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Apple iPad 2 vs HTC Flyer vs Motorola Xoom vs BlackBerry PlayBook

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By : The Apple iPad 2 sits smugly atop the tablet mountain like a hermit who's just solved the Countdown equation faster than Carol Vorderman. But there's an army of tablets crawling up the slope, poised to steal the iPad 2's place at the top. Here are some of the best, pitted against each other in mortal combat, under a giant, ever-counting clock.

Going up against the iPad 2 are the Motorola Xoom, HTC Flyer and BlackBerry PlayBook. We've picked the top tablet features and compared them side by side on each device for your delectation.

Each tablet has its strengths, but we found clear winners when it comes to surfing the Web, checking your email and installing apps and games. We also made our picks for the best tablet for watching videos and reading ebooks. We looked at how easy each tablet is to use and which has the most crave-worthy design too.

When you've feasted your eyeballs on what lies below, don't forget to read our full review of each tablet for more in-depth analysis.

Size and appearance

The iPad 2 isn't that different from the tablet that created the genre, the original iPad. But its eye-wateringly slim case is so light that it sent Samsung back to the drawing board with its own Galaxy Tab 10.1. The slim case definitely gives your arms a break, but the razor-sharp edges are easy to bash in -- we've been through two repairs already.

The Motorola Xoom didn't have time to shave off any weight before it came out, just after the iPad 2. So, although it's on a par with the original iPad in terms of weight, it feels rather hefty compared to Apple's latest model. With a 10.1-inch screen, it's also much heavier than the 7-inch Flyer and PlayBook. This is a tablet for use in the home, where you can use a small child or the like to prop it up.

The Flyer's aluminium and white-plastic case features a wide black bezel. The tablet also comes with a free white leather case. Overall, we'd describe the Flyer's looks as somewhere between fashionista and chav-tastic. The plastic edges do wobble slightly under a solid grip, but the Flyer also has one of the coolest features we've seen -- the buttons move magically from the side to the bottom of the bezel when you rotate the tablet between portrait and landscape mode. Cool.

The PlayBook is stealthy and light, with a toned-down, squarish, black look. No buttons disrupt its face -- instead of a home button, you simply swipe up from the bottom of the screen. It's too bad the power button is so tiny that you need a finger like a toothpick to press it.

Looks are a matter of taste, and all these tablets have acres of aesthetic appeal. But the iPad 2 is so stunningly thin and light for its size that we give it the prize for design.

Other comparisons: Usability, Apps, Video, Web browsing, Ebooks, Email

( Read the whole article from CNET )

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