January 27th 2010, Steve Jobs introduced the iPad; it looked cool, we all wanted one (and some of us did), but did we really need it? 4 years later, there are 5 different models of the iPad, and nearly a hundred other brands of the tablet in the market. When it comes to buying, impulsive actions are the wrong way to go … Imagine residing in Lagos, and your dream car is a Lamborghini, with enough cash in the bank it wouldn’t still be the ideal car for you to purchase because you would not get much use out of it given the quality of roads in the state, while a Range Rover would serve you very well. This scenario is a simple way to look at investments; because producers/manufacturers pay top money to convince us to overlook the critical decisions that influence our purchasing power – Advertising 101. Thus, this article is aimed at arming you with the necessary information you need before purchasing that tablet (or any product!). Before spending your hard earned (or not-so hard earned) money, you have to ask yourself these questions: I. Do I need it? II. Is there a way I can buy it for less? III. Do I have to buy it? If your answers are ‘Yes, No, Yes,’ then go ahead, buy it; but if you’ve got 3 ‘Noes’ or 2 ‘Yeses’; perhaps give the buy a rethink. Now that you’ve settled to buy a tablet, you have to consider this – What do I need the tablet for and what brand would suit my need? For this you don’t need to be a tech whizz, just consider the following, go ahead and spend that money! 1. Size – With tabs, size varies and this is for great purpose. A smaller tablet has the benefit of being lighter and easier to carry; while larger tabs have more screen space which makes the experience feel a bit more immersive. They are also preferable for web browsing. Small tablets are cheaper, while large tabs usually offer better battery life because they have room for a larger battery. 2. The OS (aka Operating System) – There are basically 3 operating systems in the market - Apple’s iOS, Google’s Android and Windows’ 8 & RT. iOS is one of the easiest systems to use, even children get it, and if you’re new to computing then it’s one of the best to get started on. It looks simple and pretty, but more importantly it has some useful features such as easy access to multitasking and settings. Its biggest benefit is the App Store, with almost half a million quality apps and digital magazines optimised for the iPad there really is an app for anything, from fitness to gaming. Android, since it first launched in 2008, has one of its biggest benefits in customisability. You can modify it to your heart’s content and set up your homepages just the way you want them. It has the Google Play store, whose apps are mostly designed for phones, and not tablets. This means they don't always make best use of larger screens. It also means 7-inch Android tablets are better to use than 10-inch ones because the screen size is closer to a mobile phone. And Windows 8 is basically the conversion of your PC (Personal Computer) to a tablet, as it runs on exactly the same operating system you get on your home PC or laptop, but optimised for touch use. That means all the programs you use on a normal PC will work on a Windows 8 tablet. Windows 8 tablets can replace a laptop and often come with keyboard attachments so they can be used just like one. The Windows RT, on the other hand, is a cut-down version of Windows 8. You can’t use all the apps you would on a Windows 8 tablet, but because it uses less power it’s lighter and the battery lasts longer. Unfortunately there are far fewer apps available for Windows RT than there are for the other operating systems. It’s taking a while to take off but Microsoft is supporting it so there’s sure to be more to come. 3. Connectivity - Most tablets come in two versions, a Wi-Fi only and a Wi-Fi and 4G/3G option. Wi-Fi only means that you’ll need a Wi-Fi connection to use the internet, while the 4G/3G tablets allow you to insert a SIM card so that you can use a mobile network to have internet access wherever you can get a signal. 4. Storage - If you like to have a lot of files, music, movies, games or pictures on your tablet you will need a lot of storage. Storage is usually measured in gigabytes (GB). Most tablets sadly don’t have this option as they rely on internal storage only, so you may have to spend more on a tab with more storage. But some tablets come with the option of adding some storage via a microSD card. These are bought separately and are relatively cheap. Only some Android and Windows tablets come with a microSD slot, you don't get the option on iPads, which means extra storage can be costly. 5. Performance (Processor or CPU and GPU) – This is the tablet’s brain – it determines how fast it opens and uses apps. Processors of 1GHz speed or more are optimum and are best for fast performance. Also, tablets within the range of 512MB or more of RAM will produce better performance. The most important factor to consider is your wallet/purse, if it’s well beyond your reach, look for a cheaper model and compare. You can never tell which tablet is perfect for you till you ask the necessary questions. Written By: - Sola Agbaje
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