Tablet Tips

Should You Buy an Off Brand Android Tablet

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Should You Buy an Off Brand Android Tablet

Following the news story earlier this week about white box devices out performing some of the big tablet names such as Apple and Android, I thought it would be important to take a few minutes to look at these devices to make sure they are actually worth buying.

After all, you don’t want to get a lemon of a tablet now do you? I didn’t think so. So, let’s take a look at a few things you should look for in a new tablet especially in one made by a so called off brand Android tablet maker.

What Is a White Box Device

First, I wanted to stop for a moment to define exactly what a white box device is. Basically, it is a device made by several of the smaller manufacturers out there. Think of it as a generic brand if we were to equate to some food or drug labels. These makers don’t sell quite the volume of the big names and they often sell their devices for much less than some of the big time makers such as Apple and Samsung.

Are They Worth It?

So, are they worth it? The answer isn’t as simple as the question, I’m afraid. Can you find a great tablet for cheap that doesn’t come from a major manufacturer? Certainly. Will you have to make a few sacrifices along the way? Maybe, maybe not. The key is to watch for a few key factors when making your purchase.

What To Watch For

So what do you need to look for? Let’s take a look at a few key factors you need to keep your eye on when buying a white box tablet.

Hardware Specs

Sometimes white box makers use older hardware to get the cost down on their devices. While some of these will be perfectly okay for you to use, others may not be depending on what you do with it. Remember, if you want to do anything fancy you need a great processor on your tablet. If all you want to do is check email and a little web surfing, then you can go with something a little older.

Screen Size and Type

There are many different types of screens out there. One of the biggest ways manufacturers keep costs down is by putting older screens on their devices that have lower resolution and reduced brightness. Take a closer look at the screen on the tablet you are thinking about purchasing and make sure you like the way it looks. If you are alright with the lower resolutions then by all means add that one to your short list. If you insist on a high resolution screen that is very bright, you may have to look elsewhere.

Android Version

There are many different versions of Android currently on the market and in the wild. Sometimes, white box dealers opt for older versions that are a bit more mature but easier to install in order to cut costs. These older versions of the operating system may lack some of the new features found on Android that you will want or need. So be very careful here.

At the same time, you need to check and see if it supports updates. Some will only let you update your tablet so far before you have reached the end of its update compatibility. If that leaves you on a really old operating system, you will not only lack features but over time it could even become a bit of a security risk as support for these old versions of Android fades into technology oblivion.

Google Play Support

Believe it or not, Google does make manufacturers meet some requirements when releasing tablets using Android. If they meet these rules, then the tablet will offer Google Play support. That means you can download apps from the Google Play Store and you know it met at least the minimum requirements for approval from Google. If you see tablets out there that don’t support it, if they aren’t Amazon or Nook tablets, then chances are they are of very low quality and failed to meet Google’s tests. Avoid these like the plague and only pick one up that offers Google Play Support.


Take a closer look at the fine print when buying one of these tablets. Find out what kind of warranty you will get, if you get one at all, and read reviews to see how it stands up against other tablets especially when something goes wrong. In the end you want to make sure you get one that works and if something does go wrong, you want to be able to get it fixed without having to invest even more money into a tablet. Otherwise, you may as well pay more for one of the major tablet makers’ products.

Realities Today

Despite the fact that you do need to watch for some of these issues on white box tablets, buying an off brand tablet doesn’t mean you are picking up something that is, well, for lack of a better term, a piece of crap. On the contrary, there are some great white box devices out there that will give you the features you want at a price that is much lower than some of the leading manufacturers. You just must be careful and thorough while you do your shopping.

Final Thoughts

White box devices are on the rise and have never been as popular as they are today. More and more consumers are buying them and they are now beginning to give the major manufacturers a run for their money in the market. Still, that doesn’t mean all things are created equal. While it is possible to find a great off brand tablet in your price range that will do everything you need it to do, you still must be careful.

While shopping, make sure you examine every detail about the tablet especially if it is from a maker than you have never heard of before. If you determine that both the hardware and software on the device will be more than enough for you, then take a closer look at the reviews and warranty offered before you make your purchase.

There are great off brand tablets out there, but just shop around and be careful. If you do, I’m guessing you will find just what you need at a price you can easily afford.

Tablet Tips

What You Should Do If Your Tablet Gets Wet

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What You Should Do If Your Tablet Gets Wet

How many of you have accidentally dropped your tablet into water or some other liquid? If you have, I bet you remember that feeling of panic and fear and I’m sure those around you will never forget that look on your face.

Just because you drop your tablet in water, doesn’t mean that all is lost. On the contrary, if you act quickly and follow the recommendations below, you could rescue your device. Even if your tablet gets wet, doesn’t mean you will have to buy something new. Just follow the procedures below and you have a good shot at rescuing it from certain doom.

Here’s What You Need to Do

So, are you ready to learn what you need to do if the unthinkable happens to your tablet? Good. After all, everyone should know what they should do if they happen to get their precious devices wet.

Don’t Panic

First and foremost, it is important not to panic. Let me say that again, do not panic. If your tablet gets dunked in water you must remain calm and act fast. Speed is really the key here. Most people, unfortunately, drop it in liquid and then sit there and stare at it like a deer in headlights because they can’t believe they did that and they aren’t sure what to do. So, remain calm, and proceed to the next steps.

Get It Out of the Water

Your first mission is to remove it from the water or whatever liquid it is immediately. Don’t waste time here. The longer it stays in the water the greater the risk of damage. If you can get it out quickly, you may have a shot at saving it.

Turn It Off

Once it is out of the water, turn it off. Don’t waste time at first drying off the outside. Just hit that power button and make sure it goes off. You see, water won’t really hurt the outside or the inside of a tablet if there is no power. However, water and power do NOT mix one bit. If you can get it off in time, you may just be able to save your tablet before the water and electricity have a chance to fight it out inside your tablet.

Remove Everything You Can

I admit, this is pretty tough these days, as most tablets are built to be all in one devices where you don’t have to remove anything. Still, many have microSD cards and even SIM cards. If your tablet has these, remove them from their slots and dry them out. Once dry, store them someplace safe for now as you will need them later. If you can remove the batter or any other part easily, go ahead and do that as well, although your mileage may vary here based on the type of tablet you have.

Dry It With a Soft Cloth

Now that you have your tablet off and all the extras removed, take a soft cloth and gently dry out the outside making sure you get all the water out of any crevice, cracks and slots. If you were able to remove any of the parts, gently dry out those spaces as well. If you feel comfortable taking apart your tablet, then go ahead and do it and dry out the inside VERY CAREFULLY. Just make sure you don’t rip or damage any of the delicate components inside if you do take it apart.

Grab Some Rice

On top of the cloth, I recommend everyone at least do this before you try to turn it on. You see, rice loves to absorb moisture. That is why everyone uses this trick with electronics. Grab a large container and fill it with rice. Then, submerge your tablet in the rice completely. The rice will pull the moisture out of the tablet and absorb it, kind of like what it does when you boil rice. The end result is a dry tablet. Try leaving it in the rice at least overnight but I would recommend a full 24 hours or even 48 if you can live without it for a couple of days. The more time you give it, the more moisture can be removed from the tablet.

Extreme Solution – Rubbing Alcohol

If your tablet got a good dunk where it was completely submerged, the rice may not be enough. Now you could try waiting for a few days for it to dry completely, but that takes a lot of time. Instead, you could try a little chemistry. Make sure your tablet is off, then submerge it in rubbing alcohol overnight. Alcohol will displace the water from inside the tablet replacing it with itself. However, alcohol is fast drying, so when you remove it from the alcohol, it will dry very quickly, allowing you to power it on much faster in the long run.

Sometimes It’s Not Enough

Sometimes, no matter what you do, it won’t be enough to save your tablet. If that happens, you will be looking at potentially expensive repairs or even a full tablet replacement. Have a chat with your manufacturer to see what your options are. If you purchased insurance on the device, you may be able to easily get it replaced with just a small deductible out of your pocket. If you didn’t, get ready to pay for repairs or a replacement, you simply won’t have any other choice.


There are many ways you can rescue your tablet when it gets wet. Now I’m not going to lie and tell you these methods work every time. Unfortunately, that is not how life works. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try them, however. Especially when the alternative is spending more of your hard earned money on repair and replacement.

So the next time this happens to you, remember not to panic and act fast by following through each one of these steps. Who knows, you may just get lucky and stop that evil water from destroying one of your most prized devices in your home.

Have you ever dropped your tablet in water? Did these solutions work for you or did you have to get a new device? Let me know in the comments below.

Tablet Tips

How to Decide What Tablet Operating System to Use

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So you are in the market for a new tablet, but after a quick look at your local technology store and you are already overwhelmed. There are hundreds of options out there running different operating systems. This can make it tough to make a decision when you are in the market for a new tablet.

There are three main players out there when it comes to the operating system. They are:

  • Apple iOS
  • Google Android
  • Microsoft Windows

All three of these operating systems have been designed to provide a unique and fun touch experience when you use them as a tablet. But despite their similarities, they are all different. So how do you make your decision?

Tablet OS Options

First, let’s take a few minutes to look at some of the main strengths and weaknesses of all the major players in the tablet operating system market. By knowing and understanding these, you should be able to make the right decision for your next tablet.

Apple iOS Tablets

The one that is responsible for it all, iOS was an innovation that was never before seen in the world. It truly changed the face of technology as we know it.

What You Get

The early leader in the field, iOS features all of Apple’s superior design philosophies all wrapped into one easy to use package. With just a few taps and virtually no knowledge you can still use these devices. There are tons of apps available for both work and play and the design of the tablets themselves are always impressive. If you want a tablet that just works, this is definitely the choice for you.

What It Lacks

As good as iOS is, it is also very limiting. There is almost no room for customization on this tablet and their walled garden prevents any apps that don’t meet their “approval” from ever reaching the tablet. This can leave many users out in the cold if there is a certain type of app that they want. iPads are also more expensive than many of their rivals, so you have to be prepared to spend a little more for this type of experience.

Android Tablets

The biggest player in the tablet market, Google’s Android operating system is powerful and found all over the world today and the majority of the best tablets on the market run Android aside from Apple tablets.

What You Get

Android is the most popular mobile operating system in the world and it is installed on billions of devices. Designed by Google, you get tight integration with the search engine giant featuring all of their apps and software. The app store is giant, giving you great choices in apps for both work and play. Android is open source as well, meaning you are free to customize your experience however you want as there are very few limitations.

What It Lacks

With freedom comes responsibility, and Android makes you have a lot of that. It is easy to mess up your Android tablet while fiddling with it and if you don’t know what you are doing you could end up in a world of trouble. Viruses and other malware are also more common on this platform and compared to Apple’s iOS it is a little more complicated to use. You will also find many different version of Android out in the wild as well, meaning you could run into apps that don’t work with your particular device.

Windows Tablets

While Microsoft was late to the tablet game, they have managed to come with up some pretty ingenious solutions to tablet life.

What You Get

Hands down one of the best parts of using a Windows Tablet is its seamless integration with Windows desktops and laptops. With one Microsoft account, all your apps and even data if you use OneDrive can easily be viewed and edited on your tablet and your computer. Their designs have come a long way as well, given you unique tablets that really shine if you want to use a tablet for work.

What It Lacks

While usability is on par with Windows operating systems and the transition between the two is pretty much seamless, one area that is lacking is apps. The Microsoft Store has still been unable to catch up to Android and iOS in terms of apps available on the platform. Viruses are also more of a concern than on other platforms so be careful what sites you visit on your Windows tablet.

So How Do You Choose?

So how do you make your choice? First, look at how you plan on using it and what you want to do. Take a closer look at your experience with operating systems. Do you prefer to tinker with your system or do you want it to just work so you don’t have to worry about it? Do you need full Windows compatibility across all your devices or can you stick with the apps available on each platform to get what you need done. Do you want to work or play or maybe both? All of these questions can lead you to the right choice in your tablet experience.

Final Thoughts

All three major players in the tablet operating system market bring both their strengths and weaknesses to the table. They are all fun to use, in my opinion, but they really cater to different types of users. If you want something that just works, go with iOS. If you prefer something that you can tinker with and customize, Android is probably your best choice. If you want seamless Microsoft integration, a Windows tablet is the way to go. Ask yourself what you need most before you make your decision.

When you do that, you should be able to narrow down your choices to at least one platform. From there you can decide which model of tablet you believe you should get based on your needs and, of course, your budget.

What do you think? Do you have a preference on what tablet operating system you use? Let me know in the comments below.

Tablet Tips

Five Things You Should Do First When You Buy a New Android Tablet

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Five Things You Should Do First When You Buy a New Android Tablet

It’s always fun getting a new tablet. Who doesn’t love new technology? Hell, it’s one of my favorite things to do. Still, it can’t all be fun and games when you purchase new technology, even when you buy a new tablet. There are several things you need to do in order to make sure that the new tablet runs well and to make sure it is protected. Of course, you also want to make sure it is ready to do what you need it to do so it is fun to use.

Today, we take a look at five different things you must do when you buy a new tablet. All new tablet owners should give this a read and make sure you check off each and every one before you start using your new tablet. Trust me when I say if you take the time to follow this list, you will be glad you did. When finished, your tablet will be safe and secure, it will fun great, and do exactly what you need it to do whether that is work or play.

Slap a Case on That Bad Boy

Look, this should be the very first thing you do no matter what kind of tablet you buy. I don’t care how careful you think you are or how much you love the design of the tablet, it needs a case. You see, life just happens, especially if you carry it with you wherever you go. Chances are at some point you will drop it or maybe even spill something on it. A case will go a long way toward protecting it from life’s daily wear and tear. It’s also a great time to add a little personality to your tablet, as there are many different types of cases out there perfect for a wide range of uses. Just make sure you get one that will adequately protect your tablet based on your usage.

Pick Up Accessories

Ah accessories. We all need them. Chances are all your tablet will come with will be a basic charger. Is that enough for you? You may need an extra charger for the office or even a stylus or maybe even a mouse if your tablet will work with one. If you plan on doing some real work on it, you may even want to pick up Bluetooth keyboard. There are hundreds of different types of accessories you can get for your new tablet. While you are buying, you may as well go ahead and get everything you need so you can use your brand new tablet the way you want. If you don’t, I guarantee you will be making another trip to the store in just a few days to get it.

Secure Your Tablet

After you have purchased everything and unboxed it, the very first thing you should do is secure your tablet. Let’s face it, while you may not think you will lose your tablet or it will get stolen, there is a chance that it could. That means you need to be prepared.

Most tablets today have multiple options when it comes to security. Some come with fingerprint readers while others include word and number passwords or even picture and patter passwords. No matter what, use at least one of these to secure your tablet. The fingerprint readers, picture and pattern passwords are the most secure, but even a simple number password will help.

Setup your security how you see fit that way you don’t have to worry about what happens to your valuable and personal data if you do happen to lose your tablet or if it gets stolen. Trust me when I say that you will be glad that you did if the unthinkable does happen.

Optimize Your Battery

Your tablet will literally live and die by its battery. Your screen will be the single biggest drain on your battery, but other things such as apps and background updates can do quite a number on it as well. If you are running a tablet under $100 or cheaper expect to have mediocre battery life at best. Go through and adjust your screen brightness a bit in order to save battery life and check out your background app syncing and updates. If you don’t really need it to do it, then turn it off. In the end, this will save you a ton of battery. That means that you will be able to use your tablet longer between charges and you hopefully won’t have to worry about it dying right when you are in the middle of using it for work or play. No one likes a dead tablet battery, so optimize your tablet’s battery so it lasts you longer between charges and, in the end, will last you longer before it will need to be replaced.

Install and Setup Your Favorite Apps

Now we get to the fun part. Once you have the basics set and ready to go on your tablet, it is time to install all your favorite apps that you like to use. This list will differ for everyone, but there are a few basics you will want. They are:

  • Social Media Apps
  • Office Apps
  • Media Apps (Netflix, etc.)
  • Games
  • Email

These are just a few of the apps that you will want to install. If you have an Android tablet, I encourage you to download and install a File Manager as well. This will let you access the file system on your tablet so you can find the files you need while you work. Remember, the various app stores are filled with some great apps, if you aren’t sure what you need, take a few minutes to browse their lists and you should be able to find the perfect apps for you.

Once installed, make sure you revisit the optimize step we talked about above. These apps will need to be set for push notifications and background syncing just like everything else. That way your battery won’t be put under added stress just because you installed a few apps.

Parting Thoughts

There you have it. What we have listed today are things that every new tablet owner should do every time they buy a new tablet. When you buy an Android tablet, these items should definitely be on your list. I know you want to dive on in and start using and playing with your tablet, but you need to take a few minutes before you get started to do these things.

In the end, you will be glad you did. When you are finished, your tablet will run better and have everything on it that it needs, plus you will have all the accessories you need for your tablet to work well for you and you will have the safety and security that you need because you took the time to activate all the proper security features.

Tablet Tips

Six Ways to Improve Tablet Battery Life

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Six Ways to Improve Tablet Battery Life

No one enjoys having to stop and charge their tablet.  For all their strengths, perhaps the weakest part of any tablet is the battery.  In the end, they only hold so much juice and the more you use your tablet, the more often you will have to charge it.  It’s just the way things are. Budget tablets especially often ship with mediocre batteries from the get-go so also warrant extra battery care to make them last.

Still, there are things you can do to improve the life of your battery so you don’t have to plugin quite so often.  Today, let’s take a look at exactly how you do that and even take a quick look at a few practices you should be doing to not only get more life out of your battery between charges, but also get more out of your battery over the entire life of your tablet.

Improve Your Battery Life

Check out these six ways to improve your battery life so it lasts you longer between charges and keeps a charge for the full life of your tablet.

1. Turn Down That Brightness

Sure you love your screen on your tablet to be bright and clear so it is easy to read, but do you really need it to be on full blast?  Probably not.  Your screen is the source of the biggest drain on your battery, and the brighter your screen, the more battery you will use.  Most tablets will allow you to set an auto adjust based on the lighting around you so you can always see it, but if it doesn’t, why not try backing down the brightness just a little bit.  This will save a lot of your precious battery power so you can get a little more out of it between charges.

2. Turn Off Background Data Sync

One of the latest improvements to tablets and smartphones is the ability to update apps even when you aren’t running them.  Before, you had to launch an app to get the latest updates to it.  Today, they can run in the background and bring you the latest updates so the app is ready to use as soon as you launch it.  While this is great if you want to see the latest information on your app, this does require a little battery power.  These apps have to run in the background to sync their data.  This not only uses battery, but your data as well.  To save a bit of battery, reduce the number of apps that sync in the background.

3. Reduce Those Notifications

Ah notifications.  Some people love them, others really hate them.  Personally, I’m somewhere in the middle.  Notifications are nice in that they bring you the latest information and updates for your apps.  They are really handy when it comes to receiving emails or text messages.  However, not everything needs to send you notifications.  Do you really need to know when your apps up date or do you need to see the latest updates on a game you are playing?  Not really.  Turn off any notifications that you don’t really need and you will find your battery lasting you longer.

4. Watch the Temperatures

Remember, tablets are just small, compact computers.  That means that heat is their enemy, just like your laptop or desktop.  While they are very good at getting rid of heat, they do prefer a nice room temperature environment in order to operate effectively.  If you store your tablet in areas of extreme heat and cold, then you will notice that your battery does not last quite as long as you think it should.  While it isn’t always avoidable, try to keep your tablet in a nice comfortable room at all times so you get more life out of your battery.

5. Watch Your Widgets

If you run an Android tablet, you will undoubtedly be aware of the widgets that run.  These graphical apps give you up to the minute information about some of your favorite apps, but they come at a cost, and that is your battery life.  These widgets run all the time taking precious processing power and battery power at the same time.  To improve your battery life, try reducing or even eliminating your reliance on widgets.  At the very least, only run widgets that you deem absolutely necessary for you to enjoy your tablet experience.  The less you run, the more juice you will get out of your battery.

6. Avoid Navigation

Maps and navigation can be quite handy, even on a tablet.  However, the apps are real battery hogs.  They make use of your GPS data and constantly run when you are using them to get where you are going.  While you may still want to use them for navigation, make sure to completely shut off the navigation and/or maps apps that you are running when you arrive at your destination.  Leaving them running in the background will simply suck away the life of your battery.

Practice Battery Conservation

On top of all of these tips, always try and practice good battery conservation.  When you aren’t using it, try turning it off or turning on Airplane mode.  This will disable some features but remember you aren’t using it anyway.  The end result is that you use much less battery when you aren’t using it.  At the same time, if you need to charge it, it will also charge a lot faster and give you a more accurate representation of your battery life.

If you don’t plan on using your tablet for an extended period of time, give it a full charge and then turn it off.  This will help protect your battery so it lasts you longer.  Over time, batteries do degrade, so anything you can do to protect the battery will help and keep it running for a much longer period of time before you have to consider changing it.

Parting Thoughts

We all love our tablets, and making them last longer should be everyone’s goal.  By following these tips, you can easily make your tablet last a little longer between charges and you can even protect your battery over the long haul so it keeps giving you great charges for the entire life of the tablet.  So what are you are waiting for?  Start practicing your best battery techniques today so you can get more time out of your tablet before you must charge it.

Tablet Tips

My First Hour with the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2

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My First Hour with My Samsung Galaxy Tab S2

For months now I have been trying to decide what tablet I should buy, and I finally made up my mind.  I went out and picked up the 32GB Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7-inch the other day.  So, I thought it would be fun to document my first hour with the tablet so I can give you all a little bit of an insight into the tablet, how it works, and how well it is made.  The following are a collection of my thoughts about the tablet and what I believe many of you will be looking for when you are doing a little tablet shopping of your own.

My First Impressions


When they handed me the box I was surprised out how small it was, even for the 9.7-inch version like I bought.  Still, it was well packaged although everything was tight inside.  Everything was wrapped well and the tablet was beautiful when I first opened it.

One of the first things I noticed about the tablet when I pulled it out was how light it really was.  I don’t think I have felt a tablet this size that felt so light in my hand.  Of course, once I add a case, some of that will go away, but that’s not Samsung’s fault.  They did a great job on the overall design of the tablet and it feels great when holding it with just one hand.

The iPad Retina display gets quite a bit of attention these days, and they are great.  But they don’t have anything on Samsung tablets.  The screens on the Galaxy Tab S2 are bright and beautiful with a very high resolution that makes everything look clean and clear.  I basically love looking at this display.  In a market where screens can vary widely, this is the one to get if you really want a beautiful picture on your display.

Initial Setup

When I turned it on, I was taken to a custom setup created by Samsung that differs from the standard Android affair, but it was easy to use and a relatively quick process.  Once complete, I was taken to my home screen.  The process probably took me about 15 minutes total if even that.  I admit I was taking my time through the process as I wanted to thoroughly enjoy all aspects of the process.


The Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 comes equipped with all the latest security features that you would expect in a premium tablet, including a fingerprint reader.  While the fingerprint ready was easy to setup, I can’t say it has been all that easy to use.

In fact, I often find when I unlock it that it can’t read my fingerprint.  Now maybe I need to redo the fingerprint on it and things would be better.  But so far I have had to enter my password far too often.  This is something that Apple has definitely gotten right but Samsung has yet to catch up.  Sure, you have it, but it only works some of the time, making it almost useless in practice.  It’s so bad that I am actually thinking about disabling it altogether.

Apps and Software


This tablet is built on Android, but uses Samsung’s own custom interface instead of the standard Android experience.  My first impressions of this interface are that it reminds me of an Apple iPad, but with a little more to it.  This interface is pretty to see and very easy to use, but it isn’t for everyone.  Heck, I’m even considering going back to the standard Android interface, even though it means a little extra setup work on my part.

It comes with many apps out of the box, some of which you will like and others you will want to get rid of.  Chrome is there from the beginning but it placed in a folder of Google apps and is not the default browser for the tablet.  Of course, like anything Android, that is easy to change.

You can install apps from both the Google Play Store and the Samsung Store, which is kind of nice, although I did find myself spending most of my time in the Google Play Store.  Still, you can use both and I always love having more than one option.

Every app I chose installed quickly and flawlessly, and I have yet to find an app that didn’t run.  I haven’t tried to sideload any apps just yet, but I imagine that is just a matter of time.  Still, no matter what happens there, most users will find more than enough apps for their needs right out of the box.

Battery Life

If you have done any research on this tablet, you will know that the battery is smaller than previous models.  I have to say, that is shows.  While the tablet came out of the box with 50% battery, I can’t say that it lasted me all that long.

Sure the tablet was under heavier than normal load as I installed all my apps and did all my different setups.  Still, by the end of the night the tablet was ready for a charge.  My guess is that this tablet will last about a day or two with regular use but if you are a heavy user you will want to keep your charger close by.

Final Thoughts

I have to say, my first hour with the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 has been great.  The screen is beautiful, clear and bright and the tablet moves fast both in apps and while you are switching apps making for a great user experience.  I am a little suspicious of the battery life and the fingerprint reader lacks much to be desired, but for my purposes this tablet was simply a great choice despite strong competition in the 10-inch tablet market.

If you are seeking a tablet with a great screen that is fast and designed to be one of the best tablets running Android, then the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 is the tablet for you.  While I chose the 9.7-inch, there is also an 8-inch option as well if you are looking for something a little smaller.  Overall, I have to say I’m happy with this purchase and I would make it again in a heartbeat, and I look forward to the next few years of tablet use on this gorgeous tablet.

Tablet Tips

5 Tips for Every Android Tablet Owner

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5 Tips for Every Android Tablet Owner

So you just bought an Android tablet or you have been using one for a while but would just like to know how you could be a better tablet owner or you are looking for a way to improve your experience.  Whatever the reason, you have come to the right place.  Today, we will take a look at some of my favorite tips for Android tablet owners of both budget and high-end tablets alike.  These tips will improve how you use your tablet on a daily basis and could even improve your overall experience on a day to day basis.

5 Tips for Android Tablets

Now it is time for the good stuff.  The content that is the reason you came to this article in the first place.  The following tips are some of my favorites that I believe every Android tablet owner should take note of while using their device.  You will find that these will help you protect your data and even your wallet while at the same time making it easier for you to use your tablet on a daily basis.

1. Google Now

Like Siri and Cortana, Google Now is your resident digital assistant that lives in Android.  Using Google Now can not only be really helpful, but also kind of fun too.  You can use it to schedule meetings, keep track of your contacts and searches, and even use it to help you map out exactly where you need to go.  I must admit, this one isn’t quite as popular as Siri and Cortana, but it is every bit as effective.  If you use Android and love the Google ecosystem, it is really the only choice for a digital assistant.  So why not start talking to Google so you can get organized today?

2. Keyboard Options

While the default Android keyboard is good, there are many more options out there for you to try.  There are tons of third party apps for keyboard that are available for Android, after all the custom keyboard for tablets and smartphone really got its start on Google Android.  While some of these apps cost money, others are free.  But even the paid versions usually offer a free trial so you can give the keyboard a test drive before you buy.  So why not try a different keyboard?  You could find that one of them is actually much easier to use.

3. Security Options

Like smartphones, there are many security options available on Android, depending on the type of tablet you buy.  Some of the most common security choices that are available to you are digit passwords, word passwords, picture passwords, pattern passwords, and even fingerprint readers.  While many people don’t enjoy using these passwords because they create just an extra step you have to go through to start using the device, you will be glad you did use it if your happen to lose your tablet or it gets stolen.  Passwords can help you protect your device and your personal data from theft if something bad does happen.  Really there is no reason not to use it, especially when you consider the age in which we live.

4. Manage Data Usage

Some tablets come with both Wi-Fi and 3G or even LTE support.  With the latter, you obviously have to have a contract with a wireless carrier.  When this happens you will have a certain amount of data you can and can’t use on a monthly basis.  So, that means that you are going to want to keep track, because if you go over, you could be in for some hefty data charges on your wireless bill.  Android makes it easy to track your usage right from Settings so keep a regular check on that to make sure you don’t go over.  If you are getting close, you can always turn off your LTE or 3G support until your next billing cycle.

5. Organize Your Apps

Ah tablets and their home screens.  With a quick glance you may think that you could find everything with just a few swipes.  However, once you start adding a lot of apps to your device, you may find it hard to find what you need.  Luckily, it is easy to organize your apps.  All you have to do is group them into folders and then organize your home screens.  Try creating folders of similar apps that are easy to access and then even group these apps on different home screens to make it easy to find anything you need.  While it may seem like it will make things slower to access, the reality is it is a lot faster when you compare it to swiping back and forth searching for an app that you just can’t seem to locate.

Final Thoughts

This is by no means a be all, end all list of tablet tips.  An article like that would be longer than my arm and would take quite some time to actually write.  Still, I wanted to provide Android tablet owners with a few good bits of advice to help them protect themselves and improve their Android tablet experience.  By following these tips, you will find that your tablet is much more fun to use and you will be able to easily access everything while at the same time making sure everything is protected and safe from prying eyes.

Do you think I have left a very important tip off this list?  If so, by all means please comment below.  I would love to hear any tips you, the readers, may have for Android tablet owners everywhere.  In the end it is all out helping the user, so why not help me help you by giving up your opinion.  Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Tablet Tips

Should You Password Protect Your Tablet?

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Should You Password Protect Your Tablet?

One question I get from many new tablet owners these days is whether or not they should bother password protecting their device.  While this may sound like a no brainer, many users don’t like protecting their tablets with a password simply because it is inconvenient.

Here’s what I mean.  Everything about a tablet screams convenience.  Apps can be opened and closed in seconds and they are very easy to carry around.  However, once you add a password into the mix, the amount of time it takes to access your content goes up, and even those few seconds can seem very much a pain to many users.

Still, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use security on your tablet.  Today, let’s examine exactly why you should add a layer of security to your tablet.  In the end, I think you will understand that it is ultimately necessary for every tablet user and worth that few seconds of inconvenience.

Reasons You Should Password Protect Your Tablet

Below are some of the reasons I believe you should take the time to password protect your tablet to ensure that your device and your data remain safe.

1. Tablets Are More Portable

Because your tablet is more portable than your other devices, you will quickly find that you will take it with you more places, especially if you are using a 7-inch or 8-inch tablet which are the most portable of all.  If you have added wireless service to your tablet, you may start taking with you wherever you go.  This opens your tablet up for the possibility of being lost or stolen.  If you don’t have a password on it, then all your data and even personal information will be left out in the open leaving you at risk for further thefts down the road.

2. More of Our Lives Are On Tablets

In the early days of tablets, most people didn’t keep a lot of personal data on them.  It is a very different story today, however.  Tablets today store so much of our personal and private lives that it can be a real loss if they get stolen or misplaced.  Because of this, the need for protection on your tablet is more important than ever before.

3. Tablet Theft Is On The Rise

Laptop and tablet theft has been on the rise in recent years.  That means that if you take your tablet with you, you are at an even greater risk than ever before.  So it is more important than ever to password protect your tablet.  Even if you leave it in your home, a tablet is something many crooks look for if they break into your home while you are away.

4. Passwords Are Easy

While you can go with some of the classic methods of setting up a password on your tablet, passwords have come a long way from their beginnings.  Today, you can have picture passwords or patterns to draw and many tablets even come with fingerprint readers so all you have to do is touch them to access them.  Because they are much easier and faster today, they aren’t quite as inconvenient as they used to be.  Which is good.  So you have no more excuses!

Other Security Features

In addition to the classic passwords you can setup on your tablet, modern tablets come with other features designed to make your precious portable devices much more secure.  In my opinion, you should also start using these in addition to your traditional password security.  Some of the most common additional layers of security are:

  • App Level Security – Many apps today offer the ability to put in place passwords in order to protect your data within that one app. These features vary app to app, but if they provide it, make sure you use it, as it gives you yet another layer of protection from theft.
  • Find My Device – If your tablet is lost or stolen, you can use this service to pinpoint exactly where it has been taken. If you have lost it, then by all means go and find it.  If you feel it has been stolen, never go find it on your own.  Always contact police and give them the location and let them handle it.
  • Remote Wipe – If all else fails and you can’t find your device, you can use this remote wipe service to get rid of all your data on the device even if you don’t have it in front you. This will help you prevent your data from falling into the wrong hands if your device is stolen and you can’t track it down.

In the end, you should always consider utilizing much more than just the password protection on your device to ensure that everything is as secure as it could possibly be.  After all, added security never hurt anyone, and it could just save you from a disaster.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, adding a little extra layer of security to your tablet is, in the end, very much worth it.  In many ways it can be more important that password protecting your computer, simply because your tablet is so much more portable, so you will want to take it with you to a lot more places compared to your bulky laptop.

With more and more of our lives making it into the tablet world, the need for password protection has become more important than it ever has before.  Make use of the various password technologies on your tablet and try the different methods to find the most convenient way for you.  Whatever you do, never travel with your tablet if you haven’t protected your tablet.  If you do happen to lose it or if it gets stolen, you could leave yourself open to theft.  So, set those passwords on your tablet today.  That way you know that you are protected.

What do you think?  Do you think that the security features on tablets are important or do you not use them on your device?  Let me know what you think in the comments below.  Security is, after all, very important and should be a concern for all.  So let’s talk about it and see if those of us that believe in the security features can convince others to start using it.

Tablet Tips

10 Steps to Try to Save a Wet Tablet

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10 Steps to Try to Save a Wet Tablet

Tablets and water simply don’t mix.  We all know that.  How many of you have had to deal with losing a device because it fell in a puddle of water or accidentally went through the wash?  It is really a common thing.  I mean there is a reason they make insurance for tablets and smartphones, after all.  Still, when it happens, your first instinct will be to panic and then you will assume the worse.  You may even go ahead and give your device a try to see if it is functioning or not.

One word…DON’T.  I don’t care how tempting it may be, do not use your device.  Now that we got that out of the way, today I want to talk for a few about what you should do if your tablet should get wet.  While I cannot guarantee that you will save your tablet from harm, there is a chance that you will come out of this without having to seek a replacement.  In my book, that small chance makes it all worth it in the end.  After all, if you don’t have to shell out another $200 bucks or more for a new tablet, all the better.

So let’s get started with some of the most common things you should do if you happen to get your tablet wet.

1. Don’t Panic

Whatever you do, do not panic.  Yes I know this is tragic and everything but you can’t let panic take hold.  You need to be able to act fast if you want to have any chance in hell at saving your very expensive tablet.  So get control of yourself and get down to the business of rescuing your tablet from its watery grave.

2. Power Off the Tablet

First, power off your tablet before you do anything else.  Electricity and water just don’t mix, and your tablet could short out and even shock you or catch fire when it takes a bath in water.  So, quickly shut the power down on the tablet first so you ensure your safety and, hopefully, the safety of your tablet.

3. Remove Components

Many tablets don’t allow you to remove anything on them these days, but if you can go ahead and remove anything that can be removed.  Don’t go crazy and start removing the screws to take it apart unless you know what you are doing, but remove anything that isn’t anchored down in such a way.

4. Blot Everything Dry with a Soft Cloth

Don’t wipe the water away from your tablet and its components.  Instead, blot it dry with a soft towel or rag that won’t leave anything behind.  Cover every inch of your tablet making sure there is nothing that remains.

5. Try a Rice Bath

Rice is well known for drawing moisture out of anything around it.  So, take a large bowl and fill it with rice playing your tablet in the center.  Make sure it is completely covered and let it stay there overnight and maybe even part of the next day.  The rice will pull out any moisture in your tablet leaving it dry.

6. Hair Dryer

While some people don’t recommend this because of how hot they can get, if you are careful you can get away with using a hair dryer to heat the components and case inside to dry out the water.  Just don’t let it get too hot or you could damage the components.

7. Get Cooking

Personally, I’m not a fan of this one, but many have reported that it worked.  If you set your oven on its lowest setting, say around 120 degrees Fahrenheit, you can actually cook your phone to evaporate the water.  This temperature won’t damage your phone but will get rid of that water, although you will have to let it cook overnight or until you are sure it is done.  When it is, be sure you give it plenty of time to cool down to room temperature before you give it a try.  One more thing, don’t think you can do this in just minutes using a microwave.  If you microwave your device, you will destroy it.

8. Alcohol Bath

If your tablet was submerged in water, you can try an alcohol bath to displace the water.  Alcohol evaporates much more quickly than water.  This means that if you give it a good alcohol bath, it will displace the water in your tablet leaving on the alcohol behind.  When you remove it, the alcohol will evaporate quickly leaving a dry device behind.  Only use this as a last resort, however.

9. Take It For Repair

Sometimes there is simply nothing you can do to stop the damage to your tablet.  It all happens in the blink of an eye and you often cannot react fast enough no matter how clear headed you remain.  If his happens, you can take it in to a certified repair dealer and get the messed up components replaced.  If you have insurance, you can go through your provider to get a replacement as well.

10. Consider a New Device

So many people continue to have issues with tablets even after repair once they have gone for a swim.  If you don’t want to deal with these types of headaches, then you could start shopping for a new device to replace the one that drowned.  This, of course, is your most expensive option and I only recommend it if you just have no other choice and the cost of a new tablet will fit into your budget.


Now I should note before I sign off for the day that we aren’t talking about a few drops of water here.  I’m talking about your device getting submerged or at least a good shower from a spilled drink or a dip in the sink, something like that.

Remember, if this does happen to you, it is important not to panic and act fast if you want to save it.  Power and water simply don’t mix, so cut the power as quickly as possible and then proceed to do your best to clean it up, making sure it is completely dry before you try to use it.  While I cannot guarantee that you will be able to save your tablet, there is a chance.  So why not take it and try to dry it out before you use it.

Tablet Tips

What Should You Do with That Old Tablet

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What Should You Do with That Old Tablet

It may be hard for some of you to believe, but tablets have been around for quite some time now.  That means that many of you, especially those of you who came in early in the tablet revolution, have probably replaced an aging tablet with a new one.  At the very least, many of you are now probably looking at upgrading the tablet you have.  Once you do, you gain access to many new features and better hardware that makes your mobile computing life just that much better.

Of course then you must consider what you should do with that old tablet you have now holding down your desk or night stand.  Thankfully, there are many ways you can reuse that old tablet that allow you to breathe new life into that aging device.  Let’s take a look at some obvious and unique ideas for that aging tablet so you know what you will do with it before you upgrade.

1. Make It a Backup Device

Tablets are often lost and even stolen on a fairly regular basis.  Let’s face it, there is a reason why manufacturers have created those “Find My Device” features we have all become accustomed to.  If something happens to your new device, it would be nice to have a backup, wouldn’t you say?  Load the apps that you need to function onto it and keep it updated and charged.  That way you have a device to fall back on if you do end up needing it.

2. Give It To the Kids

We all know how much kids love to use tablets.  Heck, we all love using them.  So instead of constantly handing over your tablet to the kids so they can play a game or buying them a new kids tablet, reset your tablet and set it up for them to use.  You can easily wipe out all your important data and put the games and apps that they want to use on it.  That way you can both sit together and enjoy all that sweet, tablet goodness as a family.

3. Create a Digital Picture Frame

Digital picture frames are all the rage today, but why pay the price for one of these picture frames when you can just transform your old tablet into one yourself.  Add the pictures you want to display and set the slideshow on it how you want and boom, you have a digital picture frame without having to buy a special device and loading images onto it.

4. Create a Baby Monitor

There are apps out there that allow you to transform your smartphones and tablets into baby monitors or even security cameras.  You can then monitor them using another mobile device on your network.  This is a great way to reuse your old tablet, especially if you have a newborn in your home or a baby on the way.

5. A New Alarm Clock

Instead of heading out and buying yourself a digital alarm clock, why not use the clock apps included with your device or install one of the fancy apps to create one using your old tablet.  All of the apps today come loaded with every feature you need for an effective alarm clock, so why not dedicate that aging tablet for that task.  I guarantee that it is perfectly suited for it.

6. Sell It

You may be surprised but even older tablets can still fetch a decent price on the used market.  In most cases, they will still be able to run many apps pretty well and are great options for budget shoppers looking for a tablet on the cheap.  Just make sure you don’t price it too high.  Check the online classifieds to see what they are going for in your area and set your price accordingly based on the specs of your device.  You will probably sell it relatively quickly that way.

7. Give It To Someone

If a friend or family member doesn’t have a tablet, I’m betting they would enjoy getting even a used one from you.  After all, you don’t really need it anymore, so why not spread a little joy and give it to someone close to you that could make use of it, even if it is starting to show its age a little bit.  I bet they would still appreciate it and use it for as long as they can.

8. Consider Donation

Many schools and other charitable organizations are in need of good technology, even if it is starting to age a little bit.  In most cases you will find they will be more than happy to take an old tablet off your hands and they will make great use out of it either in their charitable business, the education of children, or even as devices they sell for cheap to people who can’t afford but still need access to technology.

9. When All Else Fails, Recycle

If none of these options sound good to you, you could always opt to just get rid of it.  Just don’t toss it into the garbage.  Like computers, these devices contain materials that are harmful to the environment.  And they can be reused as well in the creation of newer devices.  Once you are finished with an old tablet and have absolutely no more use for it, why not recycle it?  Take it to your local computer shop and toss it into their recycling.  In most cases, it won’t cost you a thing and if you take it with you when you a buy a new one, you may even receive a credit on your purchase as well.  So why not do your part for the environment.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are many uses out there for that old tablet.  Remember, before you turn your tablet over to anyone, make sure you reset it back to the factory defaults.  This will wipe out all your old data so no one else can access it.  In the end, there is nothing wrong with being cautious and secure, especially if you are giving it to an organization or someone you don’t know.

So instead of simply throwing out that old tablet, why not try to repurpose it and give it new life.  You will probably discover that you will give it a few more years of life before it is no longer useful anymore while at the same time getting even more benefits from the device you spent a great deal of money and time on for so long.