Whether you opt for an Apple iPad, a BlackBerry PlayBook, or an Android device, like the Motorola Xoom, purchasing a quality tablet can be a daunting task. Here's what you need to know before you hit the store.
First Off: Do You Even Need a Tablet?
Simply put, tablets aren't really filling any true need right now—they are neither replacements for full-fledged computers nor smartphones.
A tablet is a touch-screen media device that is actually most similar to a very advanced portable media player—or an MP3 player with a much larger screen. Yes, many of them have mobile service features, but currently none of them make phone calls via a traditional mobile provider.
And while you can get work done on a tablet, you won't get a desktop-grade operating system, like you'll find on a PC. Tablets are basically lightweight versions of laptops in every sense—they weigh less, and they're lighter on features.
The advantage they offer over laptops is an easy way to check e-mail, browse the Web, consume media, and play games—just like a smartphone. But with a tablet you get a much bigger screen with more real estate. The bottom line is, you probably don't need one, but if you want a tablet, read on.