With the New iPad hitting stores this month, we thought it only fair to put it up against two of the biggest Android tablets around – the Asus Transformer Prime and the Toshiba AT200 – to see which is worthy of the contents of your wallet.
From how good the screen is to how long the battery lasts, here's our full rundown, and our recommendations for which gadget is best for you.
At a glanceApple New iPad - 241x186x9.4mm, 652gAsus Transformer Prime - 263x180x8.3mm, 586gToshiba AT200 - 256x176x7.7mm, 535g
In terms of sheer desirability, we reckon most people will be drawn to the new iPad's sleek white body. The simple design looks smart and feels good, although it's gained some weight since its previous version, the iPad 2.
However, the Transformer Prime is another beauty, sporting Asus' trademark brushed metal rear. It looks great and is uber-tough, perfect for throwing in a backpack. The Prime is also a mite lighter than the New iPad, although both are comfortable to clutch one-handed for browsing the web and playing with apps.
The Transformer Prime also has a detachable keyboard, so if you want to bash out emails or essays on the move, it's the clear choice.
Toshiba's AT200 is a smart-looking machine too, and currently the world's thinnest tablet at just 7.7mm. It's certainly more compact than the other two tablets, and the easiest to slip into a small bag. The lightweight design also means it's easier for children to clutch – if you're willing to let your offspring handle your new gadgetry.
At a glanceApple New iPad - 9.7-inch (2048x1536)Asus Transformer Prime - 10.1-inch (1280x800)Toshiba AT200 - 10.1-inch (1280x800)
Apple's New iPad has been sold on its uber-sharp Retina display, and the difference is remarkably clear when viewing photos. High-res images look incredibly sharp, and immediately draw the eye when all three tablets are stacked up together.
That isn't to say the AT200 or the Transformer Prime are cursed with dull, lifeless screens. HD video looks crisp on both Android tabs, and the Transformer Prime produces impressively lifelike images, much like the New iPad. Movies and photos also look great on the AT200 (bottom left in these photos), but as you can see from these photos, the colours are a little richer - still pleasing to the eye, but you lose some of that realism.
All three tablets have a similar screen size, but the New iPad has a more square aspect ratio. That means you get the cursed black lines at the top and bottom of your movies, while video fills the screen on both the Transformer Prime and the AT200. However, that square screen does come in handy when browsing the web, as we'll discuss later.
At a glanceApple New iPad - 6 hours 15 minsAsus Transformer Prime - 7 hours 10 minsToshiba AT200 - 6 hours
We disconnected all three tablets from the mains when they were at 100% battery life, then played video on loop until they coughed, spluttered and died. We were there at the bitter end with a stopwatch to record the results.
As you can see, the Prime lasted the longest with over seven hours of movie action. That'll get you through two of the Lord of the Rings movies, with time to spare. The AT200 and New iPad aren't far behind, and you can still watch the whole of Spartacus twice over, if that's your bag.
We streamed HD video using the YouTube app on all three tablets, and all three coped admirably – although the Transformer Prime did stutter a couple of times, spewing up the dreaded spinning circle of buffering. A minor complaint, as it behaved impeccably the rest of the time.
When loading up websites, the Toshiba tended to take a second or two longer than the others. Again, nothing major, but worth noting. We also preferred scrolling through websites with the new iPad, as the screen was perfectly responsive. The Transformer Prime's screen proved a little too sensitive, hurtling us through websites at a stroke, while the AT200 was rather jittery at times.
The New iPad's square aspect ratio means you also see more of a website at one time, without having to zoom right out. On busy websites such as www.mobilechoiceuk.com, this makes it much easier to navigate around and take in lots of info at a glance.
Almost every tablet we've reviewed (with the notable exception of Acer's Iconia Tab A200) has a bolted-on camera for taking snaps on the go. We're seeing increasing numbers of tourists wielding these gadgets to take photos, so we always check out how good the camera is – even though we'd much rather use our phones to grab a shot.
The New iPad improves substantially on the old iPad 2's VGA camera, boasting a fresh new five-megpaixel lens with image stabilisation. The AT200 also has a five-megapixel rear camera. However, the Transformer Prime beats them both – on paper at least – with an eight-megapixel camera with LED flash. But will that translate into sharper pictures?
All three tablets take shots using a virtual on-screen button, and while the new iPad and Transformer Prime took snaps almost instantly, the AT200 suffers from a slight delay. This is fine (albeit slightly annoying) when shooting landmarks, but when you're trying to capture people or animals, who have a tendency to wander, it's a lot more irritating. Still, each tablet has auto-focus to keep your subject sharp.
Here's just one of our shots, taken with all three devices. First is the Apple New iPad, then the Asus Transformer Prime, then the Toshiba AT200.
As you can see, the new iPad captures more vibrant shots than the Transformer Prime and the AT200, although the Transformer Prime, with its eight-megapixel lens, captures sharper photos – the tiny writing on the first bike is clearly readable here.
Here are some more comparison shots.
Shot taken with Apple new iPad
Shot taken with Asus Transformer Prime
Shot taken with Toshiba AT200
That bright, sharp, vibrant Retina display means the New iPad is the clear victor when it comes to enjoying media and browsing the web. The all-round experience is simply sublime, and as smooth as you'd hope from an Apple product.
However, the Transformer Prime and AT200 are excellent tablets in their own right, from the Toshiba's lightweight, slimline design, to the Prime's excellent keyboard dock that helps you stay productive on the move.
Check out our reviews of the New iPad, Asus Tansformer Prime and Toshiba AT200 for more info.