Tablets have become a commodity in today’s world, ever since the iPad introduced the format to the average user, thanks to the easy to use operating system. Soon after, a slew of unofficial Android tablets from Chinese factories followed, and after the big players got into the game, it was officially on.
2011 has seen more tablets released than in all previous years combined, and 2012 is bringing us a lot of new devices and technologies, while also making tablets more affordable to the average buyer. But how do you choose the best tablet for your needs? Here are top things you should be paying attention to when buying a new tablet:
As a full touch device, a tablet’s most important component is of course, the display – if you get a bad one, you’ll have a bad experience for sure. As a rule of thumb, 1280×800 pixels is the minimum resolution for both 7 and 10 inch tablets – anything lower looks quite pixelated and is not that useful. The panels should be IPS or AMOLED (the latter is quite rare, though), otherwise you’ll have pretty bad viewing angles with normal LCD technology.
While the size of a tablet matters, the weight plays a much bigger role for these mobile devices. The reason is that you get pretty tired holding a tablet with one or even two hands, and the lower the weight is, the more natural the experience – sort of like holding a large paper notebook. Even though the build quality and thickness matter a lot, having a lighter tablet made of plastic (which is still sturdy enough for everyday use) is more comfortable – Samsung got it right with their latest Galaxy Tabs, for example.
The battery size/capacity.
Another important point is the battery life, which has a direct correlation to its size. As tablets are used as main computing devices by most people, they need to last a long time – longer than laptops and even smartphones. 10 hours of continuous work is a good lifetime, as the iPad and the newer Android tablets are demonstrating. You should check to see how long your chosen tablet model lasts on a charge.
The processor and RAM.
The processor and amount of RAM are important in any computing device, and tablets are no exception. For an optimal experience, you should aim for a dual core processor running at 1 GHz or higher, as well as 1024 MB of RAM – most of the current tablets have that configuration already, but there are some models with less RAM or a slower processor that you should avoid.
The operating system.
The operating system is the most important component of a tablet, right after the display. Most of the modern tablets run Android 3.0 Honeycomb or higher, and version 4.0 or higher is highly desirable for the best experience – it adds a lot of new useful features, and the interface has been revamped with an intuitive, easy to use and sleek UI. The iPad obviously has iOS with the same old interface, which is nonetheless very intuitive and pretty effective.
A tablet is pretty much the sum of the components above – the other features are very similar even between low and high end models, with the only other major differences being the presence of a camera on the back, a card slot and a data modem. No matter what tablet you choose, be sure to pay attention to the specs listed above.