I’ve written and talked a lot about the new iPad from Apple. I think it’s a great product that can transform homeschooling but do you really need one? Let me rephrase the question: If you’re planning to buy a tablet do you need a new iPad?
The staggering number of tablets on the market right now will make your head spin. Choosing which one can be difficult especially if you have a sales person pressuring you while you browse. Let’s take a look at the best tablet options available to the home educator today.
Amazon’s Kindle Fire took the world by storm last year with its ultra-low price of $199. It’s the best bang for your buck when it comes to Android-based tablets. Many off the apps in the Android Marketplace can be used with the tablet and it makes a great e-reader too. If you’re looking for an affordable tablet the Kindle Fire is the best option on the market today.
The Barnes and Noble Nook Tablet isn’t a product that I mention very often here on the podcast but it’s an option too. After the release of the Kindle Fire, the price for the Nook dropped from $249 to $199. I wouldn’t count it out as an option if you can get it for a discount. There’s also the Nook Color for $149 but reviews about the device have been mixed.
After the new iPad was released, Apple dropped the price of their 16GB wi-fi only iPad 2 down to $399. This is still a great device. If you’re planning to use an iPad primarily as an educational tool the iPad 2 should certain be considered. It’s twice the price of the Fire or the Nook but with it comes the easy-of-use, quality, and plethora of apps we’ve all come to expect from Apple. If you’re willing to buy a refurbished model the 32GB iPad to can be had for the same price.
There are a myriad of other tablets on the market too. Some use Android and others use a weird form of Windows. I would stay far away from the Windows-based tablets for now. When Windows 8 comes out I’ll re-evaluate my stance. Additionally, the other Android tablets are just too pricey. If you’re going to pay $300-$500 on a tablet you should go for the iPad every time.
So, do you need a new iPad? Absolutely not. The new iPad is the Ferrari of tablets. When you want the best and can afford it then go with the new iPad. If you’re budget conscious and you want an affordable alternative it’s a toss-up between the Kindle Fire and the Barnes & Noble Nook. I prefer the Fire but I think the Nook is also a viable option.
Are you in the market for a new tablet? Have you recently purchased one? Share your comments and thoughts below.