In 2012 tablets exploded on to the electronic world in a big way. Apple released the first truly successful tablet PC, the iPad 1 on January 27, 2010. The iPad brought all of the fun features of a PC, to a lighter more mobile device.
While iPhone and iPod Touch had a similar small touch screen that fits in your pocket, they lacked the large rich multimedia experience that is integrated so tightly into the mac. The tablet has become this happy medium between the power of laptops and the mobility of a smart phone. Since the iPad 1 was released 10 million tablets were sold in the US in 2012, and a recent prediction by Forrester puts Tablet sales worldwide topping 44 million units by 2015.
With the popularity of tablets, new versions of the Android OS, and iOS from Apple, many people are considering the purchase of a tablet. If you are considering the purchase of a tablet to enjoy for yourself or for your family, then read on for 8 things to consider when buying a tablet.
Who will be using it
The first thing to consider is the obvious, who will be using it? If you plan on using your tablet to watch a large selection of movies, consider a tablet that has a large movie library such as the iTunes store on the iPad or the Kindle Store on the Kindle Fire series. If the tablet will primarily be used by mom then consider her likes and dislikes, such as books, magazines, Facebook communication or games. If the tablet is for the kids, then strongly consider a tablet with a large selection of educational applications and teaching games.
Where will it be used.
Will the tablet be used primarily at work, or at home? Will the tablet be used when on the road? If kids will be using the tablet on long road trips when driving or flying out to visit family, or on the way to the next family vacation, then the tablet may need to be equipped with 3G or 4G cellular data service, to stay online when on the road.
Where will the device be stored.
If the Tablet PC your after will be primarily used at work, then making sure you have a protective case is a must. If the tablet is used primarily at home, then a hard plastic or rubberized grippy slip on case may be best, to provide extra protection against the kids dropping the new family entertainment center. If the device will be used by a woman, then perhaps she will want to store the device in her purse, and you will want to go with a 7” tablet, rather than a 9” tablet so that things can fit neatly and efficiently in her choice purse or handbag.
What will it be synchronized to
First generation iPads relied mostly on PC’s or Macs to synchronize your library of photos, movies, and music. If your library of media is currently on a windows XP PC, then the Apple iCloud wireless synchronization service is not supported and therefore the iPad may not be the best choice. Consider where all of your movies and music are, and choose a device that is compatible with that kind of computer or operating system.
Does the Tablet do everything I need it to
This is personally a hard question I had to ask myself. I constantly troubleshoot PC’s remotely via services such as join.me, and logmein. I also write a lot of articles such as this one, blog posts, and product reviews such as my review of the newest kindle fire the perfect tablet for your family. After asking some hard questions I came to the conclusion that a tablet PC is not for me, because I need to have a dedicated built in keyboard.
What device is the tablet replacing
If you have an old clunker of a desktop that’s collecting dust in the corner of the basement that runs as fast as your grandmother, then maybe the plan is to replace that old desktop with a powerful mobile tablet. Keep in mind that right now most tablets don’t have all of the features of laptops or desktops. There are a few emerging technologies in iOS6, but right now there is no easy way to print from a tablet. Scanning also requires extra hardware and software. To ensure that your not losing any functionality, make a list of the top 10 things that you do on your current PC, and read the fine print to make sure your tablet can do everything you need it to.
How will you keep the device safe
While tablet PC’s are mobile and trendy and are loaded with features, they also have a high street value which increases the possibility that they could be stolen. Be sure to equip your tablet with an anti-theft application that harnesses the GPS signal of the tablet to protect it if it’s lost or stolen. As I mentioned earlier, a durable case is also a good idea to protect the device in case it’s dropped or something drops on it.
What can I afford?
The final point to consider is what tablet can you afford. The least expensive tablets are selling for as little as $99, while the top of the line 64GB iPad with retina display, as of this writing costs $829.
No matter what tablet you buy, take a little time to step back and answer these 8 questions before making your purchase, and you will make a wise decision