Many folks will be buying, or receiving, a high-tech gift this Christmas. Tablets, such as the iPad, will be especially popular gifts. Here's one geek's thoughts on what to buy.
In the tablet world, there are just two main players: Apple and Android-based devices. Apple's tablets are the iPad and iPad Mini. Android, an operating system developed by Apple's rival, Google, has more choices, the most popular being the Samsung line of tablets.
Bargain-priced tablets by less well-known vendors will actually be Android tablets. You may be familiar with Android - many folks use smart phones with an Android OS.
Both Apple and Android have huge "app stores available". An app, for those who don't know, is a small piece of software that allows you to do special things with your device. For example, most of you have heard of Skype, the app that allows you to have video chats with friends and family around the world. Apps are extremely useful and there are thousands to choose from to help you with everything from photography to recipes. Some cost money, many are free or trial versions.
iPads and high-end Android tablets, like the Samsung Galaxy 10 cost about the same. Cheaper Android tablets can be purchased, but can be hard to find support for should you have problems. My advice? Stick with a known, respected brand, Apple or Samsung. And how to choose between these two? For most people who are buying or getting their first tablet, and may not be very tech savvy, I would recommend the iPad over the Samsung. It has a very user-friendly interface and, more importantly, if you have problems there are a multitude of friends and neighbors who have iPads that can probably help. Far fewer people have the Samsung tablets, thus help might be a bit harder to find. Both are excellent tablets, however.
It's been our experience that older patrons often "take" to tablets like the iPad, with its touch interface and easy portability, much easier than they do to a PC. No more trying to find that tiny cursor on the screen, or control it with arthritic hands. The frustration level is quite a bit less. If grandma or grandpa have been resisting jumping on the technology bandwagon, a tablet might be just the thing for them. However, I'd suggest the full-sized iPad - the larger size is easier on the eyes.
The latest iPad is the Air 2. However, bargains can be found by buying its predecessor instead, the original iPad Air. Wal-Mart sells the wi-fi version, with ample storage space for most users, for only $349.