Tablets are still changing a lot.
Now we have Windows 8 tablets, new Android tablets, iPad mini, Android mini.
What I have used so far are:
- Lenovo ideaTab Lynx. Windows 8 tablet
- Asus TransformerPad T300
- Asus MemoPad 7″
The Lenovo ideaTab Lynx is a Intel Atom Z27600 (1.8 GHz) processor. This was of some concern for me since I used PCs with Intel Atom before, and while the power usage was minimal the CPU felt extremely slow unless only doing 1 thing at a time.
This tablet actually performed pretty well and I was impressed considering the specs. The 2 GB of RAM are adequate for most web usage. I use it to browse the web, read email (using the Windows 8 Mail app) and connect to work remotely using logmein and Remote Desktop Connection. Sometimes I use Word and Excel. Having regular Windows 8, means that I can install any application that I need, as long as I adjust my expectations. This is a tablet, although it can be used as a computer, but it won’t do anything too taxing, and after all, that is not the intended use anyhow. I think that is where most people go wrong, but more on that later.
I got also the keyboard. It was $100, but the tablet itself was $250. Most tablets for me, they will need a keyboard to be useful. The keyboard on this tablet is good and it expands the battery more. I only wish it had a rear view camera.
Hopefully new Intel Processors will make this kind of tablets even better and Windows 8 is very good for tablet use.
If you want to check a little more the ideaTab amazon has some reviews on it.
Asus Transformer TF300. This is an Android tablet running a Tegra 3 chip. I got mine refurbished, but I had to get it twice, because the first had a problem with the video.
Anyhow, I love this tablet, and here is where it comes the point to get the correct tablet for your needs. The Tegra 3 chip is getting old now, but it is a fast processor. Again, I have the tablet with the included keyboard, and this is how it is the most useful. I can check emails, watch Netflix, Hulu, and browse the web with no problem. The keyboard adds more ports, but more importantly it adds more battery, and since it docks there is no need to turn on the Bluetooth which uses more battery. Also because the keyboard docks, you can fold it to carry, or you can use it like a laptop to watch Hulu in the bed. I actually use it a lot more with the keyboard than without.
The final tablet is the Asus Memo Pad 7“. I got this tablet after the first TF300 broke and since it is about $100 it was easy to get. My main goal was to read the large library of PDF ebooks that I have and the kindle library. Well, the processor is not a fast processor, but I was pleasantly surprised with how responsive is the tablet. You can do more than just read ebooks in it. I pretty much use it the same as I use the TF300. This tablet is not ideal for running heavier apps like games, but it will do Hulu and Netflix nicely though.
So the final take is…make a list of your needs from a tablet, and be realistic about it. All too often I hear people say I need a cheap tablet and I only do light web browse, but later complain the tablet is too slow because they browse pages that are heavier, or do not close apps, so the web browser has 20 tabs open.
Once you have your needs, then shop for the appropriate tablet. With computers I suggest to put a price first, and then look for a laptop/desktop. With tablet, make a wish list first, then an essential list and then look for prices. If the tablet you need is over $400 you might be better off buying a laptop (ultrabooks are getting in the area of $500, and are light).
Do not compare a tablet to an iPad, unless you are comparing at the same price. Why? because the iPad mini starts at $329 for a 16GB for a dual core, the iPad2 16GB starts at $399 for also a dual core, while the Retina starts at $499 for the 16GB Dual Core A6X.
iPad have a stronger app market, where the apps and games are specifically developed for the hardware, but at that price, they are too close to an actual computer if you are looking for an internet device.
The Memo Pad is does not compete with the iPad. It is a $100, not a $300. So you have to have that in consideration. Will you be able to do everything you can do with an iPad with this device? absolutely not, but you will be able to do 90% of what you actually will use a tablet for, at 1/3 of the price.
The TF300 is more in the iPad level, together with the Galaxy Tab and the Nexus tablets. Now, say you have a Android phone, then an Android tablet makes a lot more sense. If you have an iPhone, then go with an iPad.
If you don’t care either, but you need a tablet for real web browsing, some facebook and email, then these Android tablets will work great. BTW, I write documents on the TF300 and the Lynx as well.
Windows 8 tablets are nice too, but are not what I would call exactly ready. The fact that you can install any Windows Application on the desktop is a good and a bad thing. It will be very easy to make the tablet too slow. The Surface Pro category is another story, because they are more of an Ultrabook with touch screen than a Tablet, and they have an Intel Core i5 CPU. They use a lot more power (so less battery), but will feel extremely fast for most of tablet use, and then again, the Surface Pro is more in the real of an actual Computer, with computer price at $900. I can actually see myself replacing completely my laptop with a Surface Pro (with the keyboard).
Next year we will see more tablets and more changes, but in general I would suggest to get a tablet that is at least dual core, and at least $100. Sub $100 usually are good for book readying and very occasional web browsing.