To find the very best tablets, I looked for four key elements: a bright, vivid, pixel-dense display that looks great at any angle; a lightweight design that’s comfortable to hold in one hand for long stretches; a powerful CPU coupled with a good amount of RAM for smooth, speedy multitasking; and an interface that’s easy to understand and navigate even if you’re not tech-savvy. Price was also a consideration — a great small tablet shouldn’t break the bank.
So what makes for an impressive tablet? We look for ones that have crisp screens with 1080p (or better) resolution, bright color palettes, interfaces that are pleasing to look at and easy to use, speedy and power-efficient quad-core CPUs, and designs that are thin and light—without feeling flimsy and cheap. The best of these tablets come at a premium, around $500. For that price, you want a device that offers extras—multi-tasking and kid-friendly modes and a wide array of content options—on top of all the basic criteria. Free stuff doesn’t hurt, either.
This year, a number of excellent new Android phones hit the market: the Samsung Galaxy S5, HTC One M8, Sony Xperia Z2 and LG G3. All of them have the ingredients of a great phone — big, beautiful displays, speedy performance, good cameras and long battery life — with only a few drawbacks between them.
I tested each of the new models and determined that the HTC One M8 is the most impressive of the bunch. It has the whole package down pat, including a gorgeous design, which makes it my pick for the best Android smartphone. Here’s why.
Taking notes is one of the most important activities for a high school or college student, be it in class during lectures or at the library or home doing research. Using a laptop to take notes has become common, but recent research shows that laptop note-taking is far less effective than taking notes by hand. And even when students don’t use their laptops to multitask during class (surfing the web and chatting on social networks), they don’t process and retain information as well as students who take their class notes by hand.
This effect doesn’t mean you have to give up the convenience of digital notes. With new digital pen tools and note apps, it’s possible to transform handwritten notes into text or make scribbled notes indexable and searchable.
I mean, there were some attempts to put Android on all kinds of platforms in those early days. Later there were a few large-screen Android tablets that actually launched… to a less than enthusiastic marketplace. Then the iPad came along and things got real in a hurry.
The other day I had a Twitter exchange with Dan Seifert of the Verge about my dislike of stock Android. The divergence of opinion on the matter of toggles and notification areas reminded me of a conversation I had a few weeks ago at a Sony event. The electronics arm of the company invited women bloggers to have a conversation about marketing to women. At one point Helena Bell of ChipChick and I hit on what it is about Android that so many people we know find annoying about it: lack of efficiency. The number of taps it takes to do something simple is just silly. And hunting for apps in the Google Play store, who has time for that? I’ve known this is a problem for a while, what I didn’t realize is that whether or not you do seems to depend on whether you’re a man or a woman. Read more →
Liken the Nexus devices before it, the Google Edition GS4 is available unlocked directly from Google. It’s also expensive at $650 since it’s not subsidized by a specific carrier. The price tag isn’t the only thing that may stop many potential buyers short. Because as joyful as it is to have stock Android on the Galaxy S4, it also means that the smartphone’s signature features are now gone as well. Is the trade-off worth it?
Earlier this summer, Google announced the newest version of the Android operating system, dubbed Jelly Bean. The moment this new Android became official I started seeing posts pop up on tech blogs attempting to answer the queston: When will my phone get Jelly Bean? Before that you could find hundreds of posts attempting to answer a similar question: when will… Read more →
In my preparation for the BlogHer conference (which was awesome!), I wanted to put together several ways to share my contact information with the people I would meet. I have traditional paper business cards, of course. But since I’m a digital geek girl, I also poked into my contact card on my phone and looked into ways I could share… Read more →
Last week I went to a writing retreat with several writing types in a converted barn somewhere in Connecticut. It was glorious. Five days where our only job was to write and our only sin to procrastinate. There are many ways to procrastinate in situations such as this, and a big one is undoubtedly by faffing around on the Internet.… Read more →