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Technology Research Center Main

Fun Facts about tablets

Tablet Research Center

We can put a great new tablet at your fingertips.

Staples has a terrific selection of the latest tablets from top brands. Use our research tools to compare models, learn about what each tablet has to offer and find the perfect one for your lifestyle.

All the tools you need to find the perfect tablet.

A quick overview

Tablets put the power of a PC in your hands in a light compact package. Innovative touch screen interface and thousands of unique, useful and just-plain-fun apps bring you a high-tech experience that’s truly amazing. You can browse the Internet, send emails, watch movies and more.

Learn about our selection of tablets.

Purchase a Samsung Galaxy Tablet at StaplesThings to consider

Connectivity: 4G or 3G or WIFI

Wi-Fi is a great choice if you plan to use your tablet at home or the office, or if you frequent Wi-Fi hotspots. All tablets are Wi-Fi enabled, so all that's needed is a one-time network connection.

4G and 3G devices allow for connectivity almost anywhere, as wireless coverage is provided the same way as for a smartphone. Although these devices are priced slightly higher, the freedom to connect anywhere is an undeniable advantage. 4G will give you the very fastest connection available. If you're a power-user or frequent traveler, a 4G or 3G version might be your better choice.

Learn about the Samsung Galaxy II 7"

Purchase an Asus ME301T 16GB Tablet

Hard Drive Space: Know your limits

Tablets have a range of hard drive space options, most commonly offering 16GB and 32GB of onboard memory, though some models may have more or less. Most Android and Nook tablets include micro or full-size SD slots to add even more storage. Keep in mind that a 2-hour HD movie will take up about 3GB of hard drive space and even an episode of a half hour sitcom will take about half a GB. And that’s just video, don’t forget about music, games and other files. Be sure you have enough space for the media you want.

Learn about the Asus ME301T 16GB Tablet

Purchase Acer and Kindle Fire tablets at Staples

Size: Go big or stay small

Tablets start at a modest 5-inch display and go up to 13 inches, with 7- and 10-inch screens also common. Smaller devices offer amazing portability – a 7-inch tablet will fit easily in a purse or a man’s suit coat. Larger tablets are better if you spend more time browsing the Internet or working on documents, and there’s nothing like watching your HD movies on a big screen.

Learn about the Acer® Iconia™ 64GB Tablet or Kindle Fire

Learn about the Android operating system here

Operating Systems

Our selection of tablets run on one of two great operating systems: Google Android and Windows. Each has its owns strengths, depending on what you want from your tablet experience.


The company that made PCs a billion-dollar industry is reinventing mobile computing. You can browse, email and be entertained longer with a tablet that can last up to 10 hours through ARM processor support. Windows offers faster boot up times, going from turned-off to logged on and browsing in as little as eight seconds. With Microsoft’s all-new Windows 8 touch interface, using apps and socializing is now even easier. Plus, the Windows App Store offers thousands of apps pre-approved for the highest quality, while Microsoft's cloud services let you access your files from anywhere.

Google Android

Google Android’s user- and developer-friendly system has a number of unique features. You can put vital information up front and post updates directly from your home screen. The system is tightly integrated with Google services to update your contacts, calendar, emails and even photos with no PC required. Plus, Google Play is your one-stop marketplace for apps, books, music, games and more.

Using your tablet

Make the most of your tablet.

Once you’ve selected your tablet, you’ll want to make the most of it. Take advantage of your tablet’s advanced features, innovative apps and the right accessories to get the complete experience, whether you’re in the office or relaxing at home.

Learn about using tablets for business

Tablets for business

Tablets provide many of the features of your office computer in an ultraportable device. You can make professional-quality documents with apps like Docs to Go and a keyboard accessory. Access to WiFi and 4G networks let you videoconference and deliver presentations using programs such as WebEx. With a touch user interface, the new Windows 8 tablets makes multitasking and staying connected easier than ever before. Best of all, you can do it all on the go.

Learn about connecting with your customers by using tablets.

Connect with customers

Tablets also make it easy to interact with your customers in an engaging and informative way. Trade in a clipboard for a tablet and your employees can deliver a more impressive experience when they talk to a shopper about an offering or get their feedback on a recent purchase.

Learn how you can share content on your tablet at home with family.

Home & Family

Tablets can be great source of entertainment and information at home. A tablet puts your email, Facebook, YouTube and more right at your fingertips. Plus, you can check TV schedules, movie reviews and the latest games from your couch. Search recipes in the kitchen with apps like Epicurious, plan your next vacation or your next shopping trip. With so many uses, your tablet will be a family favorite.

Living the tablet lifestyle

Using a tablet, you’ll find it becomes an integral part of your day-to-day life. Take to the gym, to the beach, or enjoy access to the world from the comfort of your bed. Tablets make it easy to schedule your day, connect with family and friends, and keep up with world news. If there’s a website you visit or a program you use frequently, you can probably find an app for it and streamline your experience.

Compare tabletsUse this tool to compare tablets

Use our online comparison tool

Staples offers convenient online tools so that you can look at different tablets side by side. It's easy to compare dimensions, operating systems, processors and more. Check out each tablet's features and find the one that will work best for you.

Compare tablets now

Watch videos

Why a tablet?

Meet the tablet PC. This video shows you how these slim and lightweight tablets can revolutionise your life, both for business and leisure.

Why a tablet?

Staples makes tablet shopping easy

Tablet specs to consider

Tablet accessories

Tablets vs. smartphones vs. laptops

Glossary of terms

  • All terms
  • Accelerometer
  • Adobe Flash
  • Android operating system
  • Apps (shorthand for 'Applications')
  • Aspect ratio
  • Battery life
  • BlackBerry Tablet OS operating system
  • Bluetooth
  • Cameras
  • GPS
  • HD (High definition)
  • HDMI output
  • IPS (in-plane switching)
  • Memory
  • Multi-tasking
  • Multi Touch screen
  • Operating systems
  • Processor
  • Tablet (or Tablet PC)
  • USB port
  • Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi)
  • 3G

This feature re-orientates your tablet's screen as you move it. So, depending on the way it's held, the screen orientates itself automatically so you can flip effortlessly between portrait and landscape modes.

Adobe Flash
This is the standard multimedia program used to add rich animation, video, and interactivity to web pages, apps and games. Currently only Android devices, BlackBerry and HP tablets support Flash.

Android operating system
Android Honeycomb is the latest version of this Google built operating system and is used in several new tablets. The newest version, 3.1, is now available on the Motorola Xoom.

oneycomb was developed specifically as an operating system for tablets and is built using open-source software that is readily customised and optimised by tablet manufacturers to suit their particular specifications.

This OS has been designed to work smoothly with the dual-core processors used within the new generation of tablets, such as the XOOM. As you might expect, Android integrates smoothly with Google's popular email, documents, contacts, and maps software products. It also runs Adobe Flash when browsing and with over 100,000 apps available, it is a hugely popular choice with consumers.

Apps (shorthand for 'Applications')
These are the software packages designed to help you complete specific tasks with your tablet and enable you to interact with the things that matter to you.

Aspect ratio
This is the relationship between screen height and width. To fill your tablet screen with movies and other widescreen content, an aspect ratio of 16:9 is ideal.

Battery life
Battery life varies between tablets, so it's important to consider this feature as part of your research into which tablet to buy. Choose the longest battery life you can afford, and consider purchasing extra battery units to lengthen the usefulness of your tablet when you are on the move.

BlackBerry Tablet OS operating system
The BlackBerry® PlayBook™ Tablet houses a 1GHz Cortex-A9 dual-core processor within its BlackBerry Tablet OS which is based on BlackBerry's own QNX operating system. This technology enables true multi-tasking and lightening quick response times.

With a huge, well-established customer base thanks to its smartphone success, BlackBerry PlayBook is aimed particularly at the business community.

Users get access to the BlackBerry Enterprise Server, a rich and growing application ecosystem and compatibility with POSIX OS, SMP, Open GL, WebKit, Adobe Flash and Adobe Mobile AIR.

As the number of apps being developed grows, they are being added to the brand's App World storefront that comes pre-installed on every new tablet.

Bluetooth is a connection technology used to wirelessly sync your tablet with nearby devices such as a mouse, headset, keyboard or printer. Its effective range is limited to short distances.

More and more tablets now incorporate cameras, enabling you to not only capture images, but also for use in video conferencing, or video conversations.

Different tablets have different systems - some have only a single camera, while others have both forward and backward-facing cameras. Things to bear in mind here are the resolution of the camera and whether it has a zoom, a flash or autofocus feature.

GPS is a satellite navigation system that allows you to accurately establish your position wherever you are in the world. It is particularly beneficial for finding directions from where you are to another destination.

HD (High definition)
This refers to TV and film content. It is a superior screen resolution, which utilizes a greater pixel density to deliver a richer, more detailed picture.

HDMI output
HDMI connections enable you to relay the output from your tablet via a cable to an HD Ready widescreen TV or HD projector.

IPS (in-plane switching)
This screen technology affords a clear view of a tablet's screen from anywhere in front of it, however acute the viewing angle. Compare this with most laptop screens that are only designed to be viewed from a frontal position.

Storage is expressed as GB (gigabytes) and is the amount of room available to you for all the apps you need and files you will add during use, such as Movies, pictures and other documents.

If you will be storing a lot of music, video or photo files, it will help to have an abundant supply of storage space. As an alternative, you might want to invest in an external hard drive in order to keep files stored on your tablet to a minimum. See all our hard drives.

This is the ability of your tablet to run more than one application at a time. So you can hop between applications and be more productive. For instance you can be using email or word processing while listening to music. In the case of the Android operating system, you can run multiple applications on the screen at the same time. For example, you can read your email, surf the Internet and video chat on the same screen at once. This experience cannot be replicated on any other device.

Multi Touch screen
You control what your tablet does by tapping, swiping, pinching or reverse-pinching on the screen. You will find that these actions quickly become second nature as the tablet is very intuitive.

Operating systems
Otherwise known as platforms, these are the framework and interface of the tablet. They determine how you interact with it and get the best out of it, and how well the system handles the tasks you give it.

There are currently four main choices: Android, Apple OS, BlackBerry tablet OS and WebOS.

When considering your OS give some thought to the types of software and applications (or apps) you are likely to use. Availability of apps and software varies depending upon which OS your tablet runs.

The microprocessor is the brain of your tablet. Its speed is measured in GHz (gigahertz) so the higher the number of GHz, the faster it is at carrying out the complex mathematics behind the tasks you give it.

Tablet (or Tablet PC)
A wireless, portable personal computer built around a touch screen interface. The shape and size of a tablet is usually smaller than a notebook or laptop PC but significantly larger than a smartphone.

USB port
This is an industry-standard connection that allows connectivity between computers and peripheral equipment such as webcams, printers, mice and external drives. A variation is the micro-USB, which is slightly smaller.

USB flash drives are a fast way of accessing files you don't want to keep on your tablet's own internal hard drive. More USB ports are desirable as the functionality of your tablet is increased.

Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi)
This is a wireless connection that enables connection of your tablet to the Internet. Most homes and workplaces have a Wi-Fi hub providing connectivity within a specific range. Connectivity ceases outside of this range, often limited to several rooms or offices. Coffee shops, and shopping malls frequently provide access to a Wi-Fi hub. For connectivity beyond these hubs, mobile 3G systems are necessary.

This system allows your tablet to connect to the Internet wherever there is a 3G mobile network connection. These are usually chargeable and require a usage agreement with a telecom service provider. They are also slightly slower than Wi-Fi and can prove unreliable outside of densely-populated areas.

Tablet accessories

monitorsCases and protectors

Cases, covers and screen protectors to keep your tablet safe from the unexpected.

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mice-keyboardsConnect & charge

Go online and stay powered up with routers, docking stations and more.

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software-accessoriesBatteries & power

Charge up with replacement batteries, power cords and other backup devices from top-rated brands at Staples®.

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Enjoy the sound of a movie, game or music with personal headphones or speakers.

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USB drives, memory cards and external drives give you all the room your files need.

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Shop for Tech Services at StaplesProductivity

Get even more out of your tablet with keyboards, mice and stands for usability.

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Computer & Tablet Cleaning AccessoriesTablet cleaning

Keep computers and tablets dust, germ and fingerprint-free with safe and effective cleaning products.

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protection-plansProtection plans

Get peace of mind by knowing that your tablet is covered against crashes and damage.

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