Monday, May 2, 2011

Thinking of buying a tablet? Now might be a good time.

Apple's iPad 2 is now available at local retailers. With a new 900 MHz dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor and PowerVR SGX543MP2 graphics processing unit inside, this configuration should keep you happy into 2012. The iPad 2, at 1.33 pounds and 8.8 mm thick is substantially lighter and thinner than the original iPad. With a front cam, this iPad 2 is designed to be used with Apple's Facetime. 

Priced at the same level as the previous iPad, starting at Php23,990 for the basic 16GB WiFi model, the iPad 2 is a compelling choice for those in the market for a tablet. The 3G models start at a much higher price point of Php30,990.

iPad owers. If you already own an iPad, the iPad 2 does not have enough to compel an upgrade. The screen is still the same 9.7-inch 1024 x 768 screen, and there are still few, if any, apps that will really need the new dual core processor. If you already own an iPad, we suggest you hold onto it a bit longer. Apple does build their products to stay with their owners for 2-3 years. 

First computer buyers or desktop owners. If you still do not own a computer we recommend that you consider one of the low cost laptops instead. A tablet, cannot act as a standalone device, and needs to be paired with a personal computer from time to time.

Desktop owners may also be better served with a laptop than a tablet.

The Sony Vaio YB is powered by a AMD Fusion E350 which has a dual core 1.6GHz processor and ATI 6310 graphics is priced at just Php26,990 and does carry the prestigious Vaio branding. If you do not have an Apple on the lid, the Vaio name is an equally prestigious label to have.

This 11.6" laptop with its 1366 x 768 (WXGA) LED-backlit TFT LCD screen will have no problem playing HD content and more powerful than enough to handle word processing, web browsing and a fair amount of 3D gaming. Being powered by Windows 7 Starter, it will run the same applications you already run on your desktop.

The iPad has a battery life twice as long as the Vaio, which is something to consider. The iPad also weighs less than half as much as the laptop, but since you will probably carry either device in a shoulder bag, the difference in weight wont really matter as much.

Tablets have been driving laptop prices down. Now might be the time to take advantage of this.

Other tablets. Samsung has built an excellent tablet for some time, the Samsung Galaxy Tab. The problem is that not many apps take advantage of its 1024 x 600 7-inch screen. But web browsing and games is much better on the 7-inch screen than on even the largest smartphone.

The biggest problem with the Galaxy Tab was its priced. At 34K is was just way too expensive. Now priced at Php20,500 for the 3G enabled Galaxy Tab P1000, and at just Php15,999 for the WiFi only Galaxy Tab P1010, now is a very good time to buy a Galaxy Tab. 

The Galaxy Tab's 7-inch screen makes it half the size of the iPad, and weighing in at 3/4ths of a pound, it will slide nicely into any mid-sized ladies handbag. 

The iPad 2 is a compelling choice, and the alternatives are easily as compelling. Some food for thought.

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