I was at an event recently where Mitch Joel was talking about the one screen. Whatever screen was in front of you was the most important screen, which got me thinking about the revolution in the tablet and phone industry in the last few years. The original Apple iPad started a revolution when it was released in April, 2010. Pre-iPad tablets were clunky, slow, and difficult to use. The iPad, on the other hand, was elegant, responsive, and intuitive. Steve Jobs, the then CEO of Apple, said that tablets would eventually replace PCs, and he was right. PC sales keep sloping downwards each year, while tablet sales are constantly on the rise. Since 2010 we have had 3 tablets in our home.
The tablet market has matured greatly since the first iPad was released. Initially, iPads were the only choice. Competing tablets were awful, at best. Today, things couldn’t be more different. A lot of efficient and high-quality tablets are available in the market. In our house we have had a iOS based, Windows based, and Android based tablet.
This article will provide three tips to help you find the best tablet for your needs. It’ll examine whether you’d be better off with an Android or iOS-powered gadget, and it’ll explain which features are useful and which are not. As consumers we’re spoiled for choice, with dozens of excellent tablets available to purchase. The choices really are endless.
#1 – Choose a tablet with the right operating system for your needs
Different tablets run different operating systems. Arguably the three most popular are iOS, which runs on iPads; Android, which runs on a variety of different tablets from different manufacturers; and Windows which comes in two flavors, Windows RT and Windows 8.1 Pro, each operating system has its own distinct advantages and disadvantages.
iOS is the easiest of the three to use, with a very simple and intuitive interface that takes seconds to understand. iOS also has the best app store, with more apps than both the Windows and Android app stores combined. Tablets running iOS, however, normally cost more than Windows and Android tablets. I was able to get my Ipad mini which I love and use daily now which while it is not a full sized IPad has been very useful.
Android, while not as easy to use as iOS, is still a remarkably polished operating system with a very easy learning curve. Also, while its app store is not as impressive as the iOS app store, the Android app store is improving with dozens of new tablet apps being released every day. My daughter has loved playing on the Android we have for her.
Windows tablets feature the same interface as the Windows used on laptops and desktop PCs. If you’ve used Windows before, you won’t have any troubles adjusting to a Windows tablet. However, if you haven’t used Windows in the past, Windows tablets might be difficult to use, at first. Unfortunately, the main issue with Windows tablets is the lack of apps. The Windows app store is currently lacking when compared to the Android and iOS app stores. Also, while Windows tablets can run existing Windows apps designed for desktops and laptops, these apps are normally difficult to use on tablets. We have a Windows tablet, and it now gets used for business.
Make sure to try all three of these operating systems when shopping for a tablet.
#2 – Choose the right sized tablet
Steve Jobs said that the first iPad, with a 9.7” screen, was the perfect size for a tablet. He was wrong.
Nowadays, 7-8” tablets are the right size for most users. Tablets with this screen size are perfect for web browsing, reading a book, checking emails, doing some light work, browsing Youtube, and playing a few games. I love the size of my IPad mini, and right now I am carrying it everywhere.
The bigger tablets, however, are still useful, particularly for watching video, playing games, and doing work.
If you’re a light user, a smaller tablet will probably be a better fit for your needs. As an added bonus, these smaller tablets are usually cheaper.
If you’ll be using your tablet to do work, you might want to consider purchasing a bigger tablet.
#3 – Choose a tablet with the right specs
Tablets come in different flavors with different specifications.
Some come with 3g/4g antennas inside, allowing for internet on the go, while others only have wifi connections, meaning they can only access the internet while connected to a wifi hotspot.
Most tablets come with differing amounts of storage space, too. Some come with as little as 16gb of space, while others have as much as 128gb.
When buying tablets ask yourself first if you need to pay more for the extra specifications or not, do you need a 3g/4g antenna in your tablet? Or will wifi be ok? Do you really need 128gb of space? Or will 16gb be enough?
Most people will get by with the bare minimum on this front. Unless you’re storing a lot of video and music on your tablet, you won’t need any more than 16gb of space, and if you have easy to access to wifi hotspots, a 3g/4g connected tablet might be a waste of cash. I have found that since I am using cloud based programs often for work, the 16 gb is more then enough for me.
However, if you do think a 3g/4g connection might be useful, and you do expect to store a lot of music and movies on your tablet, then it might be worth splashing out a bit extra to get a better specked tablet.
Buying a tablet can be difficult. The amount of choice available can be overwhelming. Make sure to follow the tips above to ensure that you get the right tablet for your needs. If you have a tablet, let me know which one, and why you chose it. Are any on your shopping list for the Christmas season?