Tablet Gadgets: Getting More Out of Your Tablet
November 21, 2011 | Permalink
Even if you’ve already joined the legions of tablet fans, you may have only uncovered a fraction of how useful these little machines can be. With the accessories now available, many users are finding that their tablets can replace many of their other devices, especially during travel, when packing light really calls for a less-is-more approach. By selecting just a few of the small add-ons for your iPad, Galaxy Tab or other similar device, you, too, may find that you can have all the networking, entertainment, composing and presentation capabilities you need, courtesy of your tablet.
One of the major complaints many people have about tablets—at least in relation to extensive use—is how touchy the touchscreens can be. If you can’t hit the right angle, have bigger fingertips or lack just the right degree of pressure, you can find yourself inadvertently closing pages, typing an entire sentence incorrectly or (maybe even more frustrating) not getting anything to happen at all. Here’s where a stylus can save you hours of aggravation. The Targus Touch-Screen Stylus (about $17) is compatible with most tablets (and other touch-screen devices). Its rubber tip is sturdy, but it will not scratch the screen as you turn pages, type or draw. Targus’ deluxe model, the 3-in-1 Stylus ($40), gives you a touch-screen stylus with a ballpoint pen and a laser pointer (with low and bright settings)—all in one compact and classy design.
Even with a great stylus, most of us prefer a real keyboard for doing extensive composing. Fortunately, the most popular tablets do offer add-on keyboards—all running in the $60-$100 range. One of the best Bluetooth wireless (and relatively universal) keyboards is the Scosche freeKEY. Marketed as flexible (it actually rolls up!) and waterproof, it may be a traveler’s dream with it’s advertised battery life of sixty hours before recharging is needed (retractable charging cable is included).
If you’d like a keyboard that doubles as another accessory, check out Samsung’s soft-touch, full-sized keyboard dock for the seven-inch Galaxy Tab, which lets you charge your tablet while using it. The built-in headphone jack in the dock can also come in handy if you’re trying to work during a layover in a busy (and loud) airport. Another two-fer is the Adonit Writer for the iPads. This Bluetooth keyboard is fashioned as part of a protective carrying case for the iPad, and it also folds to provide an angled prop, secured by magnets, for the tablet itself as you use the keyboard. The lightweight (1.1 pounds) keyboard and case still leaves you with all the carrying convenience of a tablet.
Okay, maybe an MP3 player isn’t that much extra to carry along, but hey, when the goal is to simplify, why not fully outfit your tablet as your sole music and entertainment device? With the number of earbuds, headphones and speakers out now, it’s pretty easy. You can choose among brand-specific models and universals, as well as a wide variety of the quality levels (and prices). For the Motorola Xoom alone, choices range from $15 earbuds to Monster Lil Jamz High Peformance Headphones ($100). As you might expect, iPad’s options run pricier, from about $40 to upwards of $400. If you want something that’ll work for your iPhone and your Android tablet—and something good for your budget in case you lose it—the GE 98974 Voip Stereo Headset (around $15) gets solid reviews.
While a tablet may not fully replace your laptop or iPod (after all, how handy is a tablet while you’re jogging?), perhaps during business trips and vacations you can equip that one mighty little machine to efficiently and compactly serve your needs, and give you one less device to schlep along and keep track of on the road.
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