Tablets are now outselling laptops. And it’s no surprise. Most people have simple computing needs: e-mail, internet and photo browsing, video gazing, light gaming, social networking, and on occasion printing something out. Getting this in a highly portable package makes a lot of sense.
Tablets have actually been around for about ten years, but they were not much lighter than a laptop and typically ran a full version of Windows. Most required a stylus, and the touch screen functionality was limited. On top of this, the price for a tablet was usually higher than that of a laptop.
The iPad changed all that by taking advantage of smart phone technology and designing all aspects of the tablet from the start for touch screen use. Android tablets soon followed, but most consumers did not pick up on them until earlier this year.
The tablet market has exploded in the last couple months. Not only do we have the iPad, but there is now a bevy of Android tablets and the new Microsoft Surface tablets. Their screens range in size from 4 inches to 10 inches, and the bezel (frame) around the screen varies from device to device, as does the weight. Prices also vary substantially. It can be hard to determine what you are really getting for the money.
If you feel the time is right to get a tablet, understanding your personal or business needs should guide you to make a satisfying choice.
The tablet you select has to be comfortable in your hand(s). If you prefer to rest it on a table or your lap, a full-size tablet is probably a good bet. But if you like holding it in one hand while using the other to touch the screen, then a 4” or 7” may be a better fit for you.
Finger size and hand/eye coordination could demand a larger screen or make a smaller screen easy to use.
Screen size could make a big difference for watching videos or using apps that demand a big screen.
How and where you travel with the tablet can also give you insight into the size that’s best. While a full-size tablet is smaller and lighter than a laptop, it’s bulkier and not as portable as a 7-inch model.
How Will You Use a Tablet?
Thank about how you might want to use your tablet. Then consider whether apps are available to make that happen. The apps you want or need to use can make all the difference when determining whether you select an Apple, Android, or Surface tablet. If you go by sheer numbers of available apps, Apple is the king. Android is quickly catching up, while the Surface is a bit of a pauper. If your interests lie with general use and common apps like Facebook, e-mail, and games, all of the leading tablets will meet your expectations. It’s the user experience (the interaction between the tablet and you – how you manipulate the screen) that will make the difference for you.
But you have specific app needs. For example, if you want to work on documents and don’t want to depend on a wireless connection, the Surface boasts the basic functionality you need with an app version of Word. Or if gaming on your tablet is a big interest, it’s hard to beat the iPad this holiday season.
A Boon for Business
Tablets are making inroads into offices and retail because of their portability, flexibility, and relative low cost. Tablets can be very effective e-mail clients and video conferencing tools in the office. Apps have been developed that turn tablets into cash register terminals and credit card readers. Real estate agents and appraisers, interior designers, roofers, health professionals, and educators are using tablets to show examples of their work or to demonstrate concepts with animations or videos.
Which tablet is best for one’s industry depends on the available apps for the platform (Apple, Android, or Surface). If none are available, then custom apps can be developed and tailored to your specific business requirements. Do your research before you buy, or ask a specialist at Bergen IT.
Tablets vs. E-Readers
The distinction between e-readers and tablets is blurring, they are different: E-readers are intended primarily for reading or, in the case of the Kindle Fire and the Nook HD, for providing a gateway to paid entertainment from a single source. For people who purchase most of their reading, video, and music media from Amazon or Barnes & Noble, either of these devices is great. But those people who want it all should stick with an all-purpose tablet like those listed below.
There have been a number of write-ups comparing the current crop of tablets, but you shouldn’t buy before you try. That being said, in our experience the short list at this time is:
- Apple iPad and iPad Mini
- Google Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 (Android)
- Samsung Galaxy Tab 7 and Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 (Android)
- Microsoft Surface
For more detail, read these articles for a comprehensive comparison:
How Bergen IT Can Help
Have questions about tablets? Need guidance? Bergen IT provides:
- Customized tablet training
- Custom app development
- E-mail, contacts, calendars, and video conferencing set up to work across your computer, smart phone, and tablet
Give us a call at 201-689-1823 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.