Know Your Hardware Specifications For Tablet PCs Before You Buy

So you’ve finally decided on investing in a Tablet PC, you’re finally sold on the value which one of these electronic mobile devices can offer you. You have conducted your research on the various costs, types, manufacturers and sizes. You most likely narrowed it down between an iPad 2 and one of the Google Honeycomb or the Icecream Sandwich OS variants.

So what you need to do is breakdown the technical features of these devices, know all of the basic specifications which will help you in determining which one to purchase once you begin the in-store comparison shopping process.

One thing that you will realize is that the majority of the tablets, especially those of the Android OS variety are all markedly similar in features. So listed are the differences in hardware specifications between the various devices, and what you should be concerned with.

How Much CPU Or RAM Is Enough
Every Honeycomb tablet which has been released recently all are equipped with the exact same 1GHz Nvidia Tegra 2 chipset with 1GB of RAM. The dual-core Nvidia silicon is based on the ARM Cortex A9 architecture.

The Apple iPad 2 tablet also comes with the 1GHz dual-core chip, which is also the A9, with one difference that it comes with 512MB of RAM. The newer and smaller smartphones for instance are now shipping out with the more powerful 1.2GHz dual-core chips, so you can expect the next-generation of tablet PC’s which will be released will scale up accordingly.

The Displays On The Tablet PC’s
The majority of the current Honeycomb tablets usually have a 7 inch or an approximate 10 inch screen with 1280×800 resolution, as this is based on the Android Honeycomb 3.0 specializations. What will differ however is the quality of the screen hardware which is used by the various manufacturers.

For example, the display on Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 is absolutely vibrant, bright and its appearance relatively true. The screen quality of the Motorola Xoom however, appears a little dimmer in comparison while displaying worse off-axis viewing. So reviewers are suspecting that the Motorola may be using the inferior twisted-nematic display technology for their screens.

The end result is that although all of the Honeycomb tablets may have the same screen resolution as well as dimensions, you should be inspecting the screen color and contrast for accuracy yourself. This way, the tablet which you decide to purchase looks good to you based on a pixel-by-pixel basis.

If you decide on the iPad 2, you’ll get the same exact 9.7-inch, 1024×768 resolution display which originated on the first release of the iPad. You will notice that the brightness of the screen as well as the accuracy in color are laudable. Some however prefer the better resolution along with the 16:10 aspect ratio of the Google Honeycomb models instead.

Storage Capacity Of The Tablet PCs
The majority of the tablets will typically offer 8GB, 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB options of solid-state hard drive storage. If you’re not interested in cloud computing and are wanting yet more storage available on the tablets, then look for the Honeycomb tablets which also has a built in SD slot. They use the same SD memory cards of varying GB sizes which you may have sitting in your camera bag.

Note that the Toshiba Thrive tablets are able to support the full-sized SD cards, which has a potential capacity of an additional 128GB of storage.

WI-FI Or 3G/4G Access On Tablets
Every tablet on the market includes Wi-Fi support to connect to the Internet. Some of the devices will also include 3G/4G support as an option. There are also others, such as the Asus Transformer tablet, which currently doesn’t offer a 3G version at all.

You may be wondering why you need 3G/4G service in the first place. Alter all, they’re slightly more expensive than just the Wi-Fi tablets, and they usually can’t be rolled together with your existing smartphone 3G data plan.

If you currently own a smartphone, then by using the 3G service which accompanies it, you can check your email or quickly surf the Web using the 3G enabled smartphone if there’s no Wi-Fi access in that particular area.

The only advantage that a 3G/4G enabled tablet PC offers is convenience. So if you’re looking for cost savings, then just the Wi-Fi models should suffice.

On-board Digital Cameras
Not everyone may have use for a digital camera on their tablets, since all smarphones are equipped with one already. One advantage however is that the latest tablets may have superior digital cameras than the smartphones. So if that’s important to you, you may want to purchase a tablet with the best possible camera that’s available.

The front mounted cameras are usually pretty much “standard” as they’re commonly used for basic video chat. They will usually range anywhere between 1.2MP to 2MP, while the rear cameras are typically around 5MP.


What you need to look out for is the image quality of the camera instead of just the megapixel number. It’s also recommend that if you’re looking for the best possible resolution, you’ll need to find one with a LED flash as well.

Input/Output Ports
The majority of the Android tablets are pretty much standard “cookie-cutter” in appearance, but they can differ from manufacturer to manufacturer when it comes to the availability of the I/O ports, power cables and car slots.

You’ll need to do research on what type or how many USB ports that the particular tablet has, as well as if it has: micro, mini or full HDMI ports, or none at all.

The tablets which supports both full-port USB as well as HDMI slots are recommended. Also look for SD card support as well. There are some models, such as the Toshiba Thrive, which will also allow you to swap batteries as well.

Keep in mind that the majority of the tablets on the market all usually rely on their own independent proprietary power connectors and cables to recharge itself. As of date, there are no tablets on the market which are able to charge its internal battery by using an USB port.

The downside of this of course is that if your tablet battery happens to drain out while you’re on the road, there’s no way of charging it back up without the proper power cable and an electrical outlet which you left back at the office.

The Chassis Of The Tablets
Although the main focus and feature of the tablet manufactures is the actual weight of the devices, such as the iPad 2 weighting in at 1.33 pounds while the Lenovo K1 weights 1.65 pounds, since they’re all so lightweight, these minor differences in weight doesn’t actually matter that much.

What you should also be concerned about is the actual thickness of the tablet. The Galaxy Tab 10.1 along with the iPad 2 are currently the thinnest on the market at around 0.35inches thin.

You should also be aware about what type of backing material the tablet has. What’s becoming extremely popular is the easy to grip, rubberized backing such as on the Toshiba and the Lenovo tablets, rather than the slick shiny and slippery backing of the iPad 2.

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