Year of the tablet

2011 has been named the year of the tablet (computer, not medication) by several top technology magazines and websites. Webmaster Drew explains what tablets offer reviews four top selling brands so you can decide if you really need one.

What is a tablet?

A very loose description of a tablet is any portable PC which is equipped with touchscreen technology as the primary input method. In the last two years tablets have progressed beyond their label and evolved into many shapes, sizes and types of technology. A vast number of tablets available on the market are considered by the public as nothing more than large smartphones which cannot make calls.

There are important differences between each tablet available on the market such as:

– the key input for a device is a special pen used as a mouse and keyboard

– special hand gestures such as pinching the screen enable the user to zoom in

– the ability to send and receive calls by inputting a sim card into the back of the machine

– a tablet display which flips out to a swivel laptop with a keyboard

YOURLifeChoices will take you through four of the top selling tablets to help you decide if a tablet is for you.

Apple iPadimage

Price: from $629

The market leader in tablet computing, Apple’s iPad launched the tablet revolution. The iPad is basically a larger version of the iPhone with smarter and faster computing. The iPad is great for reading eBooks, sending emails, internet browsing, listening to music, playing games and watching movies. What the iPad lacks is USB, flash compatibility and memory card slots as well as any type of camera. However, the next generation iPad is expected to be on the shelves by mid-year featuring all the missing pieces of the puzzle.

Recommendation – wait until July before buying!

Samsung Galaxy Tabimage

Price: $999

Attracting comments such as “the iPad slayer” when it was first released, the Samsung Galaxy needs some improvement before it can live up to its reputation. There are a number of benefits associated with the Galaxy compared to the iPad. The Galaxy has a front and back facing camera allowing video conferencing. The Galaxy also allows you to slip in your SIM card from your mobile to use the Galaxy to make calls, send and receive text messages and use the mobile broadband on the SIM card. The Galaxy is ‘ok’ for internet browsing while the eReader software is not as crisp as the iPad’s.

Shows promise

Telstra T-Touch Tab

Price: $299

imageThe saying goes ‘you get what you pay for’ and it is very true with the Telstra T-Touch Tab. There are some positives with the T-Touch, such as a front and rear facing camera, USB and microSD card slots, the ability to make phone calls and send text messages and internet connectivity via WiFi and the Telstra NextG mobile network. However, there are even more negatives to counteract the positive attributes with the user experience being sluggish at best. The T-Touch comes with a poor resolution screen which lacks the multi-touch display features of an iPad. The T-Touch also weighs in at a heafty 500g and, most importantly, lacks Flash compatibility, which is the key selling point of the Android software with which it is installed.

Inexpensive, but limited

Fujitsu Lifebook TH550image

Price: from $1599

The design of the Lifebook classifies it as a tablet, although, in all reality, it is a laptop computer. The Lifebook folds out from what looks like a tablet into a laptop with a swivel multi-touchscreen. It runs on Windows 7 Professional 64-bit software and includes a fast processor and large amount of RAM. As well as being priced at the expensive end of the tablet field, the Lifebook is also fairly heavy, weighing in at 1.3kg.

Expensive and heavy

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