of the fastest Android tablets we've tested to date. In addition, its battery life actually improved in our light duty web browsing test setup, though your mileage may vary, especially if its rendering more graphics intensive content like HD video or otherwise.


If you're looking for a highly flexible tablet, one that can be used with a keyboard to jot notes in a lecture, but double as a tablet elsewhere, you'll be hard-pressed to top this. We'd offer that $479 for a 32GB tablet with the quality and features of the Transformer Pad Infinity is a reasonably good deal and you'll appreciate its upscale image quality and performance from top to bottom. If you're looking for a 10-inch Android slate, we say go for it. If you're still in doubt, here's our full review.

Google Nexus 7

It's the best 7" tablet under $200, period. We don't really need to say more, but we will. Those looking for a compact tablet really only have a few good options, but this one is the one to top. It ships with Android 4.1, and since it's a pure Google device, it'll get updates more quickly than the rest. 


Google and ASUS put some time and effort into designing this tablet, and it shows. The Nexus 7 is very responsive, and some of the extra widgets and controls found in the OS add to the overall enjoyment of using the tablet. Google says Jelly Bean is the fastest and smoothest version of Android to date. From our tests, we'd have to agree: Jelly Bean was very responsive and we didn't experience any hiccups during our hands-on time with the Nexus 7. Our full review is here.

Apple's iPad

We're talking about the "iPad 3," or, the one with the Retina display. This may come as a blow to Android fanatics, but Apple's new iPad is the all-around fastest tablet on the market right now. Much of the credit goes to the upgraded PowerVR graphics engine with four GPU cores that Apple claims are the bees-knees. Put to the test, the new iPad slid past NVIDIA's Tegra 3 platform in 3D intensive tasks. It didn't consistently provide four times the performance as Apple's Tim Cook so gleefully pointed out during the iPad launch event, but it was never a close race either. What's more, it looked better courtesy of the vibrant Retina display.


If you're already sold on the iOS ecosystem, you can't go wrong with this one. It starts at $499, and our full review can be found here.

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Thanks for the guide. Not really looking to get most of these at this point. But i am looking to get a tablet. Do you think i should wait for a windows 8 tablet?

Also the accessory link on the introduction page is broken.

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You could wait for a Win 8 tab, sure. The ecosystem will likely time to catch up in terms of apps etc but it depends on what you want to do with it. And aghhh... yes, I saw that and fixed it but thanks for the heads-up! :)

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The Transformer infinity is an incredible tablet, i have had some experience with the transformer line and the Infinity is top of the line, They aren't as fast as the Ipad 3 or as reliable but they are catching up pretty fast.

However the keyboard with the extra battery life adds alot of utility that makes the transformer line perfect for school work.

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Having the extra battery life from the keyboard is amazing and the keyboard is convenient to carry around with the tablets.

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Hey Dave how long do you give it until every kid has one of these and there mandatory in public schools? I say 3 years 5 at the top but I would love to hear what you think!

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I think we're a long way from mandatory but my kids already have had access to the in elementary schools.

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Indeed a very good shopping guide.

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Sweet thanks but my kids wont be needing that for a while craons and paper for a whilem

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does the keyboard come with purchase?

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Great shopping guide Ray. I still havent bought into the whole ultrabook thing. Not that i wouldnt like one, just that the pricing and graphics available are a little...disappointing. Anyway when it comes to tablets Id like to wait and see how windows 8 tablets stack up, RT or x86. Either way the competition is bound to get more interesting in october.

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