Gadgets: iPad competitors

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

If you haven't rushed out to pick up the new iPad 2, you might want to consider its biggest competitors before investing in a tablet.

Both were the toast of January's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, winning multiple awards. Both are made by Motorola.

The X oom ($800 at; $600 with a two-year contract) is a tablet just like the iPad 2. But the Xoom's screen is a tad larger - 10.1 inches versus 9.7 inches - and its screen resolution is greater. The iPad 2 has been criticized for its cheap front and back cameras, while tech experts have lauded the Xoom's powerful 5-megapixel camera on the back (complete with a flash) and the impressive 2-megapixel camera on the front.

Soon, a software upgrade will let Xoom users view Flash video and Flash animation through the web browser. Xoom owners will also receive a free hardware upgrade from Verizon that allows the tablet to operate at 4G LTE speeds, leaving the iPad 2 - already twice as fast as the original iPad - in the dust.

One downside: The Xoom runs the Android's Honeycomb operating system, so there's a much more limited number of apps available for it than for the iPad 2.

The A trix 4G ($500 at; $200 with a two-year contract) is actually a smartphone. But Motorola's webtop application lets this phone plug into a Laptop Dock ($300), where it becomes the brains for a very thin laptop sporting an 11.6-inch screen and a full-sized keyboard.

The whole package only weighs 2.4 pounds - one pound heavier than the iPad 2 and much lighter than almost all of the other laptops on the market. The Atrix can also connect to a monitor or HDTV.

The Atrix easily fits in your pocket, but it has almost all of the power that its Apple competitor boasts. You can store up to 48 gigabytes of music, movies, photos and other digital files on it.

Even better, it runs on AT&T's 4G network, which is much faster than the 3G service used by both the AT&T and Verizon models of the iPad 2.

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