Monday, 7 January 2013

Geek Monday: The Tablet Dilema

So my friend comes to me recently and ask which 7" tablet should he buy?  Well for me the simple answer would be anything but an iPad.  The reason being is that as a serious techie (as my fiancĂ©e constantly reminds me), I hate Apple products.  I've only ever bought one piece of their merchandise before which was a 120 GB iPod touch and the reason for this was because no other company offers a hard drive based music player which can store more than about 32 GB usually (so no good if you want to watch films on the go as well having a large music library) but I quickly realised how awful it is to use iTunes on a windows based computer as it a bloated, slow program that could be done so much better.

So from an unbiased point of view which tablet is the best.  The main contenders in the 7" tablet market currently are the iPad mini, Samsung Galaxy Tab 2.0 (7.0), Kindle Fire HD and the Google Nexus 7.  Each of these tablets has their pros and cons and I shall attempt to detail these for each tablets.

Kindle Fire HD (from £159)

The Kindle Fire HD is the logical extension of the Kindle Ebook readers (one of which I own) in which Amazon have created their own tablet with a customised Android operating system with a full colour HD screen.  The people I can see buying a Kindle Fire are those with little experience with technology.  The reason for this is the heavily streamlined version of Android compared to other devices running this operating system.  While this makes it easy for people to use it also limits the usability of this device for people such as myself who like to download tonnes of apps (as you can't use the traditional Google Play store) or play around constantly with home screens and widgets.  Another good point to this tablet is the price in which you can pick up the 16 GB version for £159 or the 32 GB version for only £40 more.  Like most tablets there are always areas where costs are cut and for the Kindle these include a limited version of android and the lack of expandable storage.  

iPad Mini (from £269)

So we come to the iPad mini next.  I have to admit that Apple can make nice products.  The main problem with all their products is the bloody mark up price.  Why does it cost over £100 more for a similar product that is arguably worse in terms of technology.  Apple would have you believe that iPads are the height of technology but the iPad mini features a dual core processor, a 1366 x 768 display and non-expandable storage all of which are improved upon by its competitors for fractions of the iPad's price.  If you want any of the added extras such as additional storage then the price increases exponentially with a 32 GB version with 3G costing £449 (over £200 more than the Nexus 7).  While I moan, the iPad does do things well such as ease of use (simple operating system) and does provide an option for 64 GB of storage.  But due to the ridiculous pricing of it I could not recommend this product.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2.0 (7.0) (from £174.99)

While I am a big fan of Samsung products (I own a Samsung Galaxy S 2) I can't help but feel that they could have done better with their 7" tablet.  While I believe that Samsung are the leaders in terms of smart phones where they have managed to put a quad core processor and HD screen into the Galaxy S 3 why couldn't they do the same with their tablets.  The Galaxy Tab is only sporting a dual core processor and a 1024 x 600 display with is lower than HD and the processor is lacking compared to some competitors.  Also the Tab is only supporting ICS not Jelly Bean which would have been a nicer touch.  One area where the Tab does benefit is that it does have expandable memory which would make it attractive to people who want to carry around a lot of music and films.  The price of the Tab is also a problem in which to get the basic 8 GB model will cost you more than some 16 GB models from its competitors.

Google Nexus 7 (from £159)  

Finally we come to the tablet I would get myself if I had the money.  The Nexus has almost everything you could want in a tablet.  It has the most powerful processor of all the 7" tablets (a quad core NVIDIA Tegra 3), a HD screen resolution, up to 32 GB of storage, vanilla Jelly Bean Android operating system and an excellent price to boot.  You can the Nexus with 32 GB of storage with 3G access for £239 which is over £200 less than the equivalent iPad mini.  The only thing that could improve the Nexus would be to have expandable storage as an option but if you get the 32 GB version that should be ample storage for almost anybody (but then there are things like cloud storage that could be used to improve this as well) unless you want to carry around a huge music or film library on it.


So there you have it......the Google Nexus 7 is the tablet I would recommend.  Thanks for reading my first Geek Monday and in future I will be addressing more tech and other general geek stuff.  Look out for Games Wednesday!!

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