If your computer use is limited to email, browsing the Internet, and a few applications that require little keyboard input then you've probably thought long and hard about buying a tablet. Which one is right for you?
Today I'll take a look at the 4 major 10-inch (or so) tablets available and compare them to one another. Hopefully this will give you some guidance when making your decision. Â
With its 10.4", 2560x1600, 300ppi display, the Nexus 10 has the best display among the group. But what does that mean? Well, unless there are apps that take advantage of the display, not much. Although the Android OS on the Nexus 10 is much more refined than older tablets, it still lags behind Apple's iOS because there really isn't an end-to-end solution for purchasing apps, books, and movies. It's priced similar to the iPad 2 at $399 for a 16GB model and is currently only available online.
iPad (4th Generation)
The new, new iPad is a few steps up the evolutionary ladder from the 3rd generation iPad but doesn't really offer much in the way of must-have changes over its predecessor. Apple dominates the tablet space for a reason. They've built a great product and tied in an eco-system of apps, books, and movies for your consuming pleasure. The price however, keeps it out of many people's hands. At $499 for a 16GB model, many homeschoolers have to think long and hard before deciding to buy one. A refurbished 3rd-gen iPad is only $50 more than the iPad mini and costs less than a new iPad 2. Skip the 4th-gen and go with the one that's only 7 months old.
Windows Surface RT
If you're looking for a tablet that sometimes behaves like a laptop then the Microsoft Surface RT is what you need. Running the newly minted Windows 8, Microsoft's answer to the iPad may actually gain some considerable market share. It's price the same ($499) and will run any Windows app designed for use with the new tiled interface. There are only about 10,000 available apps right now but many of the "essentials" are present in the Microsoft store. It cannot run traditional Windows applications but comes with a free copy of Office Home & Student 2013. Not a bad deal for $500.
Kindle Fire HD 8.9
Although it's not really a 10-inch tablet I should mention the Kindle Fire HD. Amazon has the best chance of challenging Apple's grip on apps, books, and movies. Just like the iPad, the Kindle Fire HD is really a gateway to a giant, electronic mall. Priced aggressively at $299 for a 16GB device, the Kindle Fire HD is the best deal of the bunch. The OS isn't the greatest but if you're looking for a bargain, the Kindle Fire is the way to go. It gets an honorable mention because it really fits in-between the 7- and 10-inch tablets. It want to play with the big boys but can quite keep up.
Priced to move, a refurbished 3rd-generation iPad is the way to go right now. Â $379 for a device that's only 7 months old and still comes with the same 1-year warranty from Apple gets you the same quality a peace of mind knowing you're buying a device that will still be serviceable 2-3 years from now.
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Music by Kevin Macleod.
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