How to choose a tablet

Tablet computers have taken the market by storm.

How to choose a tablet computer, Review, Market, Australia, Seniors, Laptop alternative

Larger than a mobile phone and smaller than a laptop, tablet computers have taken the market by storm with 95 million tablets expected to sell worldwide this year. So why are tablet computers becoming more popular? And how do you choose one which suits your needs?

Tablet computers are simple to use, lightweight, and utilise touch screen technology making them extremely portable. The combination of music, videos, eBook reading, email and internet browsing ensures the tablet is an increasingly popular choice when coupled with portability. There are currently two main systems to choose from when you buy a tablet. The Apple iPad accounted for 66 percent of all tablet sales in 2011, and Android operating-system-based tablets were the next most popular. With a predicted 505 new tablets to be released onto the market in 2012, how do you decide which tablet suits your needs?

Price

They say you get what you pay for and tablets are no different. Tablets start at around $60 and can cost up to $1300, not including any extra accessories. You shouldn’t expect to get a quality tablet for anything less than $199 which, when you compare it to laptop prices, is still incredibly affordable.

Usage

For those who want to own a tablet on which to play the occasional game, or to simply send and receive emails and surf the internet, a bottom of the range Android tablet may do the job. But if you wish to send emails, use apps, play games, watch movies and read eBooks, then you will be better served buying a higher quality tablet.

Budget – Amazon Kindle Fire - $199

The Amazon Kindle Fire is a 7-inch budget tablet computer which comes with no frills. The Kindle Fire allows you to search the web, read eBooks, watch video, listen to music and all of the other standard features of a tablet. Don’t expect a camera, microphone or any GPS location services for the price and you will be limited to 8GB of storage (which is actually quite large). A great option for your first tablet.

Budget – iPad 1 – Used – From $300

The iPad brand has been the leading selling tablet for the past three years and doesn’t look like giving up this title anytime soon. Everything you need from a tablet comes standard with the iPad, except the ability to visit flash enabled websites (such as YOURLifeChoices crosswords pages). If you plan on using your tablet on a daily basis for a number of different tasks,  the iPad is the tablet for you. Due to the imminent release of the iPad 3 in Australia, now is the perfect time to snap up a heavily discounted iPad 1 or 2 from the market.

Medium – Asus Transformer Prime - $599

The Asus Transformer Prime comes stock standard with every ingredient you need from a tablet computer stock standard. With massive processing power, smooth and clear 1080p video and an 8-megapixel camera which outperforms the camera of any other tablet currently on the market, this is a smart choice. It also comes with a dock keyboard as standard and utilises the latest Android operating system.

Best – iPad 3 – Wi-Fi from $539 and 4G from $679

The iPad 3 includes a number of key upgrades to hardware including a faster processer, 5-megapixel camera and significantly higher quality screen. Further more, a dictation device similar to Siri technology currently used in the iPhone 4 has been included into the new iPad. The biggest improvement has been the addition of 4G to the iPad, but because of the current 4G network in Australia not being compatible, you will still be limited to 3G speeds.

More

For more information on tablets available check out Cnet.com.





    COMMENTS

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    Sass
    10th Apr 2012
    4:14pm
    Thank you for your regular technology column. The kind of information I'd like more about is how all the technology works together. I mean, do I have to unplug my laptop to use a tablet? Do I have to go wifi? How do I link my computer to my TV so I can stream videos to a big TV screen - given the phasing out of DVDs will be on us soon.
    Drew
    10th Apr 2012
    5:48pm
    Hi Sass,

    The most inexpensive way to use both your laptop and tablet together is to go wifi.

    The following (you will need to highlight, copy and paste into a new browser window) should help you with linking your computer to your TV - http://windows.about.com/od/multimediaentertainment/f/connect_tv.htm

    When in doubt with what cables you need to purchase, always take a photo of the connections on your TV and Computer with either your camera or phone and take them with you to the store.

    Cheers,
    Drew
    KerryC
    10th Apr 2012
    4:59pm
    A really silly question; does it require an internet provider? If you have an internet provider, can you access it from your wi-fi? What if you're not home?
    Drew
    10th Apr 2012
    5:37pm
    Hi Kerry,

    If you already have wi-fi enabled in your home, the tablet will be able to use that connection, if not, you need to purchase a 3G enabled tablet.

    Cheers,
    Drew
    MarLin
    10th Apr 2012
    5:02pm
    My wife and I are taking a 12-country "world tour" soon - USA, Scandinavia, Western Europe/UK and Sth Africa. We'd like to make one or two phone calls in each country (to let people know we've arrived, etc) and check our emails occasionally (NOT daily!). Would you recommend a tablet (remembering that whatever we take we'll have to carry around all day), or perhaps just a smart phone with wifi hotspot capability? Which brand/s would you recommend?
    foxylady
    10th Apr 2012
    5:04pm
    I have a laptop and contemplating buying an iPad. Apart from the portability of the iPad, please tell me what advantages the iPad has versus a laptop?
    Sass
    10th Apr 2012
    5:13pm
    Kerry, a lot of articles mistakenly assume the reader has a certain amount of knowledge about how it all works together, when in fact they might not. It's not hard to find out what the toys themselves do and whether they'll be of use. It's what else we need to make them work that interests me.
    MarLin
    10th Apr 2012
    5:24pm
    Sass, I also had to do a doubletake on KerryC's comment - and only then did I realise that we wasn't answering your question, he was asking one of his own.
    Sass
    10th Apr 2012
    5:39pm
    Yes, linhmartin. lol. I woke up, but realised it didn't change what I had to say. I do often find I can get heaps of information on everything except what I REALLY want to know.
    robmort
    11th Apr 2012
    8:31am
    On any one of the listed tablets will I be able to view my own documents (a number with photographs) stored on memory sticks.
    Rainbowrob
    KerryC
    11th Apr 2012
    9:04am
    Thanks, Drew, re wi-fi. But if I'm not at home, do I need a 'dongle' ? You see people on television walking around with their tablets, and they can't all be using wi-fi?
    Drew
    11th Apr 2012
    10:53am
    Tablets use a chip that activates the 3G network for wireless internet on the run. There are places around the city in every state for example that you can log on wi-fi for free but generally if you want to use the tablet on the run, you will need to pay for 3G
    Sass
    11th Apr 2012
    8:43pm
    Thanks for the extra information, Drew.
    Sass
    11th Apr 2012
    8:53pm
    Hmm. My computer is at the opposite end of the room to my TV. lol. Looks like I need wifi?
    ekbg2002
    31st Jul 2012
    9:34pm
    I have a Samsung Galaxy 10.1 and am disabled, I can watch every channel like iview on ABC but not on Channel 9, is there a way I can watch the reruns on Channel 9 - easier for me when I am in bed which is more than not. Ta :)
    Bella54
    13th Sep 2012
    10:36am
    Can anyone tell me an easy way (and the steps how to go about it) to transfer photos from my home computer (Toshibo using Vista technology) to mt iPad 3? I have dropbox but am struggling with keeping photos into the relevant folders or even adding photos from my computer to existing folders in the photo section of my iPad.
    I am going overseas and want to take some photos to show relatives when I am there.


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