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The Gadgets NOT to Buy This Christmas - Tablets

Gordon Kelly



Christmas is coming and if you know your tech then you know the golden rule: buy your gadgets as late as possible. The logic is simple: prices are always falling and new products are announced every week. At TrustedReviews our reason d'être is helping you make wise purchasing decisions and there is no easier way of doing that than by checking out our 2011 Awards winners. That said sometimes it is equally important to spell out what NOT to buy so if you don't want the gloss knocked off your presents within months of purchase we suggest extreme caution with the following categories…

Apple and Android Tablets

Our first category is also likely to be the most controversial. Tablets are seen as the must-have product this Christmas, but despite being comfortably into their second generation of devices we suggest you wait a little longer - no matter which device you have your heart set on.


Yes, believe it or not, this is doubly true of the iPad 2. Apple's all-conquering tablet has redefined the sector, its array of tablet-specific apps is unparalleled and despite rivals with better cameras and faster hardware it still performs as well as any. The problem is the iPad 2 is now 10 months old and Apple refreshes its products roughly every 12 months. This means buy an iPad 2 this Christmas and you'll be looking on enviously by February/March. Is the iPad 3 worth waiting for? We can tell you what you need to know and all signs point to yes, so stick to gift certificates.

The same is true for Android tablets. There are notable highlights such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Asus Eee Pad Transformer, but none come with the latest and most important version of Android to date: v4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. Furthermore while Google has already shipped the first ICS handset in the shape of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus we await a timeframe for ICS tablets and formal commitments from many tablet makers that their existing products will be upgraded.


If you must go down the tablet route the safest bet is the exceptional Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime. Launched this week it combines powerful hardware with stylish and practical accessories and Asus has committed to bringing ICS to the Prime as soon as possible - however the tablet will only be available in the UK from January.

Away from the Prime you are in murky territory. The aforementioned iPad 3, the struggles of RIM's BlackBerry Playbook and the failure of HP's webOS-based TouchPad are all cautionary tales against early adoption while Windows 8 tablets will present an intriguing new alternative in late 2012.


December 20, 2011, 12:03 am

"If you must go down the tablet route the safest bet is the exceptional Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime." Well first it's not available yet and subject to delays - more Amazon and Best-Buy pre-orders were cancelled in the US today. No one knows for sure it if it'll be on sale in the UK in January. Second, just today Eric Schmidt (Google's chairman) talked about "an improved Google tablet coming within six months" ( http://www.theverge.com/2011/12/19/2646684/eric-schmidt-says ) With this plus the rumoured high resolution tablets from Samsung and Apple coming sometime around February/March, the excitement over this Asus will be very short lived.


December 20, 2011, 9:02 pm

Thanks Gk.pm they are some interesting points, but a little misplaced. First the Prime has a confirmed UK launch date: 12 January and major stores are taking pre-orders. Second I mention the Prime is not out for Christmas in the article. Third there has to be a reasonable timeframe when we're talking about Christmas. In that regard I'd say holding back on an iPad 2 with the iPad 3 due in a few months is reasonable, waiting six months is something else entirely. As for excitement over the Prime, with ICS coming to it soon it may have more shelf life than you think. Certainly Ardjuna was very excited when he reviewed it: http://www.trustedreviews.com/asus-eee-pad-transformer-prime_Laptop_review


December 21, 2011, 12:06 am

@Gordon394 I haven't had any confirmation that the launch date is actually 12 January. It's just an expected launch date, not set in stone. You might want to check your sources. Meanwhile just yesterday it was announced that pre-orders for the 64GB Transformer Prime were being cancelled in the UK as that model was pushed back to Q2 2012 (i.e. April-June) It may have some shelf life, but you can same of all existing tablets. The iPad 2 will surely still get a good year more of updates and even the somewhat lacklustre Motorola Xoom is looking better with ICS. However the Transformer and these will look pretty pale compared to alternatives coming right from February next year. The wise recommendation would be to hold off on any tablet purchases until then.


December 21, 2011, 4:34 pm

Interesting article, Gordon. I'd personally draw a distinction between products whose current iterations have serious shortcomings that future iterations will fix (e.g. 3D TVs)


December 21, 2011, 4:35 pm

and products whose current iterations are actually quite good, but just have future iterations that will be better (e.g. tablets). Is the fact that we know the product will only get better really a reason to hold off on buying it? I'm not sure it is. Anyway, this is probably just a difference of opinion. A good article!


December 21, 2011, 8:10 pm

confirmed to me by Dixons. Either way, my point remains the same. It's post Christmas, but only a little post.


December 21, 2011, 8:12 pm

Thanks. That's a good point and I think you're right but there are no certainties all Android tablets will get ICS, for example. And if so how well optimised will they be, how will the inevitable manufacturer skins affect it, etc. They could be great, but definitely a risk for Christmas.

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