Tips For Picking the Best Tablet for Your Needs

Even though tablet computers are not yet three years old, it already seems impossible to imagine the world without them. And while Apple's iPad (the first tablet introduced) remains the leader for this genre, the rest of the computer manufacturing world is energetically trying to catch-up.

Every computer company now has their own tablet device, and the range of options and choices presented to the average buyer is quickly becoming somewhat overwhelming.

How can you know which Tablet computer is the best choice for you?

The first thing to decide is if you even need a tablet. After all , tablets don't really fill an unmet need. A tablet is neither a replacement for your smartphone, nor your laptop.

It has several features of each – but is the equal of neither. For example, you can't make a phone call via a regular cell provider on a tablet, and if you want to do serious word processing, the lack of a physical keyboard would render this much more difficult than on a laptop.

The real appeal of a tablet is that it is a device that targets certain key functions of both smart phones and laptop computers, and delivers just those features for those who don't need, or want more.

It is essentially a portable way to play games, watch videos, listen to music, check email and browse the web.

And doing it all with a screen size that is a much better user experience that a smartphone, without being stuck with the too big size of some laptops.

It fills in the gap between the two – and if that's what you're looking for – then you need one.

Once you've decided to take the plunge, the most important consideration is which operating system to opt for.

While there are several available, there's really only two serious choices: the Apple iOS and the Android Honeycomb.

These are the only two tablet operating systems that were specifically designed for a mobile device versus a desk top. And the impact of this on tablet performance is significant.

So if you're going to go the tablet route – choose one with an operating system that maximizes its performance.

Another key consideration is Apps for the Tablet.

Frankly, Android and RIM just do not have that many apps optimized for tablets; a few thousand, at best.

Viewed against the apple iPad which has 140,000, there's really no comparison.

Some will question whether an app even needs to be optimized for a tablet – but with just a few minutes of testing the difference between those that are and those that aren't – the answer becomes a clear “yes”. It matters.

As for screen size, Samsung offers the greatest range of choice (from 7.1 – 10.1 inches), and RIM offers the most pocket friendly version at 7 inches.

The iPad is 9.7 inches. One nice thing about the new Sony S is its wedge-shaped design, which creates a nice screen display when laid on a table.

Many tablets come with wi-fi only, so this is definitely something to factor in as well. The new Samsung devices have 4G built in , and the iPad2 has a 3G option.

The bottom-line is that once you've determined that a tablet meets your needs and desires, choose one with a tablet-optimized operating system.

After that – it's just a matter of which of the various “bell & whistles” most appeal to you.

There's a lot of variety and choice – and that can only be a good thing.

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