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Tablet Gift Dilemna


Joseph Kerr

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I have got myself out of my depth. My sister thought my father was thinking about a tablet for my mother for Xmas or her birthday which is a couple of weeks off. He is not, but muggins here suggested we consider getting one from the three of us. So, my father, who is even less techy than yours truly, decided I should make a comparison with tangible, objective tech specs for him to look at, assuming money is no object.

Thing is, I've started making a comparison chart, and I don't think it'll help him much. Also, whilst I agree with his instinct that you should be able to just look at a spec sheet, many don't buy that way (if they did, that Samaung with a rear camera and expandable memory would outsell the Nexus - even I went for the latter).

So far I have listed: Kindle Fire HD (they have an old Kindle); iPad, iPad Mini, Nexus 7 (I won't forget the new ones to be announced); Asus Transformer and the Samsung Galaxy 2.

To try and speed things up, I'm listing the best specs only, as I can explain the rest verbally, and find any other information needed later.

Not sure what I'm asking really, just any thoughts to see if I can develop a bit more clarity.

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Forum Editor

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The key question - one that needs an answer before anyone can offer proper advice is..

What will your mother mainly be using this tablet for?

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Joseph Kerr

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She will use it mainly for e-reading and net surfing. They have a laptop (spec unknown) for heavier duties, and I think they already know that few tablets are good for, say, tping on for any length of time (Dad writes the odd article...). She likes her photograhphy a bit and has a decent camera or two (I know nothing about them though, nor do i know the implications of a tablet for photography...).

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Forum Editor

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If the main purpose is to have something for reading and surfing the web, a Kindle Fire HD is an excellent value for money choice. I would recommend that you pay the extra £10 to remove the ads from the lock screen if they irritate you. The device has a good email client onboard, and altogether it's a neat solution for people who want to read,surf, and email from just about anywhere without lugging a laptop around.

The iPad mini is a far more capable (and much more expensive) option if your mother wants to do a little bit more. I haven't had my hands on one yet, but I have no reason to think that it will be anything other than very good. It's a premium product at a premium price.

The Nexus 7 is another value-for-money product, and is a solid performer for its class, although there have been some reservations about its display quality from some reviewers.

With your 'money is no object' policy in mind, my personal choices would be easy:-

Number one - a full-size iPad, it's by far the best tablet on the market.

Second choice - an iPad Mini. It's an iPad, only smaller.

Third would come the Kindle Fire HD, closely followed by the Nexus 7. Either one is a good value product, but the Kindle Fire would just squeak home. I would pay the tenner for no ads on the lock screen, and another £40 to get the 32Gb model.

I hope that helps a little. It's a personal choice, and others may disagree.

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Joseph Kerr

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Thanks FE. Why would the Kindle pip the Nexus for you?

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Matt Egan

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Couldn't argue with FE - the key thing is to ask what will the device be used for. The iPad is the best tablet on the market, but if you want a web-browsing, e-reading and video viewing device, it may be more than you are willing to, or need to, pay. I would definitely choose between the Nexus 7 (inexpensive, full-blown Android experience, nicely built - and with the Kindle and Google Play Books apps a great e-Reader), the Kindle Fire HD (virtually the same thingm only with a cut-down version of Android but a bespoke Kindle experience), and the iPad.

Decide on screen size - personally I think 7in (Nexus, Kindle Fire and iPad mini) is better, as it makes it truly portable, but if this is principally for use at home the 9.7in iPad (4th generation) will be better.

Then take your pick - they're all great devices.

I use a Nexus 7 for exactly the same things you describe. I love it. But then cost was an issue for me and Mrs Matt has an iPad through work so I didn't bother shelling out the extra.

(I'd throw in the Microsoft Surface RT as a wild card - it's every bit as nicely built as the iPad or Nexus 7, but it runs Windows, and the Type Cover gives it a great keyboard. I've just noticed that there is a Kindle app in the Windows Store now, too. I have only had the briefest play with Surface, however, so I wouldn't want to proffer to hearty a recommendation pending our own further tests.)

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Joseph Kerr

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Thankyou Matt.

I have the Nexus too as I didn't want to spend much; it's a toy for me really. I may upgrade in future. But this is why one cant necessarily just throw money at things, or at least you don't need to.

Have the Apple devices got anything tangible that you can point to and say "that's better than the rest"?

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Joseph Kerr

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And, indeed, it shows you can't just look at a spec list.

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Forum Editor

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"Why would the Kindle pip the Nexus for you?"

It's a close-run thing, as Matt has indicated, and the final decision is really going to depend on personal likes and dislikes. For me the Kindle wins by a head for the following reasons:

It is closely integrated with the whole Amazon experience, and for me that's important - I read a lot of Kindle books.

The display has been optimised for reading e-books, it has anti-glare polarisation and no-gap lamination, and we all know how important a few long words are.

You can get 16Gb and 32Gb models - the Nexus choice is 8Gb or 16Gb

On the other hand, the Nexus has a far better app library, and if that's an important factor you wouldn't think twice - the Nexus is the one.

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Joseph Kerr

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Ah, some new info to me there. Thanks.

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Forum Editor

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Both those machines are very internet and email capable, so take that for granted.

The other plus as far as the Kindle Fire HD is concerned is that it has an HDMI port, so it's easy to connect to your TV. That may not be an issue in your case however.

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