Apple’s iPhone is arguably the most useful product in this roundup. The device includes all the functionality of the iPad, but throws in a phone. So, aside from being able to do everything an iPad can (and more), the iPhone also doubles as a communication device. That’s an important distinction that makes it a viable alternative to Apple’s tablet.
3Motorola Droid X
Debate continues over which device—the Motorola Droid X or the iPhone—is best for consumers. That won’t be solved here. But a compelling argument can be made that the Droid X is a more useful product than the iPad. After all, it boasts apps, a touch screen and, like the iPhone, the ability to place calls.
4Motorola Droid 2
If the Motorola Droid X is a more viable product than the iPad, it’s hard to bet against the Motorola Droid 2. That device includes the same basic functionality as the Droid X but includes a physical keyboard, which arguably makes it more useful to the average enterprise customer who wants mobility and productivity. The iPad’s virtual keyboard works well, but it can’t compare to a physical keyboard.
5RIM BlackBerry Tour
RIM’s BlackBerry Tour has some strikes against it when it competes against the iPad. For example, its screen is small and the browsing experience is abysmal. But for enterprise customers, it’s a far better option than the iPad. The device includes support for BlackBerry Enterprise Server-a key tool in the corporate world-and delivers a more viable e-mailing experience. Customers looking for productivity over entertainment will find more to like with the BlackBerry Tour.
6Dell Inspiron Mini 1012
Are netbooks better than tablets? Well, that’s up for debate. But the Dell Inspiron Mini 1012 netbook is undoubtedly a more useful product than the iPad. It includes a full installation of Windows; it’s just as mobile as Apple’s tablet; and it allows users to surf to any site they want, thanks to Flash support. On top of that, it makes for a more productive experience for enterprise customers who don’t want to fiddle with a touch screen.
7Apple Mac Mini
The iPad is more than just a mobile computer. The device is also used by folks for entertainment in the living room. The only issue is that it’s small compared with the HDTV that people have sitting in front of the couch. In light of that, the Mac Mini could be a better solution. The device is a full-fledged computer running Mac OS X. And it can easily be connected to an HDTV. Even better, it sports Bluetooth support, which means users can sit on the couch and use a mouse and keyboard to get work done. And on top of all that, it has a full Web browser, so it provides access to any kind of content online.
Apple’s MacBook is the company’s mobile answer to netbooks from Dell and HP. Although it’s not classified as a netbook, it’s easily mobile while being quite useful thanks to the full installation of Mac OS X. It’s also quite affordable. Plus, it enables video chatting with its built-in Webcam, something the iPad does not have. If folks are set on getting an Apple product, the MacBook might just be the better bet.
9HP Mini 311
The HP Mini 311 provides one of the better experiences for users hoping to be more productive while on the go. The device has an 11.6-inch LED display, a built-in Webcam, and built-in VGA and HDMI ports, so it can be plugged into an HDTV. It also has an option for a 320GB hard drive. Plus, it runs Windows XP or Windows 7. It’s a fine alternative to Apple’s iPad, especially since it retails for just $400.
The Logitech Revue might not be out quite yet, but it has promise. The device, which will connect to an HDTV, will allow users to browse the Web, interact with their DVR and use applications ranging from Netflix streaming to Pandora’s music service. It looks to be an ideal entertainment platform for the living room. Plus, it could be a better solution for prospective iPad customers looking to be entertained while at home.
Apple fans might not like to hear it, but the Amazon Kindle is arguably a better device for those who want to read e-books. The Kindle doesn’t feature all the extras that the iPad boasts, but it makes up for it with a vast library of titles and a reading experience that most folks find to be easy on the eyes. Plus, it’s readily affordable at a starting price of $139.