A multimedia tablet can do similar tasks to your PC and with USB connection you can even hook up your keyboard and mouse too. But, an internet tablet offers you more versatility and pick-up-and-go options than a bigger laptop.
Browsing on the internet is one of the strongest points on most multimedia tablets. All devices have touchscreen technology which is easy to navigate on with touch and swipe functions. You also might find it an improvement on the touchpad and keyboard system used on most laptops.
If you are looking at buying an E reader then it might be worth looking at the PC tablet options available which, as well as offering E book capabilities, have a host of other media features. Tablets can add to your E reading experience too with excellent colour displays that can be read in a dark room – as opposed to other E readers that require additional lighting. However, you won’t be able to do much reading out in the sun because of the glare, whereas on an E-ink based screen – like on the Kindle – this is not a problem.
Having video capabilities that can be transported along with you – on a flight or train journey – are an excellent plus point and you can also buy small stands to make the device self-standing.
If you are looking for a PC tablet on a budget then there are plenty of models with the smallest sized screens of seven inches. If you want an Archos multimedia tablet then they offer a huge range of multimedia models to choose from starting with the Archos 7 – which is one of the cheapest options – ranging to the top model the Archos 70. The Blackberry Playbook and Apple iPad are also popular top-end models.
The iPad is the best-selling internet tablet and it is powered by Apple iOS which also runs their iPhones and Ipod Touch devices. If you are already an owner of one of these then you will already be comfortable with navigating around and have a good idea of what it can do. The trump card with Apple’s iOS is the quality of its online store. The iPad is compatible with a huge range of more than 300,000 games and great apps available to download from the store. One of the disadvantages of the iPad is that it doesn’t support Adobe Flash which can restrict some web browsing and business features such as playing presentations. Google Android is the OS in most non Apple tablets and is beginning to challenge the dominance of Apple. Like the Apple Store, the Android Marketplace has a huge number of apps available, too. Many large manufacturers use the Android OS, such as Acer, Motorola and Dell, and newer models are powered by the latest Android 3 OS. A big plus point with an Android powered phone is it has access to all of the Google apps such as Google Maps, Gmail and Google Docs.
Another alternative is the Microsoft PC tablet OS. This looks similar to the windows platforms on computers and moves away from the smartphone layout in most other tablets. If you want to use your tablet for business then a Windows powered device is worth considering – mainly because of their compatibility with the office software. The HP Slate 500 and Archos 9 PC both use the Windows 7 OS.
Other systems include Blackberry’s QNX OS and Linux-based platforms which, if a device offers, are worth reading reviews on to decide whether they can match your needs.
The screen is one of the most important features to consider when buying an internet tablet. A good quality display is essential to really enjoy watching and reading on the tablet, as well as browsing the internet. Generally, the bigger the screen, the more expensive the tablet is. But, bigger isn’t necessarily better with tablets. A bigger screen is more comfortable for typing on – giving you more space to navigate on – but this also makes a tablet bulky and heavy. If portability is more important to you, then a seven inch screen is regarded as the optimum size. You can get some excellent specification screens in this size and it gives a decent enough display to enjoy movies without compromising the compact element of your tablet. The smallest sized models come with a five inch screen – which is not much bigger than most smartphones – and the Dell Streak is a popular five inch model. There are a huge amount of models on the market with seven inch displays to choose from but, if a bigger device doesn’t bother you, then you can find devices with 10.1 inch screens. The Archos multimedia tablet 101 has a 10.1 inch screen and the extra size does make it better for viewing images and watching movies on and the iPad is also a similar size with a 9.7 inch screen.
If you want to read books, magazines and newspapers on your internet tablet then a higher resolution screen will ensure even small text is clear to read. This is especially noticeable when reading a text-heavy website and full page PDF documents. A 1024 x 600 resolution should be the minimum you look for and, if you can afford, a high definition 1280 x 760 is the best option. A better graphics tablet will also enhance your gaming experience.
Storage It is fair to say that you can never have enough storage. If you want to watch a lot of movies and hold a lot of music on your tablet then enough memory really is essential. Most tablets have flash based memory and offer from 16GB up to 64GBs of memory. 16GBs is very easily filled and, if you do have a decent sized music library or a few films on your device, it will soon fill up. The models with extra storage will push up the price of a tablet but it is a sound investment. A memory card slot on an internet tablet is a great addition and this can be a cheaper way to invest in more memory with a removable card.
Ins and Outs Every tablet will come with a headphone jack – although some models, like the iPad, don’t provide headphones – and most have a USB port – again, except the iPad. A handy feature on an internet tablet is a HDMI port which will let you hook up your device to a TV where you can watch videos and view images taken on the tablet.
Cameras This is a nice extra to have on a tablet and most new models are coming fitted with at least one camera. The key specs to look out for are megapixels, accurate colour and extra camera settings. If you are buying a tablet for business purposes, and might need video calling, then some tablets – including the iPad 2 and Samsung Galaxy Tab – come with two cameras.
Screen protector Because you will be touching your screen a lot it is worth investing in an adhesive screen protector. These are relatively inexpensive and can stop glare on the screen as well as protect it from little scratches and smudges.