independent

Monday 21 April 2014

Prescribing the right tablets

Maybe you received a shiny new device at Christmas or you're thinking of picking up a laptop or iPad in the sales. Here, Technology Editor Adrian Weckler gives you his guide to the best hardware and how to get the most out of it

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Tablets are increasingly popular

In an age of Revenue.ie and Ryanair.com, it is getting harder for Irish homes to function smoothly without some sort of computer. Here are a few tips you need to know when choosing a PC or a tablet.

TABLETS: IPAD V ANDROID

Should you buy an iPad or an Android tablet? Which is best value? Which has the best features? Which is simplest to use? Here's a quick guide to what you need to consider when choosing your tablet PC.

The basics: If you're a total beginner, here's the first thing you need to know: there are two basic kinds of tablet PC. These are (i) the iPad, and (ii) the Android tablet. Both look fairly similar but they use slightly different interfaces (also called 'operating systems'). Only iPads use Apple's interface (called iOS), whereas lots of tablets (Sony, Toshiba, Prestigio and more) use Google's Android interface. Tablet PCs can do most of the things people want from a computer: internet browsing, shopping, Facebook, Skype, email and other everyday activities. They often have longer battery lives than laptops and they switch on and off much quicker, too.

Apps: Here, the iPad has a slight advantage. There are more apps specifically designed for iPads (300,000) than there are for Android tablets (under 50,000). Also, all iPads come with an app store, while some budget Android tablets -- especially those costing under €100 -- do not.

Price: Android tablets have the edge here. The cheapest iPad available -- an eight-inch, 16GB iPad mini model -- costs €340. By comparison, a seven-inch, 32GB Google Nexus 7 costs €260.

Specifications/power: How many gigahertz (Ghz) should your tablet have? What about Ram memory? What about storage memory? The top tablets now have high-end 'quadcore' processors, 2GB of Ram and at least 16GB of storage memory. Entry-level models generally start with single-core 1Ghz processors, 512MB of Ram and from 4GB of memory.

If you can afford a model with a dual-core (or better) processor, and at least 1GB of Ram, it's a sound investment: your tablet will run more smoothly. 16GB is generally enough storage memory for most people: if you want more, online services such as Dropbox and Google Drive give you lots of free storage space.

Some features can only be found on higher-end models -- like GPS and Blue-tooth, both of which are handy to have.

Irish Independent

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