Tablet showdown: Motorola Xoom Vs. LG Optimus Pad Vs. Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

Motorola was the first to debut its 10.1-inch Android Honeycomb tablet, the Xoom, back in January, but certainly not the last. Since then, tablets have continued to sprout from every electronics manufacturer we can name. However, unlike most, LG’s Optimus Pad and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 are competing directly with the Xoom on almost every level.

Upon first glance, all three tablets look identical and have excessively similar stats. Which one should you get? Well, it may come down to price, but we’re going to break down the competition and find as many differences as we can.

Display

Winners: Motorola Xoom, Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

All three of these tablets have LCD displays in accord with the WXGA standards, meaning they’re pretty much identical in pixel resolution as well. The only difference is that the LG Optimus Pad crams all those pixels (1280×768) into a smaller 8.9-inch widescreen display. What’s wrong with that? Well, nothing, but we figure if you’re going to skip out on 7-inch tablets and go for a large sheet-of-paper-sized-pad, an extra 1.2 inches won’t hurt you.

The Xoom and Galaxy Tab 10.1 each have a 16:10 widescreen aspect ratio and resolution of 1280×800, both slightly larger than the iPad, which clocks in at 9.7 inches and 1024×768 pixels, making it a 4:3 display, much like older televisions or a standard piece of office paper.

Processor

Winner: Tie

All three of these tablets are packing 1GHz dual-core processors, which have become a standard for early 2011. The Xoom and Optimus Pad both pack Nvidia Tegra 2 processors, while Samsung has opted to include its own dual-core processor, as it often does. There will be differences between the Samsung and other two, but we’re betting that they will be negligible, at best. Naturally, all three units beat out the year-old Apple iPad, which packs a 1GHz Apple A4 single-core chip.

RAM

Winner: Motorola Xoom

RAM is the pool of memory a computer pulls from when it is running applications, games, and multitasking. It’s vital. We have to hand this category to Motorola because Samsung and LG released specs for their tablets, but suspiciously left out the amount of RAM included. We’re guessing that they have at least 1GB, but that is only our guess. Anything less would be underpowered compared to most upcoming smartphones like the Moto Atrix 4G. The Apple iPad has 256MB of RAM, which was a bit low even for last year.

Storage

Winner: Motorola Xoom

All three of these tablets can pack up to 32GB of internal storage. However, Samsung has decided to give us the option of 16GB, should we desire. Hopefully, said option will save consumers some money and for that we’d hand this category to Samsung. Nevertheless, all three pale in options compared to the iPad, which can come with up to 64GB of internal storage. Technically the Moto Xoom is the closest competitor. If you choose to spend extra and buy a 32GB SD card, the Xoom can match the iPad’s storage.

Portability

Winner: LG Optimus Pad

If you’re looking for small, the Optimus Pad has everyone beat. It has a similar resolution to the Xoom and Galaxy Tab, but clocks in a good 1.2-inches smaller in screen size. As far as weight goes, the Galaxy Tab has beaten it ever so slightly, weighing only 599 grams, 55 grams shy of the Optimus Pad’s 654 gram weight. The Xoom is the heaviest of the bunch at 730 grams.

Connectivity

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

All three devices can connect via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and 3G.

In addition, the Galaxy Tab and Optimus Pad can connect to HSPA+ networks (T-Mobile, AT&T) for faster 4G-like connections. In this respect, the Samsung edges out LG because while the Optimus can attain connections up to 10.2 Mb/s, the Galaxy can take advantage of AT&T’s HSPA+ 21 network, which can attain theoretical speeds of up to 21 Mb/s.

The Xoom is currently locked in as a Verizon-only device. At CES, representatives told us that an LTE 4G enhancement would be offered at some point, but could not give specifics as to how such an enhancement would work, or when the Xoom would be able to take advantage of Verizon’s 4G LTE network.

Battery Life

Winner: We don’t know

Motorola claims the Xoom has a battery that can sustain “up t0 10 hours of video playback” on a single charge while LG will only own up to the fact that its tablet is indeed powered by a lithium ion battery. Way to be vague, guys. Samsung’s battery is 6860 mAh and should be fairly comparable to the iPad, which Apple also claims can sustain 10 hours of video playback.

Cameras

Winner: LG Optimus Pad

While the Galaxy Tab has the best regular rear camera and the Xoom has a nice dual LED flash, the Optimus Pad can record full 3D video, like the Optimus 3D and Nintendo 3DS. We admit that 3D may be a gimmick, but with YouTube jumping in, it might be fun to try and record a few 3D videos now and then. The Optimus Pad has a solid 5-megapixel rear camera for 2D shooting. All three tablets have 2-megapixel front-facing cameras, can record 1080p video, have LED flash, can auto focus, and have some form of digital zoom.

Price

Winner: Tie

It’s good and fun to look at these new tablets, but when it comes to price, all three may lag behind Apple. By locking down its supply chain and buying out a good portion of the supplies necessary to make tablets, Apple’s iPad will likely remain the most affordable tablet on the market, which means few of these devices have a shot at beat it sales-wise.

Rumors point to excessively high prices for all three of these tablets. The price of the Xoom may land somewhere between $700 and $800, but a leaked Best Buy page showed a pre-order price of $1199. The page has since been taken down, however. It’s possible that Samsung will match the iPad’s price, but we wouldn’t bet on it judging by how expensive the Galaxy Tab 7-inch tablet was. LG has priced its Optimus Pad at 999 euros, which means it could sell for more than $1300 here in the U.S. We’re hoping that all of these prices are exaggerated, but none seem to be able to match Apple’s $499 basic iPad.

Overall Winner: Motorola Xoom

All three of these tablets are excessively similar, but Motorola’s Xoom has more potential storage and memory packed into it than the competition and a larger screen than even the iPad. If Motorola lives up to its promise and delivers a 4G upgrade to the device, it will also be the fastest tablet on the market.

Honestly though, all three of these tablets are fantastic alternatives to the iPad if you can get a good deal. if you want a tablet with 3G access, LG has aligned tightly with T-Mobile (the Optimus Pad is T-Mobile’s G-Slate) and Motorola has an exclusive agreement with Verizon wireless, so whatever carrier you align with may determine your tablet choice. Again, you can’t really go wrong with any of these.

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