A Beginners Guide To Tablet PCs

Tablet PCs – The Beginners Guide

October 24th, 2014

As you may know, there are 3 kinds of tablet on the market today that you can choose from. But which one will suit you best? Below is a short guide to each tablet, including strengths and weaknesses.

1. Google Android

Android LogoAndroid tablets certainly have plenty of benefits to them, the best of all being its overall customisability. You can have your tablet your way, changing not only the background and layout but also your widgets and apps. Not all widgets can be customised, but you’ll find that the majority of them can in one way or another. This does mean that getting to know your tablet may take some time as there is more to offer, especially with newer tablets.

Back when Android first began, the Google Play Store (a marketplace for apps, games, movies, TV shows & books) looked quite bulky, dated and wasn’t the greatest store to use. These days it is much easier to navigate through different apps and widgets and it looks much more appealing. The downside is that many of Android apps and widgets are exclusively made for smart phones, which means when placed onto a tablet they look like enlarged smartphone apps.

Android is what we like to refer to as “open”, which means tablet users (as mentioned before) can customise their device to make it their own. This comes with pros and cons; the pro is that you are given a wide range of choice, the con is that they don’t run all too smoothly or as easily as the standard ‘Vanilla’ Android. Another downfall of Android based tablets is that there is a distinct lack of quality control in the Google Play Store. This leads to some not so nice or even unsafe apps and widgets making their way into the store. Some are fairly obvious but others can look legit and suck you in, so you have to keep your wits about you.

It may surprise you to know that Amazon Kindle tablets are actually supported by Android, but not in it’s entirely. The Kindle runs on Android but Amazon created its own version of Google’s Play Store, which isn’t as well presented or as well stocked as the standard Google Play Store. This however is a small price to pay for the instant and easy access to Amazon’s services, great for those who are already an Amazon customer.

Another useful feature of Android based tablets is the ability to have “User Profiles”. You can set up your tablet with various profiles, each with their own individual settings. This means you can give your tablet to anyone without the worry of them poking into personal information or details, and also makes it safe for children to use. This isn’t to say it’s entirely secure, it’s just an extra step to keep you safe.

But there is a price to pay for safety, you can only gain User Profiles through Android tablets that run on version 4.3 upwards. If that wasn’t tempting enough then the price should tip you over the edge, with 7 inch tablets available for less than £200. The most popular of the Android tablets being the Samsung Galaxy range. You can compare Galaxy Tab Contracts with our simple to use tables.

Summary –

  • Android tablets are great if you’re working with a low budget or if you aren’t overly fussed about the overall quality
  • The ability to thoroughly customise your tablet is a huge plus, amazing if you have specific needs
  • The apps and widgets aren’t always optimised with larger screens, so the smaller the tablet the better it will work
  • User Accounts mean that you can share one tablet with several profiles, helpful for families


2. Microsoft Windows

Windows LogoWindows has been in our hearts and homes for many years, but it’s only since the latest version, Windows 8, that Microsoft decided to start working with tablets. They may be the new kid on the block in the tablet world, but they’re certainly no amateurs. They have two operating systems they work with, the standard Windows 8 and Windows RT. How do you tell the difference? Windows 8 is as it is on your PC, just optimised for touch screens. All programs used on your laptop or PC is exactly the same on your tablet, handy if you’re an avid Windows user.

With more power comes more expense, lower battery life and more weight. The average Windows 8 tablet can set you back double what is costs for a cheap Android tablet and because it is so powerful their tablets needs constant charging. The weight also means that it can almost be like having a laptop and many people do actually replace their laptop with these kind of tablet as they’re more portable. You can even buy attachment keyboards for your Windows tablet, which effectively makes it into a Windows 8 laptop.

Windows RT however is a whole different kettle of fish as it is a more basic or cut-down version of Windows 8. It limits you in what apps you can download and use on the tablet, but the upside is that the lack of power makes the tablet lighter with better battery life. Because it’s so new to the scene it doesn’t over even half as much as its competitors, but Microsoft are working long and hard to improve their offerings.

However it isn’t all doom and gloom as Windows RT does offer Microsoft Office as a free bundle. This is great for those who perhaps work closely with Microsoft Office programs and need it on the go. What makes it a competitor is its better use of User Profiles; you’re in far much more control than you would be with an Android tablet and is more customisable. For the average Joe however, the tablet is not overly suitable and it is better suited to companies or working professionals.

Summary –

  • There is far less variety available to buyers in comparison to Android and iOS
  • The ability to use Windows 8 on the tablet works great for those who want to connect to other devices on the same system
  • Windows RT comes with Microsoft Office, which is helpful if you work closely with Office at home or work
  • The Windows Store offers very little and doesn’t have very much variety when compared to its competitors.


3. Apple iOS

appleApple’s iOS is the most popular tablet operating system, taking over 50% of all tablet sales. iOS has been designed to be extremely easy to use, so adults and children alike can use it with no difficulty whatsoever. The latest version to date is iOS 7, which is slightly different from its predecessors. This version of iOS not only runs silky smoothly but also has added features to its settings and usability. It also has a very sleek new design, making it the most attractive operating systems of the 3.

The most popular benefit to the iOS system is the Apple App Store. It offers the largest selection of apps and widgets, over half a million and counting. It also has the widest variety, if you can think of it, chances are there is a iPad app for the for it. It’s also world famous for its fantastic customer service and support for its customers.

There are hundreds of Apple Stores around the world, so if you ever have a problem all you have to do is visit your local store to get it checked out. Be aware however that an “iStore” is not a genuine Apple Store, these stores are licensed to sell Apple products but cannot offer the same customer service. So if you have a technical problem with your tablet, you need to take it directly to Apple as an iStore is just a reseller.

The downsides? iOS doesn’t offer as many features or as much customisation as an Android tablet. It’s not only limited in customisation but it also is the most expensive kind of tablet you can buy. iOS does not include the option of external memory, which can increase the price of the tablet dramatically depending on how much memory you need. This also means that if the machine dies for any reason, the memory stored is more likely to go with it. Luckily, iOS is one of the most stable & reliable of the three operating systems.

If an iPad interests you then you can compare iPad contract options with us.

With that being said, the saying “you get what you pay for” is certainly true for Apple products as the build quality is fantastic. Made from premium aluminum & glass, iPads are extremely durable and hard wearing for the most part, which means a small drop won’t harm it as much as it would harm a plastic Android or Windows device. The battery life is second to none, so they’re great for travelling around too.

Summary –

  • They are very durable, which makes them great for use in the home or on your travels. It also makes them good for children.
  • The user interface is sleek and simple to use, but is not as customisable compared to Android
  • They are expensive, but if you want premium quality & fantastic customer service that comes with a price
  • Has the most variety of content to offer from the App Store, which again makes it great for almost anyone.
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