Tablets: Who still needs them? Experts describe the ideal tablet user

With smartphones and laptops increasingly serving the middle ground taken by tablets, the question comes whether such devices have a useful niche anymore? — dpa

Smartphones are bigger and more powerful than ever, while laptops are becoming thinner and more flexible. Does the tablet still serve a purpose between these two devices?

Industry expert Sebastian Kloess thinks it does. “The strength of the tablet is clearly the large screen, yet it’s also compact and light,” says Kloess, from the German IT association Bitkom.

Aren’t laptops just as good nowadays? When compared to laptops they also often have a significantly longer battery life, the experts say.

There are still tasks that tablets can do better than smartphones or laptops.

“The tablet is the perfect couch computer,” Kloess argues. It’s easier to handle and more comfortable to use than a laptop, and is ideal for anyone who regularly streams movies and TV.

Tablets are particularly advantageous for those who have little experience with computers or smartphones, for example senior citizens and children, Kloess says.

That’s because they’re easy to hold, intuitive to use, and usually not crammed with apps and functions.

But they’re not just for more simple use, and anyone with a high-tech home packed full of smart home devices will appreciate being able to use a tablet as a control panel of sorts.

The tablet market is more and more divided into cheap and expensive devices with fewer mid-range products, says tablet reviewer Alexander Spier.

The cheapest devices can be had for less than US$100 (RM404) while the most expensive costs ten times that. “But there are fewer and fewer models between these two extremes,” Spier says.

Devices costing between around US$200-US$400 (RM808-RM1,616) are sufficient for most people’s needs. The price is mainly determined by computing power, screen quality, and storage capacity.

“With a tablet, I would always look at the screen first,” Kloess says. In the end, this largely decides whether you enjoy using the device or not.

Alexander Spier advises getting a display with at least Full HD resolution, although screens that are bigger than 10 inches diagonally ideally should have higher resolution than that.

You should pay attention to the PPI (pixels per inch), a measure of the pixel density, Kloess says. A good PPI value starts at 220, top models come with 260 and more.

Devices in the middle price segment generally have 3GB or 4GB of RAM, which is usually sufficient. Spier recommends making sure that the processor has at least four cores.

He also strongly advises against tablets with less than 16GB of storage. “Then you have to constantly delete apps or photos in order to still be able to use the device.”

However, many tablets can also take an SD card to expand the memory.

When deciding on Android or iOS, answering the question of what exactly you want the tablet for can help, Spier says. Not all apps are available for both operating systems. – dpa

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