Tablet Buying Guide: How to Pick the Perfect Slate

What’s the Right Size?

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.



Tablet Buying Guide

AUTHOR BIO
Mark Spoonauer
Mark Spoonauer
Responsible for the editorial vision for Laptopmag.com, Mark Spoonauer has been Editor in Chief of LAPTOP since 2003 and has covered technology for nearly 15 years. Mark speaks at key tech industry events and makes regular media appearances on CNBC, Fox and CNN. Mark was previously reviews editor at Mobile Computing, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc.
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  1. Craig Says:

    Why don’t you ever comment on the limitations of the ipad? I have the apple IPAD and no one ever comments on the fact that one cannot open any websites that have incorporated Adobe flashplayer. (There are more websites that utilize this than one would think). Apple’s continued reluctance to allow total access to its products (citing, adobe flash is not a good program and causes crashes) is unacceptable. I already have a father. If I want to use add-ons to the electronic devices I purchased, then why not allow it, understanding that the machine could crash?
    I do not know much about the competitive devices, but I am assuming that there are no restrictions.

    My 2 cents

  2. charles Says:

    Since when did apps come to mean something different from program? “Microsoft doesn’t have it’s own app store” Last time I checked, it had literally thousands of programs able to run on Windows. Even if Windows isn’t the best software (right now at least) for tablets to run, please don’t sound ignorant in saying that Windows based tablets have no apps available.

  3. mirekk Says:

    There’s no such thing as perfect tablet, or perfect anything for that matter. It’s simply a matter of individual preference. Anyhoo the tablets of today are still relatively simple (media consumption) and require some more work (more interfaces, more storage space, etc.).

  4. Mark Says:

    Tabs are fun if you get the right one. Number one priority inputs. If so it doesn’t matter how much onboard storage is if you can pop in a flash drive or sdcard. Two GUI must be 3D capable. Three not locked in, to a carrier, or proprietary anything especially inputs and app store. Android tabs meet all those criterions. Ipad is more of a 20th century 1D device. Great for kids and the elderly. No frills, no thrills. Also, there selling points buying apps and garage band, be serious. I’m not buying a tab to continuously line apple’s pockets with my money, plus, the connectivity issues they hope no one notices.

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