Friday, October 12, 2012

Tablet talk: touch screens for the very first time

By Kelsey Mejlaender, Copy Editor

The joyous college experience of lugging textbooks around campus may be coming to an end. Tablets take the text out of our bags and put it into our gadgets, and that’s only a fraction of what they can do.

Whether you want to surf the Internet, play games, watch movies, make video calls or just read the news, some tablets have it all.

With most tablets, you can purchase word processing, spreadsheet and presentation software, which can be saved as Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents respectively. 

Yet with every technological advance, problems arise. A lot of textbooks aren’t available in e-book form and some just aren’t practical to use in a restricted rectangular screen.

Additionally, laptops still have better software and graphics support. They include USB and HDMI ports as well, features many tablets only have adapters for. Still, if you plan on joining the tablet craze, then these are the best options for students.

Editor’s note: Pricing information taken from the Computer Network (CNET)

The New iPad - $499

The newest addition to the iPad legacy has the best resolution available in tablets and 250,000 new apps available. With the iBooks store, students can buy interactive textbooks complete with “Lesson Check” quizzes. 

The iPad can be clunky to type with, however. As easy as it is to send short text messages on touchscreens, writing your big research paper might be more of a chore. Although you can get accessories to remedy this, the most popular keyboard designs for the iPad tend to limit its portability.


ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity - $483.92

As pricey as this tablet is, it’s also a viable replacement for a basic laptop. The tablet itself is thin, but the attachable keyboard is even thinner, so the addition of it won’t weigh you down. Best of all, the keyboard includes many things the tablet lacks, like a regularly sized USB port and it also adds up to 15 hours of battery life to the tablet. Though the resolution doesn’t match the new iPad’s, it has the brightest screen and a bright future in the tablet world. Price does not include docking station.


Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0) – $215

With this 7-inch tablet you’ll get a keyboard dock, but the dock decimates the portability of this mini-tablet. It’s small and light, but yet another thing to squeeze into your bulging backpack. The 3-megapixel camera is a letdown, since many smartphones have cameras of better quality. There are also only eight gigabytes of storage. With its SD card slot, however, you can add an additional 32 gigabytes.  Still, if the typical 10-inch tablets are not your style, this smaller and less expensive tablet is for you. Price listed is for the Samsung student edition.

Microsoft Surface (Pricing Not Available)

Combining the tablet cover and keyboard into one is innovative and catches the eye. The tablet also has a built-in kickstand, a stylus for note taking and massive memory storage capabilities with an SD card slot and a full sized USB port. The kickstand can’t be adjusted, however, which means you can’t change the tablet-to-keyboard angle.

This tablet will be released Oct. 26 and comes preloaded with the Windows 8 software that comes out the same day.