What is your best tablet for you?

adni18 / 8 years ago (30 May 2012 08:12)

Whether you opt for an Apple iPad or one of many Androids, choosing the right tablet isn't necessarily a snap.
Here's what you need to know before you hit the store.

First Off: Do You Even Need a Tablet?
Simply put, tablets aren't really filling a true need—they're neither replacements for full-fledged computers nor smartphones. A tablet is a touch-screen media device that is actually most similar to a portable media player, but with a larger screen. Many tablets have mobile service features, but they don't make phone calls via a traditional mobile provider. And while you can tackle productivity tasks on an iPad or an Android tablet, you won't get a desktop-grade operating system, like you'll find on a PC. Plus, since we're talking about slates here, there's no hardware keyboard. The main focus of the tablets we'll discuss is media consumption. Tablets have an advantage over both laptops and phones, offering a portable way to check email, browse the Web, video chat, watch movies, listen to music, and play games, but with a bigger screen with more real estate than your smartphone can provide. Even so, you probably don't need one, but if you want a tablet, read on.

Pick an Operating System

Just like with a full-fledged computer, if you're getting a tablet, you need to pick a side. Right now, the main contenders are Apple with its iPad, and Android with its many hardware choices from the likes of Amazon, Asus, HTC, Samsung, Toshiba, and others. (Check back next year, and Microsoft, with Windows 8, its tablet-friendly Metro interface, could be a serious contender.) Apple's iOS is the mobile platform used by the iPad, as well as the iPhone and iPod touch. On the iPad, iOS works very similarly to the way it does on the iPhone, with certain tweaks to take advantage of the tablet's larger 9.7-inch screen. The built-in iPod app on the iPad, for instance, has an extra side menu for additional navigation options that wouldn't fit on the iPhone's screen. Generally speaking, the great strength of Apple's iOS is twofold: it's very intuitive, and the wide selection of iPad apps that you can buy right on the tablet—more than 200,000 iPad-specific titles at the time of this writing—work uniformly well with very few exceptions. Google's mobile OS, Android, is a more complicated story. Besides having your choice of hardware from several manufacturers, there are a few iterations of Android floating around on tablets right now. The latest version, Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich), which merges Gingerbread (the phone OS) with Honeycomb (the tablet OS) into a single operating system for all Android devices, was released back in November, but we've only seen it on a couple of tablets so far. Most manufacturers have made the move to Honeycomb, but some are still making tablets with previous versions of Android that are meant for phones with smaller screens. Amazon with the Kindle Fire, and Barnes and Noble, with its Nook Tablet, each use its own highly customized version of Gingerbread, which, for the most part, in the cases of these smaller 7-inch tablets, is successful. But for larger screen tablets, ideally, you want Android 4.0. The good news is that most Honeycomb tablets will be upgradeable to Ice Cream Sandwich. Just when is the question. Android is infamous for painfully slow OS updates.

Post replies:

8 years ago (30.05.2012 09:59)
Reply by: FredNunes
I am on the fence here. I want one but then cannot justify one. I read on a Kindle (electronic ink) and so I would not use a tablet for that. And of course for photos - I need a larger screen. I do own a smartphone for the odd e-mail stuff and such but honestly do not even need that. But if I ever took the plunge, my vote is for the Asus with the quad processor and 32 GB of memory. But I am much more likely to buy another laptop with a smaller 14 inch display than the huge and heavy 17.3 inch I own now. Happy
8 years ago (30.05.2012 10:57)
Reply by: etype2

The Apple iPad third generation with Retina display (2048x1536) on a 9.7 inch display, seals the deal for me. I have one and also find the virtual keyboard is very easy to use in both portrait and landscape mode. The same slim Bluetooth keyboard as used with the big Mac´s works well with the iPad. Movies, photos look fantastic on the Retina display. The DirectTV App turns the iPad into a fancy remote control for controlling my whole house system. So many Apps to choose from, haven´t begun to explore the full potential. Camera, HD movie recording, Skype video phone calls ...

I suspect others will develope hi-res displays soon to catch up. Typed this on my IPad 3. 

8 years ago (31.05.2012 01:49)
Reply by: FredNunes
The IPAD... to achieve higher than HD display... amazing. I prefer the Android OS from what I have seen. Apple puts out an excellent product though. Love my IPOD Touch. Happy
8 years ago (02.06.2012 01:59)
Reply by: jazzilady

I have an Android and I love it! I use it for lots of stuff, but still prefer my laptop!