Hints and Tips on Buying iPads, Tablets, and eBook Readers

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Hints and Tips on Buying iPads, Tablets, and eBook Readers

The popularity of computer tablets continues to soar. Users find them convenient and easy to use; however, with so many options available on the market it can be confusing for consumers to decide which form of tablet will meet their needs. From miniature personal computers to basic ebook readers, the options are quite extensive. Understanding the functions of the different models can help buyers make a decision that is right for them for the manner in which they intend to use the tablet. It can be helpful for buyers to follow some basic tips when comparing iPads, tablets, and ebook readers. These hints can also result in saving money on the purchase by helping the buyer avoid making an incorrect buying decision.

One can purchase a tablet, iPad, or ebook reader at a large variety of retail locations, from factory stores to discount retailers. In fact, nearly any store that has an electronics department offers some brand of tablet for sale. Buyers looking for a convenient and price-competitive shopping experience should consider eBay' s online marketplace when thinking about purchasing an iPad, tablet, or ebook reader.

Understanding Tablet Operating Systems

As with any PC, a tablet requires an installed operating system to provide an interface for the user to control the various functions offered by the system software. Understanding how the operating systems differ helps prospective buyers make an informed purchase decision based on the intended use of the device.

Apple's iOS

Apple's iOS is the mobile version of the Mac operating system. Apple, since its inception, has bucked the trend of other computer manufacturers that mostly use the Windows operating system. Apple designs its own unique system that is compatible with Apple hardware only: the Mac OS can not run on a Windows PC and Windows can not run on a Mac. The same is true with Apple's mobile iOS, which powers theiPhone and iPad: applications that run in the Windows or Android mobile environment can not run on the iPad, and of course the reverse is true also.

This is an important tip for Windows users, because some of the programmes that they are used to working with at home or in the office are not available on an iPad. As programmers continue to create mobile apps, it is common to see the same the same programme offered in various operating systems; however, slight appearance differences may exist due to the particulars of the OS. Still, there will always be some apps that are exclusive to one operating system.

Windows Operating System

Windows is the standard on which the majority of the world's computers operate. Windows 8, the latest version of Microsoft's Windows operating system, provides a platform that is compatible with cellular phones, tablets, or personal computers. Tablets that run any of the latest versions of Windows operate very similar to the Windows PC at home or in an office. Most Windows programmes are available to be loaded on the Windows mobile OS.

The Android Operating System

The Android Operating System has grown to be the most-used mobile operating systems for telephone and tablets anywhere in the world. Android is a Linux-based operating system and could almost be described as a cross between Apple and Windows. Android offers many of the same applications of both Apple and Windows; moreover, with the popularity of the Android mobile OS, it has an ever-increasing offering of apps. Because of Android's association with Google, Android applications are offered on the Google Play network, similar to an Apple's iTunes store where iOS applications can be found.

The Differences between eBook Readers, iPads, and Tablets

Each reader or tablet has its individual characteristics. Understanding the differences between the various mobile devices helps prospective buyers decide upon which unit performs the actions they want. The various features of the device also determine where and how the device can be used.

eBook Readers

The most common and popular ebook readers are the Nook and the Kindle. When introduced, these devices were essentially the same in that they were only able to download and store digital copies of books. The user of a Kindle or a Nook could store a number of publications on the reader and have access to them anywhere without having to carry a stack of printed materials. Another advantage of these basic ebook readers is the price of a downloadable book, which is a significant savings over a printed copy.

The Nook

The Nook operates on the Android mobile operating system and its original design included Wi-Fi and/or wireless 3G connectivity. The latest version of the Nook ebook reader has more of the features of a tablet: the Nook HD still downloads books but also has the availability of accessing the Google Play network and the wide range of mobile applications Google has to offer. Nook still offers a basic reader, the Nook Simple Touch, which is a low-priced option for individuals just wanting to download and read books.

The Kindle

Similar to the Nook, the Kindle was originally developed to download digital copies of books. Unlike the Nook, however, the Kindle had a small keyboard positioned at the bottom of the device below the screen. The latest version is the Kindle Fire, which runs the Android OS and is also essentially a tablet. One important tip of which buyers must be aware is that the book reader software for both the Nook and the Kindle are proprietary to the brand: the Kindle cannot read Nook books, nor can the Nook read Kindle books.

There are other brands of ebook readers, but the Kindle and Nook enjoy the highest brand recognition in the industry. Other popular ebook reader brands include Sony and Kobo.


An iPad is a tablet, but the brand has gained such recognition that the Apple tablet is universally referred to as an iPad. The iPad is offered on a number of different configurations depending on the amount of internal memory desired and whether the iPad connects only through Wi-Fi or can also connect to a wireless telephone network. The iPad only operates on Apple's iOS and with applications downloaded from iTunes. The latest release in the Apple tablet line is the iPad Mini, a slightly smaller version of the original iPad.

An important consumer tip regarding the iPad: the device can be attached to a Windows PC to download pictures taken with the iPad camera and to upload music or video recorded with iTunes or QuickTime.

Other Tablets

There are a number of different brands of tablets from which consumers must choose. Tablets come in various designs and styles. The following chart lists some of the more popular brands of tablets, their operating system, and comments about the company's line of mobile devices.

Tablet Brand

Operating System




The Galaxy Tab is the latest model with a 10.1-inch screen and 16 GB of storage


Android and Windows 8

Asus offers a range of tablets, most with 10.1-inch screens and detachable keyboards



The Blackberry Playbook has a 7-inch screen and apps must be downloaded for Blackberry App World



Archos 10.1xs has a 10.1" screen and comes with a detachable keyboard in the base of the device


Android and Windows

Acer currently offers three different models with varying features



The Sony Xperia offers a 9.4-inch screen and is priced according to the amount of storage memory the device comes with



Multiple tablets in various sizes are available



The Droid XYBoard tablet has an 8.2-inch display modelled after the popular Droid phone series

Samsung is by far the leader in the non-iPad tablet market, easily outselling all it its competitors. Asus and Acer both offer tablets that run on the Window operating system, either Windows 7 or Windows 8, for the diehard Microsoft fans. All of the tablets listed offer Wi-Fi connectivity and most offer wireless phone network connections as well.

Buying iPads, Tablets and eBook Readers on eBay

Sellers on eBay offer a large selection of iPads, tablets, and ebook readers. It is easy to locate the product you want by entering akeyword such as ' Android tablet'. More specific keywords, such as ' Acer Android tablet', brings up search results that include only the products matching the keyword description. Buyers can purchase with confidence from sellers on eBay by reviewing the seller's feedback rating. This rating is achieved after various buyers rate sellers according to buyer satisfaction with the sales transaction. These feedback ratings are available to all buyers for each individual seller.

Purchasing items on eBay is convenient; buyers can search for the product they want with the click of a mouse, select the exact iPad, tablet, or e-reader that matches their needs, and have the unit delivered directly to their home or office. By paying for the purchase with PayPal, both buyer and seller can be assured of a safe and secure online transfer of funds.


While iPads, Kindles, and Samsung tablets have the greatest share of the tablet market, there are a number of other options that consumers have to choose from. Whether buyers are looking for an ebook reader to enjoy the latest bestseller or a highly portable PC tablet with the functions of a home PC, the various tablets on the market have many features to offer. Some buyers prefer the simplicity of the basic Nook e-reader, others appreciate a tablet that, in addition to downloading books, also has the flexibility to play games and run popular mobile applications.

Selecting the proper operating system is another consideration for buyers. Apple lovers who are used to the style of Mac applications on their home Apple computer will likely feel comfortable with the design of iPad apps. Users familiar with the Android OS on their cell phones can find the same features on Android-based tablets. Fortunately, there is a mobile tablet device for fans of every popular operating system.

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