Apple or Samsung? Blackberry or Windows? Amazon or Asus? With so many tablets operating on different software, Drew looks at the best tablets on offer at every price point to help you choose a tablet which suits your needs.
Tablet computers are simple to use, lightweight and they 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 per cent of all tablet sales in 2011, and Android operating-system-based tablets were the next most popular. Microsoft recently released its own tablet operating software, so expect to see a large range of new tablets developed over the coming years as the software becomes more reliable.
How much will it cost?
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.
What will you use the tablet for?
How much you spend depends on how you are going to use the tablet. If you are looking to play the occasional game, send and receive emails and surf the internet, a bottom of the range Android tablet may do the job, just much slower than a more expensive version. If you are looking to use the Android on a daily basis as your go-to point for internet, emails, games, reading eBooks, watching videos, listening to music and much more, then you won’t be happy unless you spend a little more to buy a higher quality tablet.
Budget – Amazon Kindle Fire – $199
The Amazon Kindle Fire is a 7-inch budget no frills tablet computer which 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 & 2 – Used – From $250
The iPad brand has been the leading selling tablet for the past four years and doesn’t look like giving up the title any time 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. With Apple releasing the iPad 3 last year, you can pick up and iPad 1 or 2 at a very reasonable price.
Medium – Microsoft Surface $579
Running on Microsoft’s own customised operating system, the Surface is the first real tablet on the market which runs the office suite of programs such as Microsoft Word, allowing for greater useability of the tablet for personal and work tasks. And of course you can still play games, watch videos, listen to music and surf the web with the Surface. Overall this is a solid tablet, but I would wait for the Surface Pro which is due to hit Australian shelves in the coming months.
Best – Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 4G from $599
The most powerful Samsung tablet on the market, you will never again be stuck waiting for an App to open, video to start, or game to render. The unique feature of this Android powered device is the ability to multi-screen apps. This allows you to watch a video while writing an essay or browse the web while playing a game. The best feature of the Note is the Versatile S Pen which allows you to hand write and sketch naturally onto the tablet. A real game changer.
Best – iPad 3 – Wi-Fi from $539 and 3G 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. Furthermore, 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. Simple to use and easy to understand.