I personally love my iPad 2, and can wholeheartedly recommend it. However, if you are looking for something else...
I played around with the Blackberry Playbook just recently, and there were some issues with it that I think make it a tough sell. The first, is that the power button is terrible. It is very cheap and hard to press. Second, the bezel is pretty big, making the device less portable than the other 7" tablets. The lack of quality apps make this device a weak contender, unless they figure out android compatability. Finally, $500 is way too much for what you are getting.
I will say that the Playbook has a gorgeous screen, and the OS is unique interesting.
I think at $350, the wifi only Samsung Galaxy Tab is the better buy. It has a nice build quality, form factor, and many quality reading apps.