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Tips to choose best Tablet

It’s been a mere 18 months since the first Apple iPad was released, and the current tablet market was born. Since then, there are scores of manufacturers trying to get a slice of the tablet pie, which so far, has been dominated by Apple, who is now on its second iPad iteration. The results of a study by Strategy Analytics says that of the 7 million tablets that shipped during the second quarter, 80% were iPads well ahead of those from rivals like Motorola, Samsung, RIM, Asus, and HTC.

The result is that it has become difficult to distinguish the tablets at various price points, performance capabilities and features. The latest fad in the crowd of tablets is Amazon. The company is to introduce android based Kindle Fire which will be available after mid-November.

The large number of deceivingly, similar looking tablets makes customers confuse. The key factors that one needs to consider when shopping for a tablet are as follows:

A tablet is a touch-screen media device that is actually most similar to a very advanced portable media player—or an MP3 player with a much larger screen. Most of the people do not make phone calls via traditional mobile provider. Tablets weigh less, and they’re lighter on features. In slate tablets, one does not get a hardware keyboard. So if you’re planning on doing any heavy-duty text input, you’ll have to pick up a Bluetooth add-on keyboard. Tablets become more convenient than laptops in the way that easy, portable way to check email, browse the Web, video chat, consume media, and play games, but with a much bigger screen with more real estate than your smartphone can provide.

Apple’s iOS is the mobile platform used by the iPad, as well as the iPhone and iPod touch. On the iPad, iOS works very similarly to the way it does on the iPhone, except to take advantage of the tablet’s larger 9.7-inch screen. The built-in iPod app on the iPad, for example, has an extra side menu for additional navigation options that wouldn’t fit on the iPhone’s screen. The great strength of Apple’s iOS is twofold: it’s incredibly intuitive, and the wide selection of iPad apps—more than 90,000 tablet-specific titles at the time of this writing—work uniformly well with very few exceptions.

Android 3.0, Honeycomb—is designed specifically for tablets. There are plenty of Honeycomb tablets, but some manufacturers are still making tablets with previous versions of Android that are suites for phones with much smaller screens, which doesn’t provide the best tablet experience. Also, some Android tablets don’t include access to the Android Market on the device, which means you have to sideload apps, which is less than ideal. Google’s forthcoming Android revision, Ice Cream Sandwich, promises to merge Gingerbread (the phone OS) with Honeycomb (the tablet OS), for a single operating system for all Android devices. Android 3.0 has its benefits, including configurability, an excellent notification system, Adobe Flash support, and seamless integration with Google applications like Gmail, Google Maps, and Google Talk for video chat. For more, check out our Honeycomb review.

Lastly, there’s RIM’s QNX operating system, which runs on the company’s BlackBerry PlayBook. Five months later from the release of PlayBook, it still lacks the major features like native email support. Android lacks a strong selection of apps. It’s tough to say exactly how many tablet-optimized Android apps are available, but it’s in the low hundreds, and there are even fewer BlackBerry PlayBook apps than that. If you wish for maximum number of apps in your tablet, right now, nothing can beat the iPad with its 90,000+ apps especially created for tablets. Apple’s App Store is well-curate and offers a deep selection—no competitor can come close to claiming this right now, partially because apps made for Android tablets have to work across multiple screen sizes, while iPad apps are designed for a single tablet.

This consideration is a bit obvious, but size—both screen real estate and storage capacity—is important to consider. When you hear “10-inch tablet”, the term refers the size of the screen, but not wholly the tablet. Apple continues to offer the iPad in one size only (9.7-inch screen) and the BlackBerry PlayBook comes in a single 7-inch screen size, which RIM argues gives it the advantage of pocketability. Samsung offers its Android Galaxy Tab tablets in multiple screen sizes (7, 8.9, and 10.1 inches).

The weight of the tablet is its greatest plus compared to laptops. At around 1.3 pounds (in the case of the iPad 2) it’s not cell-phone light—even a 7-inch model. Holding it continuously for ten will make your hands tired and again the 10-inch tablet does not fit your pocket. As for storage, the more the better—all those apps, when combined with a typical music, video, and photo library, can take up a lot of space. Right now storage tops out at 64GB of flash-based memory, with many of the quality tablets we’ve seen available in 16, 32, and 64GB varieties. The price of larger capacity models can get as expensive as laptops, especially when you factor in cellular service plans.

Many tablets come in a Wi-Fi-only model. If you want to access your tablet to get online anywhere, you should go for a model with a cell radio like the Verizon Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 or the AT&T Acer Iconia Tab A501. Finally, before you buy, head to your local electronics store to get hands-on time with some different tablets, so you can see which suites you best. And for the latest lab-tested tablet reviews, click Tablet Product Guide.

Source: pcmag

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