Much of what you can do with a tablet, you can already accomplish with aÂ smartphone. But if you find the smartphone too small for comfortable viewing when surfing the Web, making listing presentations, composing text, or reviewing and signing digital documents, youâ€™ll appreciate the tablet.
Buying a tablet for your real estate needs is not simply a matter of comparing hardware specs and features. The real value of any tablet depends on the software, or apps. For real estate, thereâ€™s a rich selection of specialty apps for searching listings, calculating loans and managing contacts, contracts, and signatures.
Each tabletâ€™s operating system determines which apps the tablet can run, so itâ€™s essential to visit the app stores for the respective platforms and see whatâ€™s available. While many apps are available for both, the selection does vary. Go to theÂ Google Play StoreÂ for Android tablets,Â iTunesÂ for the iPad, and theÂ Windows 8 storeÂ for Microsoft devices.
Tabletsâ€™ product tiers are based on screen size, which is measured diagonally. The most common size is the seven- and eight-inch range. The next grouping is around 10 inches. Beyond that, youâ€™ll have larger options on touchscreen computers that have a tablet mode. If your present computer is showing its age, consider upgrading to a convertible notebook/tablet.
True tablets are multifunction devices, melding the computer, camera and camcorder, and navigation system. Theyâ€™re not phones, but with the right app, you can use them for calling and video conferencing, too.
The tabletâ€™s screen serves as both your touch interface and your display. Screen sizes, resolutions, and viewing angles have all advanced over early tablets, but if you plan on using any model outdoors, test the screen in direct sunlight before buying.
Next, you should consider the tabletâ€™s specs: processor speed, RAM, and data storage options. The newest tablets all boast speedy dual- or quad-core processors, giving them plenty of headroom to tackle a number of tasks. Tablets are generally available in a choice of memory configurations, measured in gigabytes â€” generally from 16 GB to 128GB, with the price jumping at each tier. Models with a microSD card slot allow you to easily and inexpensively add storage.
Most tablets have two cameras, a low-resolution camera facing the user for video calling and a much better rear-facing camera/camcorder. Lens optics are limited, so you may not want to depend upon your tablet for all your listing photos and tour videos. Still, the ability to capture and share images instantly is one more convenience of carrying a tablet.
Some apps operate on the â€œcloud,â€ as Internet-based storage is called, so a wireless connection can be critical to productivity if you use those. Windows 8 tablets let you install full versions of Windows applications, which guarantees that you wonâ€™t need to connect to the Internet to use those apps.
There are plenty of connectivity options. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are now standard in even the most basic models. For improved performance, some include dual-band Wi-Fi, though your router needs to support that as well. For true mobility, though, youâ€™ll need a 3G or 4G cellular connection, which is usually an extra-cost option. If your smartphone can serve as a mobile hot spot, you can save by buying a Wi-Fiâ€“enabled tablet and connecting to the Internet via your phone.
It takes a lot of juice to power all these features, and portable productivity is almost entirely dependent on battery power. Fortunately, vendors have made great strides in both battery life and recharge times. But donâ€™t take their battery life ratings at face value. If you canâ€™t plug into a wall outlet or car charger during your day, you could easily run out of power, unless your tablet allows swapping batteries.
The best way to decide which tablet to buy is to handle and explore a few. Carefully evaluate the user experience, features, available apps, and operating system, and youâ€™ll find your tablet to be an indispensable tool for advancing your career and improving productivity.