Wednesday, 3 April 2013




Good evening, Synapse Circuit Readers! This piece is written for the many parents out there who find themselves unable to use their phone or PC because their child or children have taken the device over! Lol!


Oh, boy... Here we go...

As you know the iPad is a great example of tablet design and engineering. The iPad and its mini counterpart have a slight edge with regards to the quality of the applications (apps) available for them.

However, many of the competition have made great leaps forward in terms of the quality of the tablet itself and the available apps. The competitive manufacturers use the Android operating system – more about Android later...

The issue for a lot of people – including Apple fanatics is that the iPad is expensive considering that it will be obsolete within a year. Last year many iPad 3 owners were infuriated when the iPad 4 was released 6 months after iPad 3. Not only was the release abnormally early but it featured the new ‘Lightning’ connector which replaced the 30-pin dock connector in previous models; Lightning meant that it was incompatible with previous models and if one had purchased peripherals (for older models) they will not work with iPad 4.

The iPad is a full 10” inch tablet made from premium materials like their iPhone and those factors add to the costs. The 16GB version on Wi-Fi only costs £399. Add £100 to be able to connect over a cellular network (3G) as you would a mobile phone.

Apple recognized that the 10” iPad was out of reach for many people and that the competition 7” tablets were proving to be gaining momentum, so they brought forth the iPad Mini last year. Essentially, the iPad mini is made from iPad 2 innards. Therefore, the £269 (16GB) price tag may seem like good value on the surface but when you scratch deeper you’ll notice that the iPad mini screen is not of the famous Retina standard!

If you have an iPhone you’d most likely want to purchase an iPad and if it is for your child or children you may want to keep the costs down and go for the iPad mini.

You will need to bear the following in mind...

1. The iPad’s quality materials do not stand up to rough handling and therefore can dent and scratch easily.

2. I have been told by iPhone and iPad users that products i.e. music purchased from the iTunes store on let’s say the iPhone cannot be shared with the iPad. One would have to purchase the music again.

The iPad doesn’t look like a device for children in mind; it’s expensive and not resistant to heavy / rough handling.

The Android based tablet can be a minefield that one has to navigate carefully through. The good thing about the Android operating system is that it is free for any manufacturer to use on their devices and manufacturers such as Samsung; Asus; Acer; Archos – the bigwigs have used it to their advantage. Then there’s a load of manufacturers that you probably have never heard of (mostly from China) selling very cheap Android based tablets!

Well known manufacturers and relatively unknown can, between them, produce tablets of varying quality.

What makes Android more lucrative over iPad and iPad mini is that you can pick up a really decent tablet for a lot less than it would to purchase these premium priced products.

Another welcome bit of good news is that the Google Play Store has a dedicated section for tablet based apps. Hurrah!

In addition you can get tablets from 7” up to 10” – there are more sizes to be had but 7”, 8”, 8.9” and 10” are the most popular.

If you want a tablet with a screen that will compete with the iPad then take a look at these:

Google / Asus Nexus 7
Google / Samsung Nexus 10 – Retina beating display!
Archos 97 Titanium – Retina beating display!
Archos 80 Titanium

Personally, I would go for the Archos 97 Titanium on the spec alone. No, I haven’t had the opportunity to test it. But that’s what I would bet on, again, based on specs!

The prices are excellent for all the tablets!

Here’s what you are looking for in an Android tablet...

Ideally you would want to have the most up to date version of the Android operating system which is 4.1 and 4.2 (Jelly Bean). The latest version simply adds great finesse to any device be it mobile phone or tablet.

External Storage
The iPad and mini does not have a slot to add an external microSD card. Storage will become essential if the user downloads a load of apps, music and movies. Google Nexus models do not allow for external storage. Google wants you to use their cloud storage system, Google Drive.

You’d want a dual or quad core because media and game playing is demanding. To play games smoothly you need to ensure that the tablet is up to the task.

A tablet should have at least 1GB of RAM to ensure that apps run smoothly and that the tablet can run other apps in the background (multitasking).


A camera is essential if you want to use video calling apps. A camera is a nice extra – you have to weigh up if you or the intended user will need it or not. Would you want your child to be video conferencing with strangers?

High Definition Media Interface; useful to hook the tablet up to a new-fangled flat screen TV or computer monitor. But would you want to run the risk of your child taking over the TV too?

Cellular Connection
Ok, if you have a young child would you trust him or her to safely surf the Net? As you know, children can be exposed to all kinds of nastiness via the Web. I know that I would want my child (under 16) not to be able to surf the Internet beyond my presence. Also, do I want my child to be vulnerable to theft when taking the tablet out in a public domain? NO!

A cellular connection is useful if you intend on being active on the move. But if you have a decent handset you don’t really need to be out in public with a tablet?

I know the large screen on a tablet is ideal for surfing the Web, being productive, etc. So, with that in mind you can get your handset to act as a Wi-Fi router; you can share your handset’s Internet connection with your tablet. It is great if you have unlimited data. Please bear in mind that some networks do not allow for the sharing of Internet data! Do check with the intended network!

That’s it!

Oh, what I forgot to mention...
Once you make a purchase from the Google Play Store you can share it with all your devices: handset to tablet! 

If you have any questions just drop me a comment!

Thank you for reading!

Please check out the Synapse Circuit website for video, i-PDF and more! 

Synapse Circuit Dot Com

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