Which tablet to buy?

Tablets or e-readers?

My wife and I belong to a wine group that is planning a trip to France. As I am the “Computer Guy” in the group, i’ve been asked to share my thoughts on tablets versus E-readers.


I’m having a hard time accepting that there is still a dedicated e-reader market. The Nook and Kindle Apps are available on both IOS and Android platforms (even on the Amazon version with a little work Nook Reader on Kindle Fire.)

Most people I’ve talked to also want to be able to do more with their device, like play games, view photos and surf the web. E-Ink isn’t the best technology for those use cases. So I can’t really recommend an standalone e-reader today.

So it is a tablet world then?

I had recent discussions with members of our group on which tablet they should buy. Some of them have been easy discussions, one member is a reader and wanted to be able to share books with family members, they bought the Nook tablet.
Another member is a little more sophisticated with her needs. She is looking at an ASUS Transformer Prime, but wasn’t sure it would meet her requirements.
We went through her use cases to determine which would be more appropriate.
She will be traveling with our group in France and wants to be able to transfer photos from her camera to a tablet to share them with others in the group.
At home she uses an older Windows computer to read email, surf the web and do her taxes. She thinks a tablet would be an appropriate device for at least 2 of these functions, and maybe the third. She doesn’t want to spend a fortune on the tablet.
So with that in mind, we took a look at the options available.

First off, is there a tablet market or is it just the iPad?

My first recommendation was to get an iPad.

Getting photos from a camera to the iPad couldn’t be any easier. $29 dollars will get you the Apple iPad Camera Connection kit that allows you to read SD cards or connect up your camera with a USB cable. Once they are there, iPhoto is a good application for managing them.

The iPad is easy to set up to work with just about any e-mail system, for work or pleasure. Surfing the web can be done with Safari or now you can even load Google Chrome.
The only limitation is the cost. Enough said there.

The ASUS Transformer Prime

I’ve not used this tablet, so I can’t really say how well it works. The industry certainly likes it. From my friend’s perspective it certainly has what she wants. An SD Card. It actually has two. There is a MicroSD slot on the tablet and the keyboard has a full size SD card. So either way she can get her photos from her camera to the tablet. Cost is comparable to an a iPad.

Asus Transformer Prime

? Operating System: Android™ 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)

? Display: 10.1″ WUXGA Full HD (1920 X 1200) LED backlit screen with 10-finger multi-touch, Super IPS+ display with 600 nits brightness protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 2
? Chipset: NVIDIA® Tegra® 3 Quad-Core T33@ 1.6 GHz
? Wireless: 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth v3.0, A2DP
? Memory: 1 GB DDR3
? Storage: 32 GB eMMC flash
? Camera: Rear 8MP Auto-focus w/LED Flash, F/2.2 Aperture, 1080p video recording; front 2MP for video conferencing
? Speakers: Built-in stereo speakers with ASUS SonicMaster™ technology
? Card Reader: Micro SD card reader? Input / Output: 1 x Micro HDMI, 2-in-1 audio jack (headphone/mic-in jack), internal mic
? Battery: Pad only: 25Wh – 9.5 hours1 Pad + Dock: 25Wh+ 19.5Wh – 14 hours 1
? Battery: 22 W/h li-polymer battery (up to 10 hours)1
? Dimensions: 10.35 x 7.12 x 0.39 (W x D x H)
? Weight: 1.32 lbs
? Color: Amethyst Gray, Champagne Gold

1 Actual battery life varies with usage. Operation lifetime subject to product model, normal usage conditions and configurations.
? Android™ 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich OS
? Easy to use and upgrade
? Wi-Fi Direct* – Connect directly to other Wi-Fi Direct compatible devices at the touch of a button
? Built-in photo editing – Edit photos, no additional apps required
? Offline Web browsing – Read your favorite sites without an Internet connection

Google Nexus

Nexus 7 Specs

I want a Nexus. Right up front, this is the tablet I wanted to have when I got my Kindle. Unfortunately it took Google a long time (If 8 months is a long time) to come out with it. But, I’m not shopping for a new tablet for myself. Does the Nexus meet my friend’s requirement?

There isn’t much to the Nexus. it is produced by ASUS. It is going after the Kindle / Nook form factor as it is a 7 inch tablet. There is no external expansion nor any way to feed it a SD card. You can connect it to a Windows Machine to via the USB port to transfer Photos. What no support for a Mac?

Tablet comparision
Tablet Memory Expansion Cost
iPad 16 GB/32 GB/64 GB None $399 and up
Nook 8 GB/16GB Micro SD $249
ASUS 1 GB/ 32 GB eMC Storage ~$500
Nexus 7 8 GB/16 GB None $199 / $249

So the major limitation is no way to bring photos from your camera to the Nexus. I don’t think it is as big of a limitation as some people make it out to be. If you get creative, there are ways around it. For example, Take a look at EyeFi This works with any camera, and your iPad, iPhone or Android device.

Hopefully, I’ve given you a lot of information that will help with the decision of which tablet to purchase.


I happen to possess an employer provided original iPad, and own the Barnes and Noble original Nook e-reader and a Amazon Kindle Fire. my wife owns the New iPad. I have gifted my parents with iPad 2s and my kids with Kindle Fires.

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