Last month I received several responses from readers. Thank you so much for taking the time to write in. Several of you had the same question, so this column will try to answer those specifically.

Q: Joseph from Jo-Carroll Energy asks, “I enjoy reading your column. Could you please give some advice on purchasing a new tablet?”

A: Definitely!

In the world of computing, tablets are gaining more market share all the time. In fact, current trends suggest that tablets are outpacing PC sales at nearly two-to-one right now, with an even bigger expected increase in the next four years. And, all of that growth means one thing for sure: confusion.

When there are that many out there, how do you know which one to buy?

Basically, it boils down to three choices. I’m going to briefly touch on two of them below, and then continue the discussion on

The iPad

For many people, iPads have become that device people think about when they say the word “tablet.” In fact, I personally attribute much of the growth of the tablet market to the success of the iPad. And, the reason for it is ease-of-use. They are just so simple!

So, if you’re looking for something with a low learning curve, you should definitely consider the iPad. There are a few things to know before getting one though.

First, they come in two varieties, standard and mini. For the most part, I usually tell people to go with the standard. It’s already pretty small but, if you have a better use for the mini, there’s certainly no problem getting one of those.

Second, you have to consider how much memory (storage capacity) you want in it. One of the drawbacks of the iPad is that you can’t upgrade the memory later. So, buy what you need from the outset. There are several options, but for most people the 32gb or 64gb versions will suffice. The more memory, the higher the price.

Third, you have to know whether you want cellular Internet capability. All iPads have the ability to hook up to wifi connections, but if you pay a little more when you purchase it, you can get one that has the capability to connect via a cellular connection as well. Keep in mind, you will have to purchase a separate cellular plan for the iPad though.


Ok, here’s where it gets a little more confusing. There are literally dozens of choices when it comes to Android tablets. (By the way, the Android portion of the name simply refers to the operating system loaded on the tablet.) So, you will find quite a few manufacturers selling some version of these tablets. Here are a few things to keep in mind when shopping for one.

First, I have found them to be a little more difficult to master. Android is an open-source operating system, so you can customize it quite a bit. That also means you may find yourself looking things up a bit more. If you’re not technically inclined, then you might want to try one of the other tablets. Of course, you may find Android fits you exactly if you use it specifically for a handful of purposes and don’t branch out too much.

Second, just like iPads you need to consider the amount of memory you want in the tablet when purchasing. Although, many of these are upgradable, it may not be the easiest thing to do.

Third, make sure you have the most current operating system when buying one. That’s not as easy as you think. Android uses some strange, almost silly, naming conventions for their OS.

Windows 8


These have gotten a bad rap lately, but Windows tablets pack tons of power into a mobile computing device. You just have to be sure to get what you need up front.


First, keep in mind that this is a full-blown operating system. Unlike the other two, Windows 8 will run the full version of software packages. You don’t need “an app for that.” That’s not to say there aren’t apps available. It’s just that you get to use both.


Second, because these tablets have a full-blown operating system, you should be sure to get one that has the hardware capable of running that operating system. I can’t stress this enough. Many of the problems people experience with Windows 8 tablets stems from the fact that some manufacturers are selling tablets with inferior processors, video processing and memory. If you’re going to buy one of these, it behooves you to do a little research and find out the minimum recommended specs, and then exceed them.


Third, you may not need that much processing power in a tablet. If you’re just looking for something to check e-mail, and surf the web, you might find Windows tablets to be a bit of overkill. In fact, you might find having a full-blown operating system on your tablet actually slows it down — especially if you purchase one that’s not quite up to par in hardware specifications.


So what do I personally use?


I’ve tried an iPad, and it worked very well for some of what I wanted to do. But, I also had to carry a laptop with me in order to perform some of the business functions I needed to do. For that reason, I have now switched to a convertible laptop/tablet combination device with Windows 8 Professional installed on it.


Now, when I travel I only carry one computer with me, and that has made my life quite a bit easier.