So You Think You Need A Tablet…

I had been interested in purchasing a tablet long before I eventually did – a combination of too many hours logged watching them in action on the television, and the few opportunities I had to interact with the tablets my father brought home from work.  The question I noticed popping up among consumers the most when conducting my research on various tablets was the following: how do you decide with tablet is the right one?  Should the decision be based on operating system? Brand? Price? Some combination of all three?

To answer this question, I first needed to ask myself what, exactly, I was planning on using my tablet for.  First off, I needed a tablet with an operating system capable of communicating with at least one of my other portable devices – my smart phone, which uses Android 2.3, or my laptop, which is running OS X and occasionally Windows 7.  The tablets I looked at offered several different options in operating systems (OS): Android, HP, iOS, and Blackberry’s OS were the major choices.  Narrowing down those options was not as difficult as I thought it would be: the HP Touchpad is no longer sold, I would not touch a Blackberry device with a ten-foot pole, and the iPad’s iOS is non-cooperative with every OS except its own – leaving Android as the only viable option.  With the Android OS, I could sync my applications across mobile devices – and find apps that could integrate with my laptop as well.

What else was important to me in a tablet?  I needed it to have at least eight Gigabytes of storage, to be WiFi capable, and to have a screen size of no more than eight inches.  This narrowed my choices down even further, leaving me to choose between the Samsung Galaxy, the Nook Touch, the Vizio Tablet, and the Kindle Fire.  Of course, this list did not encompass all of the tablets (that met those qualifications) in their totality – they are simply the ones I had given the most thought about out of that larger number.  I had no desire to purchase an “off brand” tablet and run the risk of disappointment with its quality.  As I was less than eager to spend $380 on a tablet, the Galaxy was out of the running.  The Vizio tablet had a slower CPU than both the Touch and Fire (only one Gigahertz, whereas Nook and Kindle are both Dual Core), and was only using Android 2.3 instead of 3.0 (2.3 was designed for phones, and 3.0 was designed for tablets).  The Vizio tablet’s less than impressive specifications made the decision to not purchase it an easy one.

I decided to go with the Kindle Fire over the Nook Touch for two major reasons: first, the Fire is $50 cheaper than the Nook Touch; second, the Touch is now being manufactured without the option of side-loading being available to the customer.  (Side-loading is when you download the .apk file of an app – the ‘install’ file, as it were – and send it to the device of your choice.  You then boot up the application on said device and install it from there, as opposed to using an app store/marketplace.  Since the Kindle Fire uses Amazon’s App store instead of Android’s, it does not have access to every app that the Android marketplace does.  Should you want to use an app that Amazon does not yet have access to, you have the choice of side-loading and installing it that way.)  I have never been fond of having my options limited, and so decided to go with the tablet with more user freedom.  Decision made, I ordered the Kindle Fire off of Amazon’s website, also purchasing a case and screen protectors to go with it.  Upon receiving it in the mail, I immediately got it up and running and started to customize it to fit my needs.  I definitely made the correct choice – I love my Kindle Fire!

**Disclaimer:  I am not encouraging readers to side-load or root their devices, only sharing information on a theoretical level.  What someone does with this information is completely up to them.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. awesomelikeme86
    Jan 16, 2012 @ 23:13:48

    The Kindle Fire is a great selection. I know several people that have one and love it including my mom. Now for me, I have an iPad (the first ed) and an Acer tablet. I guess it was around Christmas when I bought my Acer because I wanted a new tablet that had a front camera and getting an iPad 2 was out of the question because ever since I got my first Android phone I realized how much Apple limits you with your apps, setting, and etc. So congrats on the Kindle Fire, I am currently showing my mother how to use hers and customize it.


    • Nyck Hun.
      Jan 17, 2012 @ 16:34:07

      Thank you so much, and thank you for your comment! I love my Kindle Fire, and I am so glad to hear that others feel the same way about it! While iPads are some of the nicest tablets out there, I would not be able to use one without first jail breaking it and adding my own apps and customizations. There is no way I am going to pay that much money and be stuck with the simple interface Apple favors on its iOS devices! The Acer tablet is a really good choice – the Iconia was one I was considering for some time, but the price eventually made me decide against it (the specs were certainly lovely enough). Ah well, them’s the breaks!


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