Consider a Tablet
By Mike Pepper
Thinking about a new laptop? Be sure to give tablets a bit of your thought. Tablet computers, for most users, can do just about anything that a laptop can do, and some can do everything that a laptop can. Prices for tablets are comparable to laptops, and they’re so light and convenient.
Usually the screen size is a bit smaller on a tablet, and the keyboard is always an optional extra. Storage for a tablet usually depends more on Internet cloud services. When shopping for a new tablet, know that there are generally three types: iPad, Android, and Windows tablets that run the same standard version of Windows that you find on most PCs in homes and offices.
Apple iPads and most major brand Android tablets can do all the things that most users need. That includes word-processing and spreadsheet programs, editing photos, and, of course, browsing the World Wide Web. There are even versions of Word and Excel for these tablets. The tablets that run standard Windows are really like laptops, but with the keyboard optional. They run all the same programs as standard laptops, including any specialized business programs, if you have that need.
The iPad tablets are Apple products and they use programs (apps) made specifically for Apple iPads and iPhones. There are apps for every function that you need, or can imagine, and major programs like Microsoft Office, and QuickBooks (online version) work on iPads, too. Any program with an online, web-based version will work on iPads.
Android tablets, likewise, will only run apps that are made specifically for the Android operating system. Android tablets are made by many manufacturers, at many performance and price levels. The performance spectrum for Android devices is so broad that it can be daunting to be sure that you’re looking at one that is truly up-to-date. The latest version of Android is 9, but new Android tablets (as of this writing) usually run Android 7.x or later. (I would skip any that don’t run 7.x or later.)
If you’re open to the idea of a tablet but aren’t sure if it’s right for you, see if you can spend some time with one. Maybe borrow one from a family member or friend. The secret to satisfaction for your needs is to look at the range of tablets and see if one type or another strikes your fancy. Talk to friends and acquaintances who use tablets. See what features they like and, particularly, the features that they don’t like. Take all with a thoughtful grain of salt, of course, but use this info to figure out where to focus for your own needs. Then, be sure to try out the apps that you are most likely to want or need. Note that even apps with the same name on two or more tablets may not have the same features or ways of working from type to type. No kidding, try out the important ones before you decide!
MIKE PEPPER, The Computer Guy, has been providing software and hardware support in New York and Connecticut for more than 35 years. He can be reached at (845) 855-5824, or www.PawlingComputerGuy.com.