Category Archives: Tablet PC

19 Most Memorable Tablets of 2013

The year’s almost up and we’re taking a look at 19 of the best tablets 2013 had to offer. It depends on who you ask, but many will tell you that 2013 is the year of the tablet. The best models of last year were upgraded to have sharper screens and zippier processors – a trend that is bound to continue in years to come. Of course, this hardware arms race benefits consumers, though we have to admit, the sheer numbers can be overwhelming at times. So we’ve sifted through the sea of slates to bring you the 25 most memorable tablets of 2013.

They’re incredible in their own little ways, be it hardware superiority, bargain basement price, or simply, bang for the buck. (They are in no particular order, because let’s face it, we’re not here to argue about which is better, etcetera, etcetera.) Continue reading 19 Most Memorable Tablets of 2013

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Comparison: XO Tablet vs. LeapPad Ultra

Among the kids’ tablets that were released recently, the XO Tablet and the LeapPad Ultra stood out in terms of features, hardware, and content libraries. The XO Tablet was made by the OLPC (One Laptop per Child Initiative) in partnership with tablet maker Vivitar, while the LeapPad Ultra is a product refresh from kid-friendly toy maker LeapFrog. How do these kid-safe slates compare to each other?

Vivitar and OLPC's XO Tablet PC for Kids  LeapFrog's LeapPad Ultra Tablet PC for Kids  

The Face Off: XO Tablet and LeapPad Ultra

Both tablets obviously come from companies with backgrounds in education and kid-friendly devices. Now, since we’re talking about kids’ tablets here, the hardware specs may not have much of an impact but if you tend to take those things seriously, then check out the comparison chart below.

Vivitar and OLPC XO Tablet

LeapFrog LeapPad Ultra

Screen Size 7 inches 7 inches
Screen Resolution 1024 x 600 1024 x 600
Processor 1.6 GHz 800 MHz
Cores 2  
RAM 1 GB  
Hard Drive 8 GB 8 GB
Dimensions 7.6 x 4.65 x 0.39 inches 0.9 x 6.1 x 9 inches
Camera/s 1.3 MP front-facing camera
2 MP rear camera
2 MP front-facing camera 2 MP rear camera
Software Android 4.2 Jelly Bean with a custom UI and pre-loaded content LeapFrog software, with kid-safe browsing from Zui
Store Google Play Store, curated apps from various educational partners LeapFrog App Center, with proprietary apps
Parental Controls up to three kids’ profiles Yes
Pricing $149, Walmart exclusive $149, available for pre-order
Recommended Age 4 to 14 4 to 9
Battery Life 7.5 hours 9 hours

Who wins this tablet PC comparison?

Both are properly ruggedized, so you don’t have to worry about the typical bumps and falls either tablet has to endure in the hands of your little monsters. In terms of tech specs, the XO Tablet wins with its dual core processor and its ability to switch between its kid-centric UI and Android. Its multiple profile feature adds more value as well, since you can just get one for your kids to share. You can set different restrictions for each profile/child, so the XO Tablet’s parental controls should be great for a family on a budget. The XO also wins in terms of longevity – that is, how long your kids would be playing with it before asking for a ‘real’ tablet. Since it also packs Android, your kids can probably enjoy it until their early teens.

The LeapPad Ultra, on the other hand, has its strengths, but not too many when compared with the XO. Both come with added value so to speak, in the form of free preloaded apps. The LeapPad Ultra comes preloaded with apps (valued at $80) while the XO comes with 100+ apps, games, and content (valued at $200+).

Still can’t decide? Well, both are education-centric, so it doesn’t really matter which you pick, though for the great value it offers, we’ll have to give the win to Vivitar and OLPC’s XO Tablet.

Want more Tablets for Kids Buying Tips? Click here and here.

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Tablet for Kids: A Buying Guide, Part 2

Today we’re continuing from our first Tablet for Kids Buying Guide article, and thus we’re discussing further the things you need to consider before buying a slate for your little tykes.

How old are your kids?

You don’t really have to look around that hard to learn that there are several “tablet for kids” models. Those currently on the market range from those targeting the younger audiences, like the starter tablet PC models from kiddie-oriented companies like LeapFrog and VTech, to those going after the pre-teen and ‘everything else in between’ age group market. You really won’t have a problem looking for something that is perfect for your kids, whatever age group they may be. You can check out the aforementioned LeapFrog models and the brand new OLPC XO Tablet for kids aged 12 below, and there are many tablets that are geared toward the teen market as well.

When choosing a tablet for kids, you’ll need to keep in mind that to find the perfect fit, so to speak, you’ll have to match the tablet with your kids’ age. Just any ‘grown up tablet’ probably won’t do, especially when you factor in things like content and ability to stand up to getting dropped several times.

VTech InnoTab 3 - Tablet for Kids

What is your budget?

Tablets made for kids are typically affordable, depending on the brand and the age appropriateness. Starter tablets for younger kids are usually very basic and you won’t really expect to shell out vast amounts of cash for them. There are slates that can support several profiles, so if you have three kids, it’ll be much easier to set parental controls for each child on one device. If your kids aren’t really that inclined to share though, then you may want to check out the more affordable models if you’re on a tight budget.

Tablets for teens are typically more expensive, with prices comparable to your typical tablet PC.

Fuhu Nabi XD Tablet PC for Teens

Choosing among operating systems

For adults, our tablet OS choices basically boil down to the major players: iOS, Android, and Windows 8. This isn’t too much of an issue with a tablet for kids, as a lot of them have proprietary software so there isn’t much in the way of options in that department. There are some that feature customized versions of Android, with parental controls baked in.

Actually, there’s very little stopping you from giving your kids a Google Nexus 7 or an Apple iPad mini, except maybe budget constraints, since both Android and iOS have parental control apps that you can download. Personally, I live in fear of kids making purchases (lives in Candy Crush Saga or anything of the sort) on app stores, so be sure to lock down and secure your devices if you’re letting your kids use them. Some tablets for kids already have this feature built-in, like turning off Wi-Fi or app store access, you don’t have to worry.

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Tablet for Kids: A Buying Guide, Part 1

If you’re in the market for a tablet for kids, then you may want to consider a few things before you take out your wallet.

Giving your kids just any tablet isn’t really the best thing you can do as a parent. You have to be wary of the kind of content they’re getting their hands on, and the kind of apps they’re playing or using. You can’t just give them your tablet – because seriously, are you sure everything on there is age appropriate? Here are a few things you’d need to consider when shopping for a tablet for kids.

Fuhu Nabi Jr Tegra3 Tablet PC for Kids

Parental Controls. There are a few tablet makers that have taken this to heart, and first on the list is Amazon with its great parental controls on the Kindle Fire HD. It handles multiple profiles so you can set exactly how much time your kids can read ebooks or watch TV on the device. Another tablet with solid parental controls is OLPC’s XO Tablet. You can set it up for up to three kids, each with his/her own accessibility options. You can turn off or limit Wi-Fi and Google Play access as well.

Sturdiness. I think we can all agree that the little rascals can certainly dish out the abuse. Tablets made for kids are typically designed with this in mind, so you will see a lot of models with rubber bumper guards, covers, and thick plastic bezels. This is good and all, but the real test comes in real life conditions. This said, you’ll best check out customer reviews in Amazon and other retailers to get a good idea of what can or cannot withstand daily playtime with your kids.

Age appropriate content. Most tablet makers maintain their own libraries with apps, games, videos, and music that is appropriate for kids. You’ll see learning activities, fun games, and kid-centric apps from these libraries, so you’ll have to factor that in as well. Some models, like the VTech InnoTab 3, don’t support apps from Google Play so the manufacturer’s library size determines just how much content your kid will be able to enjoy in the long run.

Finding the perfect tablet for kids will depend on a lot of factors, including your child’s age, your preferences, and of course, your budget. If you take your time to decide which model is right for your kids, then you’ll surely find that they will enjoy using their device and maybe learn a thing or two in the process as well.

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VTech InnoTab 3: The Starter Tablet

We’ve seen a few tablet PC models made for kids over the past few weeks and here comes another one: the VTech InnoTab 3. What does this little device have to offer the little tots? Well, check it out below.

VTech InnoTab 3 - Tablet for Kids

VTech InnoTab 3 Specs and Features

Since this is an intro tablet PC we’re talking about, pretty much everything is designed for the small fingers. It has a 4.3 inch touchscreen housed in a thick plastic frame and bezel and a rotating 2 MP camera much like the one on the Fuhu Nabi Jr tablet PC. The built-in camera can shoot both stills and videos. It also comes with a stylus that should help with writing practice, and a D-pad that can be used for navigating through the menus, apps, and activities. The tablet only has 2 GB of on board memory, thankfully though, you can expand this via the microSD card slot that can support up to 32 GB. The device can be powered either with AA batteries or a rechargeable battery pack.

As with other kid-safe tablets, the VTech InnoTab 3 comes with preloaded ebooks, games, and apps that are geared toward learning and entertainment.  You can even get more from VTech’s Learning Lodge content library which reportedly contains up to 350 videos, music, games, apps, and ebooks. According to the tablet maker, the library will expand to 600 before the year closes. You can also use the Learning Lodge to track your child’s progress.

Pricing, availability, and other notes

The VTech InnoTab 3 lacks what others in the same niche have: Wi-Fi connectivity. To get the new games or apps, parents will have to download and transfer them via a computer. If you think about it though, that should give you more control on what your kids are watching, reading, and playing on their tablet.

According to reports, the tablet will hit the shelves before the end of this month, and will retail for a very affordable US $70. It’s a simple enough device that your kids can use to listen to music, shoot and watch videos, play games, read ebooks, and do learning activities. Check out the video below to see if this is the right intro tablet for your kids.

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LeapPad Ultra – The Kid-Safe Tablet

Let’s face it, a tablet PC is hardly the child friendliest gadget in existence – though LeapFrog has something that may be safe to give to your kids, the LeapPad Ultra. We’ve seen a couple of slates made with a younger audience in mind, like the Fuhu Nabi and the Polaroid Kids Tablet, and they’re pretty set in catering to the ‘for kids’ market. What does the LeapPad Ultra have to offer? Read on to know more about it.

LeapFrog's LeapPad Ultra Tablet PC for Kids

LeapPad Ultra: Wholesome and Safe

The first worry that comes to mind when letting your little critters get their hands on your iPad or Nexus or Galaxy is unsafe web browsing. Parental controls aren’t really something that tablet makers intentionally put in their slates. The LeapPad Ultra, however, boasts of a kid-safe web browser – we’ll discuss that a little later. This new addition to LeapFrog’s tablet line sports more upgrades. Its 7-inch screen supports both finger and stylus input, so your tots can practice their writing. The screen is also noticeably sharper than the one on the LeapPad 2, as the resolution on the Ultra has a 1024 x 600 compared to the 2’s middling 480 x 272. Don’t worry, it can still withstand whatever abuse your kids can inflict upon it.

Now let’s get back to that safe browsing. The Ultra has Wi-Fi connectivity, and wait for it… It has a built-in browser powered by Zui.com, which will restrict access. The LeapSearch browser will only let your kids browse age-appropriate videos, content, and images, so you don’t have to constantly look over their shoulders to see just what they’re checking out on the internet. Also, your kids can’t download content – you’d had to do that for them by using a 4-digit PIN so you can be sure they’ll only play with games and apps that are age appropriate. According to LeapFrog, you’ll be able to choose from a library of over 800 games, apps, videos, music, and e-books, made for ages 4 to 9.

Other Features

The LeapPad Ultra has two 2 MP cameras (front and rear) with 480p video recording, 8 GB of internal storage space, and a lithium ion battery which has enough power for about 8 hours of usage. This tablet is expected to hit the shelves in July 17, and retail for US $150.

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How Repairable is Your Tablet PC?

No one likes entertaining the possibility of their expensive gadgets breaking down and ultimately turning into overpriced paperweights. Wouldn’t it be nice though to have a general idea of whether or not your tablet PC can be resurrected in the unfortunate case that something does break down? The engineers at iFixit has released a “Tablet Repairability” index which rates tablets on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the most easily repaired. Check it out below.

Dell XPS 10 Tablet PC

Apple and Microsoft get low marks

In case you’re not a fan of gadget destruction and do it yourself repairs, here’s a briefer. iFixit is basically an online resource on fixing electronic devices yourself and the guys over there routinely tear apart the newest gadgets (and Apple products) in the name of checking out how repairable each one is. So anyway, how did your tablet PC do?

The Dell XPS 10 earned top marks (with a score of 9) for its easy general and battery disassembly. It even has “color-coded screws and labelled cables” so you or the service tech will always be sure where each wire and screw goes. Downside is, the LCD screen is fused to the glass, so you will be in trouble in case the display up and dies. The Amazon Kindle Fire, Dell Streak, Motorola Xoom, and Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 all get a score of 8. Who’s last on this list? Apple’s iPad tablet PC line (from the iPad 2 down to the Mini) got a dismal score of 2 while Microsoft’s Surface Pro got a measly 1. The reasons for the low scores include the excessive use of adhesive, hidden screws, and tricky disassembly.

How the tablet PC models were rated

Points were given to models that were easy to disassemble – which means that you don’t need any special equipment to get to the creamy tablet core. The availability of a service manual was also taken into consideration. Remember, these tablet PC models were rated based on how easily they can be disassembled and how readily available their service manuals are (and therefore how inexpensive your theoretical repair bill would be), and not how breakable the tablets are. It’s still a good guide overall if you’re the type who, before buying a gadget, considers things like life after warranty.

Source: [ iFixit ]

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Wacom to release tablet PC for pros

Wacom is hardly an unknown in the tablet PC industry as they are quite famous for their digital stylus and pen-and-slate models. Their products are geared toward the creative pros (aka digital artists) and according to their Facebook page, they are planning to take a step toward making a tablet PC made for their niche market.

Wacom to release tablet PC for pros

The Wacom Promise

Okay, we all know that there are literally tons of tablet PC models out there and they are made for a variety of purposes and come in different form factors and styles. There are those made for business and those made for entertainment and content enjoyment purposes, while others are designed to be both. For all of you creative types – that is, those of you who would like to see a professional tablet PC for drawing purposes – may find that there is a certain lack of tablets made specifically for that. You’ll be happy to know that Wacom is listening. According to their Facebook page, they are planning to make a Wacom tablet PC with a pressure-sensitive pen and a multi-touch high definition display.

Now, you may be thinking, “What are the specs? When are we going to see this? How much is it going to be? What software would it come with?” Wacom hasn’t quite released any specifics, but they did say that we can expect to see the said slate this summer.

Tablet PC for pros

Would you buy a professional tablet? For most people, all of that boils down to specs, price, usability, and overall performance. A lot of Wacom fans are currently busy speculating about all of that, but you can be sure that we’ll keep you posted on any further announcements regarding this as soon as they become available, so stay tuned.

Also, in case you’re curious, this is Wacom’s post:

We’ve heard you shouting out loud for a Wacom mobile tablet for creative uses. Well… we’re listening. We’ve read your email and spoken to many about an on-the-go dream device. It will come. This summer. We’re working 24/7 on it. And yes, it has a real pressure-sensitive professional pen, smooth multi-touch, an HD display, and other valuable features that you haven’t seen in other tablets.

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Vizio’s 2 New Android Tablet PC Models

Among the good number of new tablet PC models showcased at this year’s CES, Vizio stood out. Why? Well, Vizio’s were two of the few Android tablet PC models – perhaps even the only ones shown at the consumer electronics event. Yes, there are two: a 10.1 inch and a 7 inch.

Vizio Android Tablet PC

What’s the buzz about?

Well, Vizio’s 10.1 inch tablet PC (still unnamed) carries the Nvidia Tegra 4 processor and has enough graphics power to output a 2560 x 1600 resolution. According to the tablet PC sites that were able to do play with the tablets during CES, the prototype was lacking in software so it wasn’t able to show off its graphics capabilities. However, the said tablet will be packing 32 GB of storage with an additional MicroSD slot for even more storage, a 5 MP camera at the back and a 1.3 MP camera up front and slots for both MicroUSB and MicroHDMI.

The 7 inch smaller brother sports an Nvidia Tegra 3 processor and 16 GB of storage space, and it can output a 1200 x 800 pixel resolution. It’s obviously going to go head-to-head with Google’s Nexus 7, and if we are to use specs as a measuring stick, then Vizio’s small contender is right on the money.

Vizio also showed off an 11.6 inch Windows 8 tablet PC, armed with a dual core AMD Z-60 APU, an AMD Radeon HD 6250 graphics, and 2 GB of RAM. It can output a 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution (1080p) so if you’re looking for a fully featured Windows 8 tablet with high def graphics, then you may want to check this out once it hits the shelves.

Pricing and availability

Vizio hasn’t actually released any information about how much these new tablet PC models will go for, nor has it released anything about their possible release dates. All we can say now is it’s an interesting – and brave – decision on Vizio’s part to release new tablets that’ll run on Android 4.1. Most tablet makers are taking their chances on Windows 8 and frankly, they seem to have been burned by the Android market’s slow sales. We’ll see how it goes for Vizio’s tablet PCs once they hit the shelves.

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Year of the Tablet PC at CES 2013

At this year’s CES (Consumer Electronics Show), the barrage of tablet PCs of every shape, operating system, size, and target market were showcased. According to a lot of tablet PC news reports, this year is effectively the year of the tablet for two reasons: a. the sheer number of tablets that were shown, and b. the suspicious lack of laptops in attendance.

Consumer Electronics Show 2013

The Tablet Age

A whole slew of manufacturers showed off their tablet PCs, including the Archos, Asus, Polaroid, Razer, Vizio, Coby, Efun, Fuhu, Panasonic, and Vivitar, among others. Chip makers have also announced new powerhouses that will come in future tablet releases, but none were really officially released at the show. The tablets that were announced came with existing processors like Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S4 and Nvidia’s Tegra 3.

Windows 8 made some waves too, as new tablets driven by Microsoft’s new operating system emerged. The new devices steered away from the ARM-driven Windows RT, instead using Intel Atom or Core chips (even AMD Z60) to power x86 versions of the OS. Another noteworthy development in the recent CES was ‘specialty tablets’ including Panasonic’s Toughpad, the ruggedized business tablet PC line, as well as gaming tablet PCs like the Razer Edge and Archos GamePad. Fuhu also showed off its tablet PC models that are aimed for the kids: the upcoming Nabi XD and the Nabi Jr. Polaroid turned a few heads with its kid-centric slate with a sturdy case and big rubber buttons.

What’s Next?

Well, a number of trends did emerge in this year’s CES. First, there’s hope for Windows 8 as more and more tablet PC makers are coming up with ways to capitalize on the OS’ strengths. Another thing that’s apparent is that Android tablets are rolling off the assembly lines with version 4.1.1 Jelly Bean installed. We can also expect a war of the processors in the coming months. As chip makers compete to get a chunk of the market, we can expect better, faster, and more energy efficient CPUs in 2013. We’ll keep our eyes peeled to bring you the latest developments. In the meantime, stay tuned.

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