The Norman Transcript

Business

December 2, 2012

Which tablet computer should Santa bring?

NORMAN — ’Tis the season to give tech, and all of Santa’s boys and girls perk up at the thought of a new, shiny tablet computer.

Choosing which tablet to give can be a confusing foray into a deep pit of advertising hype, though, as the market seems flooded with a jillion different makes and models, all screaming, “Buy me!” Apple IOS, Google Android and Microsoft Windows all claim to be the best choices, but you can’t base your buying decisions on the gymnastics moves of happy hipsters cart-wheeling across a TV screen. Hence, many folks ask guys like me for their opinion.

Having owned one tablet computer, worked on many, played around with even more and read about hundreds, I have narrowed down the tablet market to two choices. Forget the Apple iPad Mini; forget the Microsoft Surface, the Samsung Galaxy Note/Tab, the Toshiba Thrive, the Kindle Fire and the Nook HD. For my money, if I were spending it today, there would be only two choices: the full-size Apple iPad and the Google Nexus 7.

Price, features and usability are the three concerns influencing my decision, and finding the right balance between the three is a challenge. Keep in mind that tablet computers are, at their core, Internet media content consumption devices; they are not designed to be productive, content creation devices.

This means they are great at “consuming” things from the Internet, like movies, books, music and other forms of info/entertainment. They are not designed for “producing” content like company reports and spreadsheets, and they are terrible at typing. To do serious typing with a tablet computer, you’ll want an external keyboard, costing an additional $100, or so. If you want a productivity device for work or school, your money would be better spent on a good laptop computer. A tablet computer is not a good laptop substitute.

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