Best tablets for the money

July 29, 2011 3:45:10 PM PDT
Tablet computers are quickly becoming the top choice for consumers with 20 million being sold this year alone. But can the devices outperform a laptop or desktop computer?

Not only are more tablets coming to market, the applications for them are multiplying every day. Consumer Reports found the five things tablets do best so you can get the most from yours.

Jennifer Schwartz never leaves home without her iPad because of all the cool things she can do with it.

"I use it to check the weather first thing when I wake up in the morning. And I now always have a book with me because I have now two reading apps that I have on it, which is terrific," Schwartz said.

With the explosion of iPad sales and so many other tablets on the market, there's a rich range of apps being offered that allow you to do all sorts of things. Consumer Reports' Paul Reynolds took a look at five of the best things you can do with a tablet.

"Keeping on top of a lot of news is a breeze with tablets. Pulse is a great free app that's available for both the iPad and Android tablets," Reynolds said.

Pulse lets you subscribe to your favorite news sources and arrange them in rows so you can easily scroll through them or you can group them by subject like sports or showbiz.

"Tablets, especially the iPad, are excellent platforms for reading magazines. The color display is big and bright. The navigation is easy, and you can watch embedded videos and other content that isn't in the print edition," said Reynolds.

Streaming video is another great use of a tablet. Apps like HBO Go, which is free for the iPad, allows HBO subscribers to watch the channel's shows just about anywhere. And with apps like iPad's Garage Band, you can even create music.

Garage Band also allows you to record your compositions and share them via iTunes or email.

Lastly, games designed for tablets like Infinity Blade offer great, fast graphics that draw you into the action.

Consumer Reports says if you want to get the most out of activities like playing games and viewing video, consider getting a larger tablet with a nine to 10 inch screen.

While there are a lot of apps for both the iPad and Android tablets, the Apple store has the most by far and they're many of the best apps Consumer Reports has seen.

Click here to download the ABC13 iPad app, the first Houston news app designed specifically for the iPad.

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