At the risk of enraging Apple zealots, I'm just going to come right out and say it: Why buy an iPad when you can get a convertible tablet PC for less money?
I'm speaking in particular of the new Lenovo IdeaPad S10-3T-0651, which Best Buy has on sale for $449.99 (plus $11.99 for shipping and sales tax in most states).
Even with those added charges, you get out the door for less than $499--the price of Apple's entry-level iPad model. The IdeaPad may not be as thin or sexy, but it can do so much more.
See, it starts out like a traditional Netbook, one with Intel's Atom N450 processor, 1GB of RAM, a 250GB hard drive, 802.11n Wi-Fi, and Windows 7 Starter.
Oh, and it has a 10.1-inch multitouch touch screen, meaning it can take full advantage of Windows 7's touchy-feely capabilities.
The screen can also pivot a full 180 degrees, then fold down on top of the keyboard to create a traditional tablet experience.
Like most PCs these days (but unlike the iPad), the IdeaPad comes with a Webcam, a media card reader, and USB ports--it runs Flash, too. This model also has an eight-cell battery, which is impressive given its compact size. The battery doesn't jut out from the rear like on some Netbooks.
Now, I haven't used the IdeaPad myself, nor have I experienced Windows 7 multitouch firsthand (pun!). In fact, I don't see much appeal in tablets at all, so I'm not the target audience for this or the iPad.
That said, it's hard to argue with the math. From a features and capabilities standpoint, the IdeaPad blows the iPad out of the water. Also, it costs less--a lot less if you compare it with the $699, 64GB model (which still has only 25 percent of the IdeaPad's storage capacity).
Do you agree? Disagree? You know the drill. I will say this: Given that tablet PCs traditionally cost about $1,000, it's nice to see one to sell for less than $500.