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Apple‘s iPad 2 hits stores in the U.S. this Friday. It will be available in several more countries two weeks later… though not here in Hong Kong. Which is good for me. I need time to think.

Ever since Steve Jobs made his surprise appearance at the iPad 2 announcement, I’ve been struggling with a big decision. Should I finally try it out?

I’m talking about tablets in general here. Like many people, I consider myself neither a gadget geek nor a techno-phobe. My approach is simply practical. As in, if it’s not broke don’t, er,  replace it.

Any electronics purchase is a long-term commitment for me. I just bought a fast new computer because my old one refused to turn on anymore. I still have an 8-pound Dell laptop from 2004. And I only got an iPod when I lost my MiniDisc player. In fact, the nano is the only Apple product I have ever purchased.

I’m really tempted by all these tablets. But some people have sounded less-than thrilled with their new devices. I just wish there was a way to try one out for a week… really get to know each other and find out if we’re compatible. Like dating before deciding to get married.

Still, now seems like a good time to take the plunge. Prices for the original iPad have dropped as stores try to clear them out and current owners unload them online. And at least one iPad competitor is considering lower prices.

So I have been looking over all the different options. (If you like charts, check this out. I found it extremely helpful.) And if I were to base my decision solely on specs, I would lean toward a Motorola Xoom. But maybe I’ll wait until the next version… just to be sure.

I know I’m not alone in agonizing over this. Do you think it’s the right time to settle down with a tablet?