5 questions, 4 answers (not the sheep one)

By | February 29, 2016
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I was looking at an iPad mini the other day – it’s basically an iPad but (as you might guess) a bit smaller. It’s still made by Apple and runs all the same software as an iPad – it just has a smaller screen.

And it set me thinking about the different sizes you can get tablets in – it can be a bit bewildering if you’re thinking about getting a tablet and don’t know what size is best for you.

How do you choose? Well, there are a few reasonably obvious things to take into account (smaller tablets might fit into a handbag or coat pocket but a larger one probably won’t) but there are some less obvious things that no-one seems to mention.

So here you go – some of the differences between different sized tablets – and some of the things to take into account.

  • Smaller tablets tend to have smaller batteries, so they don’t last as long between charges.
  • …but on the other hand that means they tend to be lighter. That can be ideal for reading ebooks on them because your hand doesn’t get as tired holding them. I’ve tried both and I prefer reading an ebook on a smaller tablet. If I’m using a bigger one I tend to rest it on my lap instead of holding it, otherwise I get an ache in my hand.
  • Smaller tablets tend to be cheaper for the same level of performance. So if you don’t mind what size you have, you might as well get a smaller one.
  • Bigger tablets means you have a bigger screen, which is better for watching films on or looking at photos. But it also matters what proportion the screen is – most films are best watched on a widescreen tablet, so you might get as big a picture on a smaller widescreen tablet as a bigger “not-widescreen” tablet, where you might end up with black bands at the top and bottom.
  • On the other hand, if you just want to browse the web occasionally and check emails, a small screen might be fine.
  • Steve Jobs (the boss of Apple when they came out with the iPad) said that there was no point in having a smaller tablet unless it came with sandpaper to file your fingers down to a smaller size. But of course the designers can keep the icons much the same size and simply have fewer on screen at once. So this isn’t as important as was made out. (And Apple have since backtracked and brought out the mini anyway).
  • It doesn’t have to be true, but since most smaller tablets tend to be cheaper, the manufacturers tend to make them less powerful as well.

Of course, if you are deciding what to buy, it’s up to you – the above gives you a few things to take into account but I’d also recommend trying both out. Either go to a shop where they have several or try out ones other people have and see what you get on with.

Generally there are two sizes – 10 inch and 7 inch tablets. (The size is the length of the diagonal of the screen, not the width.) As a rule of thumb, if you’re using the tablet around the home, almost instead of a PC or laptop, I’d probably recommend a 10 inch. If you want to take it out and about to cafes and so on, I might recommend a 7 inch. But either way, I’d suggest trying both before deciding.

Questions and answers… but not this one about sheep…
On Saturday, Alastair came into our room in the morning before we were awake. Nothing unusual there – we often get woken up by one or other of the boys (or both) wanting a cuddle.
But then he said “Where did the first sheep come from, because there wasn’t a sheep to born it?”

It’s a pretty good question so I couldn’t really complain at him getting the words slightly mixed up and saying “to born it”. And he sounded like he’d been puzzling it over for a bit.

Julie did a pretty good job of trying to explain evolution to a 5 year old, given that she was still bleary eyed and 3 minutes earlier she was fast asleep.

Anyway, I’ve also been answering some questions – not about how evolution works, but some questions people have asked me about these new videos. And I thought that since some people are asking, you might want to know the answers, too.

Here goes:
How do they play? What if I don’t have a DVD player?
You get a set of DVDs… and also passwords for watching them online. I think the best way to watch them is on your TV via a DVD player, so you can sit holding your tablet and trying things out as you watch… but you can also watch the DVDs on a PC with a DVD drive or watch them online on a PC or tablet.

I’m not sure what type of tablet I have… will they cover mine?
There’s a page with help about working out which type you have, but in a nutshell there are two sets – one for iPads and one for Android tablets of various versions (but not the Amazon Kindle Fire)

What makes these videos different?
You can actually see how to do what you need to do – watch as it’s done, then try it for yourself. And of course, everything explained nice and simply in plain English.

What if I don’t think they’re for me when I get them
Just send them back and owe nothing – it’s on our usual free trial, so you only pay once you’ve got them and are happy with them.

Oh, and I should also mention there’s currently a free gift that helps you when you see a symbol and don’t know what it is – tablet designers seem desperately keen on adding new confusing symbols without putting any words next to them to tell you what they are, so having this could be a real help.

Anyway, if it sounds interesting or you’d like to find out more, you can read the information (and if you like, order a trial) here.

4 thoughts on “5 questions, 4 answers (not the sheep one)

  1. paul smith

    Tim can I just draw your attention to the fact that Lenovo actually produced a 13.3″ tablet I think there are a few still available though I would double check their website also has a built in stand to support it. It is great for ebook tv etc and I tend to use it more than my pc now.

    1. Tim Post author

      Very true – good point,. There are a few bigger tablets (the iPad Pro gets the most publicity of them, but there are a few), though they’re not generally as popular. But if anyone would prefer something with a bigger still screen, it is possible to get one!


    I would like to know the price of the D V Ds for the Ipad Please

    1. Tim Post author

      Of course – they’re £29.97 per set (no P&P). You do need to make sure you order the right ones as there are four sets in total but you wouldn’t want all of them as there are versions for Android and for the iPad – the online order form for them has a bit more info and a link to a page that helps you tell if you’re not sure which type yours is.


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