The first 6 things you need to do with your new Android tablet

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What are the best tablets?

The iPad is synonymous with tablets for a reason: when you buy the basic iPad, you’re guaranteed to get a great screen and strong audio. But when it comes to picking the best iPad for most people, we tend to push people towards the new iPad Air 2020. It may be a little pricier, but if you want to use an Apple Pencil or an attachable keyboard, it’s the best iPad that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, as it supports the Magic Keyboard and Apple Pencil (2nd Gen). If you don’t plan on typing a lot, though, the new iPad mini is worth considering. The iPad Pro is the best tablet for those who want a device for work and play; available in both 11-inch and 12.9-inch versions, the iPad Pro 2021 delivers great performance and a great screen, especially if you splurge for the 12.9-inch version with its new mini-LED display.

If you prefer Android, Samsung makes some of the best Android tablets on the market. The new Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 is a great premium Android tablet, with a great screen, excellent battery life, and speedy performance. If you absolutely need the biggest, baddest Android slate possible, you’re better off with the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra.

For parents or those on a budget, the Amazon Fire tablet line offers some great options. While their Amazon content-first interface may be off putting to those who don’t live in the Prime world, their prices can’t be beat and Amazon’s slowly updating them to USB-C, which it’s got in the Fire HD 10 and the Fire HD 8. For those who like to take lots of physical notes, the reMarkable 2 tablet is a one-of-a-kind slate that replicates the feel of pen and paper like no other.

You can also check out the Microsoft Surface Go 2, which erases the memory of the lackluster original by lasting longer, thinning its bezels and providing a faster processor option. All of that, plus a kickstand that’s as strong as the one used to prop up its big brother, the Surface Pro. And it runs Windows 10, arguably the most capable operating system on any tablet today. Microsoft has since released a successor, but as you can read in our Microsoft Surface Go 3 review, it’s actually a bit of a step back from the excellent Go 2.

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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.

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.

Microsoft To Do

Best iPhone to do list app as an alternative to Wunderlist

Microsoft To Do is the result of Microsoft's acquisition of Wunderlist in 2015. It was developed by the team who created the original Wunderlist, a highly celebrated to do manager that will be discontinued in favor of Microsoft To Do on May 6, 2020. Former Wunderlist users will feel right at home since the app looks and feels very similar.

The app works well as a daily planner, allowing you to choose tasks to complete by adding them to the My Day screen. If you're low on inspiration, the app will suggest tasks to complete based on your outstanding to dos and upcoming due dates. Create lists to organize your tasks, then organize tasks with sub-tasks, reminders, due dates, and the option to repeat the task.

Basic list-sharing has been integrated into Microsoft To Do, allowing you to share individual lists with other users who can then modify or add tasks. Look for the small Share button at the top of each list to add users via email. Anyone who wants to collaborate will need a valid Microsoft account to do so.

Microsoft To Do Price: Free.

Digital Photo Frame

If the screen is not cracked, the tablet can serve as a digital photo frame. Consider setting it in such a way that it can display slideshows from Flickr, Google Photos, or any other photo-sharing platform you like anywhere in your home. You can benefit from apps like Fotoo which also displays photos stored on tablets. Another way of accomplishing this is to load tons of photos on the tablet and give it to a not-so-tech-savvy loved one or significant other as a present. If the front-facing camera is still in great condition, then why not use your tablet as a mirror?

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.

TickTick

Best iPhone to do list app for cross-platform users who value speed

TickTick is another powerful to do list management system that lures you in with a compelling free option. If you decide to upgrade, the annual subscription offers good value considering the features you'll get.

Adding tasks to the app is quick thanks to natural language parsing for dates and shortcuts for setting priority, adding labels, and delegating your tasks to a specific list. Tap the Return button to add a task to your inbox, then keep typing and tap Return again to add another. Add a checklist to create sub-tasks, upload attachments or photos, tag locations, or add a nice long description to each entry.

Collaboration is built in so you can share your TickTick lists, plus there's a Pomodoro timer to help you focus.

TickTick Price: Free for up to nine lists, 99 tasks per list, 19 sub-tasks, and one collaborator per list. $27.99/year to remove those limits and unlock features like filtered Smart Lists, Today widgets, and Siri integration.

Read E-Books

An old Android tablet can make a fantastic e-book reader, and it doesn’t require much setup to make the switch. Most e-book readers are based on Android, and the e-reader apps that power them are freely available from the Play Store. Download your favorite e-book reader and set up the tablet to launch the app by default.

Which Size?

Tablet screen sizes range from 6 inches on the low end, all the way up to a gargantuan 18.4 inches on Samsung’s Galaxy View tablet. You’ll find that most tablets fall into the 7- to 10-inch range: If you’re looking for something small and light that you can take with you anywhere, a small tablet such as the iPad mini or 7-inch Amazon Fire tablet is the way to go.

Tablets in the 10-inch range, like the iPad Air 2, provide a good balance between portability and productivity: They aren’t as easy to use with one hand, but they’re still plenty light and compact. Larger tablets, such as the Galaxy View or the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, are less portable, but they can make for suitable laptop replacements.

Notebook-tablet hybrids typically feature screen sizes around 11 to 13 inches, but they tend to be bulkier, so they aren’t ideal if size and weight are your main priorities.

Storage

Storage is another crucial factor to consider. In

Storage is another crucial factor to consider. In this case, laptops almost always have the lead. Currently, the cheapest laptops usually come with either a 500 GB HDD or a 128 GB SSD, both of which outclass most tablets.

Generally, tablets in 2022 range from 8 GB to 256 GB in terms of internal storage, though some pricier high-end models can also have as much as 512 GB or 1 TB of storage. However, the default storage capacity is not everything — expandable storage should also be taken into account.

The storage capacity of many tablets (excluding Apple’s iPads) can be expanded easily with the help of relatively cheap microSD memory cards. These start from as low as 1 GB but can currently go as high as 1 TB, though the maximum support memory card capacity varies from device to device.

In the case of laptops, there are more options. Ma

In the case of laptops, there are more options. Many laptops have memory card readers, but memory cards are far from the most popular type of external storage for laptops.

Instead, external hard drives are often used in tandem with internal SSDs, as they can offer a ton of storage at a meager price per gigabyte. Meanwhile, for those who want high-performance external storage, external SSDs are a thing, too. On top of that, you can upgrade the internal storage drive on most mainstream laptops, something that isn’t an option with tablets.

All in all, we’d give the storage capacity to laptops since the capacity and speed of an SSD can easily match the memory performance of a tablet. Plus, there are cheap external storage solutions out there, as well as the option to upgrade the laptop’s internal storage at any point in the future.

On the other hand, you should also keep in mind that you might not need much internal storage to begin with. Mobile operating systems and apps, for example, don’t take up much space. So, unless you plan on filling up a tablet with media files, 32-64 GB of internal storage combined with cloud storage might serve your needs just fine.

Battery Life

What is a portable computer without a good battery

What is a portable computer without a good battery? Let’s take a look at the battery performance of tablets and laptops.

Tablets can generally endure roughly 8 to 12 hours of active use. Laptops, on the contrary, tend to be more power-hungry, usually lasting anywhere from 2 to 6 hours, depending on what they’re being used for.

Some notebooks and high-end laptops, however, can often go toe to toe with tablets in this regard, as their batteries can last well over 12 hours in some cases.

Now, why do tablet batteries last longer? There ar

Now, why do tablet batteries last longer? There are a few reasons. First, there’s the fact that they use ARM CPUs that are simpler and less power-hungry than even the mobile versions of desktop CPUs found in laptops. 

These CPUs generate less heat, too, making them ideal for devices like phones and tablets that have no active cooling. On top of that, mobile operating systems tend to be relatively well optimized, especially iOS.

It’s possible to squeeze some extra battery life out of a laptop by turning on the power-saving mode. This is a good trick that allows you to keep the laptop running longer by limiting its performance and screen brightness.

In any case, we’re inclined to give this one to tablets as they can last longer on average with no additional throttling involved. Of course, there are some things that tablets cannot do that laptops can, but more on that below.

FAQs

Q: How do I choose a good tablet? The tablet should be suited to how you want to use it and stay within your budget. When deciding on a budget, consider that upgrades like extra storage or 5G may add a few hundred dollars to the price. Next, think about portability. The smaller eight-inch tablets often weigh less than a pound. Even the larger models are under two pounds. How versatile do you want the tablet to be? Do you want to replace your laptop on business trips, or simply use the tablet for streaming videos while you work out or lay in bed? The goal is to pick a model that’s within your budget but performs the functions that matter most to you.

Q: Are iPads good for taking notes? Any of the iPad variations are great for taking notes. Mostly because there are many great note taking apps available for the iPad. Most iPad models also work with the somewhat pricey Apple Pencil, which allows handwritten notes, drawing, and other note taking help. (It will set you back about $130.)

Q: Which is better, laptop or tablet? The answer to this question depends on what you plan to do with the device. Laptops usually (though not always as in the case of the iPad Pro) have better computing power and internet speeds, though they’re not as portable. They may also handle multitasking better, but again, it depends on the model. Tablets with the right apps can give you a more hands-on feel to design, art, and note-taking. They’re great for reading and media because they’re smaller and lighter. Some tablets function like a laptop, but this type usually costs as much as a laptop too.

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