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Cameras, Connectivity and Storage


One of the biggest concerns with the original iPad was its lack of any cameras. Now this has been rectified, with both front and rear cameras packed-in. However, in terms of specs they do trail the competition.

The front facing camera is a piddling 0.3-megapixels - sufficient for mediocre video call quality but a far cry from the higher-fidelity offered by the competition's 1.3-megpixel shooters. It's the same story with the rear camera, which has just one megapixel compared to the 3.0-megapixel of the rest. Now, we accept that you're probably not too fussed about having a studio-class camera squeezed into your tablet but if you want to grab a photo of something and edit it/crop it a bit then the bigger the better.

The LG Optimus Pad has twin 5-megapixel cameras for capturing 3D video

As for video, all the tablets we're looking at have 720p HD video recording, the quality of which we're yet to assess. Leading the charge though is the LG Optimus Pad, which houses two 5-megapixel cameras for shooting 3D video. Unfortunately the screen doesn't actually support playback of the footage but if you're into 3D, it's your only option.


If there was one area Apple was always going to slip up in, it was going to be connectivity - the company does like to keep things proprietary. However, while the iPad 2 has no standard connectors whatsoever (only its proprietary dock connector), it does support the basics, courtesy of adapters and docks. With the right dock, you can output 1080p video over HDMI while still charging the device, and memory card readers are available as well. And of course you can use Apple's standard iPod cable to connect to a computer to transfer files or charge the battery.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 has only a proprietary connector

However, in contrast, much of the competition offers these connections natively. The PlayBook, TouchPad, Fyer, Optimus Pad and Xoom all have mini-HDMI, which, although requiring a mini-HDMI to HDMI cable, is a standard connector. Likewise, the same bunch also offer the ubiquitous microUSB for charging and connecting to a computer to transfer data. Not only does this allow you to keep fewer cables at the ready, it also means you've a better chance of finding one in an emergency.

Letting itself down rather badly is the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, which has taken the Apple route and used a proprietary connector. It does make for a tidier device, and makes it easier to nestle in its dock but woe betide you if you loose the cable and need to charge in an emergency.

Whereas the Toshiba Tablet has full size HDMI, USB and SD card reader

Conversely, Toshiba has kicked dust in all their faces by adding a full size HDMI and USB ports, as well as microUSB.


Along similar lines as connectivity, it's no surprise that the latest iPad doesn't have expandable storage via a memory slot. Instead it comes in 16GB, 32GB or 64GB versions, which if you're anything like us means you'll be gunning for the most expensive option so you can cram it full of music, pictures and videos. Storage options on much of the competition haven't been nailed down yet but most look likely to offer 16GB or 32GB editions, forgoing the higher 64GB option, which is a missed opportunity to trump Apple and win a few sales.

The Flyer, Optimus Pad and Xoom make up for this by providing microSD slots for adding up to 32GB of extra storage. These could be doubly useful for photographers as you can use a to sd&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&source=og&sa=N&hl=en&tab=wi&biw=1229&bih=1365 microSD to SD adapter to take pictures straight from your camera to the tablet, without the need for a dongle or such like.

Trumping all before it again, though, is the Toshiba Tablet, which has a full size SD card reader.

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