COMEX 2015 TABLET BUYING GUIDE
So you're in the market for a new tablet?
You crave that unique combination of power of portability and power, that mix of work and play that a tablet is uniquely equipped to provide.
However, like most consumer goods these days, there is a mind boggling variety of tablets in all shapes and sizes, making choosing the right one a nightmare.
Have no fear though because with the sheer variety of tablets out there, there is bound to be one that fits your needs.
Here is a quick and handy guide that is sure to help you pick out the right machine at COMEX 2015.
The first thing you are going to ask yourself is what size you want.
Generally, tablets, like laptops, are measured by the size of their screen and generally come in three sizes: 7-8.0 inches, 8.1-10.1 inches and 10.2 and up. For convenience sake let's call them small, medium and large.
The bigger the screen, the heavier and more expensive the device becomes.
To help yourself figure out what size you need, consider what you will be using the tablet for.
If you want to use the tablet simply as a device to watch videos and play the occasional game in bed or on the plane, go for a medium to large size device. Apple's iPad Air 2 or the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 are both excellent machines that are light, have great screens and good sound. The screens are large enough to make for a great media experience and you will have enough screen real estate for gaming.
If you envision your tablet as more of a portable web browser, e-book reader or newspaper reader, basically, anything that has to do with a lot of text then you might want to consider smaller devices like the Apple iPad Mini or the Asus MeMo Pad 7 or the excellent Dell Venue 8.
The logic here is simple; devices with screens larger than nine inches become very difficult to hold in one hand and the added weight makes dealing with them an ungainly affair.
If you want your tablet to be a replacement for your laptop, or if you are using a 2-in-1 option like the Asus Transformer series of machines then you will want a large screen of at least 11 inches. There are two general reasons for this, the first is that since you will be using the tablet for productivity, the larger screen will allow you to simply see and do more and the second is that often, these machines have more processing power. Microsoft's 12 inch Surface Pro 3 actually has a full scale Intel Core i5 processor under the hood.
Now that you know how your tablet will look like, it is time to choose the software that will be powering it.
In todays tablet market, there are three OS's to choose from, the first is Apple's iOS, the second is Google's Android and lastly, there is Microsoft Windows.
Apple's iOS on tablet has all the strengths of its smartphone counterpart. It’s a breeze to use and incredibly simple to pick up and use. The menu interface works well on the bigger screen and the intuitive touch controls make a lot of sense on a tablet form factor. Apple's iOS also boasts the largest app store of any tablet OS with over 700,000 apps available. These apps are also among the highest quality in the tablet world.
However, iOS is a rigid operating system and you cannot really customize your tablet asides from a few aesthetic touches. If you are used to the flexibility of Android, iOS tablets will feel incredibly restrictive. There is also the issue of iOS only being available on Apple's own range of tablets which are generally pricier and offers a limited choice of specifications.
For people that want a simple pick up and play experience, iOS is still fantastic.
It may not seem like it currently, but Android is the most popular tablet OS in the world and that is due to the sheer flexibility of the platform, it works on a variety of devices at all price points.
Basically, you want an Android based tablet if you want something you can tinker with, something that you can really customize and make your own. In terms of functionality, it can do everything an iOS tablet can do, and the Google Play Store can rival Apple's App Store when it comes to quality apps with more being developed for Google's platform every day.
Windows' newest iteration of its OS, Windows 10 is a powerhouse of an operating system. While it does not translate as well on touch, as it does with the keyboard and mouse, this OS can still enable tablets to perform everything a PC can, in a mobile form factor.
Microsoft has made it very clear that Windows on tablet is not a stripped down version of desktop Windows. In fact, it’s the exact same product so if you are familiar with desktop Windows then you will have no trouble with the tablet version of Windows.
As mentioned, the downside is that the touch experience simply is not as refined as Android or iOS, and Windows tablets are expensive because it is mainly targeted at working professionals that use it as a laptop replacement.
Tablet storage varies hugely from as little as 8 GB to as much as 256 GB with prices going up exponentially for larger storage capacities.
Picking the right storage capacity can often save you hundreds of dollars so it's worth having a good long think about what you want.
For the videophile and gamer that loves keeping videos offline for easy watching, get a large one.
If you just need one to browse the web, stream music and videos and read the odd e-book, smaller is better.
For the busy professional, realise that these days, most work documents are stored on the cloud so you do not have to splurge for big storage.
For Windows and Android tablets, there is a little trick that you should be aware of. Most machines will actually have expandable micro SD card slots that will allow you to add about 128 GB of storage to your machines. These days micro SD cards are very cheap so your best bet on Android and Windows tablets is to get the cheapest storage configuration and just pair that with a good micro SD card for maximum savings.
With this information, hopefully, you will be better prepared to make the most out of your COMEX experience. Something to note, especially for Android tablets, is to pay attention to your tablet's manufacturer.
For example, there will be some questionable tablet brands selling you a tablet for a steal, but often it is worth paying the premium to buy a tablet made by a trusted manufacturer like Samsung, Sony or Asus. By paying a little more, you are ensuring that you will receive the latest version of Android on your devices, and a comprehensive warranty and support system.
Like most things in life, cheap isn’t always better.