This Tablet Buying Guide helps you find the tablet that fits you best. This guide will explain you some factors you need to consider before getting a tablet. Let’s check it out.
What Is A Tablet? A tablet is a portable computer, larger than a mobile phone, with a 7″ to 11″ display. Tablet are normally smaller than notebooks and laptops. A user is able to input data using a touchscreen, virtual keyboard or a stylus pen.
A tablet computer weighs less than a notebook or laptop at between 14 to 40 ounces, making it more portable. Tablet PCs as such appeal to business people on the go, college students and anyone who wants the benefits of mobile computing at somewhat half the price of a notebook or laptop.
Most current tablet computers use mobile operating systems, like the Android, Windows or custom operating systems such as the Apple’s iOS4 and Hewlett-Packard’s HP webOS. They use capacitive touch screens with multi-touch capabilities as opposed to restrictive touch screens of stylus driven systems.
Types Of Tablets
The four main types of tablets are the slate, convertible, hybrids and booklets.
- Slate – This is the standard form, which doesn’t have an integrated keyboard but a physical one can be connected via Bluetooth™ or by using a USB cable.
- Convertible – Have a keyboard, which can be exposed or hidden using a slide or swivel joint.
- Hybrids – Have a detachable keyboard, enabling you to use the touch screen as a stand-alone tablet.
- Booklets – Have two touch screens and fold like a book. They can be used as a notebook by displaying a virtual keyboard on one of the screens.
Tablet Buying Guide
Before getting a tablet you need to consider the following factors:
Wireless built-in 3G/4G
Do you plan to browse the internet from anywhere? Then you need a tablet which comes with 3G wireless, such as iPad 2 and Galaxy Tab. If you just want to be able to browse the internet when you are home or at hotspots, then a tablet wich comes with Wi-Fi will do the job. Those tablets that come with built-in 3G/4G are more expensive than the ones that come with Wi-Fi only. Also, if you get a tablet that supports 3G/4G then you need to pay for data. You can either pay for data as you go or you can get a monthly plan. If you have a choice of 3G vs 4G, get the tablet that includes 4G connectivity because it is much faster than the 3G.
If you get a 3G or 4G capable tablet, do you want to choose your own carrier? Some tablets are tied to a carrier and you are stuck with that carrier. Others, like Samsung Galaxy Tab, give you the freedom to choose your own carrier. Make sure you check out the carriers and see what plans do they have to offer for what price.
Do you just want a tablet or a tablet PC?
There are a few tablets such as Asus Transformer or Microsoft Surface Pro which are more like a computer than a tablet. They run Windows operating system and have almost all the features of a laptop. You get much more features and multitasking is a breeze on these tablets.
Do you need a physical keyboard?
Most tablets have a digital keyboard that comes up on the screen whenever you need to type anything. However, some people prefer to have a physical keyboard. For the iPad 2 and other tablets you can buy separate keyboards, but it is an extra expense. These are some of the tablets that come with a standard physical keyboard: Samsung Galaxy TabPro S, Microsoft Surface pro, Google Pixel C, HP Elite x2, Lenovo Yoga, etc.
Most tablets are not able to run multiple applications in the same time. When you have multitasking capability one application is running on the screen and others are running in the background. If you need multitasking capability on your next tablet then you have a very limited choice. The Best Multitasking tablets are: Microsoft Surface pro.
Support for Adobe Flash
Not all tablets support Adobe Flash and this means that if you choose a tablet that does not support flash then you are not able to see Flash supported sites on the Internet. If this is a concern for you then look for a tablet that has support for Flash. Android tablets that have the Android operating system version 1.6 or higher, should be able to allow for Adobe Flash video.
There are three major operating systems that dominate the tablet market right now. They are: : iOS(Apple’s operating system) vs Android(Google’s operating system) vs Windows(Microsoft’s operating system)
- The first operating system is iOS (Apple’s operating system that is running on iPads and iPhones). The biggest advantage this operating system has over competition is the number of apps (applications/programs/software). Apple has over 60,000 apps in many different categories, especially games.
- The second major operating system is Android, which was created by Google. Google has designed two different version of Android operating system, one for Android Tablets and phones (the latest one Android 3.0). Google software is really performant allowing for multitasking, 3D interface, interactive widgets and video chat via Google Talk.
- The third major operating system is the popular Windows 10 (made by Microsoft). One problem with this operating system is that it was not specifically designed for tablets. It is using some special software overlays to be able to mimic the iOS (from Apple) and Android (from Google). Anyway, because of the popularity of the Windows operating system that is running on most PCs, some people will prefer this operating system.
Access to Apps Market
The iPad tablet has access to Apple’s app market which boasts over 60,000 apps. If you own an Android tablet then you might be able to access the Google Marketplace. If you have a tablet that is running the Windows operating system then you don’t have access to any apps store because Microsoft does not have an app store. Most of the companies that make tablets (like Toshiba and Archos) will have their own app store. Make sure that you check with the company that sells the tablet to find out if there is any app store or if you have access to Google Marketplace (Google’s app store).
Size of the tablet
Yes, the size of the tablet matters…Smaller tablets (mostly of 5-7 inches) are very portable, easy to handle, easy to hold and easy to carry because you can slip it into a jacket pocket or a purse. The larger tablets, which go from 8-12 inches, are much harder to handle and to carry around because of the size and weight. On the other hand, larger tablets provide a larger screen for surfing the web, watching videos, reading books and magazines, comics/manga, etc. The larger tablets are also easier on your eyes because of the screen resolution.
HDMI port and/or microUSB port
Why is it important to have an HDMI port and/or micro USB port on a tablet? These ports make it easy to output photos, videos, and even games to the nearest HDTV. A micro USB port will enable your tablet to get in sync with your PC.
Features and price
If you just want to browse the Internet, watch movies, read books and listen to music then you can get a tablet that does all that for a good price usually under $300. If you are more business oriented and need other special features than you will need a higher price tablet such as Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Apple iPad Pro, Dell XPS 12, etc.