What to look for when buying a tablet

Electronic tablets, in the modern world, serve an important function. They signpost a trade-off between the portability of a smartphone and the computing power of a laptop.

“Internet browsing and checking emails is so much more convenient on a tablet than on a laptop. A tablet also allows a person to see video clips and photos on a much bigger and better screen than a smartphone,” said Ajmal Kunnumal, a first-year CS major.

Tablet sales have already passed the 40 million mark for this year. Let’s take a look at three different tablets, which are touted to be the best in the market, and compare the specifications that are important to college students.

For a college student who has to constantly move around campus, portability is key. The weight and size of a tablet can play an important role in the decision-making process.

The LG Optimus has a significantly smaller screen size than the iPad 2 or Galaxy Tab, which  make it slightly more portable. Yet, fitting a 9” screen tablet into one’s pocket is not an easy feat and thus, this difference is unlikely to give the Optimus Pad a big advantage.

Among other features, two of the most important for any college student are the eReading capability and the Apps Store of a tablet. With respect to the former, the Galaxy Tab and the iPad 2 effortlessly trump the Optimus Pad with two-page viewing and several reading apps such as Kindle and Google Books.

The iPad 2, on the other hand, dominates its two competitors with respect to the Apps store. The Apple Apps store has more than 100,000 apps meant specifically for the tablet; on the other hand, the considerably smaller Android App store has a mere 10,000 apps or so.

The iPad 2’s iOS seems to be more popular among college students then the Galaxy Tab’s and Optimus Pad’s Android OS.

“The iOS looks much classier and more professional than Android 3.1. You get a totally different feel with the iPad 2; the ease with which you can scroll through menus is amazing,” said Taylor Nichols, a first-year EE major.

A reasonable price is highly desirable for college students. Comparing the three devices, the iPad 2 is clearly the cheapest choice. This, combined with its aforementioned advantages, makes the iPad 2 seem like the best value-for-money option. One of its major drawbacks, though, is its relatively low quality camera, which is less than 1 megapixel.

Thus, it seems that most students never even consider camera quality when they buy tablets. Verdict: IPad2 for its price, e-reading capabilities and app- store.


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