This month, I've been testing out and playing with an alternative to the iPad - the Dell Streak 7 Tablet. I call this handheld tablet an alternative to the iPad because it has virtually the same functionality - it's a touch screen tablet with which you can do a variety of things like browse the web, play games via downloaded apps, check your email and more.
Here's what I liked about it: it's smaller than the iPad, on my own guess, about 2/3 the size. I liked that I could grasp with just one hand, lifting it up and using my other hand to use the touchscreen. In my opinion, the iPad's too big for holding it with one hand while you use it (it has to be placed on a table.)
The other perk to the Dell Streak being smaller is that it easily fit in my bag. I carried it around several places and it was nice to have on-the-go with my kids.
I installed a variety of apps on the Dell Streak, mostly games for my kids, and I found I was never lacking for anything I wanted to install. Mainly we checked out games like Angry Birds, Paper Toss, Restaurant Story and more. I was also able to check my email via just regular Gmail.com on the Streak's browser.
The price point is better too, provided you're willing to sign a 2-year contract. You can get the Streak for $199.99 if you are willing to sign the 2-year contact. Which isn't a bad deal if you need service on the fly - with an iPad you're going to pay for it as well if you go for anything beyond the Wifi only model.
The only negative I found was the battery life. It seemed to drain pretty quickly - we got 2-3 hours tops of the battery lasting with my kids playing various applications.