#1 Features - Best Tablets Under $300: Acer Iconia Tab A100 vs Nook ColorNook Color is good deal at $170. It can surf the Web, use apps, send emails; all the things many people do with a smartphone, but without the added cost of a data plan. Acer's A100 offers similar functions, but does them faster. It also includes dual cameras the Nook lacks.
#2 Apps - Best Tablets Under $300: Acer Iconia Tab A100 vs Nook ColorThis is another big difference between the two because the Nook Color uses Nook Apps while the Acer Tab uses apps from Google Play (formerly the Android Market). There are many more offerings on Google Play, but some of the most popular apps can also be found in the Nook collection. Both app stores will get bigger and better in the next year.
#3 Performance - Best Tablets Under $300: Acer Iconia Tab A100 vs Nook ColorAcer has a more powerful processor and more dedicated system memory, so it will be able to do everything just a bit faster than the Nook Color. It's more like a computer, where the Nook Color is more like an e-reader with the ability to surf the Web and watch videos.
#4 Accessories - Best Tablets Under $300: Acer Iconia Tab A100 vs Nook ColorBoth the Nook and Acer Tab have been out for a while, so there is a huge selection of covers, cases, microSD cards, screen protectors and stands for both. Barnes & Noble in particular has many different types of cases for its Nook line of tablets.
#5 Design - Best Tablets Under $300: Acer Iconia Tab A100 vs Nook ColorBoth tablets are about 13 mm thick, but the Nook has a niec rubberized back to help grip it. Otherwise, it's somewhat sylish with a nice matte finish on the plastic. Acer takes a stab at a more aggressive design, however, with its slightly cut-off corners. It's a distinctive style Acer has been keeping with most of its tablet computers so far.
#6 Software - Best Tablets Under $300: Acer Iconia Tab A100 vs Nook ColorBoth tablets run the Google Android system, but the Nook system is very customized. It won't really be recognizable as the Android system, in fact. Acer packs the Android 3.2 system on the A100, ane while we aren't totally taken by that particular version of the system, it is a bit better than the Nook Color system, at least for browsing. Where the Nook does will is with the reading options like PagePerfect Books for viewing high quality content. There's also an option that will read certain books out loud for kids called Nook Kids.
#7 Cameras - Best Tablets Under $300: Acer Iconia Tab A100 vs Nook ColorNo cameras on the Nook, but there's front-facing and rear-facing cameras on the A100 for video-chatting and shooting video.
#8 Hardware - Best Tablets Under $300: Acer Iconia Tab A100 vs Nook ColorThis is where the Acer Tab just plain has more stuff to offer. Both devices have about eight gigabytes of internal storage, but the Nook Color reserves about five gigabytes for only Barnes & Noble content. That means if you want to carry around files from your computer, you'll have to store the bulk of them on a microSD card. Additionally, the Acer Tab has things like GPS and a miniHDMI port for connecting to an HDTV.
Best Buy is offering the Acer Iconia Tab A100 for $260 and free shipping while the Nook Color price has dropped to $170. Could one of these be the best under $300 tablets? Obviously, we're leaving out the Nook Tablet and Amazon Kindle Fire, but the Acer A100 and Nook Color are on opposite sides of those devices, price-wise. So, looking at these two seven-inch tablets could give a bit more perspective on what's the right choice for tablets in this price range.
These are two good options for those not willing or able to spend $500 on the new iPad 3. Additionally, for those who have never had a tablet computer before, both of these handy options will get you some great features. Then, if you enjoy them, in a year or two you can upgrade to a new shiny tablet at a time when even more high-powered, and hopefully a bit lower-priced, tablets will have been launched. By this time next year, if another new iPad comes out, the iPad 2 could drop in price even more.
We'll also have new Windows 8 tablets, and if the rumors prove to be true, a new Google Nexus tablet in the $200 price range. Start the slideshow for a closer look at the Acer A100 and Nook Color.