Sadly, vacations are over (if you at least had some)...but gadgets are part of our daily life regardless our academic season, true story!
If you don't have a tablet yet in spite of the marketing rush and technological urge to get one, with this post you'll be able to find the right tablet, choosing from a list of the top 8 tablets on the market today. At the end, what matters is returning to school/work accompanied of the right gadget.
There is simply no better tablet than the Apple iPad. Its iOS operating system is the most intuitive, and its selection of apps beats everyone else's. Plus, connectivity via iCloud and optional cellular help the iPad easily fit into to home and work collaborative environments.
Prices range from $500 to $830 for the third-gen iPad, depending on storage capacity and cellular options, but if you don't need a lot of disk space, consider the iPad instead ($400 to $530).
The new Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 is the best Android tablet, based on InfoWorld's reviews. Samsung has augmented the ease of use in Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich" with motion-activated controls such as for games and easier setup to common services. But the big differentiator is its support for pen computing, based on the technology introduced in the 5-inch Note "phablet" smartphone, so you can draw visual notes and doodles, annotate images, and even enter text via handwriting recognition. Plus, the actual tablet is very nicely designed.
The 16GB model costs $500 and the 32GB model costs $550. Both are Wi-Fi-only, though cellular versions may be released later.
Its sleek design and support for Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich" makes the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 a great casual tablet that can connect into business environments. The $399 Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 is limited to 16GB of storage and Wi-Fi connectivity, so it's not as handy for travelers or as a laptop replacement.
For entertainment-focused use, consider the more portable Galaxy Tab 2 7.0, which has a 7-inch screen rather than the usual 10-inch display. Its smaller screen is better suited for gaming, email, book reading, and light Web surfing than for day-to-day work. The 16GB version costs $350, and the 32GB version costs $450. Verizon Wireless offers a cellular version for $350.
As a business tablet, the Xyboard 10.1 (known as the Xoom 2 in some countries) is a good choice thanks to its IT-oriented security and management capabiltiies and ability to print (a rarity in the Android world). Like the Samsung Galaxy Tab, storage is limited to 16GB and connectivity is limited to Wi-Fi. The $500 Xyboard/Xoom 2 ships with the older Android 3.2 "Honeycomb," but an "Ice Cream Sandwich" upgrade is promised.
The talk of the Android community earlier this summer, the Nexus 7 is the first tablet to run Android 4.1 "Jelly Bean," and it sports a custom user interface optimized for Google's media and enertainment services. Under that entertainment layer, you'll find the full Android environment for both business and personal tasks.
Made by Asus for Google, the tablet has a small, 7-inch screen, along with just 16GB of storage and only Wi-Fi connectivity. But it far surpasses Amazon.com's Kindle Fire -- its closest competitor -- in terms of horsepower and capability. The 8GB model costs $200, and the 16GB model costs $250.
Many people fear tablets' onscreen keyboards. Sure, you can buy a Bluetooth keyboard to avoid typing on the screen, but Asus' Transformer goes one step further and includes a detachable keyboard in what can only be described as a lightweight laptop.
The $500 tablet runs Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich," so it's compatible with many business environments. The tablet connects only via Wi-Fi, but it ships with a comfortable 32GB of storage; with memory cards, it can go up to 64GB.
Sony's Tablet S features a slightly smaller screen than most -- 9.4 inches versus 10.1 -- and its Android 3.2 "Honeycomb" version can't satisfy many businesses' security and management standards. But that's OK: The Tablet S is really aimed at home users and students. It comes with premium speakers and access to Sony's online music library -- definitely a student focus. The 16GB version costs $400, and the 32GB version costs $500.
Acer's Iconia Tab A series are well-liked tablets, with good performance and nice screens. The A510 and A700 models have few differences, though the A700 takes a slight edge in speed. All offer Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich" with only Wi-Fi connectivity. You get 32GB of storage for $430 to $450.