So you’ve been looking for a new tablet. You might have heard that Microsoft has one now, but you wonder how good it will be. As they say, you should never buy Version 1.0 of anything. You want a tablet that’s serious and has maybe been through a few versions to work out the early bugs. They do exist and all you have to do is look around a bit and decide what you want. Some things to consider might include:
The operating system. Do you want Windows, iOS or Android? Windows is okay if all you want is something to take notes on but, because Microsoft is new to the tablet world, it’s not going to have a robust selection of apps. iOS is much better in this department and pretty much has everything that’s earned Apple’s stamp of approval. Android is popular with folks like me who like to do a little programming on the side and also check out a few favorite apps.
The specs. This includes the processor, the RAM and the onboard memory. As a general rule with processors, the higher the GHz number, the faster the tablet will be able to process information. The RAM should have enough gigabytes to match because your tablet will need a place to temporarily store that information while it’s thinking. And, of course, the memory will determine how many apps, songs and ebooks you can store on the tablet.
The price. How much do you want to pay for a tablet? You’ll find price ranges from the $1,000 range to slightly under $200 for most of the big names in the tablet world.
The reputation. Pay attention to the reviews and see which pros and cons come up frequently on any tablet you might be considering. Buy from manufacturers and retailers who are well-known for delivering quality tablets.
How you plan to use it. Certain tablets might have a certain specialization. The Kindle is good for reading ebooks and playing the occasional game of “Words With Friends.” Android is better known as a versatile tool for developers. It does make a difference because a lot of the complaints you see come from people who bought a tablet expecting it to do one thing and it is better at another task.
Samsung Series 7 11.6-Inch Slate
Okay, my first impression of this tablet was, “They want how much for this tablet? I can buy five Kindle Fire HDs for that.” My second was, “128 gigabytes? That’s pretty decent for a tablet.” It also features four gigabytes of RAM and a 1.6-GHz Intel Core i5 processor, so the Samsung Series 7 11.6-Inch Slate is obviously no slacker in the tablet world. The price might be a turnoff for some people and the fact that it still runs Windows 7 Home Premium might seem a bit dated now that Windows 8 is out, but it works good for people who want something to write notes with graphics or make a few edits to that Word document on the fly. Yes, it has a few flaws like cameras that haven’t quite caught up with a good digital camera and a keyboard that can lag, but it’s pretty decent for people who aren’t geeky enough to want an OS other than Windows.
Lenovo Idea Tablet
The Lenovo Idea Tablet is an entry with Android 4.0 and features a 1.0-GHz Texas Instruments processor, 16GB of memory and 1GB of RAM. It has HDMI and is compatible with microSD and USB standards. You might be able to buy two of these for the price of an iPad 3 if you know where to look and it can handle Gmail, Skype, movies and music without a problem. It comes with a cover similar to a silicone-like wrap. If you’re a klutz who anticipates dropping this tablet or spilling something on it, you might either buy a better cover with a screen protector or buy the extra 2-year drop and spill warranty as an add-on.
Sony Xperia Tablet
The Sony Xperia Tablet is available with 16GB of storage and has a 9.4″ screen, Android 4.0, and compatibility with 802.11a/b/g wireless networks. Sony’s decision to mess around with the ports was unpopular with some reviewers who questioned the decision to create something called a “multiport” but they do like that they can extend the memory with an SD card. Resolution isn’t up there with the ASUS Transformer but it’s decent for most needs. The rear-facing and front-facing camera are good enough for video chat and one person commented that having an 8MP rear camera was impressive for a tablet. There were some early complaints about troubles with Wi-Fi connectivity but Sony has apparently fixed this with a software update. Overall, coming from a company that’s better known for its cameras, this is a pretty good entry into the tablet world.
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