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Tablet Tips

How to Reset Your Samsung Galaxy Tablet

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How to Reset Your Samsung Galaxy Tablet

The Samsung Galaxy Tab series of Android tablets are some of the most advanced, most feature-rich, and stable Android tablets on the market. Samsung has done an outstanding job creating amazing Android tablets with this line, and they continue to dedicate resources to producing some of, if not the, best Android tablets on the market.

But, just because they are great tablets and they’re rock solid, that doesn’t mean you won’t have issues with them from time to time. Things happen. In some cases, you may find that you should perform a reset of your tablet in order to restore it back to working order. There are many different reset options available to Android tablet owners, much like Android smartphones. Today, we will look at the different reset options, what they are for, and how you do them. That way, you can troubleshoot your tablet yourself and, hopefully, solve many of your problems on your own without taking it anywhere for repair.

Accessing the Reset Options

First, you need to find the reset options. These can be found in your Settings Menu. If you have a shortcut for settings on your Home screen, simply tap on it. However, if you don’t, you may need to tap on Apps or swipe down and find it in your App tray. Once there, go to General Management – Reset. You can also search for it in your settings simply by typing reset into search. Once you open the reset menu, you will be presented with all the reset options available to you.

Reset Options

As you can see, there are several options available to you. Let’s pause for a minute and look at each one and what it does. There are three reset options listed in your Settings, but there are actually four options available to you. We will get into more on that later, but for now they are:

  • Reset Settings – I look at this one as a kind of in between the Network settings reset and the factory reset. Yes, it will remove quite a bit of information, but your personal data will remain intact. Still, I would be very careful with this one, as you could end up losing valuable information or apps. Still, it’s a great way to refresh your tablet if there are problems and you have a much better shot of fixing something that has gone wrong with this option.
  • Reset Network Settings – Sometimes, all your problems can be traced back to network connectivity. When this happens, it’s probably best to reset the network settings of your tablet. This will clear out all your cached Wi-Fi passwords, temp files, and anything else that controls your network. In many ways, it does the least amount of resets compared to all the others, but really will only help if you are having Internet or network problems.
  • Factory Data Reset – Remember how your tablet was that first day you pulled it out of the box? If not, then try this reset. A factory data reset will reset everything in your tablet and bring it back to the way it was on day one. That means that all your apps, data, accounts and even OS updates will be gone. If the other resets have failed, then this is the way to go, and it’s also a great option if you are selling your tablet or giving it away, as it will ensure that none of your personal data is left on the tablet. Just make sure everything is backed up first.
  • Hard Reset – This is the final reset you would try if all else fails. This reset can only be done by pressing buttons on your tablet while you boot it up, and it can’t be performed from the Settings menu, hence why it’s not listed as a choice. This is the reset you will perform if you continue to have problems after trying everything else.

How to Perform the Resets

Now that we know what each one does, let’s walk through how to perform each one.

1. Reset Settings

  1. Backup all your data and make a note of the apps you have downloaded.
  2. Access the Reset from your Settings app.
  3. Select Reset Settings.
  4. Confirm you want to perform the reset.
  5. Wait for the device to reboot.

2. Reset Network Settings

  1. While backing up isn’t required, it’s still a good idea just to be safe.
  2. Access the Reset menu from your Settings app.
  3. Choose Reset Network Settings.
  4. Confirm you want to perform this reset.
  5. Wait for the device to reboot.
  6. Re-enter your Wi-Fi password.

3. Factory Data Reset

  1. Backup all your data and make sure you don’t miss anything as everything will be wiped from the device.
  2. Access the Reset menu from your Settings app.
  3. Choose Factory Data Reset.
  4. Confirm that you wish to perform the reset.
  5. Wait for the device to reset and reboot.
  6. Perform the first use setup and follow all the prompts.
  7. Restore your apps and data from the Play Store.

4. Hard Reset

  1. Backup all your data and ensure you got everything.
  2. Turn off your tablet.
  3. Press and hold the Volume Up, Power and Home buttons together until you see the Android logo.
  4. Use the volume keys to scroll down to Wipe Data/Factory Reset and press the Power button to confirm the reset.
  5. Scroll down to Yes, Delete All User Data and press the Power button to confirm your selection.
  6. On the first screen, scroll down to Wipe Cache Partition and select it with the power button.
  7. Select Reboot System Now and wait for it to reset and reboot.
  8. Perform the new user setup and then install your apps, settings and data.

Parting Thoughts

As good as the Samsung tablets are, every now and then you may run into problems. If you are like me and you enjoy tinkering with your tablet and trying new things, sometimes those new things don’t turn out the way you planned. That’s where knowing how to reset your Samsung tablet come into play. If you are having problems with your tablet, I encourage you to try these different levels of reset to fix the problem. Just make sure you back up any important data before you begin, as these resets will wipe the device and there won’t be any way to retrieve the data you have lost.

Have you ever fixed your tablet with one of these resets? If so, tell me about your experience in the comments below.

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Tablet Tips

Five Common Mistakes People Make When Buying a Tablet Case

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Five Common Mistakes People Make When Buying a Tablet Case

So you just got your new tablet and home and you are ready to start using it. Hold on for a minute! Did you buy a case for it? If not, leave it in the box and head back to the store right now. Using a tablet without a case isn’t a good idea, so you will need something to protect your tablet from life while also making it even more usable. Unfortunately, many tablet owners make mistakes when buying a case.  Today, we will look at five common mistakes tablet owners make when buying a new case for their tablet. My hope is that by understanding these mistakes, you won’t make them the next time you go out and buy a new tablet.

Inadequate Protection

This is the big one. Tablets are fragile and they can easily break or be damaged if they take an unplanned fall from your tablet or out of your hands. It’s up to you to protect them. This isn’t just down to how  and where you use it. You need a case that can properly protect your tablet from scratches, dirt, dust, liquid and, of course, accidental drops. Some will need sturdier cases than others based on when and where they use them. If you have kids, for example, you definitely want something that will give your tablet a decent amount of protection. I love my kids, but they are clumsy and drops will happen. It’s not a matter of if, but when.

Tablets are expensive, so why wouldn’t you want to protect them the best way possible. Tablet cases offer different levels of protection. Some, offer very little protection, some I would rank as medium protection, while others it seems like you could drive over them and they would still protect your tablet. Which one you get will depend on you and your usage. Some of us are harder on tablets that others, and you need to determine how you are with these devices and buy a case accordingly. If you don’t, you could end up with a very expensive paper weight taking up space on your desk.

Forgetting Features

There are so many tablet cases out there today it’s easy to get lost when you are shopping. But, not all tablet cases are created equally, and I’m not just talking about protection. Each cases has different features built into it. These features include keyboards, built-in stylus, magnetic closing that can power the tablet on and off, and much more. Even how it will prop up your tablet for you while you use it is important to consider. All of these features can really transform your tablet into a true desktop replacement and make your tablet use that much more enjoyable. You may not know it, yet, especially if you are new to tablets. But trust me, they do.

Read and learn about all the different features, and then make your tablet selection based on these features. If you want something you can use to replace your laptop or desktop for most of your usage, you probably want as many features as possible. Whatever you do, don’t just run out and buy a case to cover it without thinking about how you want to use it. Once you decide, you know what features to look for in a new tablet case.

Ignoring Aesthetics

In the long run, this one may not be as important to you as it is to others. However, there is something to be said about the way a case looks. We all like our tablets to be stylish, so why are you ignoring the way a case looks when you buy it? You shouldn’t. No, it’s not the most important thing. But you have to look at it for the next few years, so you may as well buy something that you like. If you don’t, you probably won’t be happy with your purchase and you will lose something each time you try and use your tablet. Sure, it’s superficial, but if you are investing in a nice tablet, why not get something that looks good, too?

Now I’m not saying you should find something you like to look at first. Don’t make that your main criteria for buying a tablet case.  If you do, you will probably end up with something that doesn’t give you the protection you need or has the features you want. First, find a tablet case with the protection level you want, and then narrow them down with the features you want. Once you’ve done that, then you can choose the one you like the best from the finalists. The end result will be a case that protects your tablet, gives you all the features you need and want, and looking good while doing it.

Going Cheap

A quick search of Amazon will reveal hundreds of cases designed for your tablet. This is even more true if you have an iPad. These cases will range in price from only $20 all the way up to the hundreds of dollars. Now, after you have just dropped around $500 for a new tablet, be that an Apple iPad, a Samsung, Surface, or anything in between, it can be quite tempting to cheap out on the case just to save a little money. I know because I’ve done it. Boy, did I regret it.

The cheap cases you will find online and even in stores just don’t hold up like the more expensive cases. On top of that, they will lack many of the features you may want someday on your tablet. But, features aside, it’s the protection we are really concerned with here. Cheap cases won’t give you much protection at all. Sure, they may shield your tablet from dust and scratches when you carry it around, but how well will they withstand a tumble out of your hands or from your coffee tablet? I’m betting not very well. When you’re buying a case, go ahead and spend a little extra for added protection. If your tablet ever takes a tumble, you will be glad you did.

No Case At All

This may not be a mistake people make when selecting a tablet case, but it’s a huge one, nonetheless. And that’s why I decided to include it on this list. Look, I get it, you’ve just dropped hundreds of dollars on a new tablet and you don’t want to spend more if you don’t have to. You think to yourself, I am careful. I won’t accidentally drop it or spill anything on it. I will be a good user. Right? Wrong!

Despite all the features on a tablet designed to protect them such as Gorilla Glass, aluminum bodies, etc., tablets are pretty darn fragile. All it takes is one little drop and your tablet could be toast. This is even more true if you have hardwood floors in your home. Look, your tablet may survive a drop or two even without a case, but all depends on how it falls. If it falls with the display down, you could have a shattered screen, and then what are you going to do? Not buying a case is the single biggest mistake you could make as a tablet owner, and I don’t advise anyone to use a tablet without one. Even one of the most basic cases will give it a little more protection.

Remember, you have just invested a lot of money into your new tablet. So why do you want to risk something happening to it. For just a little more money you can get a great case that will protect it from life, and in my mind that makes the cash you will spend totally worth it. Wouldn’t you agree?

Conclusion

Tablet cases are a great and essential addition to any new tablet. When buying a case, make sure you find one that gives you the features you need while providing enough protection to your tablet to keep it safe from life. If you do, you will be able to enjoy your tablet for years to come. If you don’t, you could be back in the store shopping or looking online for a replacement before you know it.

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Tablet Tips

Four Reasons Chrome OS Should Power Your Next Tablet

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Four Reasons Chrome OS Should Power Your Next Tablet

Google continues to pour resources and development time into Chrome OS, and with many of the recent improvements, it’s pretty clear that Google has every intention of replacing Android as the operating system of choice for tablets. In fact, it seems Google has a vision of Android powering smartphones while Chrome OS is built specifically for laptops, 2-in-1 devices, and tablets.

Now, I have to admit that there aren’t any Chrome OS tablets out there as of yet. But, there are already a ton of laptop and netbook options as well as several different 2-in-1 Chrome OS options already, and you can expect to see more of those in the very near future. I also believe that soon we will see Chrome OS powering a tablet. Already we have seen a glimpse of this new philosophy. At a tech expo in London, ChromeUnboxed snapped a pic of an Acer tablet powered by Chrome OS, and that could be the first of what will be many new tablets powered by Chrome OS coming before we know it.

Reasons Chrome OS Should Power Your Tablet

Now let’s look at four reasons why Chrome OS should be powering your next tablet so you can begin to see the true benefits of bringing this operating system to the world of touchscreen devices.

1. Best of Both App Worlds

I love Android apps. I don’t know how often I wish I could just use an Android app on my laptop. Chrome OS also has many great cloud and browser-based apps out there. While many of these can be used in Chrome on any laptop, what if I want one device to do it all? Chrome OS could be just what I’m looking for thanks to recent developments that bring Google Play and the Android ecosystem to Chrome OS. On most modern Chromebooks you can already run both Chrome OS apps and Android apps on the same device, and recent updates by Google have improved the interface and usability of these apps. In fact, I would say it’s almost ready for primetime. Once it is, manufacturers will be able to produce tablets that can function as both a laptop and a tablet powered by the best apps that both platforms have to offer.

2. Designed for Larger Displays

If there is one criticism you can throw at Android that’s tough to defend, it’s the awkwardness of it on larger displays. Yes, this has gotten better over the years. But you have to admit that there’s a lot of wasted space on an Android tablet, especially if it is one of the larger screen options out there. Some companies, such as Samsung, have worked to improve this with their own iterations of Android, but it still lacks…something. Chrome OS, on the other hand, is built for larger screen devices. It was originally designed for laptops, after all. This means that it does a much better job of using your available screen real estate effectively. Combine that with the many touchscreen improvements over the years for 2-in-1 devices, and now we have the recipe for the best tablet operating system around.

3. Stability and Security

Finally, we have to talk about security and stability. Android is a very stable operating system, but it has suffered from malware threats in recent years due to its popularity. Still, it remains highly secure despite these threats. The same can be said of the Linux-based Chrome OS. Because it’s powered by Linux and backed by Google with regular updates to both features and security, you have an operating system that is not only rock solid and free of crashes, but also very secure. You won’t have to worry about your personal data being stolen if you use Chrome OS, and that alone is one of the best reasons for you to use it on almost any device. Wouldn’t you say? With regular updates, it’s easy to keep your device up to date and current and with Google’s support policies, you can rest easy that your device will be supported for many years to come.

4.Battery Life

This one may be debated by some of you, as many tablets offer battery life as good, if not better than Chromebooks. However, hear me out. Because Chrome OS is so efficient, it will be able to provide amazing battery life, assuming it has decent hardware, that could rival or surpass even the best tablets on the market today. Think about it. You will have a device that could be used as a tablet or even a desktop that gives you more than enough battery life to get you through the day and beyond.

When Can You Buy?

Unfortunately, we don’t know when this technology will make it to the mainstream market. If I had to venture a guess, it will be sometime this year. But, there is still much work to be done to make sure Chrome OS is up to the task of powering a tablet. After all, as consumers we have come to expect quite a bit from our tablets in terms of usability, and Google must make sure it delivers on these expectations if it hopes to make Chrome OS on tablets a success.

The bottom line is that if you are shopping for a tablet today, you will have to go with an Android tablet or an iPad. But, if you are looking at upgrading sometime later this year or maybe even next, then there is a good chance that you will find a tablet powered by Chrome OS.

Parting Thoughts

Chrome OS and Android are both amazing operating systems in their own right. But, Chrome OS has always done a much better job of powering larger screen devices than Android. After all, Android was originally built for smartphones. With the invention of tablets, Android was essentially modified to work on larger displays, and it’s never been a perfect modification.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my Android tablet. But even I realize that the experience isn’t always the best. There is a lot of wasted space and some apps just don’t work. Unfortunately, because it is Android only, I don’t have many other options to choose from in some cases.

Chrome OS should solve all those problems, and with its ability to load both Chrome apps and Android apps, we will have the best of both worlds on one device, and that’s something that I’m very much looking forward to on my next device. What about you?

Do you like the idea of Chrome OS powering a tablet or would you prefer Google to optimize Android for a better tablet experience? Tell me your thoughts in the comments below.

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Tablet Tips

Five Reasons to Choose an Android Tablet in 2018

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Five Reasons to Choose an Android Tablet in 2018

There is no denying that the tablet market has changed quite a bit over the last few years. While the iPad still reigns supreme, newcomers like Microsoft with their Surface tablet line have made huge gains in the crowded market. But what about an Android tablet?

There was a time when your favorite electronics stores would be crowded with dozens of different types of Android tablets. But times have changed. Today, the choices are fewer. While you can still find tons online, the biggest Android competitors are really all that remain in what I would call the primary Android tablet world.

That begs the question, Should I buy an Android tablet? While the answer to that question largely depends on your usage, I do believe they still have a place in the tablet world. Today we will examine a few reasons why you should buy an Android tablet in 2018 as we attempt to show you that Android still has a place outside of the world of smartphones.

1. Still More Options

Despite fewer options out there in 2018 than say, five years ago, Android tablets still have many more options out there compared to the few iPad models offered by Apple and the very few Surface choices you have from Microsoft. This is because Android is an open source operating system that allows almost any manufacturer to install and tweak it for their devices. The end result is many more options to choose from in a wide variety of price ranges. Now this is both good and bad, as you will find many cheap tablets in this category that just aren’t worth your time, but you will also find some amazing tablets in the mid and high-end ranges that will easily get the job done. I always believe that more tablet choices are better, as you will be able to find a tablet that meets your budget and gives you the features you need in a tablet. After all, if you settle, you could find that using your tablet isn’t as enjoyable as you had hoped.

2. Great for Kids

If you’re like me, there’s a good chance you have kids running around your house. Do they have tablets? The iPad is often a popular choice, as it’s very kid friendly. However, they aren’t really built to withstand the wear and tear that a 10-year-old can put on a tablet. Sure, you can get a case, but why not just buy a tablet designed specifically for kids? That, my friends, is the domain of Android. There are many different kid tablets out there, and they are all powered by Android. Even if you don’t go with one of these models, the child account features give you, the parent, more control over what they can and can’t see and do on the tablet, and when combined with all the apps and games on the Play Store, you should be able to find enough things for them to do, both in the fun and the learning categories, to keep them busy when you are on those long trips.

3. The Best for Customization

Android is still the best tablet operating system out there if you like to tinker and tweak your experience. Android let’s you customize just about everything, and I’m not just talking about what wallpaper is on your Home and Lock screens. You can choose what user interface you want to use, and even specify which apps you use for things like texting, web browsing, and much more. On top of that, because the Play Store has so many apps to choose from, you will have even more choices when it comes to customizing your device. Now, if you want to go a little crazy, you can root your device and even find and install custom Roms with a tweaked version of Android for your tablet. This is where it gets really fun. Using these custom roms, you can transform your tablet into the device you want and you won’t be forced into using the software that some company says you should.

4. Good Integration with Your Android Smartphone

Before I get into this one, I just want to say that your mileage may vary on this experience. In many cases, it all comes down to the type of smartphone and the type of tablet you have. If you have a tablet and smartphone from the same manufacturer, such as Samsung, then you will have many more features available to you. For example, if you own a Samsung, you can open your smartphone’s home screen on your tablet and use it just like any other app. Using this allows you to text, email, and even run your favorite smartphone apps on your tablet without having to install them on your tablet. It’s a handy feature that I use all the time. I love being able to text using my tablet’s Bluetooth keyboard, and I love looking at everything on the larger screen. Still, how well it works will depend largely on the devices you have. I recommend buying devices from the same manufacturer if this is something you want to explore. Chances are that will improve your results. Still, if you don’t have devices from the same manufacturer, there are apps out there that help you with the sync and control of your other devices that you can grab for little to nothing.

5. The Price

You can’t make one of these lists without talking about the price. If there is one thing about the iPad, and even the Surface, it’s the price is pretty steep. While you often get what you pay for, you can find some amazing tablets powered by Android at a fraction of the cost of the Surface or an iPad. Sure, there are high-end, premium Android tablets that will cost you just as much, if not more, than an iPad, but there are many options out there that are far cheaper. Just look at the Amazon Fire HD, for example. This tablet is powerful and comes with many different features all for just $50 from Amazon. And that’s just one example. The bottom line is if you are looking to save a little money on your next tablet purchase, then you shouldn’t hesitate to pick up an Android tablet. Your wallet will thank you.

Parting Thoughts

While the world of tablets has changed in the last few years, tablets are still very popular and there are many great reasons you should consider an Android tablet for your next purchase. While they aren’t right for everyone, there are still many options to choose from to help almost anyone achieve their tablet goals.

Do you own an Android tablet? If so, I want to hear from you. What kind of Android tablet do you own and what do you think about it? Sound off with your opinions in the comments below and let’s show everyone looking for a new tablet that Android has an option that could be the perfect tablet choice.

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Tablet Tips

8 Tips to Improve the Battery Life of Your Tablet

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8 Tips to Improve the Battery Life of Your Tablet

Whether you have an iPad, an Android tablet, or even a Windows 10 tablet, battery life is very important. After all, trying to use a tablet when it’s plugged in is cumbersome at best, and downright impossible for many of us. Your battery is the life blood of your tablet. So it makes sense that you will want to keep the battery running for as long as possible.

While I have talked about this before, times have changed, and you have to change with it. Today we will look at 8 tips to improve the battery life of your tablet so your tablet will last you as long as possible before you are forced to plug it in. These tips will work for both Android tablets and iPads, although the method you go about adjusting them will be different.Are you ready?

1. Turn down the brightness.

The display of your tablet is no doubt beautiful, filled with bright, rich colors and an impressive resolution to make everything clear and crisp. But, your display is also the single largest enemy of battery life. The power required to light up these screens will do more to reduce your battery life than anything else. I’m the first one to turn up the brightness on my tablet, but if you really want to save your battery life, then all you need to do is turn down your brightness. You will be amazed how much more battery power you will get simply by turning down the brightness, even a little bit.

2. Disable notifications.

Ah notifications. I love them and despise them with all my being. In some cases, I think they give me useful information that I can check without having to actually open the apps. But at the same time, they can drive me crazy. I’m sure you feel the same. Did you know that notifications can impact your battery life? In order to receive a notification, the app has to be active and checking in, once it does, it notifies you. All of this takes precious battery life away from you, even when you’re not using your tablet. I recommend disabling any notifications you don’t really need. For example, do you really need to get a notification from your favorite game that you haven’t logged in today? I think not. Get rid of any unnecessary notifications and you will be able to play that game longer before plugging your tablet in.

3. Close unneeded apps.

Apps running in the background are designed to take very little power and resources from your tablet. It’s really an ingenius design, when you think about it. In the past, everything you had running would take away precious resources, including your battery power, and at often alarming rate. Now, you can leave things running without much of an impact. But notice I didn’t say no impact. Apps running in the background won’t take too much power, but they will use your battery, even if it’s just a little bit. To get every ounce of energy out of your tablet, close apps that you aren’t using.

4. Turn off background app sync and automatic updates.

Don’t get me wrong, I love background app sync and automatic updates. In fact, I use both of them every day. But I realize that my battery is going to take a hit. If you need every bit of juice out of your tablet battery, then I suggest you disable automatic updates and background app sync. You can do this for everything or on a per app basis, at least when it comes to the background app sync, that is. If you do it per app, you can customize what apps run in the background and are up to date and which ones aren’t really that important. In the end, you will find by disabling these features, your battery will last much longer. Just remember to go in from time to time and update your apps manually.

5. Reduce the screen time out.

Your screen time out is the amount of time it takes your tablet to go from the on position displaying the home screen to off. Once it’s off, you have to log back in or, at the very least, unlock the screen with a swipe. The time out counter doesn’t start until the tablet has been inactive, so why leave it running for long periods of time if you aren’t using it? Reduce the screen time out on your device to darken that battery draining display even faster. While the impact will be small, when you’re on a mission to get more battery life, every little bit helps.

6. Disable unwanted connections.

Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, 4G, LTE, all of these are great connectivity options available on modern tablets. But, did you know that it takes battery power for each one of these? Each one of these connectivity protocols have corresponding hardware inside your tablet. When you turn them on, it enables the hardware and provides them power. On top of that, many of these connections will actively search for ways to connect devices and services. This will drain your battery life and, if you ask me, is one of the biggest sources of battery drain after your brightness. If you don’t have anything connected via Bluetooth, for example, why not shut down Bluetooth completely. The same goes for all the other connection options as well. This will give you more battery power for what you want to do, not for what you may or may not use.

7. Remove Unused Apps

This one will have less of an impact over the others, but it could be a problem. If you are like me, you probably have an app or five on your tablet that you don’t really use. This takes up valuable storage space on your tablet and they may even run in the background without you knowing about it. It’s always best practice to remove apps that you don’t use. Not only will it save your battery, but it will clear up room on your device for other apps that you want and will use.

8. Practice Sound Charging Habits

Finally, we need to talk about charging habits. Charging your tablet the right way will reduce the wear and tear on your battery so it runs much better and much longer between charges. In the past, it was recommended that you completely discharge the tablet battery periodically in order to maintain good battery health. That’s no longer the case. On modern tablets, I recommend trying to keep it between 20 and 50 percent when you plug it in. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t discharge it occasionally. In the end, it is good for the battery and for the apps that measure your battery metrics. However, you will improve the overall life of your battery if you plug it in between 20 and 50 percent. One other thing: when it reaches 100 percent, don’t leave it plugged in. While batteries don’t suffer as much damage as they could in the past, it’s still a good idea to keep that battery working and you also reduce the risks of surge damage or the like from being plugged into an outlet.

Parting Thoughts

Battery life is still as important today as it has ever been. By following these 8 tips, you can increase the battery life of your tablet so you can go longer between charges while also keeping your tablet battery healthy for much longer before it will need to be replaced.

Did I miss any tablet battery tips? If so, tell me about it in the comments below. I would love to hear what you have to say on the matter.

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Tablet Tips

The Pros and Cons of an Amazon Fire Tablet

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The Pros and Cons of an Amazon Fire Tablet

I have realized that in all the posts about tablets, I haven’t really spent a lot of time talking about the Amazon Fire tablet. Honestly, I’m not sure why that is. The tablets themselves are powerful enough to rival many of the top tablets on the market, and they do so at a fraction of the cost. But, when you think tablets, you don’t usually think of Amazon. That’s why today I wanted to spend a little time focusing on the Amazon Fire tablet.

Let’s look at a few of the pros and cons of the Amazon Fire tablet so you can decide if they are right for you. While they are great tablets, they aren’t perfect. I don’t think we have found the perfect tablet yet. Still, they are great devices and worth a closer look if you are shopping for a new portable device for your technology collection.

The Pros

I always like starting with the positive, so let’s begin with some of the reasons why you will love owning and using an Amazon Fire Tablet. These features may even be enough to convince you to order one today.

The Price

First, you can’t deny the price. For only $50, you get a pretty powerful tablet. There are other tablets with a fraction of the power of the Fire that are triple the cost. For the price, it will be hard to find a better tablet option. While these tablets don’t have the power of an iPad Pro, they are really great for consuming content, so why spend four times more when all you want to do is surf the net and watch a few shows? At the end of the day, the Fire Tablet is one of the best tablet deals I have ever found, and the price alone make them worth it.

Alexa

If you have done any research into digital assistants, then chances are you have heard of Alexa. Alexa competes in the world with the other assistants, and one of its direct competitors is the Google Home. In many ways, Amazon has been winning in this market, as Alexa is ranked as one of the very best options you can choose for a digital companion in your home. Recently, Alexa has been included on the Fire HD tablets, so you have access to Amazon’s personal assistance right on your tablet. With Alexa, you can shop, search the Internet, and more, all with your voice. Now, with Alexa, you can do that right on your tablet without buying a separate Alexa device.

Display and Sound

For their price, you would expect Amazon to make a few sacrifices on the hardware. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, Amazon has taken great care in designing a tablet that is powerful and full of features. The display on these little devices are truly amazing. Sure, they aren’t as high quality as a retina display on an iPad Pro, but they are more than enough to provide a perfect viewing experience. Then there’s the sound. The speakers are small, there is no avoiding that, but they are very clear and provide a rich sound for their size. At the end of the day, Amazon was trying to design a tablet to consume media, and they did that perfectly with a great display and clear sound.

The Cons

Now that we know some of the best aspects of using an Amazon Fire Tablet, it’s time to look at a few cons. It’s important to know that bad along with the good, so you can decide for yourself it the tablet is a good fit for your needs.

Display Size

First, I will admit, that this won’t be a con to everyone. Some will like the smaller screen size of the Fire tablets. You can easily find the 7-inch and 8-inch versions on Amazon, but unfortunately to get a larger screen, you will pay quite a bit more. For me, I prefer a tablet screen size to be in the 9 to 10-inch ranges. That gives me more room not only to enjoy my favorite movies and television shows, but also plenty of room if I want to get a little work done. The smaller screens are great for kids or just enjoying a few games and watching some shows, but can be limiting if you want to use your tablet for more than that.

App Availability

This is the big one. The Amazon Fire OS may be based on Android, but it has been so heavily modded that it’s almost unrecognizable. On top of that, there is no access to the Play Store, so you are forced to use Amazon’s store for your app needs. Amazon’s store is missing many popular apps that you would expect to find everywhere. I’m looking at you Instagram. This lack of apps extends to all types including games, productivity, and more. While with a little work you can install from other places, most people have no idea this feature even exists. In the end, if you want a better selection of apps, you need to look at other tablet options.

Amazon Prime

I don’t think there is anyone out there that has a Fire tablet that will argue this point. In order to get the most out of your tablet, you will need an Amazon Prime membership. This means that you will be paying a yearly subscription just to access some of the services on the Fire tablet. Sure, you get a lot more for your membership, such as faster shipping from Amazon, their streaming app, and more, but is that really enough to justify the cost? I’m not sure. And if you have a Fire tablet, you will find the experience lacking without it.

Final Thoughts

Finally, a post about the Amazon Fire tablets. What did you think? The Amazon Fire tablets are great devices, but they aren’t for everyone. They are perfect devices for children or basic users or anyone who lives in the Amazon ecosystem with Amazon Prime and the like. However, they are somewhat limited. Their screens are smaller than other tablets, the app choices are limited, and you won’t get as much out of it without Prime.

However, the price of these devices are amazing and the hardware powerful and it is beautifully designed. All in all, it’s a great affordable tablet and if you are in the market for a new tablet for basic usage and media consumption, then it will be tough to find something better.

What do you think? Do you like the Amazon Fire HD tablet or do you prefer one of the premium tablet models out there? Sound off in the comments below.

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Tablet Tips

What Should You Do if You Crack Your Tablet Screen

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What Should You Do if You Crack Your Tablet Screen

There is nothing worse than dropping your tablet. Despite inventions such as gorilla glass and even some of the best cases, a big drop can crack your tablet screen. When this happens, most of us don’t have any idea on what we should do. In many cases, we get mad at ourselves and just buy a new tablet. However, there are steps you should take when you crack your tablet screen. By following the steps below, you can determine if your tablet is worth fixing and how you should go about getting it repaired.

1. Don’t Panic

First and foremost, and before we get into anything else, it’s important that you don’t panic. I know, you just dropped your very expensive tablet and the screen could be a mess, but getting upset isn’t going to fix anything. I’m sure you will be mad at yourself or your kids and you will be wondering what to do, frantically. Don’t. Take a deep breath and count to ten. Once you hit ten, move on to the next steps in this guide so you know what to do.

2. Assess the Damage

Pick up your tablet gently and take a closer look at the screen. Try and assess how bad it really is. Is it just a small crack in the corner that you can’t even feel, or is it a huge shatter across the entire display? The type of crack can impact what you do next. In some cases, you may not do anything, but in others, you may need to take action in order to use your tablet again.

At the same time, you need to assess your tablet for other damage other than the display. If there is more damage, say to the home button or to the exterior case, you could have bigger problems and that may impact what you do next.

3. Determine If It Should Be Fixed

Once you assess the damage, it’s time to consider if it is worth fixing or not. Here is what you should consider when making your final repair decision:

  • Type of Tablet
  • Model of Tablet
  • Age of Tablet
  • How much damage

All of these factors will help you determine whether you should bother fixing it or not. For example, if the tablet is four years old, then it may not be worth fixing. Instead, you could devote that money toward a newer and faster tablet. Some tablets are more difficult to fix than others. Apple iPads and Samsung tablets are pretty popular, so it’s easy to find parts. But some off brand Android tablets will be tough to repair. Finally, the damage. If the screen is completely shattered and there is other damage, then it may not be worth it to fix.

4. Check your Warranty

Once you decide that your tablet is worth fixing, it’s time to examine your repair options. Most major manufacturers do offer a basic warranty for their tablets, but they don’t usually include accidental damage from drops. In these cases, you will usually need an extended warranty such as Apple Care in order to get it fixed. If you don’t have a warranty that will cover the damage, you will have to pay for the repair out of your pocket, so be prepared to spend a little money.

5. Send It to the Manufacturer

Your first option for repair will be the manufacturer. Using the original tablet manufacturer will mean that you get certified parts straight from them and any warranty you have will remain valid if you use them for the repair. However, in some cases, these repairs can be more expensive than other options and you may have to send your tablet to them to have it repaired. These repairs will usually take a few weeks to perform. In other cases, the manufacturer may just replace your device with a refurbished model and keep your device, meaning you must back up all your data before you ship it away.

6. Take It to a Repair Shop

Instead of a manufacturer repair, there are many certified dealer and repair shops that can handle the repair for you. If the repair shop is certified, chances are your warranty will remain valid if they perform the repairs. However, not all shops are certified, so if you have them fix your tablet the warranty could be voided.

Still, there are many benefits with using a local repair shop. In most cases, the repair will happen much more quickly, as you don’t have to wait for shipping or some giant company to work on it. In some cases, I have seen these repairs take as little as a day or even a few hours. Often it comes down to what parts they have on hand at the time of the repair. These shops are usually a little cheaper than a manufacturer repair. This isn’t always the case, but in my experience you can save a little bit of money if you use them instead.

7. Fix It Yourself

If you are handy or just like tinkering with electronics, you could try your hand at the repair yourself. There are many sites out there such as iFixit that will sell you packages with the parts and the specialized tools you will need to perform the repair yourself.

I must caution you, however. These repairs can be difficult, especially if you have never tried something like this before. If you make a mistake, you could do even more damage to your tablet. If you perform the repair yourself, you may also void your warranty. If you don’t have a warranty anymore, this is no big deal. But if you do, you may want to consider another option.

This method will definitely save you money, as the cost of parts and the tools won’t add up to the cost of parts and the labor when sending to the manufacturer or taking to a repair shop. But it will take time and there is further risk of damage if you don’t know what you’re doing.

8. Purchase a Replacement Tablet

When all else fails, you may need to buy a new tablet. In many cases, the damage could just be too great or the repair costs too much. Maybe your tablet is just too old to bother with the repair. When this happens, you really are better off buying a new tablet. Often you can find a new tablet for just a little more than the repair bill, and you will have access to the latest hardware when you buy a new one.

Parting Thoughts

There is nothing worse than dropping your tablet and cracking the screen. I know how it feels. I once dropped and shattered the screen of a brand new Samsung Galaxy Tab S2. It was a painful experience. In the end, the cost of the screen was too much and I didn’t have a warranty, so I bought a new tablet to replace it. But your experience may vary.

By following the list above, you can determine the best course of action for your tablet. Have you ever dropped your tablet and shattered the display? If so, what did you do? Did you have it fixed or buy a new tablet? If you fixed it yourself, what was your repair experience like? I want to hear from you. Sound off with your opinions in the comments below.

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Tablet Tips

Six Android Apps for Chromebooks

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Six Android Apps for Chromebooks

Today we are going to do something a little different. As you may or may not know, the Google Play Store is now available on Chromebooks, and Google is working hard to bring the complete Android ecosystem to all Chromebooks in the wild. Well, okay not all of them, but most. For a complete list of Chromebooks that support Android, click here.

In many ways, Chrome OS is shaping up to be the next big iteration of Android. What I mean is, Google is trying to combine the two into one seamless operating system so you can get the best of both worlds, and there are many experts out there that believe Chrome OS and Chromebooks are the next evolution of Android tablets. Whether this ends up being true or not, I felt that it’s important to see just how far they’ve come and what you can install and run on your Chromebook from Android. So today we are going to look at six Android apps for Chromebooks that you can download and install right now. Shall we begin?

Android Apps for Chromebooks

Remember, for this list I’m not talking about apps that have been designed for both Android and Chrome OS. Instead I’m examining Android apps that are only available on the Google Play Store but will still work with your Chromebook. This is by no means a complete list, but a short list of six of the best apps out there, in my opinion, that every Chromebook owner should grab today.

1. Microsoft Outlook

Price: Free

Download

For a long time email apps had no place on Chromebooks. Finally, a few developers came up with a few options, but for users of Outlook, there weren’t a lot of options. Now, you can install the Android version of Outlook right on your Chromebook. With it brings a full POP, iMAP, and even Exchange client to your Chromebook. If you want to use your Chromebook for a little work on the road and you don’t use Gmail, then this is a definite must have app. It’s one of the better email options out there for mobile no matter what platform you use and it’s a great addition for any Chromebook owner that needs to access an Exchange server for their email.

2. Netflix

Price: Free to Download, Subscription Required

Download

No laptop is complete without this app, at least if you have a Netflix subscription. Who doesn’t have a Netflix subscription these days? If you want to binge watch your favorite show or catch the latest movies available for streaming, this is the best software to do it. While you could access it through the browser, the dedicated app works much like the one on Android and makes it easy for you to ignore your work and enjoy some much needed entertainment. The question is, what show will you watch next, and how quickly can you get through all the seasons?

3. YouTube

Price: Free with Paid Content Options

Download

YouTube is one of, if not the most popular video streaming service on the planet. Where else can you watch anything from full length movies to your friends favorite cat videos all in one place? Again, you could always browse to the website and watch it, but why do that when you can have a dedicated app to do the same thing? The app is a carbon copy of the Android app, and all your subscriptions and channels will be right there waiting for you to enjoy. Personally, if you have kids like me, this is a surprisingly popular app, and my 3 year old can navigate it better than me.

4. Spotify

Price: Free to Download and use, Subscription Optional for added features

Download

I love my music, and today I access all of it through Spotify. Well, almost all of it. When the Spotify service was first released, many wondered if this type of streaming service with ads or a subscription would be viable. Today, the service is one of the leaders in the music industry, even if some artists hate them. I love my Spotify, and I even have the full subscription service. But whether you subscribe or not, this is the best way to stream your favorite tunes while you work. Pair your device with a good headset and you can enjoy the best music wherever you go. All you need is an Internet connection to do it.

5. Google Photos

Price: Free to Download and use, Added features for GSuite and Google Drive subscribers

Download

This is a new one to my best of lists, and with good reason. Google recently redesigned and updated the app and now it’s one of my favorite photo management apps out there. If you use anything Google, such as an Android smartphone and even Chrome OS, you can automatically back up your photos to it and access them on any of your devices. On top of that, you can organize them into different albums, and even apply filters and touch them up, although I would recommend adding the next app in this list for better touch up options.

6. Adobe Photoshop Express

Price: Freemium

Download

I have to say that a good quality image editor like such as the full version of Photoshop is still sorely needed on mobile platforms and Chrome OS. Still, Photoshop Express is one of the best options out there today. This software is a great tool for touching up photos and altering them with its variety of touch up and filters available. While the app is free, you can gain access to even more options if you fork over a little cash. For those of you with huge photo collections or anyone who spends gobs of time posting to Instagram, then this is a great addition to your Chromebook.

Parting Thoughts

Chrome OS is shaping up to be the next big thing for Android tablets, and the incorporation of Android apps is the first big step to signal this evolution has begun. If you run Chrome OS, there’s a good chance that you can now access the best of what the Play Store has to offer. This list will get you started, but search the store and see what you can find that will work on your Chromebook.

While not ever app will work, I think you will find a good selection of apps for you to use. What Android apps have you tried on your Chromebook? Tell me your experience with Android on Chrome OS in the comments below.

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Tablet Tips

The Best Web Browsers for Android

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The Best Web Browsers for Android

If you own an Android tablet, chances are you have already launched Chrome at one time or another. But did you know there are other great browsers out there that you can install on your Android tablet? One of the greatest benefits of Android is the freedom it gives you to run the apps you want, allowing you to create a personalized tablet experience that isn’t like any other.

Of course, which browser are you going to choose? Below I have put together a list of what I believe are the five best web browsers for Android. All of these browsers are feature-rich, easy to use and will easily install on your tablet right from the Google Play Store.

Best Web Browsers for Android

Let’s get right to it, shall we? Here is my list of the five best web browsers for Android. I’m sure one or more of these will suit your needs perfectly.

Google Chrome

Price: Free

Download

Of course this one would make the list. It comes on every Android device out there, and because it’s made by Google, it integrates perfectly with your Gmail account and allows you to sync everything across your devices without having to setup anything extra. It’s sync features are really what I like best about this browser, along with its speed. While Microsoft may be trying to claim the best speed and security on Windows with Edge, Google definitely takes that title on the Android platform. There are actually two versions on the Google Play Store, with one version being the developer version that will allow you to test the latest features without having to wait for them to reach a final release. Because of its integration with Android, its speed and syncing abilities, it just makes sense to stick with this one, especially if you are big user of Google Apps and Gmail.

Mozilla Firefox

Price: Free

Download

Firefox has come a long way over the years. While it was the first browser to finally beat out Internet Explorer, it’s taken huge losses in recent years to Chrome and today even Microsoft is eating away at its share. Firefox was a little slow to adapt to mobile technology, including tablets. But in the last year, Mozilla has completely overhauled the browser, creating a faster experience across both the desktop and mobile platforms. It features desktop syncing, improved privacy features, Chromecast support, and even some access to some add-ons that have been around for Firefox for years now. Sadly, in my tests, it was still quite a bit slower than the other options out there, and trust me, writing this line was painful. Hopefully, Firefox will continue to optimize this browser for speed, as it has everything you need for a complete experience across all your devices.

Opera

Price: Free with ads

Download

There are actually two versions of this browser, the standard browser and Opera Mini. Both browsers feature partial ad block, video compression to save data, and you can even setup a dashboard to store your favorites and your news. If you create an Opera account, you can sync everything back and forth from the desktop version, which is quite handy if you need to pick up where you left off on a different device. In my tests, Opera was pretty fast, although I’m not sure it beats the others on this list, except for maybe Firefox. Overall it’s a strong browser, and if you are the type that doesn’t want to be forced to use one of the major, more mainstream browsers, it’s a great option for you to use on all your devices, including your tablet.

Dolphin

Price: Free with ads

Download

Dolphin has been one of the more popular third party options for Android, and they have seen quite a bit of success. The browser itself is clean and easy to use. On top of that, it is filled with features you have come to expect on a modern browser, even on a tablet or smartphone. It includes theming support, ad-bock, incognito mode, and even gesture controls, making it very easy to use on a device with only a touchscreen interface. On top of that, there is also support for add-ons and extensions. While there are nowhere near as many out there as you will find on Chrome or Firefox, there are still many available out there, and you could always build your own. This will give you a truly customized and personal browsing experience. Overall, I believe this is one of the best Android browsers, and it’s my go to option when I’m looking for a browser to use that isn’t what you would call mainstream. It’s fast, too, and in my tests its speed rivaled the likes of Chrome when it came to loading pages. If you are searching for a nice alternative on your Android tablet, this is one of the best choices you could make.

Web Browser 2018

Price: Free with ads

Download

I have to admit I have a love/hate relationship with this one, and I almost didn’t include it in this list. In the end, I decided I would, as it was one of the fastest in my tests. It has a clean look and is easy to use. With Flash support, you will be able to view pretty much anything online. It includes custom themes that are easy to configure and use, and its full screen mode can be really handy for larger sites or a view free of other distractions. However, its ad placement is very distracting. Every time you open a new tab you will be faced with an ad, as well as the occasional ad at the bottom of the screen. For a browser based on open technology, you would think they would improve this monetization strategy, or at least offer a paid option to get rid of those pesky ads. In the end, it’s one I will keep on my tablet and check on later to see if they have improved it. Still, if you like a more basic, yet feature-rich experience, then this is a great option for you, assuming you can look past the ads.

Use More Than One

When you are setting up your tablet, I recommend you install at least one other browser to use as a backup. Why? If you run into a problem with your main browser, or if a website isn’t loading correctly for whatever reason on your main browser, having a second browser can be quite handy. Personally, I have all of these on my tablet, but I’m probably a special case. One or two more would probably be the best as they won’t take up as much space on your tablet. So what are my go to default browsers? Well, in my case, I use Chrome, as I’m a big user of Google apps. My first backup browser that I use if something doesn’t load or look right is Firefox, even though it’s a bit slower. Finally, my third option is Dolphin. While the others stay on my tablet, I honestly don’t use them as much.

Parting Thoughts

Android is all about freedom, and with that freedom you get the ability to install and run whatever web browser that you want. This list should help you pick a web browser that will work great on your Android tablet.

What web browser do you use on your Android tablet? Tell me which browsers you have installed and which ones you use regularly in the comments below.

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Tablet Tips

How to Use Your iPad for Work

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How to Use Your iPad for Work

Our workplaces are becoming increasing mobile as technology advances in ways many of us never even imagined. Tablets can now take the place of laptops and be used to get real work accomplished without having to carry around a potentially bulky and heavy laptop.

The iPad is really what started this revolution. But in a twist of fate, the device that started this march to a mobile workplace really isn’t used all that much for real work. When you ask someone what tablet is great for work, chances are they may mention a Microsoft Surface or an Android laptop, but I doubt anyone will mention an iPad.

But that doesn’t mean they aren’t great devices for work. In fact, it can be one of the most productive devices you have. Sure, they excel in entertainment and media consumption, with hundreds of apps and games designed to keep you busy. But did you know that this device can double as a mobile computer? With the right accessories and apps, you can transform your iPad into a true workhorse that will help you get things done no matter where you may be.

Grab an iPad Pro

First and foremost, I must say that you should buy an iPad Pro if you plan on doing some serious work on your iPad. While you can get away with using a regular iPad, you have so many more options if you go with a Pro. First, you can get the Apple Keyboard and the Apple Pencil, which give you some of the best control of an iPad that I have ever seen.

Second, these devices are more powerful and often have more storage space. This is a must if you want to use your iPad to store files that you need for work. When you are running productivity apps, you will need a device that’s fast, and the iPad Pro more than delivers on this front. These are some of the fastest iPads on the market, and they have the very best screens. These are all a must if you are going to stare at them and use them for hours on end. Remember, while a regular iPad will work, I believe you will have a much better work experience if you stick with an iPad Pro.

Third Party Accessories a Must

Even if you use an iPad Pro, you are going to need a few other third party accessories, and this is even more important if you use a regular iPad. For a Pro, you may want to invest in a nice case to complement your accessories, for example. If you have a regular iPad, you will have to invest a little more in order to turn it into a workplace tablet.

You will need more than just a case. You will also need a keyboard and maybe a stylus to make navigation a little easier on your fingers and hands during periods of long use. Personally, I recommend a case that can hold your stylus while also being a keyboard. There are many options out there for you to choose from, and I recommend giving these a serious look so you can create a work experience that is pleasurable. If you don’t, you could find using your iPad tedious and maybe even a bit painful if you use it for long periods of time.

Apps, Apps, and More Apps

Now what is really key to transforming your iPad into a true mobile workstation is the apps. Now, you won’t find every desktop app available for an iPad. That’s just the way it is. Not every desktop app has a mobile version. In some cases, mobile apps are handicapped compared to the full desktop versions of the applications, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be useful.

In other cases, there are amazing apps out there that give you a full desktop experience right on your tablet. Microsoft Office is one of those, and could be one of the apps you use the most on your tablet. While your needs will be different from others, the App Store probably has the solution that’s right for you. Take your time and find the apps that fit your work needs, and you will be able to truly use your iPad as a mobile workstation.

Make Better Use of the Cloud

The most recent update of iOS has definitely improved this situation, but I still think the iPad lags behind the Surface and Android tablets in the arena of file management. First, the interface for managing your files is clunky at best, and you are limited on your storage, as Apple doesn’t give you the expansion options of microSD cards found on most Android tablets.

To solve this problem, I recommend making better use of the Cloud. It doesn’t really matter which one you use, as long as you have enough room to store and access all your files. Services such as Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud Drive, and OneDrive give you more than enough storage for your files, so use the one you are most comfortable with. By putting your files on the cloud, you can access them from anywhere and you can be sure you have the latest version of the file you need whenever you need it.

Extra Cables and Chargers

While the battery life on an iPad and iPad Pro is very good, especially when using apps designed for productivity, you still don’t want to be left without a charger wherever you may be. That means investing in a few extra cables and maybe an extra charger or two just so you have one for home, the office and maybe one when you travel.

You may also want to consider getting a battery pack that you can use to charge your iPad when there isn’t an outlet close by. Trust me, I’ve been there. There is nothing more frustrating than running low on battery when you are trying to bang out a little work. So keep those chargers handy and that battery pack so if you are stuck in the airport or on a long flight, you can keep your battery charged and your iPad ready to go.

Final Thoughts

While the iPad may not be as good as a Surface for work, with the addition of the right accessories and some great apps, you should be able to turn your iPad into a serious contender for a mobile workstation. While it won’t work for everyone, especially those that need desktop apps, for many workers it can be the perfect for tool for getting work done while on the go.

Do you use your iPad for work? If so, I want to hear from you. Tell me about your experiences using your iPad for work in the comments below.