As an avid user of all things gadget-y, I have a particular fondness to go to a store and try out all the new toys that arrive at our shores. Every now and then, I get this urge to binge and buy the first gadget I touch. Thank God, or I would be penniless! Albeit I could get my money back from the resale – but that’s not quite the point of buying them in the first place, is it?
Anyway, until last month I would constantly visit electronic stores in the city randomly and check out the range of deals and options that tablets had for me. Believe me when I say this – being strong willed was VERY important!!
What really amazed me were the options available in this class of Consumer Tech! The specifications varied from a Simple single-core processor to a dual-core processor; screen sizes ranging from 7 inches to 10 inches, colour depth and resolution ranging from VGA quality to HD! The operating system options also were pretty amazing within a single class of device – Windows, various versions of Android, RIMs OS for the playbook and the world famous iOS.
So now the question really is: How do you pick the tablet of choice?
It really is quite simple! Let me just put this into perspective with the way I picked up my Blackberry Playbook:
1. Budget: I had a budget of about AED 1000 – AED 1500. Not too many good options in this price range but thankfully (at the time of buying my tablet) the Playbook 64GB was under offer available at AED 1250. (So that was 1-0 in favor of the playbook)
2. Screen Size: I was not fussy – I needed something larger than my mobile screen and something that was not cumbersome. When I tried out the various 10 inchers I found that the device needed extra long thumbs to use or just one hand. The 7inch screen on the other hand made thumb typing (even in landscape mode) pretty easy. Not to mention that it was not that heavy to lug around and was still bigger than my 3 inch mobile screen. (That is score 2 for the playbook)
3. Processing power: I needed a machine that could manage multiple applications running in the background and still not lag or fail when I am using the device. The only devices powerful enough for this were Apple iPad, and a few Android powered Tabs – Samsung, Moto and even Asus. The playbook featured a Dual Core TI OMAP chipset with 1 GB of RAM dedicated to running applications. That was enough for me. The GPU is no slouch either, making gaming smooth and fun 🙂 – Score 3 for Playbook!
4. Browsing: I needed a full function browser. Now iOS was not a pick here since – let’s face it – no flash. Android could have worked but then the devices did not fit into my criteria number 1 – the playbook was perfect with a full function browser with HTML5 and Adobe flash support – I could now play Farmville (if I wanted to, that is) on facebook. My group editor, when I was in PC World showed me that he could! 🙂 Score 4
5. Application support: Now this is a big bone for contention – you buy a table so you have productivity on the move. Which means you need applications running on them. Finding the right application for your use is very tricky but very important. Now iOS and Android have been around for a VERY long time and they both have applications that range from official applications to fan made applications that have been designed to fulfill whatever you need. I went through all the applications stores everywhere. Windows failed right at the outset with not enough applications to do even the basic stuff. Apple had apps but you need a credit card and a little bit of courage to spend from that credit card. Android had the applications too but then getting the right one to actually work on an OS that has bugs in them from the word go – refer to my previous post about why I hate Android – and well that put me off completely. Blackberry, on the other hand, suprised me with application support for all the major things that I needed: Word Processing (this is a business tablet – it came inbuilt); WordPress (for blogging); camera with editing – and this I must say is pretty nifty for basic stuff – nothing fancy but excellent photo quality and videos too; and even a few applications that were pretty useful like an FTP client and cloud storage access. I was sold – that was score 5 for the Playbook!
6. Connectivity: This is something that you need – it is a tablet and you need to be online! Wi-fi and Bluetooth is standard – 3G is optional. Can you survive with only Wi Fi then you have nothing to fear. With a 3G connection you will constantly worry about usage. How did the Playbook fair? It uses my Blackberry’s bridge application to read my emails and even surf the web when I am on the move. I have a virtually unlimited connection on my Blackberry and this was very reassuring that I would not need a separate bill for my tablet. When I am at home or at a friends place, I use Wi Fi and I am sorted. The playbook won me over completely! Score 6 🙂 if you have an iPhone with a connection, then buy an iPad with only a wifi connection – that should be MORE than sufficient since the new iOS on the iPhone has a wifi broadcast feature to share your connection (called tethering) – all the other problems can be overcome.
This is the way I was able to shortlist the Playbook for myself. But this guide should be able to tell you what you really need to focus on before buying a tablet – after it is more than just good looks, right?