How-to: Buy a Tablet

How to buy a tablet

Tablets are starting to mature. Android’s new 4.1 release dramatically improves the user experience. Apple’s iPad is now on its third iteration and continues to dominate the market. Microsoft pushing hard with Windows 8 RT, which is likely to inspire a range of new models. The tablet market is growing and looks continue on the back of the iPad’s stunning success.

The question is now what to choose: large or small, iOS, Android or Windows? Continue reading

Review: Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 Tablet

Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 tabletSamsung Galaxy Note 8.0 $380

A thin, light tablet that looks like a stretched out Galaxy S4 with a 1280×800, 8.0-inch screen that is good for a TFT, but not even close to a Nexus 7. Which makes $380 a hefty price tag for a device that’s so very 1998: calling all stylus-lovers, you too can tap away with a stylus like some ancient Greek scratching away on clay…

The Galaxy Note 8.0 is a relatively new device from Samsung comes with a built-in stylus; so what’s not to love? Two things, really: the screen and the price. It’s and at $380, this thing charges a hefty price for the addition of a stylus. How’s your handwriting?

But if you can cope with, or ignore the stylus, the attraction of the Note 8.0 is Multi-Window. Gosh! It almost dragged me away from DesqView X. Fancy that: having two apps open side by side. Just imagine, a Web browser on the left and a notes app on the right. Continue reading

Review: Sony Xperia Z Tablet

Sony Xperia Z tabletSony Xperia Z Tablet $500
If you want a 10-inch tablet that’s light, waterproof (up to a point) and performs almost as well as an iPad, Sony’s Xperia Z may be it.

The 1920×1200 display may not be as good as the iPad’s Retina but it knocks spots off the competition. With a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor and 2G B of RAM, an 8 megapixel camera, and running Android 4.1, it is very capable, and, bought from Sony direct, has a bundled 8 GB micro SD card to for expanded storage.

Interestingly this one has an infrared emitter for controlling your TV, so we’re starting to see the convergence and the use of tablets as a domestic controller. Expect to operate your heating and microwave over Bluetooth soon. Continue reading

Review: Microsoft Surface RT

Microsoft Surface RTMicrosoft Surface RT $350

Remember the first Surface RT a few months back: ads full of clicky covers and no description of what the heck it was? For $500? Now with a prices cut of $150 down to $350, this may be worth another look – but take note – this is NOT the Surface 2 running Windows 8.1. Confused? Join the club…

The Surface has a unique 10.6inch screen running at 1366×768 pixels, in between the average 10inch tablet but smaller than 11.6inch laptops. With a Quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3, 2GB RAM and 32GB storage, the hardware is generally admired – which is just as well since there’s a lack of apps and the RT software’s not robust. Added to that, both cameras – front and rear – are only 1.2 mega pixel. Continue reading

Review: Apple iPad Mini

Apple iPad Mini 2013Apple iPad Mini $330

We’ve been looking at the tablet market and all anyone’s commented so far is ‘what about the iPad?’ Well, here it is.

Apple more or less defines the tablet market – despite Bill Gates’ ahead-of-its’ time tablet in the ’90’s. Yes, Microsoft was there first, and we’ll look at the fight back, the Surface, next time.

For now, $100 more than a Nexus 7, gets an iPad Mini. Not the ‘maxi’ iPad with Retina Display that’s $500 for the base model. No, in this list, the Mini is much better value, although the $170 saving means you lose the iPad with larger Retina Display and A6X processor. The Mini uses an A5 processor in a much lighter and thinner device – 0.68 lbs (309g), which is slightly heavier than a Nexus 7, but has an inch more screen space. Continue reading

Review: Google Nexus 7 Autumn 2013 Tablet

Google Nexus 7 (2013) from AsusGoogle Nexus 7 (2013) $230

If you’re looking for a cheap, small, performance tablet, look no further than the Nexus 7. This is a step up from the 2012 model.

Thinner and lighter than last year’s model, the new Nexus 7 features a swift 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor and 2 GB of RAM (found in the Nexus 4 smart phone) . Despite it’s low cost, this is still a performance tablet. If you want your tablet for media viewing, then the dual stereo speakers produce great sound for such a small device. It weighs only 0.64 lbs (290 g) and battery life is excellent, but that’s not the best thing about it. Continue reading