Apple iPad vs. Samsung Galaxy Tab vs. Toshiba Folio 100

James Ryan Jonas

With Christmas just a few months away, I’m thinking of getting a new PC to replace my 5-year-old Fujitsu laptop which is starting to break down. Touchscreen tablet PCs seem to be the in thing these days so if the specs and price are right, I might get this gadget as a Christmas gift to myself this year.

Which one is the best? That’s what I’m about to find out. I’ll use this space to post some good and bad reviews that I can find for these tablet PCs.

The 3 emerging choices for me, after a preliminary search, seem to be the Apple iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab and Toshiba Folio 100.

Touchscreen Tablet PC?

If you don’t know what touchscreen tablet PCs are, it’s time to get out of that rock you’ve been living under. Tablet PCs are computers which are somewhere between a regular notebook PC and a smartphone in terms of size, price, and functionalities. Unlike previous versions of the tablet PC, the newer versions are touchscreen — meaning you don’t need a keyboard or stylus anymore in order to input something.

So how do you do it? Touchscreen! As in, touch the screen! The keyboard is usually displayed on the screen already and you navigate using your fingers. Just like the holographic computer display that Tom Cruise’s character uses in the movie Minority Report. Except that the computer is the size of a magazine and that it’s 100% real and working.

If you still have no idea, go to Google and search for the Apple iPad. It’s currently the most popular touchscreen tablet PC. I’m not sure yet, though, whether the iPad is the best choice, hence, the need for this article to find other options. For your and my benefit, I’ll consolidate reviews here, hoping to guide us pick the best one.

Here’s the preliminary research about the iPad, Galaxy Tab and Folio 100.

Apple iPad

Apple released the iPad in April 2010. It was reported that more than 3 million units were sold in just 80 days, and that millions of people more are waiting to receive their orders. The iPad does not use Microsoft’s Windows or Google’s Android operating system (OS). Instead, it uses its own OS similar to the one used by the iPhone and the iPod Touch. Which means if you don’t own any of those gadgets and you’re used to the Windows OS, it might take a few practice to fully learn the system.

What stands out in the iPad is undoubtedly its simple but elegant design. However, according to some reviews, the unit is a bit heavy and severely lacks basic but important functions. No USB port? Well, it is available as a separate accessory for sale. No Flash support? Hmm, then how can we view most videos on the net? No multi-tasking capability? Seriously, are we back in the early days of DOS and floppy disks?

These are just some of the minuses that made me not go for the iPad for now. And what about the price? In the US, the 16GB unit is priced at $499. When it’s officially launched in the Philippines, I’m sure it will be priced higher.

Apple iPad Specifications:

  • Display: 9.7 inches (25 cm) multitouch display
  • Resolution: 1024 × 768 pixels
  • Processor: 1 GHz
  • Storage: Fixed capacity of 16, 32, or 64 GB
  • Wireless: Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n), Bluetooth 2.1+EDR
  • Weight: 680 g (WiFi) / 730 g (WiFi + 3G)
  • Operating System: iOS 3.2.2

Let’s see if there are other good alternatives.

Samsung Galaxy Tab

Samsung’s iPad killer was unveiled only a few days ago, in September 2 during a consumer electronics trade fair (2010 IFA) in Berlin, Germany. The Galaxy Tab is not out in the market yet but is said to be released in Europe by mid-September and before the end of 2010 in the US and in other countries. Its price? Rumored to be 699 euros (US$889) for the 16GB model and 799 euros (US$1,016) for the 32GB model. A bit pricier than the iPad.

Initial reviews say it is lighter and has functions that aim to distinguish it from the Apple gadget. It is expected to weigh 380 g, about half of the iPad. It runs on Android 2.2 operating system which is compatible with Adobe Flash 10.1, which allows most online games and videos to function on the Galaxy Tab.

Samsung plans to distribute the Galaxy Tab via telecommunications companies which means — you guessed it right — it would also be a mobile phone. It packs a microSD slot, a 3 Megapixel (MP) rear camera that comes with an LED light, and a 1.3 MP front camera for video calling.

Price notwithstanding, Samsung’s Galaxy Tab might be an iPad killer indeed.

Samsung Galaxy Tab Specs:

  • Display: 7.0 inches multitouch display
  • Resolution: 1024 × 600 pixels
  • Processor: 1 GHz
  • Storage: 16GB or 32GB, expandable with a microSD card
  • Wireless: 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0, 3G connectivity through HSPA and HSUPA
  • Weight: 380 g (WiFi)
  • Operating System: Android 2.2 (Froyo)

Toshiba Folio 100

blankThe Toshiba Folio 100 was also unveiled during the 2010 IFA. In terms of look and functionalities, it combines that of what the iPad and the Galaxy Tab offer.

It weighs 760 g, around the same weight as the iPad. Its screen size is 10.1 in, a bit bigger than the iPad but much bigger than the Galaxy Tab. Its price is also competitive with the iPad — 399 euros (US$511) for the version with just WiFi networking and 499 euros (US$639) for the WiFi +3G version.

It is similar to the Galaxy Tab in the sense that it also sports a 1.3-megapixel Webcam, has a microSD slot and runs on Android 2.2 OS.

Unlike the other two, the Folio 100 will support two USB ports. It will also have its own app download site at the Toshiba Market Place.

Toshiba Folio 100 Specs:

  • Display: 10.1 inches multitouch display
  • Resolution: 1024 × 600 pixels
  • Processor: 1 GHz
  • Storage: 16GB, expandable with a microSD card
  • Wireless: 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth, 3G
  • Weight: 760 g (WiFi)
  • Operating System: Android 2.2 (Froyo)

The search for the best touchscreen tablet PC starts now. I’ll try to read more reviews to eventually find out which one would emerge the winner. Join the discussion! If you have comments or questions about the iPad, Galaxy Tab, Folio 100 or other touchscreen tablet PCs, post below!

James Ryan Jonas teaches business management, investments, and entrepreneurship at the University of the Philippines (UP). He is also the Executive Director of UP Provident Fund Inc., managing and investing P3.2 Billion ($56.4 Million) worth of retirement funds on behalf of thousands of UP employees.