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Monday, January 14, 2013

Android or Galaxy Tablets, iPads, Kindle Fires, Nooks, Windows Surface Pro - Which One Should You Buy?

The Android XYBoard Tablet (also known as the Xoom 2) is a pretty cool device that's available for individuals who are looking to upgrade their life with some of the latest technology.

It comes in 8.2 and 10.1 inch screen sizes and both screen sizes come with front and back cameras (5 megapixels in the back camera and 1.3 megapixels in the front camera) that have digital zoom, LED flash, automatic focus and 1.3 web cam for taking videos. The screen plays movies in HD (high definition) and the tablet will play several formats of music.

The XYBoard comes with a 3.2 Android Honeycomb operating system, pinch to zoom touch screen and both portrait and landscape angles keyboard. You can get up to 32 gigabytes (GB) of internal storage and it comes with 1 gigabyte of memory.

In addition, it comes with a 1.6 gigahertzes (GHz) dual core processor (information processing speed). However, the best part about this baby is that not only does it have WI-FI (wireless internet) capabilities, it also has built-in HotSpot (internet service) available that you can share with your phone service and other devices. So, you can have internet service anywhere you go (as long as Verizon phone service is available in that area) and not just at your favorite cafe, fast food restaurant or hotel.

On this device, you can download games and apps, like the Kindle app for example, and have access to all your books, magazines and other reading material. And since it is a computer, you can create, save and edit documents in Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint because it comes loaded with a full version of QuickOffice. When you're done, you can print them wirelessly with the pre-installed Motoprint application. There were some initial bugging issues with this product that seems to have been worked out. Priced at about $500, this tablet is definitely one that you would want to look closely at.

The Samsung Galaxy Tablet 2 is available in 7 inches or 10 inches in width and comes with some similiar features as the XYBoard. The operating system is Android 4.0, 4.1 and the Ice Cream Sandwich. It has front and rear cameras with rear pictures taking at 3.2 megapixels, but the front is only VGA (video graphics array) quality, meaning it will produce 4x6 pictures in pretty good quality, but no other size. It has 8+1 GB memory and up to 32 GB storage and comes with an SD card.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 comes with 1.2 GHz dual core processing speed and has a phone with speakerphone and airline mode options. In fact, it is the only tablet out there that has calling functions (if you don't count video chatting as a phone function). It can play music, videos and download apps (like the Kindle app) from Samsung Widget Gallery and Media Hub. The tablet is Microsoft Office compatible but does not come preloaded with it. Instead, it comes loaded with Polaris Office to create, edit and save documents. It is priced at about $350 for the 7 inch and about $600 for the 10 inch version.

The iPad2 is very similiar to the XYBoard, but different in a few important ways. The iPad2 also has front and back cameras but with much lower resolutions (0.92 megapixels). However, the iPad Mini, about 7 inches wide has 5 megapixels for its main camera. The iPad2 does have the option for 64 gigabytes of internal storage but only 512 megabytes of memory.

The dual core processing speed of the iPad2 is slightly lower than the XYBoard at 1 gigahertz. The display screen, resolution and pixel density of the iPad2 are slightly lower than the XYBoard. The iPad2 does have the App Store (a huge resevoir of application choices), iCloud (an unlimited online storage site for music, documents, pictures, etc.) which are huge benefits for this product.

The iPad2 3G version has internal hotspot internet capability, but costs about $70 more and only comes with 16 gigabytes of internal storage. This product is priced at about $330 for 16 GB, $430 for 32 GB and $530 for 64 GB. The iPad3 or the iPad Retina Display has HD (high definition) screens easy on the eyes with 264 pixels per inch. All three iPads come with FaceTime video calling capabilities over WI-FI access. The price goes up about $100 on each storage size if you wish to add or share your cell phone wireless internet service to your tablet.

The Kindle Fire is a smaller display device, about 7 inches, that stores literally thousands of books, music, movies and other media. It comes with WI-FI access if your are nearby a wireless hotspot. You cannot use your cell phone service for this device and be able to get online. You can purchase and download books, media, games and apps from the Amazon store to play on your device. Screen resolution is about 216 pixels per inch (ppi).

However, downsides to the Kindle Fire include the fact that they do not have cameras on any side, front or back or a computer operating system that allows any document creating. It's simply entertainment storage and web access. The new Kindle HD does have a front camera that takes 1.3 megapixels pictures. This device is priced at about $199.

It's rival, the Nook has a setup that is similiar with storage for books, music and other media and access to the internet via an external hotspot. The Nook is slightly lighter in weight, slightly better in resolution, slightly faster in processing, same in memory but comes with a lot less storage. However, the Nook has storage capabilities with an SD card that the Kindle does not. The Nook has no camera, so no video chatting is possible. The Nook also gives you an unlimited shopping experience at Barnes & Noble. This device is priced at about $199.

And then there's the Windows Surface RT (almost 11 inch tablet) and the Windows Surface 8 Pro coming in 2013. This little guy operates much like a desktop computer with up to 64 GB of storage and runs the Windows RT operating system. The Windows Surface Pro 8 is the only tablet that has ever been able to connect to a network of computers.

Instead of a dual core processor, it has a quad-core with NIVIDIA Tegra 3 processing speed. It comes with Bluetooth WI-FI, front and rear facing cameras, both with 720 pixel HD LifeCams, two microphones and stereo speakers. It downloads music, apps, games and more just like other tablets. This tablet is priced at about $500 for the RT and about $900 for Pro 8.

So, there's a few things to think about when considering a tablet purchase that will bring you up to date in this ever changing age of technology. When deciding, think about what's important to you. Do you really need a good camera and video camera? Is it really important to also have HotSpot included? Then the Android XYBoard might be the one for you.

If you really need a phone with your tablet, then the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 is the answer for you. If you need networking and full computer capabilities, then the Windows Surface RT might be just the trick. The Kindle and the Nook are really fun, but everything they have to offer can be had with other tablets that do more. That's tough to swallow but sometimes the truth hurts.

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