Seven things to do with your new tablet this Christmas

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Turn It Into an Android Alarm Clock

Put the old tablet in your bedroom and convert it into an Android alarm clock that also shows the weather. Download an alarm clock app if you don’t want to use the basic app that came with the old device. Customize the alarm to wake you up on workdays and let you sleep in on weekends.

You could also install a weather alert app to wake you up if there’s an emergency. Such tools are especially important in regions prone to tornados, hurricanes, and other extreme weather events. A weather alert app can be a lifesaver if you don’t hear the outdoor weather sirens.

Video

Full-time live chat or video conferencing station

Still, on cameras, you can set up your old tablet with an application for the live chatting station of your choice – Google Duo, Hangouts Meet, Skype, or any other option you like – then place it in a specially designed dock on your conference room’s table or desk.

With a bunch of tablets and even smartphones, you can create a whole office-wide or house-wide video conferencing system that won’t need to be dismantled after every session. Sign each tablet into its own distinct account, the room’s name serving as the username, and chatting with folks close or far will be as easy as ABC.

Download some games

Monument Valley’s pixel-perfect graphics suit its puzzling action on the iPad or Android tablet. Photograph: PR

Tablets are as fun as the games that are on them. Thankfully there are thousands of games to choose from. Whether you’re into card games, board games, adventure games or even first-person shooters, there are award-winning great apps littering both the App Store and Google Play.

Check out our list of the 25 best iPad or Android games for the year.

8. Test Your Cameras

While this could have been lumped in with the test your hardware section, I feel it is important to separate it.  Why?  Because these tests are a little more involved.  Most tablets today come with two cameras – one in front and one in back.  It is important you test both of these cameras to make sure they are performing as intended.  You don’t want to take bad pictures do you?  I didn’t think so.  Take a few shots in different lighting with both the front and rear cameras and then see how they look.  If the images look off or consistently blurry, you may have a problem with your cameras.  After you have taken the still shots, take a little bit of video in different lighting as well and see how things look.  Again, check both cameras to ensure that they are working properly.  Remember, not all cameras are made alike so your performance will vary based on the tablet you own.

2. Consider a Case and Screen Protector

Before you even take your new tablet home, you should also take a look at the various cases and screen protectors that are available.  Personally I would never use a tablet without a case and screen protector, but that is just me.  Cases can increase the functionality of your new tablet by providing you with several stand options for tables and even your lap while at the same time protecting them from dust, dirt and the accidental drop onto the floor.  Screen protectors are also invaluable to your tablet’s screen.  They will keep dust and fingerprints off the screen as well as prevent any scratches on the glass.  Your tablet’s screen is the most important part of your new device as you will use it not only to read and watch what is going on but you will also be using it to navigate the interface.

A command center in your kitchen, bedroom, or patio

Use your android tablet as a multipurpose command center anywhere in your home. How do you make one? Start by downloading a launcher that can simplify the home screen and add some easy-to-use gestures such as tapping double-tapping any empty space on the home screen to launch the voice search function. The best launchers to start with are Nova Launcher or Action Launcher. Most tablets manufactured from 2016 won’t require the help of launchers as they can respond to commands via Google Assistant.

4. Watch videos and movies

 Any great tablet has great multimedia capabilities. Watching HD movies and YouTube videos is something on which you can certainly waste a lot of time. Although it will never replace your big LED TV, sitting for hours in some waiting room will never be dull again.

 

 

 

 

 

Secure your tablet

Security settings on the iPad Photograph: screengrab

Once you’ve got your account details and personal data on the tablet it’s prudent to make sure the tablet is secure.

Make sure your tablet has a pin or password lock, or if your tablet has a fingerprint reader, that it has your fingerprints stored.

On an iPad head to Touch ID and Passcode (it will just be called Passcode if the iPad does not a have Touch ID fingerprint reader) in the Settings app. Tap on Require Passcode, set a passcode and set it to a suitable time out.

Security settings on Android Photograph: Googleusercontent

On an Android tablet head to Security in Settings and set a screen lock pin or password.

It is also worth downloading and installing the Android Device Manager app from Google that allows you to find, lock or remotely wipe a lost tablet or smartphone.

Get Help in the Kitchen

Mount the old tablet in your kitchen and use apps such as AllRecipes to display recipes while you cook. If you’re busy cleaning up, use the old tablet to entertain yourself with movies while you load the dishwasher.

You could also stream radio from apps such as Pandora, or Slacker Radio. Radio apps work in the background, even on most older-model tablets, so you can look up that pecan pie recipe while dancing to your favorite tunes.

6. Talk to your friends, family and co-workers

 Skype is now available for all platforms (iOS, Android…) and most tablets have some kind of camera integrated. Now, whenever you are feeling lonely, your social circle is just a few touches away. Seeing and talking to a loved ones while you are away on business in Paris can really improve your day. Did I say that it is also free?

 

 

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