Both the Apple iPad 2 and Acer Iconia Tab A500 have been out for nearly a year, but only one of them is now available for less than $500, so here's what you need to know about these two 10-inch tablets. Both devices are ready for an update in the next couple of months, and Acer has actually already shown the Iconia Tab A510 at CES this year. It's not out yet, and all the features aren't even known yet, but there is still the A500, an average Android tablet that has some nice features you might be looking for. It's on Amazon now for $400 and has 1280x800p resolution, 16 gigabytes of storage, front and rear-facing cameras, microSD card slot (expandable to 32 gigabytes), full-size USB port and micro-HDMI port.
You could easily hook it up to your HDTV to watch movies with the HDMI, but it's in no danger of knocking off the iPad 2. iPad 2 lacks the ports, but it can still be hooked up to an HDTV with Apple's Digital AV adapter. It's also much lighter and thinner than the Iconia Tab A500. It's $100 more, of course, but depending on what you are planning on doing with it, it's likely worth it. There still aren't many apps that are built specifically for the Android 3.0 system, so any Android apps you'd be using are just stretched out versions for smartphones. Conversely, with the iPad, there are some downright gorgeous apps built only for iPad (some of them are pricey, but many are $5 or less). If you're into apps or reading on your tablet, the iPad 2 is the better option.
Furthermore, the A500 is Wi-Fi only, so if you need a data connection, you'd have to pick the iPad 2. That data connection would be through AT&T or Verizon. If you don't want to spend $500 and you don't need the generous portion of apps for the iPad, the Iconia Tab A500 is totally respectable choice. We recommend the iPad 2, but if you can wait another couple months, the iPad 3 could debut and maybe even force the iPad 2 price down just a bit. Tell us in the comments if you've tried any Acer tablets and what you think.