Apr. 9th, 2011

So, Telstra just cut the price on the original Galaxy Tab. It's now down to AU$408 to buy outright, no contracts, no faffing about. This is pretty close to my "impulse buy" threshold.

My interest in a tablet is not quite the same as the typical geek toy-hunter. I want something light, pocketable, and significantly bigger than a mobile phone. My primary use for the first-gen WiFi-only iPad I have right now is as an e-reader and occasional email device, and it's too heavy to be comfortable as a reader unless it's propped up. It's also too big to carry unless I'm also carrying a bag.

As best I can tell (looking at GSM Arena) the original Galaxy Tab (380g, Froyo) is the lightest 7" tablet either available or announced. The other 7" devices are the HTC Flyer (420g, running Gingerbread), the Dell Streak 7 (453g, Froyo), and the Blackberry Playbook (425g, running their own OS).

Most of the devices available or announced so far are 9-10", between 600 and 750g. All of the devices officially running Honeycomb are in that range, as are the various iPad models.

The Tab has been rooted and there are a variety of third-party ROMs available. This is not an immediate concern -- Froyo is quite good enough for an e-reader -- but means there's a fair prospect of a stable Honeycomb port down the track. There are already efforts in this direction, with an alpha-quality release barely running now.

The alternatives in this space one can buy Right Now(TM) are the Archos 70 and the Nook Color. Both require hacking to get Market apps, and both lack the standard buttons. The Nook Color is surprisingly heavy for a device its size. I'd been considering both, but with the Tab's price cut in half...

So, is there anything I'm missing here? Any light, pocketable devices announced GSM Arena hasn't noticed?

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