Tablet Shopping: 7 Tips To Avoid Buyer's Remorse - InformationWeek

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11/28/2014
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Tablet Shopping: 7 Tips To Avoid Buyer's Remorse

From 8-inch Windows 8.1 slates to iPads to phablets, tablet shoppers have more options than ever this holiday season. Follow these tips to avoid a mistake.

same power as an $800 laptop, you'll be disappointed. 

2. Beware tablet stereotypes.
Don't take conventional tablet wisdom as gospel. iPads, for example, are known for their high-quality construction, intuitive user interface, and big selection of apps. But because Apple doesn't supply a keyboard and the iPad lacks a USB port, some have typecast iPads as too limited for "real work."

Windows 8.1 tablets and two-in-ones are stereotyped -- thanks to their USB ports and attachable keyboards -- as best for squeezing laptop style productivity into near-tablet portability. At the same time, Windows tablets are thought of as fine for simple tasks but incapable of providing the iPad's "pure tablet" experience.

Android tablets, meanwhile, are known to run the gamut from dirt-cheap devices that run old versions of the operating system to premium models that rival iPads. Android tablet makers are considered more likely to experiment with new technologies before Apple does -- NFC, first-party stylus support, larger screen sizes, even depth-sensing cameras.

Android tablets often include envelope-pushing technology, such as the depth-sensing camera in Dell's Venue 8 7000.
Android tablets often include envelope-pushing technology, such as the depth-sensing camera in Dell's Venue 8 7000.

All of these generalizations are useful but stay flexible. Take the idea that PCs are for work while tablets are for entertainment. This stereotype is true in general; if you use Photoshop every day, for example, then you do need the power of a traditional laptop or desktop. But if work to you means creating presentations, working on photos, or staying in touch with colleagues while on the go, iPads and Android tablets are productive in their own right. Likewise, the popular notion that Windows two-in-ones make better laptops than tablets might prove untrue for you if you need touch-oriented features, such as the Surface Pro 3's impressive digital pen.

3. Tablets aren't isolated products.
Many apps -- such as Twitter, Skype and Microsoft Office -- are available for purchase no matter what kind of tablet you buy. Keep in mind, however, that certain tablets work best with devices from the same manufacturer. Apple's Mac and Apple's iPad, for instance, can seamlessly hand off certain tasks, such as email composition, between the devices. Similarly, it's easier to sync content from one Windows 8.1 device to another than it is to sync between a Windows tablet and a Mac.  

Some Windows two-in-one hybrids, such as the $179 E Fun Nextbook 10.1, now cost less than $200.
Some Windows two-in-one hybrids, such as the $179 E Fun Nextbook 10.1, now cost less than $200.

4. Resolution isn't everything.
Tablet makers tend to glorify screen resolution but the number of pixels isn't everything. Big screens must have high resolution to make text sharp, play HD movies, and so on -- but a tablet's relatively small screen doesn't need lots of pixels. In addition to resolution, be sure to consider qualities such as color

Michael Endler joined InformationWeek as an associate editor in 2012. He previously worked in talent representation in the entertainment industry, as a freelance copywriter and photojournalist, and as a teacher. Michael earned a BA in English from Stanford University in 2005 ... View Full Bio

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Angelfuego
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Angelfuego,
User Rank: Ninja
1/30/2015 | 11:05:43 PM
Re: The purpose of tablet ?
@Kelly22: If it makes you feel better, I just got an iPhone4 . It is a hand-me-down from a friend.
Kelly22
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Kelly22,
User Rank: Strategist
1/29/2015 | 3:18:53 PM
Re: The purpose of tablet ?
@angelfuego I'm on your side with this one. Phablets are an awkward size and too big to serve the same purpose as a smartphone. Personally, I like my phone to fit in one hand and my iPhone 4 (prehistoric, I know) does the job just fine.
Angelfuego
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Angelfuego,
User Rank: Ninja
1/29/2015 | 2:39:40 PM
Re: The purpose of tablet ?
I guess it is a matter of preference. I prefer something that fits in my pocket or can easily fit in the grip of my hand. Phabletsare too big for me. They are like the size of a book. A phablet can't even fir in my purse. I rarely use purses. I usually pick up my keys, debit card, identification, phone, and leave the house. The only purses that I own are clutch bags, which are too small to stuff a phablet in.
WaqasAltaf
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WaqasAltaf,
User Rank: Ninja
12/7/2014 | 11:45:37 AM
Re: The purpose of tablet ?
Li Tan, in my opinion there is no need of a tablet when we have 5-6 inch smartphones available because they are not bad either. The operating systems in tablets and smartphones are the same. Do you think in today's circumstances, purchase of a tablet is justified or it is just an impulse buy?
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
12/5/2014 | 11:14:49 AM
Re: amazing...

@Gary_EL  @Anelfuego       It certainly does seem to be a fundamental constraint that makes increasing battery very difficult if not nearly impossible to improve.

Gary_EL
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Gary_EL,
User Rank: Ninja
12/5/2014 | 12:58:36 AM
Re: amazing...
The lack of progress in batteries is probably the biggest technological disappointment of the 21st Century so far.
Angelfuego
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Angelfuego,
User Rank: Ninja
12/4/2014 | 2:47:09 PM
Re: Phablets
@Kristen, I agree with you about how tablets are convenient for traveling. I can remeber a time when I thought that laptops were convenient for travel, but not anymore. Boy, how things have changed. I think tablets and phablets are way more convenient. I still think the mimi-laptop by Acer is a good alternative as well. 
Angelfuego
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Angelfuego,
User Rank: Ninja
12/4/2014 | 2:44:08 PM
Re: Phablets
@Kristen, With the struggling economy and the pressure of buying Christmas gifts, I guess people are obliging to purchase lower-end tablets from drug stores with the hopes that they won't get what they pay for.
Angelfuego
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Angelfuego,
User Rank: Ninja
12/4/2014 | 2:41:10 PM
Re: Phablets
@Paul, I must confess that the first time that I heard the term "phablet," I had a good chuckle. I, however, think that it would have been a great marketing term for Samsung to use. I think it is a cute, catchy term. Personally, I don't care to own a phablet. I still prefer the thin and more compact phone style. I think that will eventually will come back in popular demand, once the phablet-craze dissipates.
Angelfuego
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Angelfuego,
User Rank: Ninja
12/4/2014 | 2:35:15 PM
Re: amazing...
@Technocrati, I agree with you about how ideal it would be if our tablets had an increased battery life. The short battery life of phones also is a concern of mine. I am surprised that we are still dealing with battery life issues, despite how far we have come in terms of technology.
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