May 05, 2012, 7:55 AM — It appears that $400 or less marks the new sweet spot for 10-inch class tablets. First Apple reduced its iPad 2 to that price, and now we have a pair of Android tablets, the Acer Iconia Tab A200 and the Asus Transformer Pad 300, coming in at $350 and $380, respectively. If you have four bills and want a 10-inch tablet, which of these represents the better deal? The answer may surprise you.
Or maybe not. We’ve already established that, for some, an Apple iPad 2 may be enough tablet and represent the better buy over the newer third-generation iPad. But now we have two new Android models, each from large PC manufacturers, and each competing for the same market Apple’s targeting with its iPad 2.
Of the three, the Asus Transformer Pad excels in some of the PCWorld Labs’ tests, and stumbles slightly in others. Even so, its overall performance score puts it just a few points behind the iPad 2. Acer’s Iconia Tab A200, clearly the more valued-priced model of the three, makes some sacrifices that aren’t worth what you save.
Three Tablets: The Basics
The Acer and Asus tablets each have a 10.1-inch, 1280 by 800 pixel resolution display; the Apple iPad 2 has 9.7-inch 1024 by 768 display. At their base price, all three offer 16GB of storage and 1GB of memory. Both the Acer and Asus have microSD card slots for supporting up to 32GB microSDHC cards, and the Acer even has a full-size USB port, so you can jack in USB flash drive, too. Digital packrats will love that Asus’s Transformer Pad, for just $20 more than the base price, doubles the on-board memory to 32GB—at the same price as Apple’s iPad 2 with 16GB.
Of the three, the Acer is the heaviest, at a hefty 1.58 pounds. The Asus weighs in at 1.4 pounds, while the iPad 2 weighs 1.33 pounds.