The Apple iPad range has established itself as the market leader and is widely regarded as the pin-up of the tablet world, helping to popularise this technology. Whilst there were earlier efforts to create a commercially successful tablet device, it was the iPad that spearheaded this technological transformation.

However, whilst some of us laud Apple’s efforts, the market is much bigger than one player. As a result, there are a number of alternatives. This is why we’ve established a list of the best Tablet computers to look out for in 2012. 

The new iPad

Okay, let’s start with Apple (despite saying there are others available, it’s hard to look past the new iPad in 2012). The operating system for the new iPad is iOS5, although from the autumn onwards, users can upgrade to iOS6. With a 5 megapixel rear camera, and a 3 megapixel front camera, the image clarity is unsurpassed within the current market. In addition, there are all of your cool features such as a music player, video chat, and e-reader as well as HD video recording.

From a hardware point of view, it has a 1Ghz processor speed and comes with either 16, 32, or 64GB of memory. The downside is that it doesn’t have a USB port, which has been something of an ongoing issue for Apple. The display is possibly the best feature on the new iPad. The 9.7 inch sized screen has a resolution of 2048 x 1536, boasting what Apple call retina-display.  Essentially, you will be able to view the on-screen image from almost any angle without losing clarity. 

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 2

Samsung’s tablet utilises the Android 4.0 Operating System. This vastly improved Operating System allows the user to operate multiple apps simultaneously. The Galaxy Tab 2 also features the Android browser; whilst this functions perfectly, it is not as fast as the browser on the iOS, or even on the Nexus 7.

The Galaxy 2 is powered by a 1GHz processor, just like the new iPad. In terms of screen quality, the Galaxy 2 uses a 1024 x 600 pixel TFT LCD display. On the camera front, the Tab 2 boasts a 3.0 megapixel rear facing camera. 

Google Nexus 7

The Google Nexus 7 is the first tablet to come equipped with the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean Operating System. This offers significant improvements over the 4.0, because performance across multiple apps has been vastly improved. The Nexus 7 is also the first tablet to come equipped with the Chrome browser, which vastly improves browser speed, when compared to say the Android Browser on the Galaxy Tab 2. It even comes equipped with a range of preloaded apps, as well as a $25 credit at the Google Play store.

It is powered with a 1.2 – 1.3 GHz processor, but this depends on the number of cores being used. In terms of picture quality, the Nexus 7 has a much better screen than that of the Galaxy Tab 2; boasting a 1280 x 800 pixel display, on a 7 inch IPS LCD. The quality of the camera on the Nexus 7 is not as good as either the new iPad, or the Galaxy Tab 2; it only has a rear facing 1.2 megapixel camera. However, when it comes to price, it offers much better value for money. The Nexus 7 is was for release in mid-July and will be available for around £200 for the 16GB model – around half the price of the new iPad.