Ultra-portable Devices Eat Into The Legacy PC Market (Part 3)

5/18/2013 9:16:59 AM

Top tablets for the Indian market

Unlike smartphones, tablets tend to have fewer form factors, practically limited to either 25.4 cm (10”) or 17.78 cm (7”). These cater to different audiences and changing work conditions whether you are on the go or relaxing on the couch. Tablets have become more of a style statement and a gateway to efficient Web browsing and eBook reading.

Premium – Galaxy Nexus 10: Smashing the retina display by a huge margin (~300 PPI), Google, along with Samsung, has created a hardware marvel. Boasting of a quad-core SoC with the spanking new Cortex A-15 core at its heart, the Galaxy 10 is not only a powerhouse but also efficient. The bundled 2 GB of RAM ensures smooth-running games and applications. Multi-tasking and heavy process execution is buttery smooth thanks to the beefy hardware. The icing on the cake is the 25.4 cm (10”) screen with a mind-boggling resolution of 2560x1600, resulting in an astounding PPI of 299 – a feat that most desktop monitors fail to achieve.

Galaxy Nexus 10

Galaxy Nexus 10

For optics, the tablet comes loaded with a full HD (1080p) rear camera and a front (720p) camera for video conferencing using Google+ hangouts. Updates are no issues either, it being a Nexus device. This is a cool device if you plan to spend heavily on a premium tablet. The only downside is local availability; Google hasn't opened its Play Store for hardware purchases in India and is not actively looking to ship this device here. However, it is rumored to be priced at around $570 on debut, for the 16 GB version.

An alternative – Samsung Galaxy Note N8000: Even though the dimensions are similar to its higher-end sibling (the Nexus 10), the Galaxy Note falls short on many counts. The quad-core SoC (Cortex A9 cores) though boasting of a higher clock speed and more processing power, is architecturally crippled compared to the Cortex A15 cores in the Nexus 10. Further, the screen has a resolution of only 1280x800, which is nowhere near that of the Nexus 10. The build quality of the Note has been fairly well-received and provides good ergonomics. The tablet sports optics similar to the Nexus 10. Samsung is shipping the device with ICS but off lately has been rolling out Jelly Bean updates for the Note, along with some premium features that are only limited to Samsung tablets. With a price tag of roughly $700, the Note is very pricey, but the kind of experience it offers is worth it.

Samsung Galaxy Note N8000

Samsung Galaxy Note N8000

Mid-range 17.78 cm (7”) tablets

The Google Nexus 7: Google has undoubtedly dominated the tablet market, even though it is not manufacturing the device. With Asus, Google debuted the Nexus 7 for an unbelievable price of $199 for the 16 GB version and ever since, it's received rave reviews. The small screen and 720p resolution were enough for the Tegra3 chip inside it to drive exceptional performance. The tablet has a plastic build with no rear camera but a 1.2 MP front camera for conferencing.

The Google Nexus 7

The Google Nexus 7

The tablet was later plagued with poor screen quality and ghosting, along with colour production issues, which seem to have been fixed in later revisions. The Nexus 7 is a compelling package that has set a benchmark among low-priced devices. Competing manufacturers are finding it hard to release a counterpart. Backed by strong community and Google updates, it's hard to ignore a device that costs so little. The downside – the Nexus 7 is sold at a price tag of $370 in the Indian market, a decision that is controlled by Asus. There's also the storage limitation: the Nexus 7 doesn't offer any option to expand storage – neither via MicroSD nor USB OTG.

An alternative – Micromax Funbook: In a remarkable turn of events, Micromax has stunned other manufacturers. This cheap tablet comes with a 1 GHz SoC, along with a 17.78 cm (7”) display. It's not the specs that make it special but the sheer developer support this tablet has gained making it very unique. You can try a plethora of tweaks, mods and custom ROMs for the tablet, and get it working within no time.

Though the Funbook may not be groundbreaking on paper, it boasts a unique community-driven ecosystem and a super-affordable price of $120.

Now that we’ve done with the list, I hope you'll be able to make a shrewd choice the next time you're shopping for an ultra-portable device.

– Micromax Funbook

Micromax Funbook

Are we in a post-PC era?

The advent of smart and ultra-portable devices is eating away at the legacy PC’s market share and providing a compelling solution to the end user. However, these devices are not meant for power usage, irrespective of the price tag and the number of cores. For light work, these devices fit the bill – but people harping about the ‘post-PC era’ are exaggerating. These devices still require a full-blown PC to work perfectly (syncs, updates, etc) and don't have the amenities to enable high-end work. Thus, as of now, we're still very much in the PC era.

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