How to choose a tablet

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.

Written by Drew

Starting out as a week of work experience in 2005 while studying his Bachelor of Business at Swinburne University, Drew has never left his post and has been with the company ever since, working on the websites digital needs. Drew has a passion for all things technology which is only rivalled for his love of all things sport (watching, not playing).
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