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Toshiba Exite edges Microsoft Surface RT in test of five flawed tablets

Finding the right business tablet can be a daunting task. Do you want a seven-inch display or a 10-inch? Built-in keyboard? Snap-on keyboard? Which operating system? What apps? How about ruggedness, style, battery life, price?

We tested a sampling of five business tablets, or perhaps we should say: four business tablets and the iPad Mini. Prices ranged from $429 for the iPad Mini to $2,000 for the ruggedized GammaTech. Each device had a different operating system, and, even more importantly, a different app ecosystem.

None of the products were perfect, but in our testing, the Toshiba Excite 10 came out on top because it has solid features, but also because it isn't deficient in important ways. It draws on a huge application profile set that we believe pushes it past the competition -- by a hair.

The Android Market, Google Play and Amazon Store, which the Toshiba draws upon, are rife with a myriad business-focused applications and access methods for tablets to get VDI sessions, communications links, and other business-focused applications.

We tested three seven-inch display tablets, an Apple iPad Mini, GammaTech T7Q Durabook, a BlackBerry Playbook 2; and two 10-inch tablets, a Microsoft Surface RT and a Toshiba Excite 10. Hands down, we liked the 10-inch displays, although the larger size is somewhat offset by its heft. We found that there wasn't a strong correlation between display size and battery size. Only GammaTech offers the option to change the battery.

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