Back when Samsung launched its Galaxy Tab, which features a 7-inch screen, Apple’s Steve Jobs said this category of devices was DOA. His reasoning? They’re tweeners—too close in size to smart phones and only 45 percent as large as the iPad’s 9.7-inch display. As it turns out, Samsung has reportedly sold more than 3 million units thus far, and that was using a more phone-centric version of the Android OS.
The benefit of a smaller slate is that it’s more portable. You can slip a 7-inch tablet such as the BlackBerry PlayBook into a jacket pocket or purse, something you can’t do with the iPad and other larger devices. A smaller, lighter tablet should also cause less strain when held for an extended period of time, such as when you’re reading or gaming. Lastly, thumb typing on a 7-inch tablet tends to be easier, because your fingers don’t have to stretch as far across the touch keyboard.
On the other hand, 10-inch tablets provide a larger canvas for surfing the web, watching videos, checking e-mails, reading digital magazines, and more. The iPad 2 has a resolution of 1024 x 768, while the latest 10-inch Android tablets sport a sharp resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels. The 7-inch tablets we’ve seen typically feature a smaller resolution of 1024 x 600 or 800 x 480. You’ll also find some models in between, such as the 8.9-inch G-Slate (1280 x 768) and the upcoming Galaxy Tab 8.9.
Bottom line: A smaller 7- to 9-inch tablet is easier to tote, while a 10-inch slate is easier on your eyes and provides a more immersive experience.