Tablet shopping bugs me. Throwing down a few hundred dollars for something that will only last a year or two sucks. At the same time, tablets are so darn handy, I find myself tempted. We currently have a rooted Nook Color, which we lucked into for free on a promotional deal my husband got through work. We haven't had the thing a year and my little man already dropped it, cracking the screen. I could live with that, but now the battery is going, lasting only about an hour before dying. So while my frugal heart says, "don't buy," my mommy heart says, "I love this thing!"
That leaves me hunting for a replacement. In mulling it over and checking out the options available, I've found a few things that will be important to me in my next purchase. Being a geeky girl who knows quite a bit about computers, I thought I'd share some of the points I'm looking for in my next tablet.
Tablets are pretty small. The Nook is 7", which I find quite small for reading. I'm hoping to find an affordable 10" tablet. Ideally, I'd get a 10x14", but nobody makes that. To get a big screen, you have to invest in a convertible laptop, which will run you $800 used or $2,000 new. Until I'm ready to invest in a good convertible PC, I'll have to settle for 10". That limits options considerably because finding one cheap isn't easy.
Already holding a broken Nook Color, I'm curious about how well another glass screen would hold up. To date, getting an unbreakable screen isn't an option. Good unbreakable screens only came out this year. I may just live with the Nook until I can afford an unbreakable. This amazing flexible screen by LG is something I can't wait to see mainstream. Samsung has been working on this issue as well.
I could also look into kid-proof tablets, but most of them have limited functionality, made as toys for kids, not the tablet-for-the-whole-family I want. In that category, my favorite pick is the Karuma "PlayBase." It has decent specs, but you can't buy one right now. Both models are sold out on the site. That leaves buying a case. Damn.
I wouldn't consider a tablet with less than 4G storage unless it came with an SD slot. I already have plenty of micro SD cards hanging around so it's not a big deal. The real issue is working memory, or RAM. Tablets are still working on providing decent RAM. Even the iPad has only 1G, so I'd like to see at least that. Surprisingly, many tablet sale listings don't even tell you how much RAM the tablet carries. I'm willing to bet it's less than 1G if it's not listed.
I'm not real picky on this one. I've been happy with Android 2.3. You can also get 4.0.
I'm a little torn on this issue. I guest a camera is okay, but what side is it on? Tablets that have cameras are only forward facing so you can video conference. I'd rather turn it around and take pictures. It makes a lot more sense to put the camera on both sides or on the back to use the tablet as a regular camera. Whatever, I'm not a big video conferencer anyway.
What to Buy
So, what tablet would I get if I were ready to buy? I'm really liking one I never heard of until writing this article. It's the Flytouch VI. You can get one on eBay with the case and a keyboard included for less than $150. It has that annoying front-mount camera only issue, but it's tempting. I'm going to wait for those flex screens to see what comes of that, but until then, this tablet will be in my thoughts.
Jessica Bosari is a freelance writer and blogger for various publications and her own blog. You can read more of Jessica's work here. If you have any comments or questions about SavingTools.com or about saving money, leave your comments in the form below or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!