The world’s first tablet cafe opened last month. Not in San Francisco or New York, but in Dakar, the capital of Senegal. It’s funded by Google, who are looking to revive the traditional cyber café concept by reducing power consumption and safeguarding against frequent power cuts. Surely, this says something about the tablet — what was seen as an indulgent device even two years back, has reached sub-Saharan Africa, where it’s looking to serve a utilitarian purpose.
And as the tablet’s popularity has grown, so have your choices. Amid on-going conjecture over the next iPad, we look at the other big players in the market.
Google Nexus 10
USP: Bigger, brighter
More screen real estate, megapixels and RAM than the Nexus 7, this is the tech giant’s first full-sized tablet. Expect it on the Play Store in India soon.
Price: $399 (R23,650) onwards (US Play Store)
Barnes & Noble Nook HD
USP: Price, readability
This is a handy, well-sized device primarily aimed at readers. So if that’s the primary usage for your tablet, this is your best bet. The size lets you hold it easily with one hand while reading. The sharp screen also makes videos look vibrant. The internal memory is low at 8 GB, but the microSD slot it sports makes up for it.
Price: $129 (R7,646) onwards (US price)
Google Nexus 7
USP: Best compact tablet, price
It costs more in India than it does in the US, but the 7 inch tablet is still worth the price-tag. With a high-definition (HD) display, a quad-core processor, micro-USB and the uncluttered Android Jelly Bean OS, this is a no-compromise device. It’s also perfect for those looking to bridge the gap between a phone and a tablet. Price: R15,999 onwards (Play Store)
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9
USP: HD screen, media access
The high-definition 8.9 inch screen is crisp and the 4G-enabled device streams without lagging. The Dolby dual stereo speakers are also up there with the best.
Price: $269 (R15,945) onwards (amazon.com)
Sony Xperia Z
USP: All-round performance, design, waterproof
It’s stunningly sleek, well-designed and powerful (quad-core 1.5 GHz processor). There is a microSD slot, it blasts music and…wait for it…is waterproof up to three feet for half an hour.
Price: R44,990 (flipkart.com)
USP: Display, overall experience
The Retina display is sharper and the A6X chip faster than previous generations. But those aren’t the only reasons to buy it. The OS, the design and the whole Apple ecosystem makes the device popular. Loyalists are eyeing the iPad 5. And that almost surely means this device will soon get cheaper.
Price: R31,900 onwards (homeshop18.com)
Samsung Galaxy Note 800
USP: Performance, stylus
Detractors may have laughed when Samsung brought back the stylus with its Note series, but the bright idea has paid off. The stylus enables the device to do more than what you can on any other tablet. Yes, not every one of us needs to doodle or make illustrations. But if tablets were only about utility, there would be no Angry Birds.
Price: R34,999 (cromaretail.com)
Microsoft Surface RT
USP: MS Office software, USB
Given the popularity of the Windows OS in India, this device makes a lot of sense. It gives you MS Office, which is the one thing you will miss on any other tablet. Besides, the USB lets you connect a mouse and a physical keyboard. It also packs in the muscle with a quad-core processor and 2 GB RAM.
Price: R43,999 (tradus.com)