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Tablet Tips

The iPad Pro: The Good, The Bad, And the Ugly

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ipad-pro-review

Apple’s latest iPad designed for enterprise has finally hit the market, and after much anticipation consumers and businesses alike are trying out these new large iPads across the country.  So what do we think about the new iPad and how does it stack up to other devices designed for enterprise? What do we like, don’t like or just plain hate?

Gosh, where do we begin.  Let me preface what follows by this.  I absolutely love the iPad Pro.  I think Apple got a lot of things right with this device and it is a great upgrade from the current lines of iPads on the market.  I also believe that some businesses will be able to make use of this device in a meaningful way.  So overall I believe Apple has a hit on their hands and many people will absolutely adore the iPad Pro.

However, I do believe that they could have done a few things a little better with its design and overall feel, and there are a few annoyances that you are just going to have to live with.  So, let’s take a look at the iPad Pro in all its glory and does what is good and bad about it, and what is just plain ugly.

The Good

We may as well discuss what Apple got right first.  From the beginning, you will notice that while this may simply be a larger iPad, it feels like a completely different device entirely simply because of its size.  It’s screen is quite impressive to see and is basically the same size as the 13-Inch Macbooks that are on the market.  That is HUGE for a tablet.  The build quality is excellent, as if we need to even mention that.  It is Apple after all.  But it is something you will enjoy looking at, mainly because of the giant screen that is simply beautiful.  It’s big, bright, high res, everything you need from a tablet screen.

The screen really is what impresses the most on this tablet.  Photos look simply amazing.  Well, assuming you took decent ones to begin with.  But viewing them in full screen on this giant is truly something to behold.  If you enjoy photo editing, this is most definitely the device for you.

Under the hood, it features the Apple A9X processor and a full 4 GB of RAM, which is quite a bit more when compared to the regular iPad and iPad mini lines.  There is more than enough power to handle any type of enterprise level application with ease.  This new iPad will also let you easily multitask, albeit with just two apps at once.  Still, usually that is more than enough for a typical tablet user, even when trying to get some serious work accomplished using tablets.

I realize that this tablet is actually designed for enterprise work, but that doesn’t mean it can’t provide great entertainment.  Imagine some of the best mobile games played on this larger screen, and with the power of the new processor, all your games will play with ease and there won’t be any lag between screens.  In reality, I think Apple could market this tablet as a gaming tablet as well as one for companies as it provides enough power to easily to both.

The Bad

Now that I have gushed and gushed over the new iPad Pro, it is time to talk about a few things that I believe are minor, but Apple got wrong. Admittedly not all of these are their fault and some will be fixed with time, but as of today they still exist.

First, let’s talk about the audio.  The speakers really aren’t much better on the Pro compared to the mini or the Air 2.  So mediocre at best.  They are still good for movies and conference calls, but listening to music on them isn’t the best experience you will ever have.  That’s not entirely their fault.  Your speakers are only going to be so good when they are as small as they are.

As good as the display is, it seems that iOS and apps don’t know how to make good use of it as of yet.  In many apps there are huge areas of empty space or the app appears too large or too small.  This is because apps haven’t matured to include the new resolutions as of yet, but really there is no excuse for Apple’s own apps and iOS itself not to support it.  Even in areas of iOS and Apple made apps, this display weirdness was very apparent, and it is even worse in the third party app world.  These problems result in some apps appearing too small or too large, or even cause some spacing issues to show up.  I’m sure that much of this will be fixed in time as developers update their apps for the newer screen resolutions and sizes.  Until then, you will have some weirdness to deal with.

Speaking of weirdness, let’s talk about the on screen keyboard.  Most apps still use the classic keyboard that comes with the iPad Air 2, instead of the new keyboard on the iPad Pro.  This is, of course, another update problem that I’m sure will slowly work itself out.  Still, that keyboard looks just plain strange on the iPad Pro and can be a little awkward to use.  The new on screen keyboard for the Pro, on the other hand, is quite well made, but just not used enough to really be effective.

The last part of bad is the weight.  I’m not sure if it is really bad, just something we will all have to deal with.  The iPad Pro is about the same weight as the first iPad that was ever released, but because of its larger screen, it is even harder to hold in one hand while you tap away with the other hand.  It is clear this device was designed for a desk or, at the very least, your lap.  Still, you can get away with holding it for short periods of time, just don’t expect things to be too comfortable for very long.

The Ugly

This will be the shortest of all the sections, but there are a couple of issues that I see as being huge mistakes on Apple’s part.  First, the fingerprint reader is the older, slower ones found on technology that is at least one generation, if not more, old.  It doesn’t use the same readers that are found on the iPhone 6S which doesn’t make much sense to me, unless Apple is having supply issues that we don’t know about.  Why include older technology on what is being dubbed as the most advanced iPad ever to be released?  It just doesn’t make sense.

The same can be said for the cameras included on the iPad Pro.  The rear camera uses the older 8MP camera on the rear and the older 1.2MP camera on the front while the iPhone 6S enjoys much newer and better cameras.  While you won’t be taking as many pictures with this device, I still don’t understand why they wouldn’t improve the front facing camera to improve the performance of video chats, something I would think would be important to business owners whose employees are on the go.

That is about as ugly as it gets, however.  Still, the inclusion of older tech on their latest device is either a way to earn just a little bit more per tablet on these devices or the result of supply issues that Apple hasn’t been willing to share with the rest of the world.  Whatever the reason, Apple should have worked to bring the newer tech to this device as well.  After all, this is supposed to be the best iPad they have ever created.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, this is not a perfect device.  It is, however, pretty damn good.  Most of what I listed as bad and ugly aspects of this device are caused simply by its size, and those that aren’t are just because the software has yet to catch up to this new design.  Much of that will be fixed with time.  The size issue, however, you just have to live with.  In the end it’s the price you pay for a larger screen.

If the iPad Air 2 simply doesn’t do it for you and you need a device with a little more power with a little more screen real estate to really be able to use it in a productive environment, then the iPad Pro is definitely the device you should take a look serious look at before you settle on a tablet to purchase.  Just get ready for the price tag.  The iPad itself is much more expensive than the standard models and if you want the accessories such as the keyboard and pencil that really transform this into a productivity machine, you will have to shell out even more.

Overall, if you are looking for the ultimate power in an iPad running Apple’s iOS so you can gain access to their app store that is filled with some of the best apps in the mobile market, then the iPad Pro is a solid contender.  It is perfect for high end users and power users and anyone that prefers to stick to the Apple ecosystem even if they are living in a business environment day in and day out.  To put it simply, this tablet will do exactly what Apple says it will do very well despite some minor complaints.  Just be prepared for a larger investment on the front end.

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Tablet Tips

10 Reasons To Buy a Windows 10 Tablet for Work

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10 Reasons To Buy a Windows 10 Tablet for Work

The tablet market is a crowded one, make no mistake.  There are hundreds of options out there.  But when you are talking about purchasing a tablet for work, you need something that will provide the best compatibility and give you the best features.  That is why it is my opinion that if you are looking for a tablet for the office, you simply shouldn’t consider any other model other than a Windows 10 tablet.

There are many reasons for purchasing a Windows 10 tablet for work.  As you will see, in many cases it simply makes the most sense to buy a tablet running Windows for the office.  Let’s take a look at 10 reasons to buy a Windows 10 tablet for work so you can begin to understand exactly why you should be considering these devices for the office instead of iOS or Android.

1. Available Choices

First things first, there are tons of choices when it comes to tablets based on Windows.  Sure, there are tons of Android apps out there, but many of these are of low quality.  Almost all the Windows tablets out there are of high quality and have a wide range of features and accessories that you can buy to enhance your tablet experience.  Now the Surface line of tablets are by far the most popular and usually look the coolest, but there are many other tablet makers that have created outstanding Windows tablets.  Some of these are so powerful they could almost be a desktop replacement, but that is a discussion for another day.

2. Apps

I know, there aren’t as many apps on the Windows Store compared to the Google Play and App Store.  However, all of the leading apps that you will probably need for business are available, and they work almost exactly like their desktop counterparts these days.  This means that everything you need for work will be right there and easily installed and even updated later.  It should also be noted that the Windows Store is growing and more and more apps are being released every day for the platform, meaning there is room to grow so you can add even more apps to your tablet later.

3. Multitasking

Android and iOS still haven’t gotten this one quite right.  Sure, they sort of do it.  But you will only find seamless multitasking on a Windows based tablet.  That is because it is Windows, an operating system that has been able to multitask applications for many years now.  If you need a tablet to do some serious multitasking, as many users in the business world do, then your best option is to pick up a Windows tablet instead of an iPad or some type of Android powered tablet.  Only Windows can give you true multitasking power, so why even consider the competition if you want to make sure apps run simultaneously.

4. Windows 10

Nobody really loved Windows 8, and it is understandable.  Microsoft tried to mesh the worlds of PCs and tablets into one, but their first attempt was just a failure.  Enter Windows 10.  With Windows 10, Microsoft learned from their mistakes and created an operating system that can truly be run in multiple modes across a wide range of devices.  From computers to tablets to smartphones and more, Windows 10 can handle it all.  It is also one of the slickest and most advanced operating systems in the world at the present time, so why not choose it for the next tablet you buy.  Think about it, you get the compatibility you need with the most advanced features found all in one.

5. Workplace Compatibility

I mentioned compatibility above, and with good reason.  One of the most important aspects of tablets in the workplace is their ability to be compatible with their desktop counterparts.  In many cases, all the systems do a pretty good job at this.  However, if you are running a tablet with Windows, you don’t have to worry about compatibility.  Remember, it is Windows, after all.  So what will run and function on your desktop PC sitting at your desk will also work on that tablet you have inside your bag.  You don’t have to worry about which apps you get for what, as they are all the same.  This makes supporting the devices much easier as well, meaning that your IT departments won’t have to invest as much time ensuring that all your files are compatible across platforms that are sometimes very different from one another.

6. Pen Support

If there is one thing that many workers need, it is the ability to write while they are on the go.  Most tablet makers, Apple especially, initially shunned the use of a pen on a tablet, saying instead that the finger is all they need.  Microsoft thought differently and early on included advanced pen support in their operating system.  Fast forward to today and you have most of the other manufacturers playing catch up to Microsoft by including pen support on their tablets.  Apple has even decided to start selling one of its own.  I wonder if they will try to take credit for it as an invention, just like they did the tablet?

7. OneDrive

This one may sound rather specific, and I guess it is.  OneDrive is Microsoft’s answer to cloud storage.  In my opinion, it is also one of the best.  They do support almost every type of device out there today, but the storage really shines when it is working on Windows on a laptop, desktop and especially on a tablet.  Store all your files in the cloud and easily access them from anywhere using this cloud storage solution.  What makes this one even better, is the amount that you get, especially if you sign up for Office 365.  For just $10 a month, you get access to Office plus 1 TB of storage.  That’s a deal you really can’t beat.  So why bother storing anything locally ever again?  I know I don’t.

8. Multiple Windows

Today all tablets and smartphones will create split screens and multiple windows that allow you to work in more than one app at a time.  But guess who pioneered this little feature?  That’s right.  Microsoft.  This new feature was first introduced in Windows 8 (I guess they didn’t do everything wrong) and has continued to be present in the tablet mode for Windows 10.  It proved to be such a popular feature, that both Android and iOS incorporated it into their most recent versions.  They say imitation is the most sincere form of flattery.  I guess they were correct.  If you want to use this feature with the company that invented it, a Windows based tablet is the way to go.

9. No Learning Curve

Everyone knows how to use Windows.  Now, I admit, some people know how to use it better than others, but regardless of your experience it is tough to find anyone in the world today that hasn’t used Windows at one point or another.  This means that it is very easy for almost anyone to pick up a tablet powered by Windows and use it just like they would any other device.  For business, this means you don’t have to spend a lot of time training your employees on the tablet.  This frees up valuable business time for other work or different types of training.

10. Office

To be fair, Office is now available on iOS and Android, but it began on a Windows system and the tablets have had access to it for quite some time.  Office was also born on Windows, meaning you will find that many more features will be functional and you can easily share these documents between your various Windows system to create a seamless workflow that will help you accomplish your goals and tasks much more quickly.  I should also mention Outlook.  In my opinion, Outlook for Windows or even for any other mobile device is far superior to all other mail programs.  When you have a Windows tablet, you can easily set Outlook and the rest of the Microsoft Office suite up to use when you have to get a little work done while you’re on the go.

Final Thoughts

Despite what Apple wants you to believe, the very first tablets were pioneered by Microsoft many years ago.  Apple perfected them and transformed the market, but it was Microsoft that first believed they could be useful.  While Microsoft fell behind during the tablet revolution, they are most certainly back and are creating some great products that can be used both at home and at work.

If you are looking for a tablet specifically for work, you can’t go wrong with one loaded with Windows 10.  These tablets will give you the most compatibility and are hands down the easiest to use if you don’t have much experience with technology.  They are instantly familiar and can handle all of your work related tasks with ease, thanks to the software that is available for them.  While Android and iOS may be more popular today, that doesn’t mean they are the best solution for you.  A tablet powered by Windows 10 is hands down one of these best solutions for businesses currently on the market and should be considered by anyone looking to get a tablet to take their work on the road.

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Tablet Tips

The Tablet Is the New General Purpose Computer

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The Tablet Is the New General Purpose Computer

For decades now, the laptop has been the go to device for mobile needs, and it has served its purpose quite well.  For a while it appeared that the laptop would ultimately cause the extinction of the desktop.  But then something happened.  The tablet was born.  While not the inventor of the tablet, Apple under the leadership of Steve Jobs were the first to refine the idea of a tablet and create a product that consumers would want.  With the introduction of the iPad, a new market was born and for the first time the laptop finally had some portable competition.

Now it has taken quite a few years for tablets and their software to properly mature.  But today the tablet as we know it has come of age and laptops are now starting to look big and bulky to many users much like the desktop did just a few years ago.  The tablet has become the go to device for many families both at home and while they travel, especially for more general purpose computing needs.

But how and why did this happen and are tablets really viable replacements for the laptop?  One look at how the laptop is being used today will show you just how the tablet has begun replacing the laptop for many activities today.

General Purpose Defined

Before we can go any further, we need to define exactly what general purpose means.  Truthfully, the term “general purpose” can mean a lot of different things to many different people.  But for our purposes, it basically means normal every day computing activities that one uses pretty much on a daily basis.  So what are these tasks?  Here’s a list of a few of the most common general tasks that almost every computer uses on a daily basis:

  • Internet Surfing
  • Email
  • Music Listening
  • Video Streaming
  • Social Media
  • General Gaming

These tasks represent some of the most basic and widely used tasks that are used by virtually every computer user across the globe.  Sure there are more complicated and in depth tasks out there and devices that are designed specifically for them, but remember we are talking about general tasks and nothing more.

Surface-and-iPad

Hardware Advances

In the beginning, tablets simply weren’t powerful enough to serve as primary tools for even the most basic of tasks.  Sure they were good alternate devices to both home and business users, but the interfaces were slow and clunky in some cases and at other times the hardware was simply too slow to run everything properly.

This all changed over time, however, as the hardware has gotten smaller, more powerful and more efficient.  Today, the processors in tablets are almost as powerful as many laptops out there and in many cases the displays are far superior.  During this time, the hardware has also gotten more efficient allowing for longer battery life between charges so people can use their devices for longer stretches of time before having to plug it in.  Varying form factors, ranging from 7-inch all the way to 10-inch and larger, also make tablets a more attractive option for users of all shapes and sizes. All of these advances have allowed the tablet to catch up to laptops in many ways making them a viable alternative to laptops today.

Tablet Software Evolution

On top of the hardware for tablets, the software had to go through an evolution of its own before tablets could become the reliable laptop replacements for general tasks that they are today.  This took some time as programmers got used to the new platform and waited for the hardware to mature properly so it could run some of the best software out there.  Like everything else, the software did mature as the hardware did and today you can find software out there that is every bit as powerful (if not more) than lots of software you can find on laptops.

On top of this, many of the mainstream software developers such as Microsoft have finally released mobile versions of their flagship products such as Office for mobile devices so many users can finally begin using their tablets for both light work and play without having to turn on their laptops to do it.  With the advent of this new, more powerful software, most users never have to leave their tablets for the work they do as it simply doesn’t require anything more complicated.

Microsoft-Surface

The Introduction of the Hybrid

One of the biggest problems many people have with tablets is the keyboard.  While the touchscreen keyboard is good for small emails and small typing tasks such as entering passwords, it’s just not as fast as a traditional keyboard.  Manufacturers responded by creating Bluetooth keyboards that improved usability greatly.  Then, something else happened that we are still seeing today.  The major manufacturers such as Apple, Microsoft and even Google have recently begun releasing new devices that are designed to work with a keyboard and even a stylus, making them much easier to use for people who need to do serious work on them.

This means that the devices are now much easier to use as people can type much faster than they ever have before on their mobile devices.  This increase in productivity is causing businesses to adopt tablets even more than they ever have before and even more users have begun using the devices as a replacement for their laptop only turning to their computer when they need to access a bigger screen and use a more traditional desktop-oriented interface.

Effects of Gaming

Believe it or not, video games do hold a major influence on the popularity of devices.  Game makers early on recognized the potential behind games on tablets and smartphones and began releasing games made specifically for them.  This helped increase the popularity of the devices as people sought entertainment.  After regular use for gaming, many people began to use their tablets for other purposes such as email and web browsing, thus taking even more market for laptops.

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The Cloud Impact

One area that gets little credit is most definitely the cloud.  With the introduction of the cloud as the iPad and other tablets rose to popularity, users were able to store more and more of their files and other data online so they don’t have to maintain large hard drives to take care of it.  Most tablets don’t have large storage like laptops and desktops because of their size, meaning users can only keep so much.  But with all the photos and videos taken today along with documents that are created each and every day, users needed a way to safely store their stuff.  The cloud provided that solution for many users.  Now, gigabytes of data are stored in the cloud instead of on local computer and they are easily accessed from multiple devices.  This means that users can now store everything online and access them from their tablets rendering their local hard drives almost useless and definitely not as secure compared to online storage that is regularly backed up.

The Landscape Today

So what does this all mean for today?  The tablet market has exploded as more and more users pick up tablets to use as their main machine for general purposes.  People carry their devices with them wherever they go and use them on a daily basis just as they would a phone.  In many cases, people turn to their tablet for general tasks at home so they don’t have to bother turning on and booting up their laptop unless they absolutely need it for more intense tasks.

Some light users don’t ever have to turn to their laptops again and instead rely solely on their tablets for all their computer needs.  The end result of this shift is more and more tablets are showing up in homes and laptop sales have slowed as more consumers use tablets instead of their laptops to check their email, browse the web, and much more.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, the tablet has come a long way since Steve Jobs stood on stage holding this new device that pretty much no one had ever seen or heard of before.  Today, the software is more mature and much easier to use than ever before and Wi-Fi access is available almost anywhere making it much easier to use while you are on the road.  Because of this, the laptop is finally seeing the first competition it has ever experienced as every day users replace these bulkier devices with the slim and easy to carry tablet.

While this doesn’t mean the laptop is on its way out, it has definitely become a little more specialized as it services the needs of users with greater demands for work or play.  But for every day basic tasks, more and more users are turning toward their tablet as a way of getting things done instead of their larger laptops.

Does this mean that the laptop will go away one day?  Probably not.  It is still the best way to get work done quickly and efficiently.  But, tablets are improving every day and it is getting easier to work and play on them just as you would a laptop.  Could they one day replace laptops as we know it?  I think so, but it will take time.

What do you think?  Do you think the tablet is now the workhorse for everyday tasks or do you still prefer to use your laptop instead?  Let me know in the comments below.

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Tablet Tips

10 Things You Should Do After You Buy a New Tablet

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10 Things You Should Do After You Buy a New Tablet

So you are ready to pick up that shiny new tablet from the store or it has just been delivered to your door and you are ready to start using it.  Hang on there one minute.  Before you dive head first into the box and yank it out to start tinkering with it, there are several things you should do first.  While they aren’t as fun as fiddling with your new tablet, they can save you a lot of time and headaches later on when you are ready to get down to business with your new tablet.

Today, we examine 10 things you should do after you buy a new tablet that will help you get your tablet off to the right start.  While some of these you may choose to skip, each one of these items only takes a few minutes to complete and can save you time and headaches later when you are trying to use your tablet for either work or play.  At the same time, if you do things right, you could effectively protect your new tablet from harm while increasing its functionality while you’re at it.  So, without further delay, let’s take a look at what you should do first after you bring that new tablet home.

1. Check Your Box

I admit that this one is a bit of a long shot.  But you should double check that everything that was supposed to come with your tablet, actually did.  On rare occasions something does get left out and it could be important, especially if it is a charger cable or something like that.  Right when you open it, just quickly glance through everything there and make sure every piece of equipment is present and accounted for before you proceed.  If something is missing, take it back and exchange it for a new one.

At this point you should also take any warranty and registration information included and file it away with your receipt.  If you ever have a problem with your tablet and you want to get it fixed, this paperwork could help you get it done for free thanks to your proof of purchase and warranty information.

2. Consider a Case and Screen Protector

Before you even take your new tablet home, you should also take a look at the various cases and screen protectors that are available.  Personally I would never use a tablet without a case and screen protector, but that is just me.  Cases can increase the functionality of your new tablet by providing you with several stand options for tables and even your lap while at the same time protecting them from dust, dirt and the accidental drop onto the floor.  Screen protectors are also invaluable to your tablet’s screen.  They will keep dust and fingerprints off the screen as well as prevent any scratches on the glass.  Your tablet’s screen is the most important part of your new device as you will use it not only to read and watch what is going on but you will also be using it to navigate the interface.

3. Purchase Any Accessories

Admittedly, this part of the exercise could probably wait a little while.  But if you already have a good idea on how you will be using your new tablet, you may want to consider other accessories for your device.  If your tablet has a slot for a microSD card, then you may want to go ahead and pick one up to expand your storage capabilities.  If you plan on typing a lot using your tablet, a Bluetooth keyboard might be right for you.  Heck, you may even want to pick up a car charger or extra wall chargers for your home or office.  Think about how you want to use your tablet and what you will need to do that and pick up the accessories you want and/or need so you are ready to use them from the first moment that you take it out of the box.

4. Think About Insurance

Many people ignore the insurance offers that companies offer on tablets.  They figure that is just a waste of money.  In my experience, insurance on your tablet can be a waste, but it can also be invaluable, especially if you are running a higher-end 10-inch tablet that costs a pretty penny.  Some people can use a tablet and never drop it or get it dirty.  Others can’t seem to hold onto it for more than 2 seconds without it slipping from the fingers.  Think about how you use it and how you treat devices such as these.  If your lifestyle or habits tend to be a little harder on tablets, then you may want to consider adding insurance so you can protect your investment.  If you are still using the same smartphone you had 5 years ago, however, it could be a simple waste of money.

5. Setup Your Account(s)

Turn on your device for the first time and enjoy the view as it boots for you.  Once it has completed the process, it should ask you to setup your accounts.  At this point, you will want to go ahead and add all the email addresses you want to check and any app store accounts that you will be using as well.  No matter what kind of tablet you have, you will need these accounts in order to download new apps and run any updates on your tablet in the future.  So don’t skip this process.  Go ahead and take a few minutes to set up all your accounts on your tablet so it is ready to get to work for you immediately.  If you don’t, you will just have to stop what you are doing and add them later, so you may as well and get it done right after you take it out of the box.

Woman-Using-Tablet

6. Run all the Updates

Before you do anything else, it is time to plug your tablet in and run all the updates.  Whether you have a tablet running Android or iOS or even Windows, chances are the version of your mobile operating system is not the most current available on the market.  The major mobile operating system developers such as Google, Apple and Microsoft are constantly releasing updates to their software to improve features and battery life, fix known bugs and patch security holes.  You want to make sure your new device functions properly and stays safe and secure, don’t you?  Assuming you do, you will want to go ahead and run all the updates on your device before you go any farther.

7. Test Your Hardware

Now comes the moment of truth.  Once your tablet is up to date and your accounts are setup, it is time to test the hardware that comes with your tablet.  Check all memory card slots and chargers you purchased, test the Bluetooth and, of course, your wireless networking to make sure that everything is functioning on your new device.  If you notice a problem, repeat the tests to make sure you didn’t do something wrong before you run back to the store.  You can even try rebooting your tablet as well to start the tests with a clean slate.  If you continue to experience trouble, it may be time for an exchange.

8. Test Your Cameras

While this could have been lumped in with the test your hardware section, I feel it is important to separate it.  Why?  Because these tests are a little more involved.  Most tablets today come with two cameras – one in front and one in back.  It is important you test both of these cameras to make sure they are performing as intended.  You don’t want to take bad pictures do you?  I didn’t think so.  Take a few shots in different lighting with both the front and rear cameras and then see how they look.  If the images look off or consistently blurry, you may have a problem with your cameras.  After you have taken the still shots, take a little bit of video in different lighting as well and see how things look.  Again, check both cameras to ensure that they are working properly.  Remember, not all cameras are made alike so your performance will vary based on the tablet you own.

9. Monitor Your Battery

This one isn’t something you can really do right away, just something you need to monitor over the next week or two after opening your new tablet.  Every tablet battery has a rating and will last a set number of hours.  In most cases, you will never get as good of results as the companies boast, simply because of how you use it.  Still, you should be getting close to the rating, unless you are spending all of your time running battery hogging videos or games on your tablet.  Regardless, you want to make sure your battery is healthy and maintaining a strong charge no matter what.  So keep an eye on it.  If you don’t think it is holding its own, you may want to try to exchange your tablet for a replacement.

10. Download Apps

Now the truly fun part.  A tablet isn’t very useful without apps.  It is time to head to your tablet operating system’s store and start installing apps.  There are literally thousands of apps to be downloaded on the Google Play Store, the App Store and even the Microsoft Store.  Which store you use will depend on the device you purchased.  Visit those stores and read review about every app you decide to download.  Make sure it something that you will find useful.  If you end up not liking an app, delete it.  Don’t junk up your new tablet with a bunch of apps that you will never open.

Once you download all the apps that you will need, take a few minutes to organize your home screens with the apps so they are easy to find and access when you are ready to work or play on your new tablet.  This will help improve your workflow while at the same time assisting you in keeping track of the apps you have installed on your device.

Final Thoughts

Tablets, just like any piece of technology, requires a little tender love and care when you first open them up.  It is important to take this time to setup your tablet properly as it helps you ensure that everything is working and it is setup for your needs.  That way you don’t have to stop when you are in the middle of something just to set something up because you were too lazy to do it when you first got it.

Buying a new tablet is exciting and you may be tempted to skip some of these steps so you can see how well it runs.  I understand that.  But, most of these initial steps don’t take too long and they can help you discover any problems fast and help you make your tablet much more useful to you later.  So don’t take any shortcuts, follow the setup procedure carefully and check everything.  I guarantee you will be glad that you did.

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Tablet Tips

How to Troubleshoot an iPad

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How to Troubleshoot an iPad

One of the best parts about owning an iPad is not that it is so portable, although that is a pretty good little feature, but it is how well everything just works.  Rarely do you ever have to deal with some of the normal headaches that you find when using a PC or even a Mac.  They truly are amazing little devices.

However, while they may not have anywhere near as many problems as a typical computer, from time to time they can still start to act up and require a little tender love and care to get back to normal working order.  But if you start having problems with your iPad, what do you do to fix it?  After all, it’s not like you have the same amount of control over the system that you get with the typical computer or even that of a high-end Android tablet.

Today, we will take a look at some of the most common problems you can run into while using your iPad and how you go about fixing them so your iPad runs fast and smooth no matter what you do.

Hardware Issues

ipad-1

Today, we will primarily be talking about software problems, but I did want to take a moment to touch on hardware problems such as a broken screen or a bad battery.  When you think about a typical desktop computer, if you have a hardware problem you simply pop open the case and change it out.  The whole process usually takes only a few minutes and you are back up and running.  An iPad, on the other hand is a different story.

If you have a problem with your iPad that requires repair, unless you have the proper tools and know what you are doing, you are probably going to want to seek professional help.  Different problems often take different levels of knowledge and experience to repair, so if you do decide to undertake a repair, be sure you are prepared with exactly what you need before you begin.

If you have a cracked screen or a bad battery, you can often change it yourself after ordering the part.  But there is one thing you should know.  If you do open it up yourself you could void any warranty that you have on the device preventing you from receiving free repairs in the future.  If you are at all concerned about the warranty on your iPad I would recommend taking it to an Apple Store or an Apple Certified Repair Technician for any repairs.

Software Issues

ipad-settings

Now that we have touched on hardware issues, let’s take a look at several different software issues you could encounter while using your iPad on a daily basis and what you need to do to fix them.

My iPad is Running Slow

Does your iPad start to slow down after a few days of continuous use or even after a few hours of really heavy use?  This isn’t an uncommon problem.  Often it is caused by an app that you have closed but is still running in the background.  An iPad never fully closes its apps.  Instead it suspends them but allows a small portion of them to continue running in memory in the background.

If your iPad is slow, first close any apps that you may have open by double tapping on the home button and then swiping up to close the apps.  If after closing the apps your iPad still seems a little slow, you might need to go ahead and refresh the RAM memory by rebooting your device.  To turn the device off and then on again, hold down the sleep/wake button found on the top right of our device.

Another issue that can cause slow downs is if your storage memory is running rather low.  This is really easy to do especially if you store all your photos and music on your iPad as well.  Go through your device and delete any apps that you don’t need and then sync your files with your computer so you can remove some of the photos from your device to free up some space.

My Screen Won’t Rotate

I don’t know how many times I have been asked this question.  Believe it or not, this problem is more common than you think.  It’s great that you can easily rotate the screen of your iPad so you can use it in both portrait and landscape modes.  Of course it can be frustrating if it won’t flip in the direction you want.

The first thing you need to check is if it is the app you happen to be using.  Not all apps will work in both modes and some won’t rotate in any direction at all.  If you are in an app when it’s doing it, it is probably just that app.  Close the app and check to see if your iPad rotates.  If it does, you know the cause.  However, probably the most common cause of this issue is the iPad has been unintentionally locked in its current rotation state.  To check this, go to your Home screen and then swipe up from the bottom to open the Control Center.  From there, you will see a row of icons.  The one on the far right will lock/unlock the rotation abilities of your iPad.

No Wi-Fi Access

Sometimes, your iPad just won’t want to connect to your Wi-Fi network.  When you are sitting in your home, you have no network access.  In most circumstances, this is simply because the Wi-Fi has been turned off on the iPad.  From the bottom of the Home Screen, swipe up to open the Control Center and tap on the Wi-Fi icon to turn it back on.  If this doesn’t take care of the problem, you will need to reset your network settings.  To learn how to do that, keep reading as we address it below.

Apps Won’t Open

Have you ever tried to open an app and it just immediately closes for no good reason at all?  If that happens, there are two possible issues.  First, your iPad’s operating system could be out of date but the app has been updated for the new version of the operating system.  And two, the app could be corrupt and must be deleted and reinstalled.

If this is happening to you, tap on Settings > General > Software Update.  Run any updates that are available and then try that misbehaving app.  If it still doesn’t work, go and ahead and close the app completely by double tapping on the home button and swiping up on that app and then deleting it by tapping and holding your finger on the app and then pressing the “x” that comes up on the app icon.  Once it is deleted, head back to the App Store and download it again.

The Hard Reset

Sometimes it is possible for your iPad to lock up or even some of the fixes we have already talked about above just won’t work.  If your iPad locks or you just can’t seem to get it to speed up again, you could be looking at the need for a hard reset.  In many ways it is much like the reboot feature on your iPad, only you hold down an extra button at the same time.  Don’t worry, this won’t delete anything on your iPad, just give it a good reset so you can get back to doing whatever it was you were doing.

To give your iPad a hard reset, hold down the Sleep/Wake button on the top right of your device and the Home button at the same time.  Keep pressing down until the iPad begins to reboot.  This is the same button presses that you use to take a screenshot, the only difference is you must keep holding them down until it restarts.  If you don’t, you could end up taking a screenshot of your iPad’s screen.

Reset Settings

ipad-reset-settings

If you are still having problems, it is time to get a little more drastic.  On your iPad, you can choose to reset a wide variety of settings and you can even completely reset it back to factory settings so it is just like it was the day you brought it home from the store.  To access these options tap on Settings > General > Reset.

When you first tap on this, you will be presented with many different options.  It is important you select the right one based on the problem you are having.  Let’s take a look at each one and what it does.

  • Reset All Settings – This will reset every setting in iOS but will not delete any data or media. Think of this as the catch all.  If you aren’t sure what is causing your problem, try this one.
  • Erase All Content and Settings – This will reset all your settings and erase all contend and media. Think of this as a complete reset of your iPad.  When it is done your iPad will be as close to the way it was when you first bought it as possible.  Only perform this one as a last resort as you will use all your data during the process.
  • Reset Network Settings – This will wipe out data related to your network including all your Wi-Fi networks that you have connected to and saved. If you are having trouble with your Wi-Fi on your iPad, this is the choice for you.
  • Subscriber Services – If you subscribe to news feeds, magazines and the like and they don’t seem to be cooperating as they should, reset these settings to start over.
  • Reset Keyboard Dictionary – This setting will reset the dictionary on your keyboard back to factory settings. If you are having trouble with a lot of bad autocorrected words, you can try this one so it is forced to relearn the words you say most often.
  • Reset Home Screen Layout – Is your home screen all messed up and you don’t know what you did and how to fix it? If so, choose this setting to reset how the home screen looks.  By tapping on this setting, you will reset your home screen back to how it was the day you brought it home.
  • Reset Location & Privacy – Your privacy settings and location services are tied to this feature. If you are unsure about what privacy settings you have set and what location services you have on and off, you can always reset them all using this feature.  Keep in mind that you will still need to visit your local settings for apps and location and set each one the way you want it.

Conclusion

As you can see, even the rock solid iPad can experience a little trouble from time to time.  Luckily, in most cases the fixes for these problems only require a few taps or swipes to get you back underway.  Of course, if you continue to have problems with your device even after running these fixes, consider taking it in and having it checked out by an Apple Certified Technician or at your local Apple Store if there is one close by.  Of course needing to take it in is pretty rare, and most of these fixes will put your iPad back on track and ready for you to continue to use for almost all of your computing needs.

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Tablet Tips

Windows 10 Tips to Help You Master Tablet Mode

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Windows 10 Tips to Help You Master Tablet Mode

One of the coolest parts about Windows 10 is its ability to work across multitudes of devices.  Whether you have a desktop, laptop, tablet or phone, you will be able to use Windows 10 on them all, provided your tablet shops with Windows 10, unlike most cheaper tablet alternatives.  Of course if you haven’t updated to Windows 10 yet, you may be wondering exactly how they do this.  The key to it all is what is called Tablet mode.

In normal operating mode, Windows 10 looks and feels much like a more advanced and cleaner looking version of Windows 7.  You have a Start Menu, and apps you open float over the desktop.  It’s very much a traditional styled interface.  However, tablet mode optimizes Windows for touch, which leads to a few changes in how things work.

Tablet mode has its origins in Windows 8.  I know, I shouldn’t even say that.  But remember, Microsoft didn’t get it all wrong with Windows 8.  When you switch to Tablet mode, your desktop changes and you get a much more mobile operating system feel, where apps are accessed through the large tiles just like Windows 8 and the apps open full screen.

How To Switch to Tablet Mode

tablet-mode

Tablet mode is the default operating mode on mini-tablets and really will be the preferred way of using Windows 10 on any tablet.  That being said, you can even access it on your desktop.  To switch to tablet mode, simply open your notifications in the right hand corner of your taskbar and then click the button labeled “Tablet mode.”

A Few Tips to Help You Out

Now that you know what it is and how to get in and out of tablet mode, let’s take a look at a few tips to help you navigate and use it efficiently.

Tablet Mode Works with a Keyboard and Mouse

If you accidentally switch to tablet mode, don’t worry.  It is easy to switch back and even if you don’t, you will find that it works quite well with a keyboard and mouse.  It’s not perfect, but it does work much better than the Start Screen found in Windows 8.

Apps in Taskbar Disappear

If you switch to tablet mode, you will notice that the icons in your taskbar vanish.  Now that doesn’t mean all the apps have closed.  They are still there you just can’t see them on the taskbar anymore.  This is to clean up the desktop and get it ready for tablet viewing.

Everything is Full Screen

When you make the switch to tablet mode, you will notice all your apps begin to open in full screen.  This is to return your experience to a more mobile friendly viewing experience.

The UI Becomes Touch Friendly

One cool thing that you will find when you make the switch is the interface suddenly becomes more touch friendly responding to taps and swipes just like your phone or old Windows 8 tablet.

Automatic Switching

If you happen to own one of those hybrid laptop/tablets, Windows 10 is the operating system for you.  While your device is plugged into the keyboard and trackpad, Windows 10 will automatically operate in desktop mode, but when you pop the tablet from the keyboard, Windows will automatically convert over to tablet mode.

Conclusion

Microsoft it seems has learned from its mistakes with Windows 8 and created a much more optimized touch/desktop experience for users with Windows 10.  Tablet mode makes it easy to use your device on both a traditional laptop as well as a tablet and makes it easy to switch between the modes so you can use Windows how you want it, not how some other company expects you to use it.

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Tablet Tips

10 Ways to Save Battery on Your iPad

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10 Ways to Save Battery on Your iPad

Have you noticed that your iPad doesn’t seem to hold a charge as it used to?  Over time, the batteries used in tablets simply start to wear out.  Essentially they age, and not always gracefully.  Even if you have a brand new iPad, many of the features built into Apple’s mobile operating system, iOS 8, can really be taxing on your battery causing it to lose its charge much faster than you might expect.  If your battery isn’t lasting you as long as you had hoped, you may think that there simply isn’t anything you can do about it.

However, there are options available to you built right into iOS 8 that can help you customize your iPad experience and save you precious battery life while you’re at it.  Many of these settings are quite easy to access meaning in just a couple of minutes you could start saving your battery life so you get more time out of your iPad between charges.

Battery Life Ratings

The iPad Air 2 is rated to last up to 10 hours of continuous use, more than virtually all other competing 10-inch tablet models.  Remember the key words in that statement, “up to.”  Basically that means your mileage may vary based on exactly what you are doing on your iPad while you use it.  Some apps and features use more battery power than others, so you may not ever see that highest number between charges while you are using it.  Of course, as your battery ages, its ability to live up to its specs are reduced, as well.  So you must be careful not to overload your battery as you use it otherwise you could not only decrease the time between charges but also put more wear and tear on your battery while you do it.

So Why Worry About It

Maybe your battery draining away doesn’t bother you or maybe you think that’s just how it is, but you couldn’t be more wrong.  There are several reasons why you should be concerned about how fast power is sucked from your battery.  First and foremost, is the health of your battery.  Without it, your iPad won’t be much more than a fancy looking paperweight.  The more continuous strain on your battery, the faster it will wear out.  The other main reason you need to consider, is being able to use it when you aren’t close to a charger.  This usually only applies to people who have an iPad with a cellular data plan, as they are more likely to take it with them wherever they go.  If your battery is being drained away at a staggering pace, you could find yourself with a dead iPad and nowhere to charge it.  As you can see, preserving your battery is more important than you may think.  Let’s take a look at a few ways you can save your battery.

How to Save Battery Life

There are several different ways you can save the precious battery life of your iPad ranging from general care of your iPad all the way to iOS 8 settings that you can customize so your software requires less battery to function.

1. Avoid Extreme Temperatures

If there is one thing that an iPad doesn’t like, it is extreme temperatures, and this includes both hot and cold.  Apple’s iPad prefers to live in a nice room temperature environment for maximum efficiency.  If you carry your iPad with you, don’t leave it in a hot car for long periods of time, especially if it is turned on.  These extreme temperatures can cause your iPad to overhead potentially causing damage to many of its internal components including the battery.

2. Pay Attention How Your Charge Your iPad

This may sound crazy, but how and when you charge your iPad can impact how well your battery holds up over time.  While you may think that it is ok to allow your device to run down to nothing before a charge, most experts today recommend against it.  Instead, you should begin your recharge when it gets in the neighborhood of 30%.  Also, once it hits 100%, you shouldn’t just leave it in the charger for very long.  Instead, go ahead and take it out and try to avoid charging your device at night or when you will be gone for long periods of time.

3. Turn Down Screen Brightness

ipad-brightness

This may seem pretty obvious to some, but you would be surprised how many people use their iPad’s with the screen brightness all the way up.  Just turning it down a little bit will help save you precious time on your battery as a dimmer screen uses much less battery power.  You can access your screen brightness through the control center or go to Settings < Wallpapers & Brightness.  Once you are there turn off Auto Brightness and then decrease the setting manually by sliding the slider to the left.

4. Find Battery Draining Apps

ipad-battery-usage

Before you begin your battery saving mission, first you must find what is using most of your battery power in the first place.  With the release of iOS 8, you finally got the ability to check up on your apps to find out which ones are using the most battery power.  To find out, go to Settings > General > Usage > Battery Usage.  Once you figure out which ones are eating up too much power, you can decide if you actually need them or not.  If you do need them, just be sure you close them completely when you aren’t using them to save power.

5. Turn Off Background App Refresh

background-app-refresh

Another interesting feature that has caused problems for people with both their data plans and their battery power.  The Background App Refresh feature basically allows apps that are running in the background to check with their servers to pull the latest information down even while you aren’t using them.  In effect, this allows you to get up to date information as soon as you open them without having to wait for it all to download right then.  This sounds great, but what it means is those apps are waking up and using power and processor resources to pull data from their servers.  This will cause your battery to drain more quickly and use much more data in the process as well.

6. Turn Off Automatic Updates

ipad-automatic-app-updates

One really cool feature that was introduced in iOS 7 and continues into iOS 8 is the ability for the operating system to automatically update your apps without you having to stop and do it from time to time.  While I love this feature, it can definitely be a battery hog as iOS regularly checks for updates and then runs them no matter what you are doing.  To disable this feature, go to Settings > iTunes & App Store > Automatic Downloads.  Once there toggle the switch for Uploads into the off position so that it is gray.  Once you do that, you will have to update your apps yourself, but you can at least choose when you want to do it.

7. Turn Off Notification Widgets

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For years people wanted Apple to include widgets much like Android, and iOS 8 finally received Apple’s take on them.  While they are different from what you might expect, you can still use them to get instant access to the information you want without having to open individual apps.  The only difference is they are located in the Notification Center.  The problem with them, much like on Android, is these widgets will often poll servers for the information pretty frequently.  This means that they are pulling even more power just to provide you with a few tidbits of information.  In order to reduce this drain, decide which ones you want to use and which ones you want and disable them by tapping on the “Edit” menu at the bottom of the Today screen in the Notification Center.

8. Shut Off the Parallax Feature

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Some people absolutely love this feature, while others find that it makes them dizzy.  The parallax feature on iOS 8 makes it seem like the wallpaper is moving behind apps or when you rotate your iPad.  While it is a cool effect, it is one of the worst battery draining offenders on iOS 8.  To disable the feature and go back to a standard wallpaper view, go to Settings > General > Accessibility and the switch “Reduce Motion” to “On.”

9. Turn Off Location Tracking

ipad-location-services

I know, the ability for your apps to know where you are and give you tips and helpful pointers based on your location is pretty handy.  It can be fun, too.  But when these apps do this, it means that they are constantly pulling power to reach out to the satellites to figure out exactly where you are.  Over time this can really start to drain your battery.  To adjust your location services settings, go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services.  From here, you can turn off all location services or simply disable some of the apps location services one by one.  Remember, the more you disable, the better off your battery will be.

10. Don’t Fetch New Data Automatically

ipad-fetch-new-data

I understand how important it is to get up to the minute information especially when it comes to your emails.  However, having your iPad constantly ping the servers for new data will destroy your battery life.  Instead, why not make it a habit to periodically check your email manually.  This will not only save your battery but help you reduce your distractions at the same time.  To turn off the feature, go to Settings > Mail, Contacts and Calendars > Fetch New Data.  You can even customize the fetch for your different accounts, if need be.  The more you turn off the better you will be, but you can also reduce the time on some while keeping it on for others so you don’t miss those important emails while still saving your battery some of its precious power.

Conclusion

Apple’s next version of its highly popular mobile operating system, iOS 9, may be just a month away, but until then we are stuck with iOS 8.  If you have noticed your battery life beginning to drain away while using your iPad, it is probably because you have not taken the time to customize how iOS handles pushing and pulling data from the Internet.  If you want to make sure you can get as much juice out of the battery on your iPad, all you have to do is take a few minutes to tweak your system following the points above as your guide.  In only a few minutes of your time at most, you will easily reduce the drain on your iPad’s battery so you can get even more life out of your favorite Apple tablet before you must plug it in to recharge.

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Tablet News

How to Prepare Your Tablet for Windows 10

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How to Prepare Your Tablet for Windows 10

Microsoft has finally released its much anticipated next generation operating system upon the world, and users everywhere are currently patiently (or not so patiently) waiting to receive their update.  Unlike past versions of Windows, there is no separate version designed for tablets or smartphones.  There is only one version of Windows now, and Microsoft plans to roll this operating system out to devices over the coming weeks.  This means that your Windows tablet could be in line to receive Windows 10 sometime in the very near future.  But you want to be ready.  Today, let’s take a look at how you can prepare your tablet for Windows 10 so you are ready for the upgrade when it comes to your device.

When Will It Be Available

Officially, Windows 10 was released to everyone this past Wednesday on July 29, but that doesn’t mean you can download it right away.  There are billions of devices waiting to receive the update from Microsoft, so the company is staggering the release in order to make sure their servers don’t choke to death under the heavy load.

At the same time, Microsoft is also making the operating system available for computers running Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 first, with members of the Windows Insider Program being the first to receive it.  Tablets running Windows 8.1 are a little farther down on the list.  That means that you will have to wait a bit longer before receiving the update although there has been no official word as of yet on how long you will have to wait.  Of course, that just gives you a little more time to get your tablet ready for the impending update that will be headed to you before you know it.

Windows 10 Cost

With the release of Windows 10, Microsoft has departed from its traditional model and has offered the operating system for free for all devices running Windows 7 or Windows 8.1.  That means that your tablet running Windows 8.1 could be set for the upgrade at no cost to you.  But there are a few requirements that you need to be aware of before you get too excited about the upcoming release.

Hardware Requirements

There are a few hardware requirements that you will need to check on before you can upgrade to Windows 10 on your tablet.  They are:

32-Bit Systems

  • 1 GHz Processor or better
  • 1 GB of RAM
  • 16 GB of Free Storage Space
  • DirectX 9 Compatibility

64-Bit Systems

  • 1 GHz Processor or better
  • 2 GB of RAM
  • 20 GB Hard Drive Space
  • DirectX 9 Compatibility

If you are running a budget tablet that does not meet these requirements, unfortunately the Windows 10 update will not be available to you.  All is not lost, however.  Microsoft will continue to support Windows 8.1 for quite some time and you can expect that apps will continue to be released that will work quite well on both Windows 8.1 and Windows 10.

Windows RT

If you have a device that is running Windows RT, unfortunately this update is not for you.  For now you will have to live with the existing version of Windows RT.  Microsoft hasn’t forgotten about you, though.  While you won’t ever receive Windows 10, Microsoft is working on a new version of Windows RT that features an interface with a start menu much like Windows 10.  Still, if you are running RT, start preparing yourself for an upgrade in the next year or two.  Microsoft is basically abandoning RT in favor of their new software model.  So, after this latest update, I wouldn’t expect too much from them in the way of upgrades outside of security updates.

Prepare Your Tablet for the Upgrade

Before you try to install the upgrade to Windows 10, there are a few things you should do ahead of time to prepare for the update.  Why do you need to bother?  By simply taking a few steps before you upgrade, you can greatly increase the chances of a successful and fast upgrade and limit the possibility of running into some unknown problem that could stop the update in its tracks.

Remove All Unused Apps

Before you do anything else, it is time to take inventory of the apps you have installed on your tablet.  If you are like me and thousands of other users, chances are there are some apps installed that you simply never use.  If you don’t use them, why keep them?  All they do is take up valuable space on your tablet.  This space you could need in order to get the Windows 10 update.

Clear Out Old Data

Just like your old apps, you should take the time to go through and delete any old data, music files, video files, etc. that you no longer use.  All of these files can be taking up a substantial amount of storage space on your tablet.  Tablets don’t have anywhere near as much storage as PC’s do, meaning you will need as much room as you can get on there if you want to be able to download and install the new update.

Backup Your Data

Once you have cleared out the apps and data you no longer need, go ahead and back up the data that is important to you.  If something does go wrong during the upgrade, you could lose that data forever.  Before you run any type of upgrade, go ahead and backup your data by moving it to cloud storage services such as Dropbox or copy it to a microSD card or even a USB hard drive.  While this does take a bit of time on your part, if you do run into problems during the upgrade, you will be glad you did.

Run a Virus Scan

Viruses can cause all kinds of strange problems with your tablet, especially during a major upgrade such as Windows 10.  Before you make the move to Windows 10, run a virus scan and even a malware scan on your device and clean out anything that shouldn’t be there.  This will not only help you during the upgrade, but could improve your performance and increase the security of your tablet in the process.

Run All Windows Updates

Not everyone keeps Windows Updates set to automatic, although you should.  Having the latest Windows updates always ensures that your tablet is completely up to date with all the latest bug fixes and security patches.  Before any upgrade will run on your tablet, it will have to already be updated with all the latest patches from Microsoft for Windows 8.1.  So, one evening before you go to bed, take the time to visit Microsoft Update to update your copy.  This will ensure that your tablet is prepared with all the latest software from Microsoft when it is your turn in the upgrade line.

Sign Up for the Update

I should mention that in order for you to receive your free upgrade, you will need to sign up for it.  This will reserve your place in line for the update so the sooner you do it, the better.  To sign up all you need to do is go to the desktop on your tablet and look in the taskbar for a small Windows icon.  This is the notification that Windows 10 is here and by tapping on it you can go through the sign up process that will check your tablet and let you know if you are eligible.  If you are, it will then place you in line for the upgrade.

Reboot Your Tablet

Most mobile users rarely reboot their tablets.  I know I am guilty of not rebooting.  Remember, they are essentially a small hand held computer.  This means that like their bigger PC siblings, a good reboot is always a good idea every now and then.  Before the upgrade, try rebooting your tablet on occasion to make sure it is running in the best shape it can when Microsoft rolls the update out to you.

Keep It Charged

It would be a shame for your upgrade time to come when you don’t have any battery life on your tablet.  While I’m not saying plug it in and leave it until you get the upgrade, don’t let it sit with no battery power or, worse, completely dead for any length of time.  This could delay the upgrade for you making you wait even longer.  Instead, go ahead and use it just like you would normally.  But when you put it down, take the five seconds to plug it into its charger so your tablet stays on and has enough battery power to allow the upgrade to commence.

windows-10-on-tablet

A Little Work Now Can Save You A lot Later

Simply by following this list, you can save a lot of time later when the upgrade is finally ready for your tablet.  I recommend just following this list like it was a checklist, checking off each step as you complete it.  In most cases, you can accomplish everything on this list in one evening on your tablet, depending on how many files you have and how long it takes for your virus scan and Windows update to run.  Still, all of this should be done before you even consider upgrading your tablet.  That way, you can make sure your tablet has the space it needs, your files are safe, and your tablet is running in the best condition that it can so your upgrade process is relatively quick and painless.

Final Thoughts

Windows 10 is finally here and it is most definitely a far superior operating system when compared to Windows 8.1.  In my opinion, if your tablet is compatible with Windows 10, there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t upgrade.  Windows 10 provides the best of what Windows 7 and Windows 8 had to offer and combines them in a package that will run seamlessly across all devices.  Once you upgrade your PC, you will essentially be running the same operating system across all of your devices.  What is there not to love about that?

However, you want to be prepared for the update.  Once you have checked to make sure your tablet is compatible with the new upgrade, you need to take the proper steps to ensure that the upgrade itself will run smoothly.  By taking a few steps to ensure the safety of your data and by making sure that your tablet is in the best possible shape it can be, you can greatly increase your chances of a quick upgrade success and you can reduce the risk of failure during the update process.

Windows 10 is by far one of the best operating systems I have ever used, and tablet users everywhere will love how easily it functions with just a simply tap of your finger.  While tablet users will have to wait just a little longer before it rolls out to their devices, there is no reason why you shouldn’t go ahead and prepare it ahead of time for this major release from Microsoft.  In the end, you will be glad you did as you will find the upgrade process to run much more smoothly than you could have ever hoped and in no time, you will be running the latest software provided by Microsoft to the world.

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Tablet News

Will My Tablet Run Windows 10?

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Will My Tablet Run Windows 10?

Windows 10 is finally here and users across the world and patiently (or maybe impatiently) waiting for their upgrade.  If you use a Windows tablet, you may be wondering if your tablet is compatible with the new update.  That’s a fair question, as Microsoft has confirmed that not every tablet will be able to install Windows 10.

System Requirements

First, you must look at the hardware requirements for Windows 10.  Unlike past versions, these requirements carry over from laptop to desktop to smartphone and even tablets.  Unlike in the past, Microsoft maintained separate operating systems for some of their devices.  With Windows 10, all that changes.  Now, Microsoft offers one operating system for all their devices.

So what does your tablet need?  Well, for starters it needs at least 16 GB of free space in order to receive the download.  On top of that, you need at least a 1 GHz processor with a minimum of 1 GB of RAM for the 32-bit version and 2 GB of RAM for the 64-bit version. These kinds of specs are usually only found in more high-end 10-inch tablets.

Storage Could Be a Problem

On some of the tablets with lower amounts of storage, users may have a tough time upgrading without wiping out all of their data and starting from scratch.  While that is not always a bad thing to do, it can be quite inconvenient for many users.  If you are having trouble meeting the storage requirements, I recommend doing a little housekeeping.  Go through your tablet and delete any apps that you no longer use and go through all your saved files and get rid of anything you really don’t need.  If you are still having trouble after that, try migrating your files to the cloud using SkyDrive or one of the other could services that are available.

Will My Tablet Run Windows 10?

Windows RT

If you are running Windows RT on your tablet, you are basically out of luck.  Microsoft has not made Windows 10 available for tablets that run Windows RT and currently has no plans on releasing a full version of Windows 10 for those devices.  However, not all is lost.  Microsoft has confirmed that a new update for Windows RT will be released in September.  This new update will include a new desktop and start menu with a new lock screen that looks and feels much like Windows 10.  It seems they aren’t giving up on RT entirely, but I wouldn’t hold my breath for any other major updates to RT as they move away from that version of their Windows operating system.

Final Thoughts

With the release of Windows 10, Microsoft has created an operating system that will run on all of their different platforms, meaning you won’t have to learn a bunch of new systems with each new device you buy, as long as they run Windows.  That being said, you need to make sure your tablet is ready for the update so you can get ahold of your copy of Windows 10 while it is free.  If you don’t, you could find your tablet becomes quickly outdated as app creators move ahead with the new platform leaving that dusty copy of Windows 8 on your tablet behind for good.

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Tablet Tips

What To Do with a Tablet with a Broken Screen

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What To Do with a Tablet with a Broken Screen

If you are even somewhat technologically savvy, chances are you have one or two old devices just sitting around taking up space in your home or office.  You may even have an old tablet or two collecting dust.  Sometimes, this happens because our old devices just become too out dated to be useful anymore.  Of course, other times, they end up taking up space because we did something to them causing them to break.

One of the most common problems with tablets is a broken screen because it was dropped.  It happens all the time even to the best of us.  But what do you do once you have a tablet with a broken screen?  Do you keep using it or just replace it.  Most of us replace it unless it was a brand new tablet that we just happened to bring home.

However, just because your tablet has a broken screen, that doesn’t mean that it is no longer useful.  Today, we are going to look at what to do with a tablet with a broken screen so you can get a little more useful life out of your old tablet even if you no longer want to use it as your primary mobile device.

The Obvious Choices

Before we get to the fun stuff, let’s look briefly at some of the more obvious choices you have available to you.  While these may not be as cool, they are all worth considering especially if the tablet isn’t all that old.

Repair It

You could always take your tablet in and have it repaired.  While it may cost you a little bit of money out of pocket, it is definitely the easiest way to gain access to a second tablet in your home or it can save you money over buying a new one, provided it’s not a serious budget tablet that might cost more to repair than replace.  Just make sure you use an authorized repair shop for your particular tablet so you are sure to get quality replacement parts straight from the manufacturer and not third party parts which can be of questionable quality.

Sell It

Instead of bothering trying to repair it, you could list it on eBay or other sites such as Craigslist for sale as is.  Just be up front about the screen and reduce your selling price a little because of the screen and let someone else deal with it instead of you.  A quick note about selling online, make sure you take a few good pictures of the tablet and show them the state of the screen and try to track down as much of the original packaging as you can.  This will increase your chances of selling it.

Recycle It

In some cases, you may not be able to repair or sell your old tablet and you don’t want to try and find other uses for it.  If that is the case, you can take it to your local electronics store such as Best Buy and inquire about recycling it.  Just make sure you wipe all the data off of it first before you turn it in and do your part to save the environment.

What To Do with a Tablet with a Broken Screen

Other Ideas

Now that we have discussed some of the more boring ways you can take care of that tablet with the broken screen, it is now time to look at some of the more fun and interesting ways you can reuse your tablet.  These ideas can help you get a little more use out of your tablet before you must finally give it up and can even give you more functionality at your home or office often without it even costing you a dime.  In some cases, you may have to invest a little money to make these solutions happen, but it is much less than you would spend for a repair.

It should be noted that your success on some of the following ideas will depend on what features came with your tablet.  Not all tablets are built alike.  Some have ports, others don’t.  Some have large amounts of storage, while others include very basic storage.  Before you undertake one of these projects, make sure your tablet has the proper connections and hardware necessary to turn these projects into a reality.  Now that we got that out of the way, let’s take a look at what to do with a tablet with a broken screen.

Media Player

One of the most common solutions that people do with their old tablets, setting up your own media player is pretty easy using just a few apps and a cable to connect your tablet to your television.  The best options for you is to create both a local and a streaming media player connected to your television.  This means that you use a player and copy movies and music to it while at the same time also using many of the streaming services such as Netflix to stream straight to your tablet so you can watch it on your television screen.

This is the perfect setup for people who don’t have Internet ready televisions but still would like to enjoy Netflix and other downloaded content on their television screens.  However, you will need to watch your local storage limits so you don’t run out of space and you will also need to make sure that your tablet can be connected to a television in the first place using an HDMI cable.  Not all tablets are created equally and some offer connectivity options that others don’t.  If you don’t have a place for a cable, you are often just out of luck and will have to look at other uses for your old, broken tablet.

Gaming System

Who doesn’t love a good tablet game?  Sure, they are nowhere near the type of game you will find on a typical console such as a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One, but with the right accessories and connections you can create a cool mobile gaming station on your television.

Like the media player, you will need a cable to connect your tablet to your screen, and you will need to look at purchasing a wireless controller for Android or even a Microsoft Xbox 360 controller will work.  Once you have these, simply connect the controller to your tablet and then connect the tablet to the screen.  Using the controller you can navigate and select your gaming app of choice and start playing on your large screen television.  Angry Birds never looked so mad!

File Server

I admit, this one isn’t without its limitations.  Tablets aren’t known for having gobs and gobs of storage.  They are often quite limited.  Still, your old tablet could turn into a handy mobile file server for you and your family and could be a great way to share files with your family.  For best results, your tablet will need as much memory as possible both internally and through the often included microSD ports.

Simply wipe away any unwanted apps and data off your tablet, setup the file server using one of the many apps that are available, and then connect your computers to it using your wireless network.  In just a few short minutes, you could have a small, mobile file server ready to store whatever you want to put on it.  Just remember, no matter what your storage amount will be limited, so make sure you remove anything you no longer need so you don’t run out of space.

Security Camera

This is one of my personal favorite uses for an old tablet, although you may need a little skill in setting this up.  There are many apps out there that can turn a tablet into a mobile security camera and they are available for very little money.  Download the app and then figure out where you want to setup your tablet.  I wouldn’t recommend setting it up outside as tablets don’t play nice in bad weather, but they make a great camera to watch your doors or windows if you like.

Once it is setup, you can then stream the camera feed straight to your computer and sometimes straight to your new tablet as well so you can keep an eye on your home even when you are not there.  And you do did it without having to invest in potentially expensive video surveillance equipment.

So Why Bother?

I’m sure many of you are asking yourselves why you should even bother with trying some of these fixes.  Just get a new tablet and move on.  While you can definitely do that, remember you have already invested a good amount of money into these tablets and it is really a shame for all that money to go to waste.  At the same time, for people who love fooling around with technology, turning your old devices into something else useful can be a fun little side project.  I know I at least enjoy it!  You could also create a use for these devices that you never knew you would want and/or need before.  After all, there is nothing wrong with a nice streaming player connected to your entertainment system, is there?

Ultimately, the choice is up to you.  If you are pressed for time, these may not be the best choices.  But if you are looking for a new hobby, why not start fiddling with your old technology.  You could learn something while giving both yourself and maybe even your family something new to play with and enjoy.

Conclusion

Just because your tablet has a broken screen, doesn’t mean that it is no longer useful.  On the contrary, there are many different uses you can find for your old tablet.  With a little time and maybe a small investment in a few accessories, you can transform that glorified broken paper weight into something that you and your family could enjoy for hours and hours before the time really comes for it to be retired.

After all, that broken tablet still cost you quite a bit of money and it would be a shame for all that money to be flushed down the toilet simply because one day you or one of your kids had butter fingers.  So don’t fret if your tablet’s screen is broken.  Remember, there are still many different ways you can use that tablet to add security to your home, entertainment and much more.  By doing so, you can breathe new life into your old tablet instead of letting it waste away in the corner.

Do you have any ideas on how to use an old tablet with a broken screen?  If so, let me know in the comments below!