When shopping for a good tablet we see many excellent choices with an almost countless list of features. It can be difficult to buy the right tablet when the goal of the manufacturer is to convince us to buy the most expensive one we can afford. And many of us are convinced that we cannot live without a popular brand tablet. But there are a few good points that should be considered. The main one is price. For that wonderful portable computer we will most likely pay a wonderful price to go with it. The cheapest of these is in the $500 range and it scales up from there to $1,000 or more. Maybe we see our friends or neighbors or someone at Starbucks with one which just seems to make us want one all the more.
Besides paying out for features we will never use, we should consider how long we will actually own our tablet. Most of these devices already are obsolete the moment we hand over the money for them. In about six months after purchase (give or take) there will be an improved version of it on the market. And about that same time it may be discovered that the one we bought has a serious security problem or something else that somehow escaped notice. There will be other reasons brought to our attention why we have to spend lots of our money on a new and improved tablet.
For the purpose most of us use tablets, fortunately, there are better choices we can make if we don’t want to have several hundred dollars added to the price tag.
What has made the tablet so attractive is its compact size, in addition to the ease of working with a touchscreen interface. More than anything, users have tablets to surf the web, check email, and to use media.
For someone in the market for a tablet, it is important to know what to look for, including which options are essential and which ones a person can live without.
The Operating System
Probably the most important consideration when looking for a tablet is the operating system (OS). There are four basic operating systems in use.
Although the Apple OS has become popular over the years, it is used exclusively on Apple products. The upgrades have become more restrictive in customization.
This is the same OS used on many smartphones. While similar in feel to Apple’s OS, it is not quite the same. Android can be easier to use and offers greater customization than Apple.
Although only holding a small share of the tablet market, the Windows OS has the advantage of being fully compatible with the Windows OS used on desktop and laptop computers. This provides easy file transfer for people who use tablets as portable computers.
RIM, the manufacturer of BlackBerry smartphones, has developed its own OS for its tablet computer: the BlackBerry Tablet OS. This tablet is fully compatible with the BlackBerry cell phone, making it the perfect complementary tablet for BlackBerry phone users.
Tablets come with internal memory ranging anywhere from 1 GB to 500 GB. Although more memory is preferable, if you’re working from a budget and probably don’t need extra memory anyway, Tablets expandable with a memory card to 32 GB is sufficient for most needs.
Screen Size & Resolution
Tablets come in sizes ranging from 5 inches to 12 inches. The smaller tablets are essentially large smartphones. Larger tablets provide more screen size, at the cost of being too big for a pocket or purse. Midsized tablets (7 to 8 inches) are intended to provide a compromise between being portable and still having a screen large enough to show an entire page of a book. The higher the resolution, the sharper the images appear.
Virtually all tablets have some wireless capability, which usually means being Wi-Fi capable. However, there are two versions of Wi-Fi. Some tablets only support the 802.11b/g specification. For streaming a lot of video and downloading large items, this may not be adequate. If those activities are part of the intended use, it is best to buy a tablet that is compatible with the 0802.11n specification. A tablet that supports both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz radio bands provides the most complete Wi-Fi connectivity.
Most tablets come with one or two cameras. With two, one is to use the tablet as a camera and the other is the webcam, or front-facing camera. However, when looking at a tablet with only one camera, know where the camera is located, whether on the back or front of the device.
With camera resolution, essentially, tablets have the same types of digital cameras as smartphones. As a general rule, 4 MP is the minimum specification for printing an 8×10 image, without cropping or distortion.
While most tablet owners use headphones, there are times when it is necessary to use the internal tablet speakers. These speakers are tiny, so they are not going to produce a big speaker sound.
Inputs and Outputs
Tablet computers are not intended to provide a lot of connectivity to the outside world, except through wireless connections. Nevertheless, many come with a 3.5mm headphone jack and a USB port making it possible to transfer files with a flash drive or cable. In addition, some manufacturers provide a docking port for connection to keyboards and docking stations.
As tablets are portable units, tablet battery life is extremely important. Three things affect tablet battery life: size of the battery, brightness of the screen backlight, and amount of time the tablet is on. Most users leave their tablets on when not using them and merely put them in “sleep” mode. Therefore, there are two different battery life metrics to take into consideration: amount of time the battery powers the unit in sleep mode and amount of time the battery powers the unit while in use.
Protecting your Tablet
When considering which tablet best fits your needs, it is a good idea to consider one that comes with its own tablet case. These tablets tend to be a little more costly than those that don’t come with one, but will be worth it if you plan on taking your tablet with you when you travel.
Buying a Tablet You Can Afford
With so many tablets out there to choose from, We can become overloaded with information about which one to buy, and if you are on a budget or just don’t want to spend a small fortune on a tablet, it can be helpful to narrow down the choices by considering what is really important when purchasing.
You can find tablets that are hundreds of dollars cheaper than the leading brand and can do all of the things that a tablet is essentially used for.
Some come with a long list of features including capacitive multi-touch display, excellent screen resolution, front and back facing cameras, Windows or Android OS and some come with their own case and keyboard. Most have a built-in Bluetooth connection so you can connect them without wires to a headset, speaker, keyboard or any other Bluetooth enabled device. They are self-intuitive and very easy to learn how to navigate. They work well for both children and adults. Most are expandable to 32 GB so there is enough room to store all your pictures, music and videos. It’s perfect for home, office, or travel.