Tablets: choosing the right one for you

By Drew Dennis

Something has taken the technological world by storm: tablets. With so many tablets of different shapes, sizes and operating systems, it can be hard to decide which to buy for yourself or a loved one. Here’s some advice to help you make the best choice.

One important factor to consider when buying a tablet is what you are going to do with it. Some tablets are workhorses loaded with all of the bells and whistles, while others are more simplistic.

The person who loves apps and wants to use his or her tablet to perform a variety of tasks should buy the Asus Eee Transformer. The Transformer is an

Android tablet with a 10.1-inch screen and Android 3.0 (soon to be upgraded to the new Android 4.0). It is the perfect device for someone who wants more than just a tablet. Asus offers an add-on keyboard that turns your tablet into a laptop with USB ports, an SD card reader and HDMI output, which lets you stream video from your tablet to a television screen. Because new Asus tablets are about to be released, the Transformer’s price has dropped dramatically. It can be found at all major electronics retailers and costs between $250 and $400.

The next, and most popular, tablet is the Apple iPad 2. The iPad 2 is perfect for the user who wants a simple, familiar interface nearly identical to that of the iPhone. The iPad 2 has a 9.7-inch screen and a super-thin body. One of the biggest benefits of the iPad 2 is its connection to Apple’s App Store, which provides a large number of applications to keep you occupied. The simple operating system makes this tablet a great buy for those who are not tech-savvy. But if you are on a tight budget, be cautious. The iPad 2 is one of the most expensive tablets and costs about $500, nearly double the price of its competitors.

A new tablet on the market, predicted to outsell the iPad 2, is Amazon’s Kindle Fire. The Kindle Fire is a tablet that provides Android apps, without the

Android setup that can be difficult for people not involved in the technical world. The Kindle Fire has a 7-inch screen, the smallest of the tablets discussed in this article. Like the iPad 2, the Kindle Fire doesn’t have many external features, like USB ports, but it is a great gift for someone who likes to read and download the occasional app. The Kindle Fire combines an e-book with Android applications for only $199.

Some tablets are offered at even lower prices, but buyers should beware. Tablets offered for less than $100 usually run Android’s older operating system, which was designed for smartphones.

So if you’re looking for a work-horse tablet, consider buying the Asus Eee Transformer. If you need a tablet that is simple to operate, the iPad 2 is a great buy. If you are on a budget and want to be able to do basic tasks like web browsing, e-reading and using an occasional app, the Kindle Fire is perfect.

Avoid the cheap knock-offs, and enjoy giving yourself or a loved one the hottest gadget of the season.

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