Looking for 7 Inches of Tablet Bliss?

This holiday season provides a plethora (how often do you get to use that word) of low cost tablet devices. All the big names are in this party, Amazon, Google, Nook. Were still waiting in the wings for Apple to show it’s mini-me iPad but even then it would be a stretch to hope that they match the $200 price point of these tablets. It looks like a three way fight between the Kindle Fire HD, Nexus 7 and the Barnes and Noble Nook HD. Here are some links to check out.

Huffington Post – How the Best Tablets Compare

PC World – Nook HD vs Fire HD

Business Insider.com – Amazon’s Kindle Fire Just Became a Dud

The best news is now consumers have real choices and can pick the best device for their needs. Still, this is TechTalk so I would be remiss without offering some suggestions to look for when choosing a tablet.

  • Screen: For a sharper picture higher resolutions are usually better as is a higher number of pixels per inch (ppi) .
  • Storage: Always look for external storage. Any tablet that doesn’t offer some type of SD card storage should be considered only for email or web browsing.
  • CPU Ram: A multicore CPU 1.2 to 1.5 Ghz is the norm as is 1 GB of ram. 512 MB will get you by but may be a little pokey.
  • Operating System: Until Apple shows their hand all these tablets run a variation of Android. The current version is 4.1 (Jelly Bean) but it is only a small upgrade from 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich). Avoid any tablets still running 3.0 (Honeycomb) unless they are dirt cheap.
  • Content: Choose your ecosystem. Do you send most of your digital dollars to Google, Amazon or Barnes and Noble? The Nexus 7 will allow you to sample all three, however.
  • Battery Life: A tablet isn’t very mobile plugged into the wall. These measurements are at best guide so don’t be too critical.

Behind the front desk you would be well advised to familiarize yourself with all three as you can bet your patrons will be coming to you with their new tablets before the smell of Santa’s workshop wears off. Let’s here what you think in the comments section below. What features do you consider before making a choice? What would you recommend to your patrons if asked? What would you buy for your library? What would you want with you on a 6 hour flight to New Jersey?

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~ by Vinny Alascia on September 27, 2012.