Tablets are all the rage nowadays and rightfully so.   Computing devices have evolved nicely from big desktops to laptops to smartphone then realized smartphones are too small thus the tablet/iPad.

*From here on out the word: Tablet will encompass Apple’s iPad as well.

Tablets makes for consuming information very easy because they are…

  1. Small and incredibly thin.
  2. Battery last all day.
  3. Uses a natural gesturing vs mouse and keyboard.
  4. Fantastic coverage in connectivity with wifi and cellular.
  5. Your data in the "clouds" can be ubiquitously accessed.
  6. Everything is on the web.

The tablet computing is here to stay.

But with wealth of choices in sizes, capacity and capability, particularly with Android based tablets.  What do you features should you consider deemed nice to have to must have?

At the moment, tablets comes in two basic main uses:

  • eReader
  • Web Browser + Apps

The two devices couldn’t be more different however,  while both can do each other’s capabilities with some limits.  
They each do their one particular function incredibly well.

  • If you are a book reader.  Then eReader like the Kindle is your device.  At only $140 and all access to the entire Amazon’s book library.  It cannot be beat for what it does very well.
  • If you want the device to do everything.  Then the more expensive but highly capable tablet is your device.  At 4x the cost typically around $500, you can get a device that does everything your computer does but more.

So between eReader and Tablets, the choice is an obvious one depending on your primary needs.   However if going the tablet route then there is little more to consider.  Here are some features you should or must consider.

  1. Portability: Display size comes basically in two variations of 5-7" and 10".  Desirable
    must have size is the 10" since it can best represent what you’re already used to on your laptop.  5-7" tends to be too small and too low res when trying to view large excel spreadsheets to webpages.  
    Plus the 10" lays out the webpages that looks similar to your desktop while the smaller 7" cannot.
  2. Battery Life: This is very important since the tablet is mobile device so you need it to last all day.  All day could be defined as 5-8hrs.  Must have is 6 hours minimum at full usage.  Top notch tablets like Apple’s iPad can do 10hrs as well as Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 with Android.
  3. GPS: Handy feature particularly if you use it while traveling with it.   Not a must have but should have those few times you need it.   You really needed it.   (Preferred is A-GPS)
  4. Accelerometer: For a tablet, this is a must have since you will use both in portrait mode and landscape and games.
  5. Front facing Camera: This is a must have for face to face video conferencing.    Although it seems gimmicky initially, there is nothing that says more than to see to whom you’re conversing with.  Especially now with webcams being so ubiquitous with virtually every single laptop having one.    It can be used anything from showing something that can’t easily be conveyed in words to things that simply can’t be put into words.
  6. Rear facing Camera: This is should have since this is a mobile device.  It makes sense to be able to spontaneously take pictures with it.  However since we all have our cellphones as well.  If you don’t have a rear facing camera.  You could always just take a picture with your cellphone or even a digital camera and transfer to your tablet.
  7. Expandable Storage: Being able to expand this is should have.  Most tablets comes minimally with 16GB of storage which could store thousands of eBooks and ten’s of thousands of pictures.  Although some tablets such as Apple’s iPad and the current Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 cannot be expanded most if not all other tablets have expandability with a SD/microSD card slot.   This shouldn’t be too much of an issue unless your primary function is to carry around thousands of large images and/or large documents.   But even then you do have cloud/internet access so you can still have a large to infinite storage albeit slow and limiting since you need connectivity to have it.
  8. Apps: This is the single biggest reason why things like smartphones and now tablets are so hot.   They are no longer limited by the manufacture’s features but can be expanded by anyone through the use of apps.   Having the capability of acquiring and having choices is a must have situation.   Luckily both Apple iPad and Android both have their own store/market for apps for you to acquire.

 

Unfortunately you also need to consider some technical capabilities as well….

  1. Videos: How well does a particular tablet perform?    A key video format that’s imperative is the infamous Adobe Flash Video.  The format used on Google’s Youtube.com.   Interestingly even though it’s essential Apple decided to not to support Adobe Flash however they did provide a way with a dedicated Youtube app but does not support  it anywhere else ie. in webpages, unless it’s a youtube video.     Android tablets does directly support Adobe’s Flash Video across all apps and methods including videos embedded into webpages by other vendors just as Vimeo and even Hulu.   However, this is just the tip of the iceberg.    Videos you have on your computer made off of your digital camera or even cellphone will not not play on Apple’s iPad unless specifically made by another Apple product or in Android based tablets.  You can have some level compatibility through 3rd party apps.   This in itself is another entire article written here –>  How to Play Video on Tablets and iPads.
  2. eBooks and PDF’s:  Not as inheritly bad as video support.  Both the iPad and Android based Tablets (running OS version 3.x) will have an app already be able to open and read eBooks and PDF’s.   However if you need more function like bookmarking, Table of Contents, search etc.. you will need to find 3rd apps and there are available.
  3. Music and Audio: Unlike video support and more like eBook support.   All tablets have some level of builtin app that will give you access to both streaming or playing back your personal music files as long as they are in a widely available format like mp3, mp4, AAC.

 

In Conclusion: The computing world is evolving and it’s evolving towards more human like interface as well as behaving more like a life form than a cold machine.   You can’t really go wrong by choosing either major format of tablets aka Apple’s iPad or Google’s Android based tablets.