Friday, 13 December 2013

SYNAPSE CIRCUIT: TABLET GIFTS CHRISTMAS 2013 PART ONE

The Google Nexus 7 2013
SYNAPSE CIRCUIT:
TABLET GIFTS CHRISTMAS 2013 PART ONE
#TabletGiftsXmas2013

Good evening, Synapse Circuit Readers! It is not so cold tonight – thank goodness! Are you in the market for a tablet or two this year? Yes, one for you and one for your child or children! The tablet market is saturated these days... I am going to help you make a decision...

CHOOSING A TABLET
The tablet market is growing at a massive rate! What Android has done to the phone industry it is doing to the same to the tablet industry – bringing some confusion in its wake! We’ll get to the crux of the confusion during this article... Then there is Microsoft’s efforts, Windows RT and 8.1 Surface tablets and not to mention a few manufacturers creating their own Windows RT and 8.1 tablets such as Asus and HP.

They are all chasing after one domain and that’s Apple’s iPad Air! No surprise there!

iPAD AIR WI-FI
£399 (16 GB), £479 (32 GB), £559 (64 GB), £639 (128 GB)
The above prices is just for the Wi-Fi only version! As much as I like the iPad I find that it is too expensive for what it is. If you have such an outlay and you’re an Apple fan then there’s no doubt that you have made your decision already. Personally, I don’t see the point of making such an outlay for a tablet whereby the company produces Mackintosh computers. In a sense the iOS operating system on the iPad (iPad Mini and iPhone) is very much like Windows RT to the full blown Windows 8.1.

Therefore, iOS is quite the same experience as the OSX Mavericks as found on Mac computers. I don’t see the sense in laying out over £300 for any tablet for portability when I could pick up a decent laptop with more power and real programs as opposed to apps! As great as the iOS App Store is I feel that you are paying a high price to play a few games, surf the web and to a little productive.

iPAD MINI RETINA DISPLAY WI-FI
£319 (16 GB), £399 (32 GB), £479 (64 GB), £559 (128 GB)

Many children are making demands for the iPad this year and Mom and Dad may find that the iPad mini with a retina display is an alternative (to the iPad Air). Again, the prices aren’t much better. But an Apple fanatic on a budget may stretch this far. However, the ultimate iPad for the impoverished Apple user is the non-retina iPad mini which retails at £249 for the 16 GB Wi-Fi version.

CONCLUSION
If money is no object then the iPad Air should be on your Xmas shopping list!

ANDROID TABLETS
Well, one of the many good things about Android tablets is that they are cost effective. It’s also one of the bad things too! Some of these sub £100 tablets are awful! The trouble with some cheap Android tablets is that the touch screen quality is poor as well as the materials.

The advice is to stick with well known brands when choosing an Android tablet.

THE FIRST QUESTION IS: WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM YOUR TABLET?
There’s not much point in laying out over £300 for a tablet if you only want to play games, surf the Net, to social network and so on: entertainment. Obviously, the good thing about Android is that you have such a great variety to choose from. Let’s say that you wanted to get a tablet for the purpose of entertainment then check these tablets out...

GOOGLE NEXUS 7 2013
£199 (16 GB), £239 (32 GB) and £299 (32 GB LTE Unlocked GSM networks)
The prices above is so very pleasing for a majority of people who are looking for a tablet for the purpose of entertainment. Naturally, there are apps for productivity on the Android platform and the tablet specific apps are growing quite rapidly too. Ok, the Nexus 7 is a 7” tablet in (as you probably worked out from the model name) in comparison to the 9.7” iPad Air and 7.9” iPad mini tablets – that’s what helps to keep the costs down! Do you really need such a screen larger than 7”?

The Nexus 7 2013 has a wonderful 7.02" 1920 x 1200 HD display (323 ppi) – the highest on a 7” tablet! It also has a 1.2 MP front facing, fixed focus camera and a 5 MP rear facing, auto focus camera. The CPU is a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon™ S4 Pro, 1.5 GHz which means it’ll be fast enough for games, video and other multimedia apps.

The one possible downside is that there is no storage expansion via microSD card; Google wants you to use their Drive cloud storage facility which isn’t really all that bad.

If you’re on a budget you can pick up the Nexus 7 2012 model cheaply but you will not get the beautiful hardware that is the 2013 model!

CONCLUSION
I would definitely make the Google Nexus 7 2013 my first choice for the purpose of entertainment. The spec is great and the price is right! I would probably go for the 32 GB LTE unlocked version so that I’d be able to insert a SIM card and take out a decent rolling contract with a good network.

ASUS MeMO PAD 7”
£129 (16 GB)
Well, it’s hardly surprising that Asus is the second choice as they made the Nexus 7 for and / or with Google! The MeMo Pad 7” is a great tablet for the money, £129! It features a 1.2 GHz quad-core processor and should be fast enough to handle games and today’s demanding apps! There’s external storage for up to 32 GB through microSD! And if that’s not enough Asus are offering 16 GB of their own cloud storage services for a year! Nice! The main camera is 5MP and the front facing camera is 1.2MP! It comes in white, pink and blue colours.

The screen resolution is quite reasonable at 1280 x 800 (215.63 ppi) and should be pleasing to most eyes.

CONCLUSION
Yes, it is Wi-Fi only and there are no models offering a 3G / 4G LTE network compatibility but at that price it does not matter at all! In fact you can always use your mobile phone as a Wi-Fi hotspot that will allow you to get this or any tablet connected to the Internet! Be aware that some networks do not allow this! Do check!

SAMSUNG GALAXY TAB 3 8”
£179 (16 GB)
Here’s a decent 8” tablet that is currently on sale in the UK, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8”. It’s not as highly decked out with hardware as the Nexus 7 2013 tablet. For starters it features a dual-core 1.5 GHz processor and 8” 1280 x 800 (189 ppi) screen can’t really match the density of the full HD Nexus 7 2013 screen! But you can expand the storage up to 64 GB via microSD card.

CONCLUSION
I like this tablet; it’s a nice design that resembles a large Galaxy S4 phone. It is a good compromise of quality of build and hardware. It’s certainly good for web browsing and keeping up with social networks. However, it may be that the dual-core 1.5 GHz processor may struggle with multiple apps opened at once and the more demanding games of late! Go to a decent retail outlet and ask to test it if your purpose is for games!

The Galaxy Tab 3 8” comes in red, black and white.

ACER ICONIA A1-811 7.9”
£209.99 (16 GB Wi-Fi & 3G)
Now this has got to be one of the most inexpensive Wi-Fi and 3G compatible tablet on the market today! The Wi-Fi only model, the Iconia A1-810, costs £159.99! As you have probably figured out, the Acer Iconia A1-810 and 811 tablets are 7.9” and is very much like the iPad mini.

The Acer Iconia A1-810 and 811 features a 1.2 GHz quad-core processor, 5MP main camera and the equivalent of a webcam 0.3MP front facing camera. The screen resolution is a just about acceptable at 1024 x 768 (162.3 ppi)! I say “just about” because for the purpose of entertainment the amount of detail in the screen should suffice. I found the Iconia A1-810 to be very useful for keeping up with social networking and surfing the net on the fly. This should suit the family fairly well!

CONCLUSION
I think that the Iconia A1-810 and 811 tablet is a good compromise of hardware spec and cost. The 3G compatibility is awesome at £209.99! As you can see, 3G / 4G LTE compatibility comes at a greater cost with all tablets and more noticeable with the iPad models.

LENOVO IDEATAB S6000 10”
£179.99 (16 GB)
Hey, the Lenovo IdeaTab S6000 10” has a good price tag for a 10” tablet! It features a quad-core 1.2 GHz processor, 5MP main camera and 0.3MP front facing camera. The screen resolution is 1280 x 800 - I am not sure about the ppi as it is not specified. However, I think it makes for a good family tablet as the 10” will make it easier to share the screen – especially reading an interactive children’s story. There is a 3G compatible version that brings the price up to £229.99 which is, again, great for being able to connect to the Internet and services on the go!

CONCLUSION
The IdeaTab S6000 10” is a pretty decent entertainment 10” tablet that should provide fun for the family! The beauty of this and many Android tablets is that when the next model comes out the following year it is easier to part with it than with a table that costs over £300! Gosh!

WHAT ABOUT TABLETS FROM AMAZON AND KOBO?
Good question... I can’t say that I like using the Amazon Kindle models because they are directly linked to the Amazon experience – even though they are using a form of Android in the background. In my opinion that’s not the essence of mobile computing. If you are happy with being hooked up into Amazon then check their tablets out! Check out this tablet for good value for money...

KOBO ARC 7”
£99.99 (64 GB)
Wow! That’s 64 GB for a brilliant £99.99! Let’s see... What do you get for the money? You get a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor, 1.3MP front facing camera – you don’t really need a main camera on a tablet. The screen resolution is a pretty decent 1280 x 800 with a ppi of 215! Not bad at all!

It comes with its own eBook apps and you’re encouraged to purchase more reading material through its bookstore.

I would also check out the...

KOBO ARC 7” HD
£159.99 (16 GB)
This tablet is very much like the Nexus 7 2013 where high quality is concerned... The 7" screen is an impressive 1920 x 1200 HD+ (323 ppi) – I think that’s higher than the iPad! What powers it is a pretty powerful quad-core 1.7 GHz processor and a 1.3MP front facing camera. It’s a souped-up version of the Arc 7!

CONCLUSION
The two Kobo tablets represents good value for money! Be aware that you can’t expand the storage via a microSD card. If you like consuming eBooks and magazines and want the familiar Android operating system then this could be a solution for you! The asking prices are very reasonable indeed!

Stay tuned for part two: Productivity Tablets!

Watch this space!

Take good care!


Thank you for watching and reading!


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

Synapse Circuit Dot Com