These uniquely portable and useable devices have taken the market by storm, but be sure you actually need one before putting down your money.
What are tablets?
Tablets are essentially very portable computers that use a touch-capable screen as the interface and display rather than having a separate input device. They have either resistive (less sensitive, needs a stylus) or capacitive (more sensitive, fingers sufficient) screens between 5in to 12in and use either iOS, Android or Windows 7 as an operating system.
Why would you want a tablet?
If the only major computing task you do on a daily basis is surf the Internet and send the occasional e-mail, a tablet is an attractive and easy to use option. Another reason you’d want one is for the large suite of applications that make use of the touch-capable screen.
Why you would not want a tablet?
If you need to use most productivity applications, run intensive games or want a platform for entertainment including Blu-ray then a tablet simply won’t be very useful. Their lack of a keyboard and generally low processing power mean that while they do a lot of things notebooks can’t, they also can’t do a lot of things that notebooks can. It should be noted that there are some tablets coming out that have detachable keyboards, but the jury's out about whether this adds enough functionality to make them competitive versus netbooks as well as thin and lights as far as productivity applications are concerned.
What are the specs?
Well, tablets are the most varied when it comes to what’s inside their tiny, sleek shells. Processors are very often custom tailored to a tablet, but there are some specs that can be mentioned. RAM varies between 0.256GB up to 2GB, while storage is generally a solid state drive between 0.512GB up to 64GB or a hard disk drive up to 250GB. Screens are between 5in up to 12.1in, and are either resistive or capacitive. Avoid resistive screens if at all possible; the user experience doesn’t compare favorably to a capacitive screen. They also tend to be very light, weighing about 600 grams depending on the screen size.
As long as you remember that a tablet isn’t really comparable to a netbook or a thin and light notebook, you’ll be in for a great time.