Craig Rowe talks tablets

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Best_tabletsTablet computer ownership more than doubled in the past year, but if the idea of choosing one puts you in a spin let Craig Rowe, QVC Presenter, tech lover and blogger explain in straightforward terms how to go about choosing the right tablet without the headache.

Working on tech shows I’m amazed by the variety in spec, price and quality of tablets, so don’t just grab the first thing you see. Here’s my top 5 points to bear in mind when choosing a tablet…

 

1. SIZE

Nothing more technical here than the vital statistics.  Historically, tablets have been around 10 inches in size but now you have a choice of nifty little 7″-8″  devices such as Tesco Hudl & ipad mini or over-sized 13″ bigguns like the Archos family pad. Consider where you’ll use the tablet, portability and crucially what size bag you carry. Remember a smaller tablet can also be far more discreet.

 

2. STORAGE

This vital aspect determines how much music, videos, games, photos, documents & apps you have at your disposal. Think  how often you want to connect your tablet to your computer to add and remove stuff and also consider if cloud based storage might be right for you. Tablets like the iPad have fixed storage sizes whereas with most others you can upgrade the storage with a micro SD card, in some cases up to 64GB, that’s up to 35 movies!

 

3. CONNECTIVITY

In the age of wireless you could be forgiven for overlooking this, but in a word – DONT! The types of connections most used are USB ports and SD for storage expansion and file transfer and HDMI for video output.  Think about what you will want to connect your tablet to (camera, speakers, TV) – this will help you make the right choice.  Also ask if you are happy to just be online when in a WiFi area, or if you want access to the internet at all times.  It’s an additional small monthly or pay-as-you-go cost but with 3G/4G you would have constant access to social media, emails, streaming TV and music.

tablets

 

4. POWER & RAM

In any tablet you have a processor which acts like an engine to drive the device, and just like cars there are several brands, types and power of engines from Qualcomm, NVIDIA, Samsung and more. Some tablets come with a quad core processor (4 engines), but something like the Samsung Tab with its dual core (2 engines) gives a superior user experience to quad core alternatives because of the quality of the processor and operating system refinement.

RAM is the Random Access Memory getting you what you want when you want it; essentially the higher this number the faster the tablet. Lots of basic tablets have less than 1GB ram, step upto 2GB or more for a faster, smoother experience with better multi-tasking abilities.

 

5. PRICE

Ultimately, anyone’s tablet purchasing decisions come down to one final point – price.  For many iPads and big-brand tablets are out of reach, but there’s still some excellent tablets out there for half the price! Here are some ideas to get you started:

 

BUDGET

tesco-hudlTesco Hudl 7” – £119 – Direct from Tesco and packing decent spec including a good processor and 16GB storage, the Hudl is highly commended by PC Advisor as well as coming top of BBC’s ‘The One Show’ budget tablet test.

Prestigo 8” tablet – £140 – A fast, responsive quad-core tablet well loved by reviewers on QVC & Amazon and available on the high-street through Maplin with 3G variations available.

 

MID-RANGE

Nexus-7-201313.3″ Archos FamilyPad 2 – £240 – Not as portable, but good value and a reasonable spec for a tablet that won’t leave the house. Available online through Toys’R Us.

7″ Google Nexus 7 (2013) – £199 – Ultra light with a beautiful display with option to charge it wirelessly if you haven’t got time for cables. Available directly from Google or from alternatively from Tesco.

 

SPLASH THE CASH

appleipadair10″ Sony Xperia Z Tablet – £380 – Ultimately one of my favourite tablets, it’s responsive and has a magnificent LED backlit display. The sound is very good for a tablet and it’s dust and waterproof too – hurrah! You can buy it on the high-street through Currys.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 – £280 – With great design, connectivity and a bright, beautiful display the 3rd generation of Samsung’s tablets are keenly priced and powered by an Intel Atom processor. Available from a variety of high-street retailers including Argos.

Apple iPad Air – £399 – Some say where others have broken ground apple have plateaued. With the iPad you are buying over the odds in terms of spec, storage and memory but I still believe there’s something deeply intuitive about iOS and if you already use an Apple PC or iPhone you’ll find iPad a doddle.

 

 

FUTURE TABLETS

So there you have it.  There’s a lot of great tablets around and plenty to recommend.  I currently use an iPad as my daily driver and also a Sony Xperia Tablet Z for movies and catchup TV, but in the future I would be looking for tablets to have more built-in storage, better quality speakers and drop-proof casing for those inevitable “butter-fingers” moments!

 

CraigRoweCraig Rowe has been working in Television for over 10 years and was trained at the BBC in TV Production, both in studio and on-location, with 7 years TV production experience. For the last five years Craig has presented on QVC presenting a variety of lifestyle, interiors, food, cooking and technology shows, the latter being his favourite as he really is a techno ‘geek’, also appearing on ‘This Morning’ as their Gadget Guru. Visit his site at CraigRowe.net

 

 

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