There are those who love Apple, and those who'll never buy anything that comes from Infinite Loop. However, everyone can agree on one thing about the iPad: As wonderful as it is, it's rather expensive.
Cue the rush – just in time for Christmas – of Android-based tablets that aren't the iPad. There are loads to choose from: from the high-end, high-cost Samsung Galaxy Tab to the own-brand specials that are less than a hundred pounds.
Somewhere in between the two extremes, you'll be seeing a lot of this fellow, the seven-inch Linx Commtiva N700. We say that because it's also known as the Viewsonic Viewpad 7 or the Commtiva FM6, and several other retailers are known to be interesting in slapping their badge on an OEM version, too.
This is important, because the N700 is £100 cheaper than the Viewpad 7, despite being absolutely identical.
On top of that, the N700 comes with a 4GB microSD card where the Viewpad 7 features no storage in the box.
Even when faced with an obvious choice like that, however, bagging a bargain Android tablet still requires caution. That's partly because Google itself doesn't reckon the latest available version of the operating system is up to running on devices larger than a mobile phone.
As a result, implementation of the OS varies by manufacturer, and workarounds to get Android running on a tablet change from supplier to supplier. To say the quality is variable is like saying Philip Green has a patchy record on tax.
There's also the question of Market access. As essential as the Android Market is to a tablet or smartphone, it's far from guaranteed that you'll be able to use it.
Without it, you're reduced to sideloading applications onto a device, running an alternative firmware or relying on the kind of Market-redux that AppsLib run, which is almost identical to the real thing in every way except that it doesn't have most of the well-known apps in it.
Fortunately, from the perspective of a potential Android tablet buyer, the N700 gets all these basics right. It's running Froyo, the latest and fastest version of the operating system, and has access to the full Android Market.
What's more, it's relatively well built and has a capacitive, multi-touch screen. Throw in the fact that it also has a 3G modem and it's got pretty competitive feature list compared to the iPad. Does that make it the Android tablet to own?