2011 is certainly shaping up to be the year of the tablet PCs, as they have grown very popular in their niche consumer electronics market. What should one look out for when considering their next tablet purchase? Read on to find out our choices that made our list of the top 6 tablet PCs of 2011.

1. HTC Flyer

The 8.9-inch HTC Flyer sticks to a single core 1.5GHz processor, and will run on Android Gingerbread 2.3 with a later update to Honeycomb. The faster clock speed should help apps run faster too. Other hardware specifications include 1GB of RAM.

The Flyer also features HTC’s Scribe technology which lets you use a pen with its capacitive screen to write notes on the tablet, which can be shared or saved for later use, whether from a website or an ebook.

Tech Specs:
PROCESSOR: Single Core Qualcomm Processor (1.50GHz)
OPERATING SYSTEM: Google Android 2.3 (with HTC Sense)
STORAGE: 32GB
MEMORY: 1GB RAM
DISPLAY: 9.7-inch, 1024×600 pixels
CAMERA: 5-megapixel (rear), 1.3- megapixel (front)
DIMENSIONS: 195.4x122x13.2mm
WEIGHT: 420g

2. Apple iPad 2

The successor to the original iPad reduces both size and weight while packing a speedy dual-core CPU and improved graphics. There are two new cameras on the front and rear, but the quality of images from the cameras are decidedly sub-par. If there’s a reason to get the iPad 2, it’s the Apple App Store with over 350,000 apps to choose from, both free and paid. Get down with games like Infinity Blade and enjoy the improved graphics, or strum your way to a Top 40 hit with Garage Band.

Tech Specs:
PROCESSOR: Dual Core Apple A5, (1.0GHz)
OPERATING SYSTEM: Apple iOS
STORAGE: 16/32/64GB
MEMORY: 512MB
DISPLAY: 9.7-inch, 1024×768 pixels
CAMERA: 0.92-megapixcl (rear), VGA (front)
DIMENSIONS: 241.2×185.7×8.8mm
WEIGHT: 610g

3. HP Touchpad

The revival of Palm’s webOS shakes things up, bringing a fresh perspective to a scene dominated by Apple and Google. HP’s vision of an integrated ecosystem, with its PC and mobile solutions sharing one common channel through its webOS platform, presents a potentially huge market which brings these two vastly different platforms under one roof. The TouchPad is also complemented by its HP Touchstone accessory, that wirelessly docks, syncs and charges the tablet.

Tech Specs:
PROCESSOR: Dual Core Qualcomm Snapdragon APQ8060 (1.20GHz)
OPERATING SYSTEM: webOS 3.0
STORAGE: 16/32GB
MEMORY: 1GB RAM
DISPLAY: 9.7-inch, 1024×768 pixels
CAMERA: 1.3-megapixel (front)
DIMENSIONS: 240x190x13.7mm
WEIGHT: 740g

4. Motorola Xoom

Making waves as the first tablet preloaded with Google’s tablet-optimized Android 3.0 software, the Motorola Xoom isn’t shy with its goal – to take Apple head-on and at the same time grab a slice of the tablet market pie. Powered by a dual-core NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor, the Xoom doesn’t aim to overachieve, instead keeping things minimal with the stock Android 3.0 interface working in tandem with its hardware specifications.

Tech Specs:
PROCESSOR: Dual Core Nvidia Tegra 2 T250 Cortex A9 (l.0 GHz)
OPERATING SYSTEM: Google Android 3.0
STORAGE: 32GB
MEMORY: 1GB RAM
DISPLAY: 10.1-inch, 1280×800 pixels
CAMERA: 5-megapixel (rear), 2-megapixel (front)
DIMENSIONS: 249.1×167.8×12.9mm
WEIGHT: 730g

5. BlackBerry PlayBook

Business and entertainment, packed into a compact form factor. The PlayBook is RIM’s ticket into the consumer scene, promising a seamless integration between its BlackBerry mobile services onto the tablet front through its BlackBerry Bridge app. Its greatest challenge comes not from its competitors, but its prolonged delay in bringing the PlayBook to market, with a few essential features such as native email, calendar and contact apps reserved for a future update.

Tech Specs:
PROCESSOR: Dual Core Cortex A9 (1.0GHz)
OPERATING SYSTEM: BlackBerry Tablet OS (QNX)
STORAGE: 16/32/64GB
MEMORY: 1GB RAM
DISPIAY: 7-inch LCD, 1024×600 pixels
CAMERA: 5-megapixel (rear), 3-megapixel (front)
DIMENSIONS: 194x130x10mm
WEIGHT: 425g

6. LG Optimus Pad

LG is banking on 2011 as the year when the war of the tablets goes into full gear. The LG Optimus Pad is their weapon of choice, armed with an 8.9-inch display and a portable weight of 630g for an easy one-handed grip. The Optimus Pad is well-equipped for HD video playback at 1080p, powered by NVIDIA’s Tegra 2 chip. Beyond its HD capabilities, the Optimus Pad has a pair of 5-megapixel 3D stereoscopic cameras, giving it the ability to do 3D video recording.

Tech Specs:
PROCESSOR: Dual Core Nvidia Tegra 2 T250 Cortex A9 (1.0GHz)
OPERATING SYSTEM: Google Android 3.0
STORAGE: 32GB
MEMORY: 1GB RAM
DISPLAY: 8.9-inch, 1280×768 pixels
CAMERA: 5-megapixel 3D Stereoscopic camera (rear). 2-megapixel (front)
DIMENSIONS: 243×149.4×12.8mm
WEIGHT: 630g