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Choosing a tablet

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With hundreds of tablets available on the South African market, it is often difficult to decide which one best suits your needs. JORGE DA SILVA at Toshiba offers some tips on what to keep in mind when choosing one.

The tablet market has grown at a staggering pace over the past 18 months, and today offers a massive variety for consumers to choose from, including the new Toshiba AT100. But with the market so new, what are the key factors to look at when deciding on which tablet is right for you?

Tablets are without question the biggest growth area in technology right now, mainly because they bring together all the power, versatility and productivity features of a traditional PC with the mobile convenience and app-based infrastructure of the hugely successful smartphone market.

So when shopping for a tablet, here are four considerations to keep at the front of your mind.

Size matters There are obviously exceptions to the rule, but in general, tablets have broadly sorted themselves into two general size brackets: smaller, more mobile devices typically with 7-inch screen sizes, and larger, more productivity-suited tablets with a screen size of 10.1-inches or similar. Both offer the same appeal, and as such the larger variety simply lets you enjoy all the same features on a bigger screen, but it’s worth giving some thought to size up front.

Feel the power Budget always plays a part in the spec you can afford, but these days the benchmark for decent tablet performance is a processor running at 1GHz or higher, and ideally dual-core too. That, combined with a decent quota of RAM ‚ at least 512MB ‚ will unlock the key to true multitasking abilities.

It’s about connectivity Whether you opt for a Wi-Fi or 3G tablet, web connectivity is at the very core of what tablet computing is all about. But it’s not just the ability to connect that’s important ‚ it’s what you do when you’re connected. For video-chatting for instance, a front-facing camera is a must. For streaming video, things like DLNA compatibility or an HDMI Out connection give you the flexibility of being able to connect to other devices.

Appy What makes mobile devices so special these days? That’s right ‚ apps, apps and more apps. Most tablets come with a fair selection of utilities and software already pre-loaded, but for the rest it’s about using your tablet as a blank slate to add more. The Android Market, for instance, offers hundreds of thousands of different apps to choose from to cater for just about every need imaginable.

With all of the above in mind, Toshiba’s AT100 offers a great all-round mix of features that hits nearly every significant tablet marker you could ask for. It’s a 10.1-inch tablet with an Nvidia dual-core processor, Android Honeycomb, removeable battery, full-size ports for HDMI, USB and SD cards, and bags of other great features and capabilities.

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