Buying Your New Tablet
It’s pretty hard to remember a time without tablets of some sort, but it’s been just over five short years since the original Apple iPad hit the scene, and the hot tablet market was born. Since that time, there’s been no end of new manufactures popping up to grab their share of the market. I think its safe to say the tablet market is established and not going away anytime soon.
But, how do you know which tablet is the right one for you? Well, if you’ve been looking for the latest iPad, one of the many Android Tablets on the market, or a new Windows (Surface) Tablet for productivity, here are some of the key factors that must be considered when shopping for a new tablet.
First, you need to choose your OS.
Just like a desktop or laptop, if you are purchasing a tablet, you need to choose which ‘world’ you want to live in. And just like a computer, it’s going to likely come down to what you are comfortable using. Today, the top tablets are Apple with its exclusive iPads, or Android with its varied hardware platforms from Samsung, Amazon’s tablets, Asus, Acer, and the list goes on. Also moving quickly into the market, are the Windows tablets (Surface) coming from hardware manufacturers like Acer and Asus.
In general terms, Apple’s iOS has two strong marketable features: It’s very clean easy to use, and the huge selection of iPad apps that you can purchase right from the tablet itself. There are over one million iPad-specific apps at the time of publishing this article, that all work fairly well with few exceptions. Google’s Android OS gives you a wide range of hardware from a good range of manufacturers and offers easy configuration, a great notification system, seamless integration with Google apps such as Google Voice, Gmail, Google Maps, Google Hangouts for text and video chat, and Google’s answer to Microsoft Office with Docs, Sheets and more. In addition, the Android platform offers a multi-user interface so the device can be shared with family or friends, something that is sorely missing with the Apple lineup.
Windows 10 on the Surface line of tablets, comes the closets to offering a standard ‘computer experience’ with full support for all of your Windows software. You can also run the full version of Microsoft Office when you buy a Windows 10 tablet. True tablet conversion to laptop mode is also available on almost all models of the Surface. Connectivity options and additional hardware add-ons, such as external storage and device connections via USB are more plentiful than with most other tablet types.
You ask for Apps?
A tablet is just a piece of plastic with glass without quality apps. If you are looking for third-party apps designed for a touch-screen interface, the iPad has the market cornered with its massive library of programs and games created in specific for Apple devices. The Apple App Store is a well maintained marketplace that is also continually monitored for malware and virus like activities. Just about any popular app you can think of has an iPad version in the store.
Android (on the Google Play Store) has gotten much better with its offerings of high-quality tablet apps. Also, since it’s easier to gain access to the store, it attracts a much higher count of developers. Because Android is so widely used on varied hardware, not all apps will work well on all devices. Screen size varies greatly across the hardware, and its just not possible to develop for every screen.
Windows devices (Surface) offers an impressive spread of over 100,000 touch-screen tablet apps, but it rules the market with its ability to run the existing millions of Windows desktop apps. While they will run on the Windows 10 tablets, many of them aren’t designed with the touch-screen in mind though, so the add-on keyboard and mouse are almost a must with the Surface.
Overall, your best bet with a tablet purchase is to stick with whatever matches your cell phone choice. Apps purchased for Apple phones often convert and work well on iPad’s, and the same goes for Android. Items purchased for just about any Android based phone will also work (with some limitations of course) on your Android based tablet. In this area, Android shines due their larger developer base, and wider array of hardware in the market.
Not yet covered on this site, are the various models of e-readers and e-books available. Stay tuned for that in an upcoming article!
Click through on either the links below this article, or those scattered through the article itself for our picks and places to purchase them!