It’s that time of year, and if you’re looking for a multimedia tablet, you have a lot to choose from. More Americans are switching to tablets for computing on the go and eMarketer expects that tablet users will surpass one billion worldwide by the end of 2015. Getting on the bandwagon is easy, there are a lot of tablets out there, but unless you have some idea of what you want it to do, you may have just spent a chunk of change on a paperweight that may never leave your charging station.
Tablets, Tablets Everywhere
The first step to getting the best tablet for your money is to decide what you need it to do. People use tablets for different purposes and tablets have evolved so that one size no longer fits all. For instance, some graphic artists and photographers use tablets for Photoshop, while others game, or create documents and presentations. Some use their tablets as the lifeline for commuter boredom, using their tablets to stream media and as an e-reader to multimedia oriented devices like the Nook’s Samsung Galaxy 4 tablet. Let’s go over some of the hardware specs, features, and extras that will help you to pick the right tablet, and have it do what you want it to do.
Operating systems are the part of the tablet that runs the applications you’re going to need. Right now, the two biggest players are iOS from Apple, Android from Google, and Windows from Microsoft. According to Statista, Windows is a distant third with only 8.4 percent of the market. Apple has a larger share with 23.5 percent, but the IOS is available exclusively on the iPad. The lion’s share of operating systems – 66 percent – are Android devices, made by many different manufacturers. Both Google and Apple both offer lots of apps, and many are available for either iOS or Android, at most there is a brief lag between versions for most. If you are a Windows user, you may find that not all apps are available for the Windows operating system.
Most tablets fall somewhere in the 7 to 10 inch size category, though 12 and even 15 inch versions are coming out – often with a detachable or flippable keyboard. While a 12 inch tablet isn’t much of a strain, a 15 inch is not really designed to be a handheld device. The best advice here is to go out to your local electronics or office supply store and pick one up. Think about how you’re going to be toting it around – briefcase, backpack, or purse? Depending on what else you have to
If you are planning to use your device for streaming media, gaming, graphic design, or photo editing, you will want to go with the highest PPI (pixels per inch) or resolution that you can find. Most tablets have a 1080p (1920×1080) resolution, and some go as high as 2560×1600.
Processing Speed and RAM
First, you need to have at least 2GB of RAM, and boost that to 4GB if you’re going to be doing a lot of multitasking. Next, you’ll need to look for a high GHz processor, preferably quad core, in order to keep your media and applications running smoothly. Since even smartphones have quad core processors, this should not be too difficult to turn up tablets with these specifications.
The on-board storage capacity of a tablet is generally 16GB, but on-board storage can go as high as 128GB in premium models with premium price tags. Apple does not support expandable storage, though both Android and Windows tablets do. Essentially, if you plan on downloading video or music, or storing photos your storage can be used up fast. Unless you have a tablet with an LTE connection and data plan, you might be limited in where you can stream your media. Expandable storage in the form of an internal or external expansion slot goes a long way to keeping your tablet usable even out of range of Wi-Fi or LTE.
The gold standard for battery life is about 10 hours, but depending on how much juice your applications burn, you can suck out a battery in half the time. Batteries wear out over time, holding less charge for decreasing amounts of time, so if your tablet doesn’t have ten hours in it when you buy it, it’s going to have a lot less in a year or 18 months down the road.
Tablets are Booming
Pew Research recently released a study that shows 68 percent of Americans owning smartphones and 45 percent owning tablet computers. Tablets have had the largest jump in usage across all digital devices aside from smartphones since 2010. Getting a tablet now and getting comfortable with using it will position you for further developments in devices to come.