Tablets might have been around for only a couple of years, but the technology and the industry itself has been on the rise with manufacturers putting their best foot forward. Even with their fair share of criticism, the tablet has now become quite a popular bit of mainstream personal technology. In India, the tablet terrain is agog with the 'affordable' segment of the market that wisely places the price tag somewhere between Rs. 8,000 and Rs.18,000, and the high-end market, which is literally anything that costs above 17 to 18k. Tablets come in various form factors; the five-inchers (mini tablet or over-sized smartphones like the Galaxy Note) at the low end of the spectrum, the seven-inchers taking the middle ground, and the larger tablets with display sizes ranging from 9.7-inches to 10.1-inches forming the high-end.
With not many options in the five-inch category, which is considered to be closer to smartphones, tablet users usually are caught up in a dilemma - opt for the large 10-incher or the mid-sized seven-incher. Though the choice of the size may be subjective, we think the seven-inch form factor is just ideal for tablets.
7-inch tablets are quite handy to use...
The first tablet ever conceived was the iPad, which belonged to the 10-inch range. Like Jobs had said, "seven-inch tablets are tweeners: too big to compete with a smartphone and too small to compete with the iPad", but in terms of the tablet size, we think seven inches is just about perfect, not too small, not too bulky. It brings to you decent screen size without adding any bulk that the large screen 10-inch tablets bring in. Seven-inch tablets sit snugly in their cases, and fit into your handbags and even some large pockets, which is far from possible with a 10-inch tablet. Carrying a seven-inch tablet won’t be a weighty affair compared to a 10-incher, considering the former usually weighs around 300 to 400 grams while the latter tips the scale at above 500 grams. Carrying a 10-inch tablet, along with the dock and other accessories, doesn’t make a viable option if you have opted for tablet over a netbook/notebook for utmost portability. On the other hand, there are several 7-inch tablets that can deliver the same performance as the 10-inch tablet even while promising utmost portability like the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 310.
Now, it is true that the size of the tablet has to justify the purpose of buying it. The five-inch options are great for being carried around in pockets and the contents on its screen look large, if you’ve just made the shift from smartphones. Nevertheless, it still requires a lot of scrolling, zooming, and more. On the other hand, 10-inchers offer a large viewing range, where you don’t have to scroll across websites and they also give frequent zoom-in and zoom-outs a miss. But the device is too large for a handy experience. The seven-incher here is convenient and overcomes these drawbacks, to a great extent. It is large enough for a decent viewing experience and can be easily navigated with one hand. So you don’t have to scroll through webpages as much as a five-inch tablet would require and it isnt a large, space consuming slate. If you are buying the tablet for casual social networking, keeping in touch with pals and as an on-the-go entertainment hub, then again, the seven-inch Kindle Fire seems more convenient than a 9.7-inch iPad.
With the advent of numerous options for docking accessories, the tablet is more customisable than ever. A new hybrid design has been making the rounds with Microsoft's set of Surface tablets and we may see the popularity of '10-inch tablets with dockable keyboards’ soar high. Microsoft mating the new Windows OS with a tablet with a hybrid design takes it back towards the netbook era. The 7-inch tablets also bring in ease of typing in the portrait mode, as its user can conveniently hold the device for two thumb typing. Owing to the size, this isnt easily possible with the 10-inch tablets. If you look closely, the educational market has been embracing 7-inch tablets too. Along with the infamous Aakash tablet, we have manufacturers like HCL and Micromax who have build some nifty educational tablets like the MyEdu Tab and Funbook, respectively.
Convenient while travelling
Google's home brewed 7-incher is already on its way to hit markets and creative wits at Apple also plan to enter the 7-inch tablet markets soon. With rumours floating around of what is called the iPad Mini to come from the company anytime later this year, we think Apple is finally waking up to this fact.
Price plays an important role in India and this is one reason why the affordable tablet brigade has been growing in size by the day. With the Nexus 7 rumoured to reach us sometime later this year (hopefully), the tablet war may just get fiercer. The new Google tablet has even been named using the screen size it features. Needless to say, most of the affordable tablets have been 7-inchers. The seven-inch screen size helps cut down on the price of the device. Moreover, the performance doesn’t drastically change just by the size of the tablet. So, the question is whether paying an additional sum for 2 to 3-inch larger screen is justifiable. Well, we dont think so. A seven-incher can deliver equal or better performance than a 10-inch tablet. Moreover, we have several decent seven-inch tablets selling at prices as low as Rs.7000, and appear to be complete value for money.
In a nutshell
If it is a tablet, it better be 7-inch. A 7-incher is a perfect balance between the small 5-inch screens and the large 9.7 to 10.1-inch screens. It not only cuts down bulk and price, but also helps at ease of functionality in many ways. It will serve as an optimum eReader if you pick a really lengthy book, convenient for gaming using both hands, brings the ease of two thumb typing as offered by smartphones, scrolling won't be very tedious and you won't end up paying a hefty sum either.
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